Top Ten Best Progressive Rock Songs

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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

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

Supper's ready is clearly the best Progressive Rock song. A lot of complexity has been shown in the song writing. All 5 musicians have shown their talent of writing great music and playing instruments.

Untouchable

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2 Echoes - Pink Floyd

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

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.

How can this NOT be #1?

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3 2112 - Rush

2112 is the best Prog rock long epic I feel.

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.

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.

Close to the edge, Tarkus and karn evil 9 are close

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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.

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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.

At the end, you can hear Rick (eek! <3) play a bit of the melody from "See Emily Play." That gets me every time I listen to that song. - galaxyfox

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6 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!

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7 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.

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8 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

#7? How tf? This is without a doubt the most heart-threnching track ever recorded. That middle section is most likely the greatest moment in music history.

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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.

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10 Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

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.

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.

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The Contenders

11 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.

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12 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.

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13 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!

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14 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!

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15 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!

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16 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.

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17 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

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18 Lady Fantasy - Camel

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!

19 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!

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20 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

21 Anesthetize - Porcupine Tree

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

There's no prog song better than this

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22 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.

23 The Logical Song - Supertramp
24 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

Progressive rock is defined by its progression, developing its tone as the song goes on. because this song does just that, it is indeed progressive rock and it does belong on this list. - ListerBlister

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25 Carry on Wayward Son - Kansas
26 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

27 Lizard - King Crimson

One of the absolute best

28 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.

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29 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.

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30 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.

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31 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.

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32 Blackwater Park - Opeth
33 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!

Almost not fair to vote for this because it's so much more than just the greatest prog song ever. If I were to cut this out of the discussion though, then Supper's Ready would be the easy choice, followed closely by 2112, Xanadu, Cygnus X-1, maybe another Genesis tune or two, possibly a Yes song, and undoubtably 21st Century Schizoid Man.

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34 The Divine Wings of Tragedy - Symphony X
35 Follow You, Follow Me - Genesis
36 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.

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37 Xanadu - Rush

Best song from Rush progressive era, a masterpiece by itself

38 10,000 Days (Wings Part 2) - Tool
39 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!

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40 Tom Sawyer - Rush

Why Is It On 116th Position?

41 Ashes Are Burning - Renaissance

bliss

42 Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Savatage
43 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

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44 The March of the Black Queen - Queen

QUEEN - The greatest band in the universe! All their repertoire is phenomenal, and this song is absolutely MAGNIFICENT! Queen's hits are super, but their hidden gems are a treasure trove of sheer ecstasy! An excursion into auditory bliss!

I love Queen so I'm going with this one.

This is a great song, but not prog. - Pony

45 Arriving Somewhere But Not Here - Porcupine Tree

While not my absolute favorite prog song, it denfinately deserves a higher mention then this

Why did this drop to 41? It's easily one of the best and most moving prog songs ever!

The defining piece of today's progmasters - this 12 minute epic has everything that porcupine tree is about - ethereal lyrics, atmospheres that make your hair stand and gorgeous guitars. Wilson & Co can take a bow. They outdid their own selves with this one. And that is something!

In some ways Porcupine Tree is better than Pink Floyd. This song proves that.

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46 One of These Days - Pink Floyd

Progressive rock + hard rock = amazing badass rock - MilkmanBoi

Ign 10/10 - MilkmanBoi

47 Ice - Camel

Maybe in ten top of camel

Great instrumental song

48 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.

49 Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 1 - King Crimson

Absolute masterpiece in every way.

73? what? this is the DEFINITION of classical progressive! - patrickfloyd

50 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

It's made by Pink Floyd, but it's probably their LEAST prog song, amazing song though

Nah several species of small furry animals gathered together in a cave and grooving with a pict is less prog - MilkmanBoi

This song is beauty incarnate. everything about it is perfect

A lot less of prog, but nonetheless amazing.

Not the best, but really should be higher.

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List Stats

6,000 votes
339 listings
10 years, 241 days old

Top Remixes (21)

1. The Gates of Delirium - Yes
2. Nine Feet Underground - Caravan
3. Lady Fantasy - Camel
BrideiMacBella
1. Echoes - Pink Floyd
2. Supper's Ready - Genesis
3. 2112 - Rush
MetalMania
1. Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2. Echoes - Pink Floyd
3. The Musical Box - Genesis
Himalayansalt

WRemix
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