Top 10 Greatest Progressive Rock Albums

The Top Ten
1 Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

I love progressive rock with all my heart! I think it's the best genre of music. It's just perfect. My favorite albums of all time are progressive rock albums. I'm going to vote for The Dark Side of the Moon because it deserves to be number one on whatever list it's on.

Many people will say, "It's only number one because it was the most successful." While I agree that a lot of successful bands weren't that good, Dark Side of the Moon is still a masterpiece. It's the album that got me into progressive rock in the first place. While Pink Floyd was one of the most successful bands of all time, they were still excellent musicians and deserve all the credit they get.

The topic of other progressive rock bands being very underrated is another story. Yes is underrated, Rush is underrated, Genesis with Peter Gabriel is very underrated, and King Crimson is very underrated as well. But that doesn't mean Pink Floyd is overrated. Pink Floyd is right where it deserves to be as one of the greatest bands of all time. Rush, Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson deserve to be there too. But as I said before, that's another story.

2 In The Court of The Crimson King - King Crimson

This is the record that started it all, really. Lush orchestration paved the way for Yes, Genesis, and Spock's Beard. The Mellotron can be heard on modern Steven Wilson tracks. Flowing riffs and time signature changes form the bedrock of Dream Theater and Tool.

One of the most influential albums of all time.

King Crimson is more than a band. It's a way of doing things. In The Court of The Crimson King is an album that continues to impress 40 years after its release.

For me, no album will ever be better, and I certainly hope the new King Crimson incarnation of 2014 will live up to its expectations.

3 Close to The Edge - Yes

Nothing against Rush, but Close to the Edge is one of the most brilliant albums ever made. The same goes for ITCOTCK (which I think should be first since it basically invented prog rock).

I love Dark Side, but Pink Floyd wasn't necessarily a progressive rock band and was more experimental. But the albums are still great nonetheless. I'm also surprised that Lamb Lies Down isn't in the top 10. But this is all just my personal opinion, so don't knock me.

Dark Side of the Moon is amazing, one of the best albums ever. But it's not enough prog-rock for me. It's more of an experience than a real prog-rock album.

Close to the Edge is the perfect example of what prog-rock is. Not the best as an album, but as a prog-rock album, yes (no pun intended).

I had a hard time choosing between Close to the Edge and Selling England by the Pound. And a lot of others, like Wish You Were Here.

4 Selling England by the Pound- Genesis

Everything on this album is freaking amazing except More Fool Me, but one song can't ruin an album. Come on, guys. This album is the best Genesis album from the Peter era.

By the way, the Collins era did not suck. Trick, Duke, come on, there's good stuff also. Phil did not ruin Genesis. It was a group effort. Their lineup is amazing from Peter to Tony. This is the best album made by the best band in existence!

This album does not get the merit it deserves. Every song on this album is flawless, and the fact that it is only number 9 and the only Genesis album on the list disappoints me.

In my opinion, while Pink Floyd is the best prog band by popular vote, you cannot argue that Genesis has a much more diverse selection.

5 2112 - Rush

Everyone raves about the 20-minute title track that takes up the entire first side of the album, and while 2112 the song is simply amazing and unreal, the lesser-known songs on the second side of the album are great too. Bangkok is one of Alex Lifeson's best performances. The Twilight Zone brings the perfect mood to an incredibly dark album. Lessons is a personal favorite of mine and incredibly underrated. Tears is okay, and Something for Nothing is deep, loud, and a 3-minute helping of Rush at their hardest. Pink Floyd cannot compare to the amazing musicianship of Rush. They will always be the best.

6 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

One of the few albums that I like absolutely completely, from the first to the last note. Probably, the release of this album after the incredible The Dark Side of the Moon was the peak of the band's career.

This peak was further cemented by the amazing albums Animals and The Wall.

In my opinion, this album defined everything about Pink Floyd: great themes, long hypnotic instrumentals, and a variety of musical stylings. It is the most well-crafted progressive rock album with not a single weak moment.

No album to date could match the mastering of music as Wish You Were Here has achieved. Every second is part of the "must live" Pink Floyd experience.

7 Hemispheres - Rush

In my opinion, Hemispheres is much better than 2112 and somewhat better than Moving Pictures. I wouldn't exactly call 2112 a progressive album, though. The only thing close to progressive on the record is the title track, which isn't exactly prog either - more like a long hard rock song.

Hemispheres is definitely Rush at the top of their game, lyrically and instrumentally.

The whole first side of 2112 is an amazing prog rock song, possibly the greatest, but as far as the album as a whole, the rest was more '70s hard rock with some prog mixed in.

