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

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  864 ratings  ·  184 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
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company
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Robert In short, yes. Hope you didn't hope into the book. Neoprogressive music gets a chapter, and that chapter focuses on Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, …moreIn short, yes. Hope you didn't hope into the book. Neoprogressive music gets a chapter, and that chapter focuses on Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater, with a passing mention of Voivod and Spock's Beard.(less)
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Matthew Budman
I both wanted and expected to love this book: Have been a fan of Dave 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.

Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Stewart Tame
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rock cr
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting to those with only the most passing familiarity of Prog. Serves well as a primer, but that’s about it. I was hoping to get turned on to some obscure nazz beneath my radar; 20-pages in I began shitting in the other hand. The writing is fine for the broad scope, but I want minutia!

Fripp, Bruford, and Wakeman are three funny bastards, though. Ho hum (in 15/9 time).
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
OK, I can't imagine anyone reading this who is not a fan of progressive rock, but it really is for fans only (which I am). The author does no hand holding; from the start you are barraged by names of musicians and bands with the assumption that you know exactly who he is talking about (and I usually did, though some of them barely made a dent in the US market). This is (again to the fans) exactly what the title says, and though he gives too much attention to Rush (not in my mind a true progressi ...more
Christopher Hellstrom
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 ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 be
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a major disappointment. I won't be able to write a better review than - Matthew Budman - so see his review. Don't waste your time on this book. ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
Quite enjoyable walk through the history of progressive rock. Just to be clear, the author basically begins this era with King Crimson, pinnacles at ELP, and is in awe of early Yes. There is then the ongoing saga of second and third wave of progressive rock against a background of the intertwining destinies of the creatives who took part in the inception - wending their way through band breakups, reunions, punk and commercialism.

I listened to the audio book, and there were a few gaffs, maybe mi
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kelly Sedinger
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
Rob Epler
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Jesse Young
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Benjamin Glaser
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is basically a really long Wikipedia article.

But like a wiki piece I learned a lot of info, just no real why questions answered.

Also did Moody Blues die in 1967? Because they get almost no mention after that.
so good, I know nothing about music but I know everything about king crimson now
B.M.B. Johnson
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dean Madonia
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Bradthad Codgeroger
Dec 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: pop-rocks
A “history” of prog rock that almost ignores two of its biggest and best bands (Floyd and Tull). But he makes up for it with plenty of characteristic bombast.
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. ...more
Eric Sbar
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christoffer Smedaas
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many a great story and quotes from the world of progressive rock, spanning over several decades. You probably need to have some love for progressive rock to fully appreciate this book, but if that is the case it's a no-brainer. Read it! ...more
Robert Jenson
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
Mar 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is kind of a mixed bag for me. I honestly did not know what to expect because the only other book of music reportage I read was Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, which deals with the mutations undergone by music in the 20th century, from a decidedly classic repertoire to the diverse universe of pop which we see today, from a point of view grounded in classical music education. And he does a great job at explaining trends and developments.

Weigel's job as
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