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

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.

Aw man, can't be beat. Pink Floyd is great, although I would have chosen something other than SOYCD, perhaps Astronomy Domine or Careful With That Axe, Eugene? But Supper's Ready is the cream of the crop, a near perfect prog rock epic.

Amazing example of a symphonic Progressive Rock composition. Creative, not too repetitive but also not unorganic, amazing instrumentals. Not necessarily my number 1 pick, but definitely up there with some of the best.

2 Echoes - Pink Floyd Echoes - Pink Floyd Cover Art

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

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.

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

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.

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

this song is one of a few that really touchs you. You fell the emotion in the lyrics build up in your body as the history progress... amazing

This song will take you on an epic journey that you will never forget! Trust me!

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.

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.

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

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.

6 Starless - King Crimson Starless - King Crimson Cover Art

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."

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.

Artist: King Crimson
Album: Red (a must have)

The most epic, technically dazzling song you have never heard. The last 2 minutes still give me chills and always leaves me scratching my head, wondering how did anyone come up with this? Robert Fripp did, and he always will. Long Live The King

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.

7 Roundabout - Yes Roundabout - Yes Cover Art

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

They always play this last at every Yes concert

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!

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

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!

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.

What a great song the complexity of the magnificent lyrics are truly mind altering.. I have listened to the album over 100 times never gets old like a great movie. Thank you Ian.

This as a Brick is the greatest song ever written! People just need to be smart enough to understand this masterpiece!

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.

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.

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.

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

You really understand how difficult and complex is Tarkus when you try to play it. It has many tempo changes and its structure is very atypical. 'enough said.

A complete masterpiece if you haven't heard it you don't know progressive rock or rock in general it is an amazing musical achievement!

The Newcomers

? Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull

The Contenders

11 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.

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

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

12 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.

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.

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

13 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.

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

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

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.

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.

15 Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd Cover Art

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

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

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

As great as it is, it isn't quite prog-type.

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

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.

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.

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

17 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.

18 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.

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

19 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.

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!

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

20 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!

That solo at 2:30... amazing.

One of the best of camel

Best of all time!

21 Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree Cover Art

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

There's no prog song better than this

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

22 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 :-)

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!

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)

23 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.

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.

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...

24 Dancing with the Moonlit Knight - Genesis Dancing with the Moonlit Knight - Genesis Cover Art

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

25 Nine Feet Underground - Caravan Nine Feet Underground - Caravan Cover Art

No need for patience, honestly. It's gratifying from the first minutes onwards. And it just keeps getting better and better and better. One of my favorite prog epics : not overblown, just smooth.

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.

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