This, however, was pure progressive rock, in music and lyrics. It was the last fully "progressive" album they did and is definitely the best.

8 Animals - Pink Floyd

This is Pink Floyd's metal album. Okay, maybe not metal, but they sure gave it their most on "Animals." Consisting of three songs (plus "Pigs on the Wing"), it speaks about our screwed-up society, using animals to symbolize us humans. These are my favorite lyrics on any album ever. Roger Waters is a genius. Though this is the least known of their four god-tier albums, I believe it to be the best of the four. I guess you could say this album is a masterpiece.

"Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away...
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air..."

9 Moving Pictures - Rush

Moving Pictures is number two on my personal list. You gotta have Pink Floyd at number one because it's Pink Floyd, but this album is easily Rush's best album and the best album of all prog other than Dark Side of the Moon.

The whole thing is just amazing song after amazing song. The first four songs are all four of Rush's best songs, three of them easily being top-10 Rush songs.

Every single song on this album is pure magic. Between the drumming, keyboards, and guitar types, this is a must-have progressive rock album.

Plus, there are some bass solos on it! One of the best albums of all time!

10 The Wall - Pink Floyd

This album should be near the top. I love Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, and the other albums, but I go for The Wall as number one. It's overblown, pompous, and long. But it's also dark, powerful, epic, and progressive.

The musicianship and execution of the songs are brilliant. The story is twisted, bitter, dark stuff, and it broke the band. They would never be this good again. The greatest concept album of all time and one of rock's benchmarks. Brilliant.

Pink Floyd is my favorite band, but The Wall was not rock. Their last prog album was Animals, then The Division Bell 17 years later.

The Contenders
11 Foxtrot - Genesis

Underrated masterpiece. This album is better than Selling England by the Pound, and Supper's Ready is one of the greatest musical creations.

Peter Gabriel's greats, "Supper's Ready" and "Watcher of the Skies," on the same album!

It is about as good as Selling England by the Pound, but it has Supper's Ready, so it's here.

12 Red - King Crimson

Red is heavy, ambitious, and very complex. Every piece of this 40-minute masterpiece is epic. Every song is memorable and amazing in a different way.

Its heavy guitar riffs, poetic lyrics, great vocals, and use of saxophone with jazz fusion influences, along with amazing drum parts, especially on "One More Red Nightmare" by Bill Bruford, and the amazing combination of Mellotron and guitar, all create a masterpiece record that is perfectly engineered and sounds amazing.

Red is one of the heaviest prog records of the '70s, not to mention one of the most interesting. Seriously, Red and King Crimson deserve more recognition than they get!

13 Tales from Topographic Oceans - Yes

It is a little experimental, and it's maybe not for everyone. Some people hated it. Even Rick Wakeman, the keyboardist of Yes, hated it so much that he left the band after recording this album. Yes, some parts may be boring.

But this album is what you call real Progressive Rock. A 2LP album, one song per side. Throughout the album, you can feel the whole theme of it. It is amazing. And that cover, it's so great and puts you in the mood... Adventure in oceans. Tales from Topographic Oceans. I love the cover so much. It's my desktop wallpaper right now on my computer. Close to the Edge may be a better album, but since Tales is only 16, I had to vote for it. Second best Yes album and third is Fragile.

I really love this album. It might not be the best, but I love it.

14 Fragile - Yes

It's hard to decide between Fragile and Close to the Edge. I think Close to the Edge is more consistent as an album, but I feel like Fragile has more to it.

Close to the Edge only has three long tracks compared to the nine tracks on Fragile. I just feel like there is more room to breathe because it isn't all about 20-minute tracks.

Everything Steve Howe touched turned to gold.

This is what they call perfection.

15 Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull

So amazing, soothing, catchy, pleasant, light-hearted, memorable, diverse, intelligent... A beautiful experience from front to back. I was listening to it on a train passing through the countryside the other day, and everything was perfect and beautiful. After the seventeen-minute mark, I just couldn't bear how good it was. At this point, if I cried to music, I'm sure tears would have rolled out of my eyes. Instead, I just lay back in gut-wrenching awe.

The second side is not quite as good, but it's a breezy listen nonetheless.

16 Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

As an entire album, I prefer Tarkus, but since this is higher than Tarkus, and Karn Evil 9 is easily my favorite song of all time, this works!

I love Toccata and Jerusalem as well! Not a big fan of Benny the Bouncer. Still...You Turn Me On is alright.

