Top Ten Best Progressive Rock Songs

Charles_Foster_Kane

The Top Ten

1 Supper's Ready - Genesis

I've always loved Genesis, but it's more recently that I've realized that this is my favorite song by them as well as my favorite progressive rock "epic". Part of it is my bias towards the band since it introduced me to other progressive rock bands and has been a huge part of my life, but I also truly believe that this is a masterpiece as well. Split into 7 different sections, this song keeps you invested more than any other long song because of how much it changes, and yet it still manages to feel somewhat cohesive and to maintain an overall theme. The lyrics are very "out there" but feel prolific nonetheless, and the complexity of the musicianship is astounding throughout. "Apocalypse in 9/8" is one of my favorite sections of music ever - I'm not really sure what it is, but something about the complicated backing rhythm combined with the keyboard solo really works, and I've listened to it so much that it's engraved into my brain. Peter Gabriel's singing at the end is also amazing, ...more

Greatest song of all time - lucaskt

An absolute masterpiece of the XX Century

Man! I love Shine On You Crazy Diamond so much, but Supper' Ready is not only the best progressive rock song of all time, it's also the best song of all time. The only reason this song isn't as popular as Bohemian Rhapsody or Stairway To Heaven is because it's 22 minutes long, and people can hardly listen to a song for more than five minutes. Nevertheless, us progressive rock fans know the greatness of this song. And come to think of it, it's better this way, because it makes it more special, more unique when less people know the existence of this epic masterpiece.

It is a really good song but you can't call it the best song of all time just because it is your favourite. - PanagosBoi17

V 64 CommentsUListen to Sample
2 Echoes - Pink Floyd

People don't really listen to it that much because it's so long. But I actually love it and listen to it all the way through. One of my favorite Pink Floyd songs.

Release of this song decided what is the definition of progressive rock. - abhash

Live at Pompeii will get you appreciating this song a lot.

Not just best progressive song ever (just slightly ahead of Supper's Ready in my opinion), it is possibly the best song ever.

It's nowhere near as good as Supper's Ready. Echoes is way too long while Supper's Ready has far more content to go with its length. - PlanetDeadwing

V 19 CommentsUListen to Sample
3 2112 - Rush

2112 is the best Prog rock long epic I feel.

You know the real reason this song is not number 1 is because nobody knows who rush is. People do not pay much attention to canadian bands. It is kind of sad actually. But this song has the most amazing lyrics and I love Geddy's bass in the temples of syrinx. Amazing musical masterpeice. Rush is the most underrated band there is to date. Rolling stone gives rush 2/5 stars on almost every album. I hope whoever is reading this does not like rolling stone. Or the hall of fame voters. Ha ha ha.

Possibly the best song ever made. Pure and unsheathed emotion emits for Geddy (bass, vocals), Alex (guitar), and Neil (drums) in this 20-minute roller coaster of prog.

Perhaps one of the best and most diverse songs ever written, lyrically, and musically this song is flawless, unrivaled in creativity, those who don't like this song have brains that can't handle the epicness

V 33 CommentsUListen to Sample
4 Close to the Edge - Yes

Should be higher than four, but not 1

Close to the Edge is a masterpiece. Shine on you crazy diamond is vastly overrated. It's cool but mostly consists of the band jamming. Supper's Ready is a lot better but Close to the Edge is on a whole other level. All the instruments are equal in a perfect mix and nothing really stands out except the music itself. The abstract lyrics are an instrument themselves and when you listen to the piece you feel like LIVING. The different sections of the song cover a spectrum of different moods ranging from mayhem, melancholy, chilling, yearning, rage, mysterious, happy and serene. This song, if any, is made of pure awesome. - EnglandSeller

To me, it doesn't matter what order all these songs come in: each one is a masterpiece. However, Close to the Edge is more than just a masterpiece. This song is how I, a man with no religion but himself, have come to experience God (and no, I'm not literally claiming to have talked to a bearded man in the sky). The perfect storm of musicality, spirituality, and emotion, these 18 minutes laid out by Yes are the closest to the edge of perfection any song will ever reach.

