Prog-lelujah: The Prog-Rock Ommission from the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums

Well done!
Classic Pal.
You have said it all and said it so well. I’ll just say ditto and move along. I got a big fish to fry, so here are the quick bits that you missed, before I break out the butter and lemon.

Other Things I Love About the List
– London Calling in Top Ten: One of the most listenable/well written albums from start to finish.
– Kid A over OK: I love OK but Kid A was more mind expanding for me.
– Great Police Coverage: Three albums is enough and they picked the right ones.
– Loving the New Bob Dylan: His latest works can stand on their own.
– John Prine Included: An oft forgotten artist. The Bob Dylan of Country Music.

Other Things I Don’t Love About the List
– Wrong Beasties: The later stuff is way better than their early stuff.
– Where is Animals?: No dogs. No pigs. No sheep. Not even a pig on a wing.
– Missing Greatest Hits Album: Prime Prine. His best is the best.
– Token Jazz Albums: These are fine albums, but always the “go to” ones. I say don’t include them at all.

All right. Moving on.

Turn on the skillet.

Considering that this list is determined by the opinions of a variety of musicians, critics and others in the music industry, I think they have done quite well. That said, I have one very large beef with this list (not to go all surf and turf on ya).

I have discovered a glaring omission in the Top 500 Albums. One that hurts me in the chemical reactions, receptors and interpreted brain signals that make up my perceived ‘soul’. The source of my musical sensibilities. This album ignited a fire in me in grade 5 that burns as brightly now as it did then. .




Where the F is Fragile? Yes’s masterpiece. A juggernaught of potent Progressive Rock perfection. Flawless. Sprawling. Precise. Adventurous. Concocted using the otherworldly guitar playing of Steve Howe, the behemoth baselines of Chris Squire, the dazzling keyboards of Rick Wakeman, and that voice. That voice. Oh that voice, voice, voice, voice. Jon Anderson. No other like it. A voice as moving as when the Whos down in Whoville sang without packages, boxes, or bags. Nahoo Dooray!!


Musical alchemy. The interplay. The changes. The instrumentation. Orchestrationally orgasmic. There is so much going on here. Best assemblage of Rock musicians there may ever be. Go ahead listen to it. I dare you. Crank it. If your pants are not completely blown off by end of the album then you were not wearing pants to begin with. Maybe a dress or swim trunks. My pants fly off just thinking about this album. They are off right now.

Fragile is an achievement. The best album of a band’s cannon is often called its “Sgt. Pepper”. “What is their Sgt. Pepper?”, one might ask. Maybe a good blog topic, eh? For Yes it is Fragile. For the whole genre it is Fragile. Definitely owed its due. Worthy of honour.

So. I honour the glory of Yes. I honour the majesty of Fragile. I honour the greatness of Roundabout.

“In and around the lake. Mountains come out of the sky and they stand there.”


Fragile contains the greatest rock song ever written. Roundabout. A bold statement that no one I know shares. I have a strong suspicion that they all might be wrong. Mainly because I have heard it with my ears. The song has everything. A signature intro, hard driving riffs, unbelievable playing, musical depth, a dramatic bridge, quiet moments with vocal harmonies and a landmark rock solo to boot. As Jack Black said in School of Rock, “it will melt your face off”. Indeed Mr. Black. It will. If the School of Rock uses Fragile as part of its core curriculum, it should definitely be on the list.

In general, the Top 500 list has a lack of love for Prog Rock that borders on the inexcusable. I could have railed on their absence of Rush too. No Rush?!?!? Total disrespect. Rush is so important to Rock let alone Prog Rock. Just put Hemishperes at #425 and be done with it.


Heeeeey Aqualung! Fine there is one Proggy in the bunch. That’s not good enough. Bleaaaghhh!


So it is up to me now. To teach the younger generation of Prog. They must learn of its importance. The musicianship. The ambitious musical triumph of elevating Rock to a higher level. I must start with Fragile.

Come here kids. Let me tell you about a majestic musical world. Let me tell you of mountains. Eagles. Fish (schindleria praematurus). Long Distant Rounarounds. What is your Mood for the Day? indeed We Have Heaven. Let me take you through the South Side of the Sky on our way to the Heart of the Sunrise.



Maybe when they get older they will put it on their Top 500 list (if lists still exist in the future). Hopefully one day in the future, in my old age, me and my kids will be sitting around the holographic hearth and I will hear, “Daddy, can you turn your iBrain on? Can we listen to Roundabout?”

With a tear in my eye and a smile on my face, I will say “YES”

Oh my goodness.




One response to “Prog-lelujah: The Prog-Rock Ommission from the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums

  1. Singing the praises of YES so strongly made me shudder in fear as the only song I remember (and if I am completely honest, it is the video that tore into my soul like the Grim Reaper himself) is “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” I can’t say that I remember anything musically about this gut wrenching experience, it is simply how it made me feel. I am crying now.

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