Top Ten Best Progressive Rock Songs

The Top Ten
1 Supper's Ready - Genesis Supper's Ready - Genesis Cover Art

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

At the time I was a YES fanatic always going to the "record store" looking for more YES or similar style music I always called it "Classical" rock back then because it reminded me of classical music only the 20th century version. Anyway, back to the "record store" one day I walked in and suddenly heard something that gave me goosebumps music to my ears as it were. I went up to the counter and asked "who is that? " he replied GENESIS I was ecstatic he pointed over to the wall where new releases were on display I saw there were 4 GENESIS albums! on display "which one is this one playing" I said..."GENESIS LIVE" he said, I felt light headed (not because of what I may or may not have been smoking) but the fact that I found more Classical Rock and was amazed that this was GENESIS LIVE a live album sounding this good AMAZING! I was and am a die-hard GENESIS FREAK. I bought Nursery Crimes and Foxtrot. Supper's Ready is my all time favorite song. by the way I went back to the record the next ...more

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.

Foxtrot is arguably the album that really put Genesis on the map in the UK, and made them at least a footnote in the US. In Italy they were already very successful, but anyone who knows anything about Italian music of the 70s knows they were VERY into prog rock. Anyways, this song is the song I've listened to almost the most of any song ever, probably behind all of Dark Side of the Moon. It's just such a catchy song, and it demonstrates Gabriel's songwriting and composition skills perfectly, and demonstrates the band's musical talent very well as well.

2 Echoes - Pink Floyd Echoes - Pink Floyd Cover Art

Overstays its welcome in my opinion. 3 almost completely identical verses, some cool soloing and a far too long middle section where not much is going on. I wouldn't even put it among Pink Floyd's 10 best songs.

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.

Very deep and probably the best song ever made. I think I beats the rest of the songs in this list because it is more simple, does not have a long opera like story nor the exaggerations of the other good prog songs like big solos or massive notes per second even comparing to other Pink Floyd songs.

Not only a beautiful longform composition, but also a great live track (Live at Pompeii is brilliant). I love Gilmour's guitar tone, and Rick Wright's organ is breathtaking somehow in both sweeping complexity and emotive simplicity. That sonar-esque "ping" is rightfully legendary.

3 2112 - Rush 2112 - Rush Cover Art

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.

Yes, this is an extended song. Is it "progressive"? I'd say no. I'm a huge Rush fan, but the only thing "progressive" about this track is its length. It's more of a long hard rock song. "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" is a much more progressive song by Rush, and it's also a whole lot better.

Just an electric masterpiece. After the 6 minute guitar intro you think it'll be silence for a while. But it goes straight back into that awesome guitar stuff again. This is just one of those songs that pretty much everyone will like, and if you don't I think you'd better 'Rush' to hospital. Great job Rush!

THIS is real prog rock, boys and girls. Rush has been an all time great prog rock band, no doubt about it. So, you can say whatever you like about Genesis or Pink Floyd, but you can NEVER beat Rush. In my opinion, it should be number one.

4 Close to the Edge - Yes Close to the Edge - Yes Cover Art

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.

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.

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.

Oh my god this song...18 minutes of pure genius. It flows brilliantly then you get the wonderful slow section in the middle. Then Rick Wakeman's keyboard solo sends you to another dimension. The last few minutes builds to to an epic finale that only a few other prog epics like tarkus and supper's ready can match

5 Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part VI-IX) - Pink Floyd Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Part VI-IX) - Pink Floyd Cover Art

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.

What do people have against Pink Floyd? Pink Floyd are great! Progressive rock is the best genre of music by far. It's the one the requires the most talent. I love Pink Floyd. Supper's Ready by Genesis is one of the most underrated songs of all time, though. It is beautifully played and the lyrics are amazing.

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.

6 Starless - King Crimson Starless - King Crimson Cover Art

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.

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."

This song has the depth and psychedelia of any 20 minute long prog song but at the same time the "obvious" and simple melodies that will make you love it immediately. There's no struggle at the beginning when listening to this song yet you will never grow tired of it because of it's incredible depth.

It's kind of the perfect song considering that.

Starts with a sweet-jazzy melody, then moves to a chilling dissonant bass/guitar interlude, then to a funky quick instrumental, and finally in the last 2 minutes takes the best of the 3 of them into a beautiful mayhem that gives the perfect closure to one of the best songs mankind has ever produced.

7 Roundabout - Yes Roundabout - Yes Cover Art

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

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

They always play this last at every Yes concert

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

Better than shine on your crazy diamond

8 Thick As a Brick, Pt. 1 - Jethro Tull Thick As a Brick, Pt. 1 - Jethro Tull Cover Art

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.

Without a doubt. It’s between this, Close to the edge and Supper’s Ready. Nothing Floyd ever did comes even close. Echoes could be close if it weren’t for the last 5 minutes.

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.

The greatest song ever written! I am a huge prog rock fan and I know all of these songs, but none of them can ever touch THICK AS A BRICK, which is 45 minute long masterpiece and which incorporated 4 (! ) music genres! Again-- the greatest song ever written!

9 Octavarium - Dream Theater Octavarium - Dream Theater Cover Art

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.

This song is purely amazing, however, if I was stating my absolute favorite songs, Echoes and Dogs would be higher. So why did I vote for Octavarium? This is about best prog songs, not including psychedelic, and Octavarium definitely has an edge on them.

