The New Yorker Takes on Prog

There’s a nice piece on prog rock by Kalefa Sanneh in the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine. Clearly, the author isn’t sure what to make of the genre, but he gives a fair assessment of its early years, and the unfair treatment rock critics dished out in the seventies. I wish he had written more on the current thriving scene, but it’s nice to get some respect in a mainstream publication.

You can read “The Persistence of Prog Rock” here:


4 thoughts on “The New Yorker Takes on Prog

  1. kruekutt

    I’m on my second read-through of The Show That Never Ends, the Dave Weigel book that prompted the New Yorker piece. It’s a work of journalism rather than history or analysis, and it has the usual strengths and weaknesses of the form. Like the New Yorker author, Weigel gives the genre a fair shake, and there are plenty of juicy quotes that were new to me. Don’t expect the best book ever on prog, and you’ll enjoy it.


  2. carleolson

    That’s a far better piece than this recent NRO article titled “Prog Rock: A Noble But Failed Experiment”. Truly embarrassing. My comment, left on the site:

    Quite likely the most clueless, condescending, and insulting article I’ve ever read at NRO. Readers are far better served by reading Dr. Brad Birzer’s far superior (and knowledgeable) 2012 essay on the topic:…/different-kind…

    It appears that Mr. Smith is unaware of what has transpired in prog rock since the late 1970s, which is, in short, a lot. Whle prog hasn’t enjoyed mainstream success as it once did (of course, good music rarely does), there is an incredilble number of diverse, talented, and even genius prog groups and musicians, not only from England and the U.S., but Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, and Italy. Finally, it’s sad that the New Yorker (!) has a far more sympathetic and learned take ont the topic:…/19/the-persistence-of-prog-rock

    Progarcharist Erik Heter also left a comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised NRO put that out there. John Miller and Steven Hayward are NRO contributors, and they both have a nice appreciation for prog rock (as well as Brad Birzer, as you pointed out). Oh well, as Genesis sang many years ago, “I know what I like….”.

      Liked by 1 person


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