A masterpiece and, as part of the ELP early albums, a cornerstone on which prog rock was built. It never gets old. ELP took risks, but they defined the power, intricacy, and precision on which the entire genre was built.

Classical, jazz, rock fusions. Hell, they fuse in lots of other stuff too. The genius of Keith Emerson permeates this album. I thank ELP for introducing me to classical music! From here, I discovered Beethoven as a child.

17 To Our Children's Children's Children - The Moody Blues

I cannot believe that this album is not rated way, way higher on various prog lists. This is the Moodies' magnum opus, designed to take you on a transcendent trip through space and time.

With some of the best Mellotron-driven cosmic rock of all time, this album pairs up very nicely with Hawkwind's "Warrior on the Edge of Time" for back-to-back listening.

I'm the Old Stone Ranger. You can trust me...

Incredible album. My favorite part starts with Beyond and carries to the end! Maybe not as proggy as albums like Tarkus, Selling England by the Pound, and Thick as a Brick, but certainly as good as them in my opinion.

Very underrated album and band.

18 Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From a Memory - Dream Theater

Amazing album. I never get bored of it, even after a hundred times. The music is incredibly rich, and the musicians are insanely perfect.

There are always things to discover and understand when you listen carefully, and "Home" is still one of the greatest songs I have ever heard.

The whole story, plus the perfect instrumentation, makes this album one of the best prog albums I have heard. The whole concept is intriguing (in a good way).

Nothing got close to this album for me, except Karmakanic's Wheel of Life and maybe Pale Communion from Opeth. Never quite got into Pink Floyd. Don't know why.

19 Illusions On a Double Dimple - Triumvirat

German band in the style of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. One of the fanciest albums that you'll ever hear.

20 Mirage - Camel

I just discovered Camel and I love it so much that I listened to many of their albums in such a short period. To any rock or prog rock fans, you NEED to listen to this album. It's practically flawless. No wonder Camel is known as an eargasm band. Their music is so good.

Yes, it's 70% instrumental, but the instrumentals they play are better than almost any other prog band out there, with a few exceptions like Genesis. They are both symphonic but very different. Let's check out the songs of Mirage.

Freefall: That 3/4 time part is pure bliss. Probably my favorite part of the whole album. So simple, yet it gives chills with such an awesome melody.

Supertwister: Gives good vibes. Great flute, but I mostly love the keyboards on this one.

Nimrodel: Great, a song about the Lord of the Rings! This is a prog classic. Absolutely flawless. I love the mellotron in some parts. The solo at the end is different from anything they've made. It's so unique and I love it.

Earthrise: It took me a while to appreciate it, but I'm in love with this instrumental piece now. The combination of fast guitar with keyboards in parts just makes me go crazy.

Lady Fantasy: Known by others as the epic track of the album, but I think all tracks on Mirage are pure perfection, so it's not better than the others. The only downside here is the intro, which could have been a little better compared to the rest of the song, which is absolutely amazing, like the rest of the album. I love the lyrics on this one. The ending part is a little heavy, and I'm less used to it, but it's still very good.

As of now, 10/10 album, absolutely amazing and very close to being flawless. Every rock or prog lover should listen to this one. Bands like Camel and Genesis make you love instrumental music with such power and pure magic.

21 Fear of a Blank Planet - Porcupine Tree

Fear of a Blank Planet, the name itself, has an arcane and mystical feeling to it, while the compositions add to the feel. Guests like Alex Lifeson (Rush) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson) have graced the album with their spine-chilling solo performances. Steven Wilson, with his compositions accompanied by the ambiance mastermind Richard Barbieri, jazz-infused bass playing elements incorporated by Colin Edwin, and of course, the man from a blank planet, Gavin Harrison, showcasing his drumming prowess, seems a bit too much to take for us, the residents of Earth.

22 A Farewell to Kings - Rush

Some of the most creative and completely insane timing I've heard. Just try to find the time signature of the opening bass guitar line on Cygnus X-1. I dare you.

Amazing album. It is like a journey through space and time.

23 Third - Soft Machine

Quite progressive, but definitely the best ever fusion album!

24 Ege Bamyasi - Can
25 The Yes Album - Yes

Update from the other comments I did on Yes albums here: I thought this album would be overrated, but it turns out it's underrated.

Starship Trooper is for sure one of their best songs, but Yours is No Disgrace and Perpetual Change are just as good. Amazing album, all songs are just so good! For now, it's my third favorite by Yes, after Relayer and Close to the Edge.

I do agree with putting Close to the Edge higher than this since Close to the Edge is much more progressive and, in my opinion, better. But even with that said, this whole album is amazing as well.

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