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The Show That Never Ends

The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock

David Weigel (Author)


The wildly entertaining story of progressive rock, the music that ruled the 1970s charts—and has divided listeners ever since.

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 mainstream concept albums, spaced-out cover art, crazy time signatures, multitrack recording, and stagecraft so bombastic it was spoofed in the classic movie This Is Spinal Tap.

With a vast knowledge of what Rolling Stone has called “the deliciously decadent genre that the punks failed to kill,” access to key people who made the music, and the passion of a true enthusiast, Washington Post national reporter David Weigel tells the story of prog in all its pomp, creativity, and excess.

Weigel explains exactly what was “progressive” about prog rock and how its complexity and experimentalism arose from such precursors as the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper. He traces prog’s popularity from the massive success of Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” and the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” in 1967. He reveals how prog’s best-selling, epochal albums were made, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Thick as a Brick, and Tubular Bells. And he explores the rise of new instruments into the prog mix, such as the synthesizer, flute, mellotron, and—famously—the double-neck guitar.

The Show That Never Ends is filled with the candid reminiscences of prog’s celebrated musicians. It also features memorable portraits of the vital contributions of producers, empresarios, and technicians such as Richard Branson, Brian Eno, Ahmet Ertegun, and Bob Moog.

Ultimately, Weigel defends prog from the enormous derision it has received for a generation, and he reveals the new critical respect and popularity it has achieved in its contemporary resurgence.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Forthcoming June 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-24225-6
  • 6.5 × 9.5 in / 368 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“As is only appropriate, given the ambition, audacity, and—now and then—lifestyle of the musicians whose fondness for 10/8 time signatures and tritone chords have found a deft and sympathetic chronicler in Dave Weigel, I loved this book excessively.” — Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow

“This is one crazy, shining diamond of a book. David Weigel delivers a winding, completist saga that leaves no chord unexplored, no story untold, with a few theramin solos thrown in for good measure. The Show That Never Ends is everything you’d want from a book on prog.” — Charles Bock, author of Alice & Oliver

“Finally, a book that makes the case for the most maligned music of the last century. A wildly entertaining and revealing look into the all-too-human artists who sang about elves.” — Tom Scharpling, host of The Best Show

“A well-researched, informative, and entertaining chronicle of the music’s emergence, golden era, and eventual transition from rock’s future to its past.” — Phil Freeman, The Wire

“Prog fans will take to this book like Keith Emerson to an upside-down Hammond.” — Kirkus Reviews

“There is much here for the casual progster, thanks to the author’s self-awareness and the universal appeal of stories about excess.” — Booklist

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