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The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  542 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
The Show That Never Ends is the definitive story of the extraordinary rise and fall of progressive (“prog”) rock. Epitomized by such classic, chart-topping bands as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Emerson Lake Palmer, along with such successors as Rush, Marillion, Asia, Styx, and Porcupine Tree, prog sold hundreds of millions of records. It brought into the main ...more
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
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Matthew Budman
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I both wanted and expected to love this book: Have been a fan of Weigel's political writing for years, and he has been entirely engaging on the subject of progressive rock in both online posts and in-person talks. But The Show… is an incoherent wreck, an insular book that feels almost unedited, failing to put its material in a context that helps us understand why England and America fell in and out of love with prog—why people were drawn to its ambition and scale, and why they got bored.

Yes, man
Peter Mcloughlin
I was into this genre of music in high school and college and have been revisiting it a bit of late. I know it is really uncool since the emergence of punk rock (also a fan) to like prog rock but I am fifty and don't give a damn about being cool anymore and just like what I like. Fairly well-written history on a genre of rock that many love to hate and some still love.
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Since this was an ARC, I am giving it the benefit of the doubt--that the orphans, inexact paragraphing, references in shorthand to people not mentioned before and the like will be fixed prior to publication. If so, this will still be a junk store of interviews and incomplete history, with far too much talk about Robert Fripp and ELP and far too little about Brian Eno and Can.

Yes of course I ate it up.
Jason Pettus
A super-great history of 1970s progressive rock, aka "prog rock," in fact perhaps the most exhaustive look at the subject in literary history. This gave me a great appreciation for something I never understood before, of why the origins of heavy metal in the early '70s is so closely associated with such un-metal bands like Pink Floyd, Yes and Jethro Tull (short answer -- because both genres essentially started from the same primordial soup of dissatisfied former '60s hippies, only separating int ...more
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
in depth look at the progressive music scene from the mid 1960's to the present day taking from personal interviews , press cuttings, music newspapers and how it changed after punk and adapted.
Stewart Tame
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been a fan of various prog groups--and the style in general--for a long time. I didn't even know what it was called, just that bands like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Pink Floyd and Rush played amazing music, complex songs featuring formidable musicianship and jaw-dropping solos. In time, I started drifting into goth and punk and industrial and all manner of other varieties, but never forgot my prog roots. So I was excited to hear about this book.

Prog tends to be sneered at by roc
Christopher Hellstrom
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Audible Audio version. This book was fun to read and obviously written with love for the much maligned, prog rock. It focused on King Crimson, Rush, Yes, Early Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer but also other lesser known bands that tried to carry on the prog tradition (Porcupine Tree). I don't care...I like prog rock. I got a fever and the only cure is more moog synthesizer
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grew up in the pre-Internet age of music journalism, which included the Rolling Stone Record Guides (remember the red and blue rock volumes and notorious yellow jazz guide?) with their narrow, doctrinaire spectrum of acceptable taste. Those books expended an enormous amount of critical invective on disco, soft rock, hard rock, and jazz fusion, rejecting anything that demonstrated “empty virtuosity” or committed the cardinal sin of being "over-produced." Punk, new wave, classic jazz, soul and t ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: music, biography
It's good, not great. I enjoy Weigel's clear and enthusiastic writing, however the book itself is something of a mess in terms of structure and aim. It is essentially a summary of the big hits of progressive rock, starting with the mid-sixties and ostensibly, the present day (although the bulk of the narrative ends at the eighties). However in casting so wide a net we end up with a pretty shallow book that fails to do much else than package anecdotes and tales in a chronology.

Weigel's backgroun
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, music
All right, I owned or own six Emerson Lake and Palmer LPs, six Yes LPs, King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King , three (yes, three!!) Rick Wakeman solo albums and a handful of other progressive rock albums. There's probably a half dozen or more such albums on my iPod right now. Caught up in the midst of the prog rock movement, I also admit I'm one of those who bailed when, by the end of the 1970s, it was derided and ridiculed.

Where prog rock came from, its decline and what it left behi
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I liked this book about the origins of Prog Rock and what the genre has become I was a little disappointed that the book didn't live up to the hype I had heard before its release. Basically Wil Romano's Prog Rock FAQ is a better book. In Weigel's book you hear a lot about Emerson, Lake and Palmer and the author seems infatuated with Robert Fripp. However 2nd and 3rd wave proggers such as Rush and Marillion don't get nearly the coverage.