I personally think Close to the Edge should be on the top of the list with Supper's Ready close behind. This song is just a masterpiece. I think Close to the Edge is the best progressive rock album ever and is certainly Yes at their highest creative and talented peak. Shine on is good and I like Pink Floyd and they're one of my favorite bands but they are overrated. I'm not the biggest Rush fan and 2112 is good but when I want to listen to prog, Yes is always my first choice.

V 26 Comments
5 Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part VI-IX) - Pink Floyd

I love Supper's Ready by Genesis. It's defiantly one of my favorite songs of all time. I'm gonna vote for Shine On You Crazy Diamond, though. Pink Floyd is my favorite band and they make my favorite music. Shine On You Crazy Diamond is a masterpiece as well as 2112 from Rush, The Knife, Supper's Ready and the Musical Box by Genesis, Roundabout by Yes, Close To The Edge also by Yes, Passage To Bangkok and Twilight Zone by Rush, a long list of songs by Pink Floyd progressive rock is defiantly my favorite genre. It takes true talent to make progressive rock and true taste to listen to it. 21st Century Schizoid Man is another great progressive rock song.

No doubt about this, this song takes you for a ride, changing your mood over and over makes you think strange and experience a different dimension.

There's only one other song that can come close to its caliber, "careful with that axe eugene"

I love this song, whenever I hear it, I became a part of it and I just flying away from this world. Excellent, truelly amazing. The best progressive band should make a great song, and they've done it pretty well. I love Shine On You Crazy Diamond. I love Pink Floyd.

Amazing piece of musical arrangement! One of Pink Floyd's best albums till date and Gilmour's best work with the guitar. The best part is the jazz that you hear despite their music really not being strongly associated with jazz or blues in any way.

V 38 Comments
6 Starless - King Crimson

What really blows my mind about this song is how King Crimson packed in so much in the span of 12 minutes. The somber and emotional opening, with very symbolic lyrics. The buildup, constantly getting more and more heavy as it goes. The speedy sax solo, showing how much talent each member at the time flaunted. Hot damn, every instrument worked so well, especially in that section. And the way the song finishes off. It's as if we were taken on such a journey of various feelings, and it all drew to a crashing close right then and there.
Starless really captures the spirit of not only KC at their best, but the abilities prog musicians really have compared to others. It's a grand song to behold, and a prog anthem for the ages.

Probably the most accomplished recording of all time.

Yeah this is definitely the one

I always feel this is a song about being depressed The song can take you to hell and back. Yet at the end it lifts you up, leaving you ahead again and seeing the beauty of it all.

To quote Pitchfork (because it is so well put): ""Starless" feels like a summation of all King Crimson had accomplished to that point. Through its strictly controlled verses, hackle-raising crescendo and wild freak-out coda, the band wrings moments of startling beauty and exuberant energy from the dread and dissonance at the song's core."

V 21 CommentsUListen to Sample
7 Roundabout - Yes

Best intro of any song ever created. Also, stunning bass riff...

They always play this last at every Yes concert - Sabbath

Actually they play Starship Trooper at the end of every Yes concert.

THE song that comes to my mind when you mention "prog rock."

This song is classic - and amazing!

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
8 Octavarium - Dream Theater

Voting for this one, but #1 spot should be metropolis or lateralus or shine on you crazy diamonds

John Petrucci is my dad.

This is the very best song to listen to 1 000 000 0000 000 times, because you will never get bored no matter what! This song got everything that a song needs to be perfect, plus everything else the dream theater can come up with, we are talking about getting chilled to the bone, amazed of amazing guitar solos and riffs, and the very best harmony of any song EVER! LISTEN TO IT OR BE A BRICK. - mariuzmu00e6lum

Different moods to take us to a journey of life, complexity and length what prog song needs. And last but not least it is presented to us by the most talented band of our time.

