Beyond and Before Paperback – 23 Jun 2011
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Examining every aspect of progressive rock - words and music, theatre and politics - Hegarty and Halliwell deftly unpick the tangled threads of tradition and radicalism that make up the genre's tapestry. In addition to shedding vital new light on an often maligned and misunderstood phase in rock's history, this probing and incisive study tracks prog's continued and unexpected reverberations through popular music long after punk had supposedly vanquished and banished it. --Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past and Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84
"Beyond and Before is a wonderful account of both the rich legacy and the ongoing story of progressive rock in all its forms. At last, here is a book that gives prog its due respect as a vital part of the history of rock music, without tying it to a simplistic narrative of over-ambition, decadence and decline. The best thing about the book is its comprehensive, nuanced definition of what counts as progressive. In Hegarty and Halliwell's capable hands we journey from such unlikely precursors of the concept album as Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, through the 1970s Golden Age of Jethro Tull, Genesis and Pink Floyd to contemporary exponents as various as Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree and The Decemberists." --Greg Walker, Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, University of Edinburgh
This is a great book. Hegarty and Halliwell have rescued progressive rock from the condescension of history by crafting a work that is smart, sympathetic, and impressively sweeping in its coverage of a much derided, yet enormously diverse and influential transnational music. Whether your taste is Porcupine Tree or Pink Floyd, Epica or ELP, Mike Oldfield or Midlake, there is plenty to admire and ponder in this ambitious and compelling account. By offering an expanded definition of prog rock in terms of its roots, musical and lyrical characteristics, geographic sources, artwork, performance practices, and legacies, Beyond and Before offers an exhilarating read. --Brian Ward, Professor of American Studies at the University of Manchester
About the Author
Martin Halliwell is Professor of American Studies and Head of the Department of English at the University of Leicester, UK. He is the author of American Culture in the 1950s (Columbia UP, 2007), and the editor of two series for Edinburgh University Press: Twentieth Century American Culture, and Edinburgh Critical Guides to Literature. Paul Hegarty teaches Philosophy and Visual Culture at University College Cork, in Ireland. He is the author of books on Bataille and Baudrillard. He jointly runs the experimental record label dotdotdotmusic, and occasionally performs in the noise 'bands' Safe, and Working With Children.
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Top Customer Reviews
The writing style is analytical, almost academic, but always clear and interesting. I found a mistake in the first few minutes of picking the book up (Fairport Convention's 'Matty Groves' does not feature a character called Lord Donald, but Lord Darnell, itself a mishearing of Lord Arnold), but some get hot under the collar about such things. Personally, I am more excited about this books existence to let a lack of editorial effort spoil my day.
It goes into detail on many albums of the 70s, and I particularly liked the work covering Genesis, a personal fave of mine from this period; I feel they took advantage of the prog rule book (i.e. there wasn't one!) and produced wonderful tuneful music free of ego or pretension. The authors seem to know their onions and even die hard lovers of this genre will more than likely come away from this book with more than they did when they came to it.
I can heartily recommend. If you like a bit of prog (and this include stuff like Radiohead - why? Because they are so clearly prog; listen to Paranoid Android on OK Computer, a finer example of prog I have yet to hear!), and get a kick out of mellotron, flutes and bonkers time sigs, then this book is for you.
Gradually, groups trying to progress became something called "Progressive Rock" or, eventually, about as welcome as "Sci-Fi", "Prog". This is a book about Prog.
Prog can be over-elaborate. This book is over-elaborate. Prog can be pretentious. This book is pretentious. However, Prog doesn't make many mistakes of fact, this book is riddled with them. Here are three examples: Keith Moon played drum solos; no he didn't. The Rolling Stones released a thousand doves at the Brian Jones memorial Hyde Park free concert; no they didn't, they released butterflies, can you imagine how much space a thousand doves would take? Keith Jenkins played with Soft Machine; no he didn't, it was Karl Jenkins.
These writers spend too much time on their "paradigms", etc. and not enough on checking facts. This is a bad, and very tedious book. Prog can be both bad and tedious, but it also has glorious highs. I didn't find any in this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author does a fine job of outlining the history of prog rock. Recommended for any devotee of odd time signatures and eager young men shredding their instruments.Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
ZZ Top is mentioned in the book...but no mention to Arena at all! Should I say more? Just like writing a history of England without mentioning the Tudors!Published on 2 Dec. 2011 by M. Campo
A new and exciting account of prog, as well as its antecdents and more recent descendents. With a robust central thesis, the authors are free to range beyond the more hackneyed and... Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2011 by EncounterGroup