Furthermore, Weigel covers a lot of the same ground th
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
While THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS gives a decent summation of the history and development of prog rock (starting with King Crimson's debut album in 1969 and continuing with more modern bands such as Dream Theater) Weigel still tends to gloss over certain spots which makes the narrative feel a bit choppy. He spends a lot of time detailing the careers of Genesis, Robert Fripp (King Crimson's founder), Yes and ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), but he seems to leave out things. For example, Weigel gives ...more
Rob Epler
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you might imagine, this is really for fans of progressive rock, though one not need be deeply into it. All the usual suspects are here, of course--Yes, King Crimson, Rush, ELP--but we get a tour of the genre's beginnings with less well-known names (Daevid Allen, Mike Oldfield), as well as some maybe surprising personalities (like Richard Branson). All in all worthwhile for prog fans, or even those interested in the history of music. Best tidbit (IMO): Crowdfunding, so commonplace now, was sta ...more
Kelly Sedinger
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, music
This is...OK. It's not a bad book, by any means, and if you're interested in prog rock, I do recommend it. But I was still a bit disappointed by it, because there's not a lot of flare in the writing, and not a whole lot that conveys the idea that for author Weigel writing this book was a labor of love. The book is a straightforward, journalistic recounting of the basic history of one particular genre of rock music. As such it's a decent read that left me wanting more personal interjection and re ...more
Jesse Young
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great primer on an unfairly-maligned genre. The book's principal weakness is its obsessive thoroughness -- too much recitation of band line-up changes, album releases, recording dates, and so forth. It's far too dry for long stretches. In his effort to convey the sweep of the genre, Weigel spends too little time contextualizing the music's broader place in the culture. His entire thesis is reserved for the book's final pages -- I wish he'd brought that editorial voice into more of the book's b ...more
Jim Noel
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed learning about the people behind these bands and their music. One of my college friends in the 1980s was very into some of these artists for their intensity, complexity, and obscure lyrics; another was much more interested in those that experimented with sound textures and ambient noise; a third was more drawn to excellent technique. They each introduced me to different artists featured in this book, so it was fun to look back on the music and how I learned about it, as well as to lear ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good history of Progressive Rock, but my main complaint is that the book tails off sharply by the mid-80's after Marillion is introduced. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since "rise and fall" is in the title, but I still would have liked more than passing mention of the bands that have come forth since that are keeping the Prog Rock flag flying.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A concise, sympathetic (but not sentimental) history of a musical movement that still resists packaging into any definable shape. Now that some of the primary actors in prog rock are dying, it seems time for some less petulant reassessments, and this one is a good start.
B.M.B. Johnson
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Show that never ends, the name based on a the lyrics of a ELP song (that is, Emerson, Lake and Palmer for those not in the know), was good for introducing Progressive Rock bands to an ear whom had never once heard of them. However, I found that the author was a tad too King Crimson-centric for my tastes. Also, he tended to skip around too much, sometimes to the point of confusion.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: know-the-author
Exhaustively reported book on prog's legacy, evolution, and influence. So refreshing to read a book like this that is so steeped in facts and research, rather than only musical criticism. Listened to the audiobook and enjoyed flipping between the book and Spotify to listen to the songs and bands being referenced.
Dean Madonia
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must for progressive rock fans. Lots of little details that you may have been unaware of, no matter how big a fan boy that you are.
Interestingly captures the very beginning of a movement that never defined itself as "progressive rock." Just people who were experimenting with music.
Being a progressive rock artist myself, I don't appreciate a lot of the negative comments that people have made over the years about the genre. I realize that some of the bands went a little too far out,
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book! Insightful, accessible look at an under-appreciated genre. Traces the origins of prog rock all the way back from composer Franz Liszt. Balanced insight on well-known groups such as Yes, ELP and Jethro Tull along with lesser-known bands like Marillion, Camel and Porcupine Tree. If you're a music geek this is a must read.
Eric Sbar
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Progressive rock often struck me a pompous and cold when I was younger. I couldn’t handle the silly, spacey lyrics and endless jams. As I got older I appreciate the skill and musicianship these groups possessed. Frankly, they are more interesting than the bands who know three chords. This book was a fun romp through the history of select prog bands, mostly Yes, Genesis, the Soft Machine, King Crimson, and ELP. It is sad to see how high they flew and how hard they crashed. Also, it is sad how so ...more
Robert Jenson
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book, and while I enjoyed it, I'm still not quite sure what audience it was intended for.
As a now ancient 'earnest spotted young man', I did learn quite a bit about the early prog scene and of a few bands that I wasn't as infatuated with as others. Weigel's love for the genre comes across, and his annoyance at the music press in their unreasoning hatred of the music is well defended. I hear ya, man.
But I found my eyes glazing over at way too many time signature descriptions
Ty Keith
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If only this book could have been 1000...2000...3000 pages long, my prog-loving heart (and ears) would have been fully satisfied. Heck, even at 290+ plus pages I gave it a five star rating.
Yvonne Glasgow
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read. Learned a lot about some bands I've enjoyed listening to for years. Grateful for this win from first reads!
Jon Hewelt
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it
It's good, but I'm not sure who this book is for.

I was a progressive rock fan long before I knew I was a progressive rock fan. When I first got into "rock" music (albums, beyond the radio hits), I listened to Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons Project. My upbringing in classical music endeared me to the intricate, lush orchestral lines, the complex time signatures. And the theatre side of me responded quite well to the storytelling: the concept albums wherein a single epic song could
Stuart Hargreaves
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, being very interested in music especially the 60's / 70's. I grew up on most of these bands. Wonderous Story is one of my favourite songs. Jethro Tull probably one of my top three performers. This book gives an insight into how things developed. I would recommend this to be read and you will enjoy it.
Stephen Ray
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Weigel is a political reporter who offers an Interesting take on the world of progressive rock.
While it didn’t make me want to break out the Yes LPs, I may have to go back and listen to a King Crimson album or two.

Going to read Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave next just to clear my head.
Chris Jaffe
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: entertainment
This was a very enjoyable book about a form of rock that I really don't enjoy much, prog rock. In fact, Weigel notes in the intro that I'm far from alone in my attitude towards it. Weigel quotes one critic who calls prog rock, "the single most deplored genre of postwar pop music" (xi). But Weigel is a fan and he traces its trajectory.

The book gets off to a slow start with the origins of prog rock - though it is interesting to note the first prog rock son: Whiter Shade of Pale. Huh - that make se
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