V 16 CommentsUListen to Sample
9 Thick As a Brick, Pt. 1 - Jethro Tull

My personnal favorite, for many reasons :

It is ambitious without being exaggerately pretentious.
It is perfectly ear-friendly. It is neither overly repetitive, nor boring by its slowness, nor too solo-ey (if you see what I mean, ELP).
It is very pleasing sonically, with a unique-middle-agey rock sound. All parts are catchy and memorable, and after barely two listens you can hum everything.
It doesn't take itself too seriously, as it was meant as a parody of the progressive frenzy of the era.
The piece as a whole has this sincere, beautiful feel, and even though it is 43 minutes long, still seems "simple".

I'm talking about Pt 1 and 2, of course, as everyone else here. - JoLeKosovo

I remember memorizing all the words as a teen.

Part 1 AND 2. Both are masterpieces. - MaxPap

Not sure why it is listed as "Pt. 1", since the whole thing is one song... Anyways I would've picked Pink Floyd - Echoes but I gave Thick As a Brick my vote because I think it should definitely be higher in the list. This song has so much intricate and interwoven instrumental layering, and the lyrics are just fantastic as well.

V 13 CommentsUListen to Sample
10 Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Not only this masterpiece is the best progressive rock song, but this one has made it to the greatest song of all time in my opinion.
RIP master Greg Lake
RIP maestro Keith Emerson

Extremely underrated song, combines the elements of three excellent musicians and show what they are made for. The songs harmonic composition is outstanding specially on the "eruption" section.

A 20-minute-long palette of emotions, this composition is truly epic and brings up feelings so complex I can't describe. I've stumbled upon it on accident and now it is my all-time favorite prog rock song.

Probably the best song ever recorded. Its truly beyond Words.

V 14 CommentsUListen to Sample

The Contenders

11 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson

Amazing, and probably the heaviest track ever dropped in the sixties.

This song is a great example of progressive rock at its best, by the band who helped to jumpstart the genre. The lyrics are relevant, Robert Fripp is great and the music is a genius arrangement.

Very antagonistic lyrics with absolutely amazing instrumental section in the middle. One of my favorites.

I love this song so much. The sax and the guitar are amazing. But I like Epitaph better.

V 1 Comment
12 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

This is the best song of all time, but guys, come on, this isn't Prog!

This song is awesome

While it's not as "progressive" as other songs in this list, it's absolutely fantastic. - PetSounds

The only reason this isn't higher is because it isn't progressive rock, but still a great song!

V 8 CommentsUListen to Sample
13 Dogs - Pink Floyd

This one will strike you without thinking.

Definitely best from Animals.And one of the most amazing songs by pink floyd.

This is an amazing. It's not only one of the best Pink Floyd songs but one of the best in the world. I seriously think this song is vastly underrated.

A lengthy masterpiece which puts you into a different world, and it has really had an impact on the way I look at society. Clever lyrics, a brilliant multitude of guitar solos and simply an interesting atmosphere. Possibly best Pink Floyd song.

V 5 CommentsUListen to Sample
14 The Gates of Delirium - Yes

The most beautiful, dynamic masterpiece ever made on this planet. I've never listened to a song that could astound me as much as the Gates of Delirium. There is so much skill, technique, complexity, insane writing skills, and most of all emotion in this song. If you have not heard it you must give it a full listen. Note that this song may be too much to handle for inexperienced listeners/musicians. - cheese_face

I continue to find it hard to find an equal to this masterpiece. I love most pre Trevor Rabin Yes, but even Close To The Edge doesn't quite have the dimensions that Gates has. Didn't even need Wakeman to make this work. Wow!

A M A Z I N G Song. Really. You gotta listen to it. The whole way through. It's one hell of an experience. - MaxPap

The most complex song, pure excellence, Yes at their best. Not of this world! I would also recommend To Be Over. What a song!

V 1 CommentUListen to Sample
15 Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) - Pink Floyd

Those four notes... Nothing in the world can beat them.

