10. Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention – One Size Fits All (DiscReet Records, 1975)
Released in June 1975, One Size Fits All is the tenth and last studio album by Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention. The album was recorded between August 1974 and April 1975, and it features the final version of The Mothers Of Invention, with George Duke, Chester Thompson, Ruth Underwood, Tom Fowler and Napoleon Murphy Brock. One Size Fits All features one of Zappa’s most complex tracks, ”Inca Roads”, a song famous for its unusual time signatures, lyrics, vocals and its jaw-dropping guitar solo. The LP represents the pinnacle of Zappa’s art-rock experimentalism.
9. Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Atlantic Records, 1971)
Released in November 1970 in the UK, and in January 1971 in the US, Emerson, Lake & Palmer is the debut studio album by British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The album peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 4 on the UK charts. Recorded in 1970 at Advision Studios in London, the album was intended not as an effort by a unified band, but as a general collaborative recording session, and as such, some of the tracks are essentially solo pieces. Epic, ambitious and pushing the boundaries of the symphonic rock genre, this LP is definitely one of the better efforts of one of the most famous bands in the genre.
8. Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick (Reprise Records, 1972)
Released in March 1972, Thick As A Brick is the fifth studio album by the English band Jethro Tull. The album features one song, which spans the entire length of the LP. Thick As A Brick was deliberately created in the style of a concept album, and was a commercial and critical success, with Rolling Stone magazine calling it ”one of rock’s most sophisticated and ground-breaking products”. The album, considered by many as Jethro Tull’s first progressive rock project, is notable for its many musical themes, time signature changes and tempo shifts. The original packaging, designed as a newspaper, claims the album to be a musical adaptation of an epic poem by a (fictional) 8-year old genius, though the lyrics were actually written by the band’s frontman, Ian Anderson. Thick As A Brick is one of the most famous albums in the progressive rock genre, AllMusic claiming it to be ”one of the few works of its kind that still holds up decades later”.
7. Supertramp – Crime Of The Century (A&M Records, 1974)
Released in September 1974, Crime Of The Century is the third album by the English progressive rock band Supertramp and it was their commercial breakthrough both in the US and the UK. The album was the first to feature drummer Bob Siebenberg, Woodwinds player John Anthony Helliwell, bassist Dougie Thomson and co-producer Ken Scott. Many of the songs on the album became essential tracks in the band’s live sets, with ”School”, ”Bloody Well Right”, ”Rudy” and the title song being the most famous ones. Crime Of The Century, which would eventually be certified Gold in the US, was described by Adam Thomas of Sputnikmusic as ”one of the better albums of the 1970s for its powerful expression of young adult confusion and alienation, and for its consistent contrats between prog and pop elements”.
6. Genesis – Selling England By The Pound (Charisma Records, 1973)
Released in October 1973, Selling England By The Pound is the fifth studio album by the English progressive rock band Genesis. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and reached No. 3 in the UK charts and No. 70 in the US. The album cover is a painting by Betty Swanwick titled ”The Dream”. The LP features the single ”I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”, the band’s first top 30 hit in the UK. Also Rolling Stone magazine called Steve Hackett’s guitar solo on ”Firth Of Fifth” ”out of this world”. The music Genesis produced on Selling England By The Pound is, without a doubt, some of the finest progressive rock ever recorded.