A swan song to all the prior Prog influences that led Dream Theater to this point, Octavarium takes the listener on a musical journey beyond space and time. Leaving ones soul renewed, the conclusion to this magnum opus revels in perfection.

Need nothing to say! This song takes you to another world! You can feel the music through your ears to the soul and technically, octavarium is just a brilliant piece of art! Every single person in the band is a master. John Petrucci, John Myung, James LaBrie, Jorden Ruddess, Mike Mangini(Now).

Miss you m Mike Portnoy!

10 Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer Cover Art

The BEST prog epic. (in my opinion)
This song is amazing, from the intense beginning to greg lake's amazing voice, every second is filled with prog goodness.

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

My second favourite epic ever (Supper's Ready being the first) Emerson showcase his skills with that moog. Damn, it gives me chills every time I listen to it

Long live to the master Keith Emerson! Your music will always remain

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.

The Contenders
11 The Gates of Delirium - Yes The Gates of Delirium - Yes Cover Art

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.

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!

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

This song is amazing. The second song on the album Sound Chacer is as well.Alan Whites drumming at the start is intense. My favourite YES album.

12 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson 21st Century Schizoid Man - King Crimson Cover Art

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.

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

13 Dogs - Pink Floyd Dogs - Pink Floyd Cover Art

Pink Floyd's best composition in my opinion. Great soloing, beautiful lyrics, amazing buildup to the end, organic but not overly repetitive.

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.

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.

I listened to this song a couple of days ago, actually. Long but great song.

14 Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) - Pink Floyd Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) - Pink Floyd Cover Art

Why is Part 1 so far below part 2? Few epics I have ever heard in my life are as good as SOYCD overall, and it's because nothing compares to the opening eight minute instrumental passage. It is moving, it is peaceful, it is trippy, and it is even terrifying, plus the sax solo at the end is gorgeous.

The perfect intro to any Pink Floyd album, in one my favorites Floyd album. all the parts flows so well together and that chorus is amazing.

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

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 🤘

15 Lady Fantasy - Camel Lady Fantasy - Camel Cover Art

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!

One of the best of camel

Best of all time!

Amazing!

16 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Cover Art

WHAT?! It's not first?! You gotta bbe kidding me! The lyrics are great, the solos are epic (especially the second). This (Or shine on you crazy diamond parts In-V) should be first!

Are you kidding me? Comfortably Numb is THE best song ever. It's like it was recorded to be number 1 and its on no.13? How the hell!?!?!?

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

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

17 Lizard - King Crimson Lizard - King Crimson Cover Art

One of the absolute best

18 Karn Evil 9 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer Karn Evil 9 - Emerson, Lake & Palmer Cover Art

My favorite Prog rock song frequently changes. Right now it's Karn Evil 9. Technically it's a 29 minute song, although it has 3 distinct sections. The 1st section is split on the front and back of the album, which one would think would be a detriment. But the song and lyrics bring you right back for the second part and if anything, the song being on both sides only makes it better. The 2nd and 3rd impressions to me feel like separate songs. So when I say Karn evil 9 is my favorite, I'm just talking about the first 13 or so minutes which is the 1st impression. The other 2 impressions are good, but not as good. I like the 3rd more than the 2nd which is a classical jazz piece. But the 1st impression is strange catchy, flows very well and is a fun and chaotic journey. And they lyrics to start the 2nd half of the 1st impression are brilliant in their awkward way. This song feels like no other, and it feels pretty great. Also it's a fun song the first time and fun the 50th time heard. I'll ...more

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.

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

19 Time - Pink Floyd Time - Pink Floyd Cover Art

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.

20 The Musical Box - Genesis The Musical Box - Genesis Cover Art

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.

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

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 :-)

21 The Sleepwalkers - Van Der Graaf Generator The Sleepwalkers - Van Der Graaf Generator Cover Art

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.

22 Firth of Fifth - Genesis Firth of Fifth - Genesis Cover Art

There's the piano. It's good. It's pretty impressive.
The verses come. Pseudo-philosophical stuff with a quite grating melody. Gabriel's being himself, as he does.
And then, there's the interlude. All quiet and nice. But you hear a lick that sounds perfect. It catches the ear.At this point, the interlude becomes more and mor eintense, building itself up to A MAJESTIC CLIMAX. You need to hear it.

What happens afterwards in the song doesn't matter. It's just that climax. You forget everything else.

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!

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

Still as powerful today as when it was first released. Banks & Hackett put on a clinic.

23 The Cinema Show - Genesis The Cinema Show - Genesis Cover Art

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 :-)

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)

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!

24 Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree Cover Art

When you thought prog couldn't get better, good news, it did. PT brought a whole new wave of prog that was just amazing, and this is definitely their greatest.

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

Steven wilson no where to be mentioned? Are you fkn kidding me? PT is the new age prog rock and the past and the future

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

25 A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers - Van Der Graaf Generator A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers - Van Der Graaf Generator Cover Art

Incredible lyric-writing, not too organic, but definitely not repetitive. The vocals can give you goosebumps at parts, and the instrumentals are seriously out of this world.

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...

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

If you want to listen to only one song it should be this one. This is the essence of 70's progressive rock. Timeless piece of art!

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