All solos on this songs are amazing and that 4 notes... Perfection
Probably the best song ever made
(up there with master of puppets)
Also love metropolis part 1 by dream theater and suppers ready by genesis, but nothing like this masterpiece 🤘

Probably the best song of all time. It simply doesn't have flaws. But why not the entire song? :c

Sexiest guitar ever, beautiful song.

V 5 Comments
16 Karn Evil 9 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Great song! Amazing instrument playing and great singing. I hope to see this song higher on the list. But, its hard to contend with so many other amazing prog songs.

It's a great keyboard. Maybe better than Hoedown! I love them. It's unbelieveble in this incredible fusion of organ and guitar.

It is a complete master piece of progressive rock.

Unbelievably beautiful, this song is where the trio shows their true performance!

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
17 Time - Pink Floyd

Wow! Beautiful list with wonderful songs! And wonderful artists! But personally I love "Time" because of many things: after listening this song, I wanted to play guitar (Gilmour is just great! ), and the lyrics remind me my parents who don't want me to do what I really want... And Mason is brilliant in the introduction!

One of my favorites... No doubt! This song completes the whole album concept, in which you hear the perception of time from the point of view of any given person, who once is young, but realizes that time flies away one day... Excellent and very recommendable!
Long life to Pink Floyd!

I believe it's the best song of the album "The dark side of the moon", and of course it's one of the best songs of progressive rock.

Its just a classic deserves a spot in top 5.

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
18 The Musical Box - Genesis

A genuine prog-rock masterpiece. The genius of this song can not be expressed in words. It's as close to magic as you're ever gonna get without LSD or other psychedelics.

Pure joy to listen with its mood changes, great singing and amazing guitar and keyboard atmosphere. Orgasmic! Thank you Genesis for this Chef d'oeuvre :-)

Just magical, lucky the man who does not know it yet and has to listen to it for the first time...it will take him out of time and space... you can listen to it as much as you live and it stays alive alive and forever fresh, never boring, just magical.

A magical experience every time I listen to this. Drama at ist best

V 1 CommentUListen to Sample
19 Blackwater Park - Opeth

Wow, I didn't expect Opeth to be this high, but I sure am not complaining!
(usually metal bands are unknown)

UListen to Sample
20 Lady Fantasy - Camel

Amazing!

Wow great work! Nevertheless the lyrics are quite mysterious and should be more precise. But this doesn't mean this is not a timeless masterpiece, and in fact it is!

That solo at 2:30... amazing.

One of the best of camel

V 1 CommentUListen to Sample
21 Firth of Fifth - Genesis

How is this not top ten! The most beautiful guitar and piano solos in prog. Perfection

Not my favorite but definitively in the top 5

Amazing keyboard solo! - MaxPap

Songs ain't got to be 20 min to be the best it just needs to amazing especially the piano organs guitar and vocals

Unbelievable piano intro! When I first heard this song, I listened to it 7 times in a row; I have never listened to a song twice in a row before then!

V 4 CommentsUListen to Sample
22 Dancing with the Moonlit Knight - Genesis

I have no words for this masterpiece

Wonderful hackett guitar

They had a lot of great openings - "TLLDOTB", "The Musical Box", "Dancing on the Volcano", "Watcher of the Skies", but this is the best - so powerful!

Epic

UListen to Sample
23 Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree

Masterpiece, SW at his best - sanchitcop19

This song is quote amazing, deserves to be higher on the list.

Very happy to see this song here. MASTERPIECE made up of three songs moored into one 18 minute journey. A truly amazing piece of music

This is with no doubt completely underrated song from the most successful underground rock band ever cemented, 17 min epic masterpiece, still dreaming of new album from pt

V 6 CommentsUListen to Sample
24 Lizard - King Crimson

One of the absolute best

UListen to Sample
25 High Hopes - Pink Floyd

Amazing song. It has a sinister start, then the chorus hits you with a flow of emotions. The escalation in the middle feels so empowering until the sinister verse hits back. After a second chorus, Gilmour's masterpiece of a solo will leave you in tears. - RalphSaad

Why its here 102! Can't believe

A song with mood and pure beauty.

