Genesis received a lifetime achievement award, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman was deified and Rush took home album of the year honors in the first annual Progressive Music Awards, held overnight at England’s Kew Gardens.
The inaugural “prog god” award went to — who else? — the cape-wearing Wakeman, while Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame took home “guiding light” honors, recognition for “pushing the boundaries.” Carl Palmer, a founding member of both Emerson Lake and Palmer and Asia, was named virtuoso. Peter Hammill was named a visionary. The live event award went to Anathema. Pink Floyd’s Immersion Reissues was honored for “grand design.” TesseracT, which issued its debut album One last year, was given the newcomer award.
Genesis’ award was accepted by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford; former 1970s-era Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett — who earned “anthem” award for his Squackett project with Yes’ Chris Squire — was also on hand. “It was fab to receive the Squackett ‘Life Within a Day’ Anthem Award at the Prog Awards last night,” Hackett said, “and to get together with so many pals … and Genesis won ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award. A special evening enjoyed by all.”
Beyond Wakeman’s work with Yes, where he made significant contributions over a period that began with Fragile and Close to the Edge then continued through Union and the late-1990s’ Keys to Ascension projects, the keyboardist has also issued a series of influential solo projects in his own right: The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
Rush’s Clockwork Angels, issued earlier this year, was the trio’s 19th studio effort.
The Progressive Music awards were created by Prog Magazine, launched in 2009. Editor Jerry Ewing said: “These awards have been a long time coming. But certainly, when one considers the enormous amount of success that progressive artists have garnered over the past four decades, and perhaps more importantly, the enjoyment they have given millions of fans over the years, it felt only right that we give something back.”
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Rick Wakeman, Genesis, Rush, Pink Floyd and Squackett. Click through the titles for complete reviews:
RUSH – CLOCKWORK ANGELS (2012): Time after time, I find myself reaching to re-cue this album when the last notes fade. What is it that brings me back? Most simplistically, it’s hearing Rush sound so vital and vibrant. Rush has typically done what it wanted to do, but just like you can sense a smile on the face of someone on the other end of the telephone line, music listeners can sense that same smile, maybe in the form of enthusiasm, in the playing. A little extra finesse here and there from Neil Peart’s expert drumming, a little something extra wild in Alex Lifeson’s guitar solo, or the flair of a grace note or two in Geddy Lee’s bassline. The band always at the top of their game — that’s what Rush is known for — but sometimes they play at the very top of the top, as here.
GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE GENESIS, WELL, SUCKED: Here, we sort through the worst of the worst — and that’s all — from the Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Ray Wilson eras of this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band. Certain things within Genesis’ established band narrative went by the wayside, though: We didn’t ding the early albums for their sometimes cloying sense of very-British whimsy, nor their later albums when they settled for by-the-numbers reproductions of Collins’ solo ballad style. We wanted to delve into things far more egregious than those run-of-the-mill annoyances … the times when they didn’t seem to have an invisible touch. Whatever that means.
SQUACKETT – A LIFE WITHIN ONE DAY (2012): A sun-filled, surprisingly light-hearted experience, this collaboration between Yes’ Chris Squire and Steve Hackett of Genesis fame is a journey that’s both at peace with what came before, and yet somehow brand new in the way that it combines the sensibilities of both bands without getting bound up in their pasts.
HAVE A CIGAR!: CELEBRATING PINK FLOYD’S MASSIVE REISSUE PROJECT: Psych-rockers Pink Floyd and EMI are launching an exhaustive re-release campaign. You could say that tickled us … pink. Released under the banner “Why Pink Floyd?,” the band started by issuing remastered editions of all 14 of its albums, with a staggered schedule of unreleased material from its archives for super-deluxe box sets. The remastered studio albums are available either separately or as a box set. To celebrate, we reminisced about a few key cuts from throughout their career.
RICK WAKEMAN – IN THE NICK OF TIME (2012): If there is a central image of prog rock’s excesses, it is likely the cape-sporting Yes man Rick Wakeman surrounded by a semi-circle of towering keyboards. But strip away at the pomp, the pageantry and, yeah, the cape, and there remains just as much musical brilliance, something you’re reminded of all over again with this never-before-released live date from 2003 with the New English Rock Ensemble. At times, In the Nick of Time has an almost unquenchable propulsion, as Wakeman works in furious bursts of creativity — moving from classically inspired fugues to gnarled rock squalls and back again, with all of these winkling squiggles of color in between.