One of the best!

UListen to Sample
26 Nine Feet Underground - Caravan

Nine Feet Underground is a song to truly test the patience of the listener. And boy, does it succeed at keeping me drawn in!

A masterpiece. Caravan is seriously underrated.

UListen to Sample
27 The Logical Song - Supertramp UListen to Sample
28 The Cinema Show - Genesis

Best song on Selling England By The Pound, which is itself one of the 3 best classic prog albums ever. (According to ProgArchives.com, the other two are Close To The Edge and Thick as a Brick) - MaxPap

A wonderful epic song with its harmonious acoustic beginning and engulfing keyboard solo under an amazing bass and drum rhythm. To be listened to attentively eyes closed... Thank you Genesis for this masterpiece :-)

One of the most beautful song from the album Selling England By the Pound, by the way, the full album is fantastic.

What in the world is this song doing at #57? Should be top 10 easily!

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
29 A Day in the Life - The Beatles

This song IS prog. I stand by my opinion that Beatles is the first prog rock band. Also the best Beatles song by far

Come on. I love this song--probably my #3 Beatles song. But it's not prog. - PetSounds

... Is this song even PROG? - Pony

Why have the Beatles got to be on every list even if it's unrelated? You could find the Beatles on a list of most beautiful ponies...

V 5 CommentsUListen to Sample
30 Mad Man Moon - Genesis UListen to Sample
31 Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas UListen to Sample
32 The Sleepwalkers - Van Der Graaf Generator

Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill are, probably, the best example of what prog rock means. Listen it loud and, please, pay attention to the words. Simply great. Top of class. They should be placed in NUMBER 1 in this list... You can not find in any other classic prog rock bands the musical scenery and lyrics brought by the songs in the following albums: "H to He, Who Am The Only One" (1970), "Pawn Hearts" (1971), "Godbluff" (1975), "Still Life" (1976) and "World Record" (also released in 1976). Please do not forget also the solo albums by Petter Hammill, in particular "The Silent Corner and The Empty Stage" (released in 1974), during a hiatus in the activities of Van der Graaf Generator.

YES YES YES YES YES! I LOVE this band, and this song! The lyrics are genius, David Jackson's sax and flute is brilliant, Peter Hammill's voice is amazing... Basically, everything that makes VDGG such a fantastic group is all demonstrated in this one song. - Mard

UListen to Sample
33 Epitaph - King Crimson

Epic!

so peaceful and beutiful. releaves you from stress. best king crimson song. although shine on is also 1 of my favs, its already #1. - russian

Best, most musically sophisticated piece of music to come out of the 20th century. That is a fact, not up for debate. Case closed.

Epic, haunting, beautiful, simply perfect. My favourite song of all time.

V 1 Comment
34 A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers - Van Der Graaf Generator

Maybe the best song ever written? I love Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd but this is just too good. Epic story and a brilliant, brilliant vocals by Peter Hammill. I've listened all top 20 songs from the list. Last step in progressive rock, which you can achieve, epitome of the genre. Beware for an experience...

This is the peak of prog rock its only that vdgg is not well known

In my opinion this composition should be #1. It's real work of genius.
The most powerfull and deep composition of progressive rock music.

I can't quite understand how anyone who has heard this song would vote anything else.

V 3 CommentsUListen to Sample
35 A Change of Seasons - Dream Theater

This should be at least in the top 10. It's one of the best progressive songs ever made.

I never get tired of listening to this amazing epic!

This song is pure awesomeness poured in a single musical wonder.

If this song is anywhere below about #3, then it is to low.

V 4 CommentsUListen to Sample
36 Tom Sawyer - Rush

Why Is It On 116th Position?

UListen to Sample
37 Us and Them - Pink Floyd UListen to Sample
38 Black Rose Immortal - Opeth UListen to Sample
39 Pull Me Under - Dream Theater

A great song, but honestly probably the worst song off Images and Words. Learning to Live deserves this spot.

This song is pulled me into Dream Theater and prog world.
One of the greatest songs! - tomislav95

I listen to this song everyday. This song is nice example for progressive music and also the best from Dream Theater. I could listen the intro for rest of my life..

Learning to Live is better than Pull Me Under.

V 3 CommentsUListen to Sample
40 Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

Um yeah, despite what a lot of people think, Queen may have been a pop/rock band, but they did do some pretty good Prog Rock songs. Bohemian Rhapsody is a pure example of one of them.

Bohemian Rhapsody Is Prog (checked and verified on the Internet and Wikipedia ) - Toucan

No trust in the wikipedia. They change their genres in every week. - zxm

Sure it may not be the same length as 2112, Supper's Ready, Karn Evil 9, Echoes or Closer to the Edge but Bohemian Rhapsody is still a masterpiece in it's own right!

Definitely Prog

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
41 The Divine Wings of Tragedy - Symphony X UListen to Sample
42 The Revealing Science of God - Yes

I love a multitude of Yes songs, but rate this one highest of all. It's one of Yes' long songs and contains more sections than any other. It has a breathtaking atmospheric chant at the beginning, and another at the finish; Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, and Chris Squire singing in cascades; and glorious instrumentation. This song is lush, powerful, striking, wondrous, yearning, haunting, meandering, eloquent, dramatic, striding, fun, subtle, bluesy, lilting, intense, spacious, and majestic. It has depth and height. A treasure.

UListen to Sample
43 Follow You, Follow Me - Genesis UListen to Sample
44 Song Within a Song - Camel UListen to Sample
45 Xanadu - Rush

Best song from Rush progressive era, a masterpiece by itself

UListen to Sample
46 Fool's Overture - Supertramp
47 10,000 Days (Wings Part 2) - Tool
48 In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson

What is this awesome song doing down here?

The song that defines the genre

The ultimate. Yet to be surpassed

One of the best songs ever heard!

V 4 Comments
49 Trains - Porcupine Tree

Porcupine tree is my send favourite band behind Pink Floyd, and I like this song. But arriving somewhere but not here or anesthetize deserves this place for sure. Trains is more of a pop song than a progressive rock masterpiece. Still a great song though

Always the summer slipping away... This song is not just progressive music, lyrically it's so so beautiful, It's like a ghost of a memory, when I listen to it takes me on a ride of a emotional whirlwind. It deserves to be in top 3 at least

The clean intro guitar riff just blows you away and as it slowly starts to build the tempo of train moving on rails you will get goosebumps..

The best part is When I here the engine pass I kissing you wide...
And the ending drums and guitar just make you bang your head till you cry

I listened to this song myself. It sounds like if Rush went alternative and became Radiohead for a day. - Pony

V 2 CommentsUListen to Sample
50 One for the Vine - Genesis

Phenomenal...

Wind & Wuthering has always been an underestimated album, yet one of Genesis strongest material...

One of the most beautiful songs of all time - RalphSaad

UListen to Sample
8Load More
PSearch List

Related Lists

Catchiest Progressive Rock Songs Best Progressive Rock Songs Under Five Minutes Long Progressive Rock Songs With The Best Intros Progressive Rock Songs with the Best Basslines Top 10 Progressive Rock Songs Over 20 Minutes Long

List Stats

6,000 votes
346 listings
10 years, 354 days old

Top Remixes (25)

1. The Gates of Delirium - Yes
2. Nine Feet Underground - Caravan
3. Lady Fantasy - Camel
BrideiMacBella
1. Mad Man Moon - Genesis
2. Starless - King Crimson
3. The Cinema Show - Genesis
MaxPap
1. Echoes - Pink Floyd
2. Supper's Ready - Genesis
3. 2112 - Rush
MetalMania

WRemix
View All 25

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.
P