Wow, this could be it. I've only had a few hours 2 look it over, but Will Romano's recent MOUNTAINS COME OUT OF THE SKY (2010) seems to hava pretty good shot at being the 1st above-avg, almost-complete prog-rock history. & it's gorgeous 2 look at.
With lotsa photos & flashy graphics, + new interviews with key band members, producers, engineers, etc., there's a lot 2 digest here. It doesn't appear lazy, sloppy or wrong-headed up-front, which is a relief. It's potentially a 1-stop shop, with almost everything U could ever ask 4 -- Xcept an index.
The coupla reviews posted at Amazon.com about this book indicate that it's full of errors. It's early yet, but just in skimming thru it I've only found a few proofreading/typesetting errors, & none of them R major. Classical composers Dvorak & Janacek both have their names spelled wrong. 1 album title is botched. Little words R left out here & there ("of," "and," "in," etc.). & in 1 graphic, 6 Pink Floyd albums R mis-identified as being by Porcupine Tree (or the other way around) -- that's either 1 big error or 6 little errors, depending on how you count. But I've found no major errors-in-fact in the actual text, so far.
There R some other minor issues: Some of Hawkwind's artwork is used, but they aren't discussed in the text, near as I can tell. Tangerine Dream gets 7 paragraphs in a chapter on Krautrock. Nektar gets 2 paragraphs. Kraftwerk, Neu! & Faust Rn't mentioned at all.
But the bands who R in here include all the usual suspects (Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Moodies, Canterbury bands, Kansas, Rush, etc.), + a ton of other good & often overlooked folks. Crap, Gryphon's in here. Jade Warrior. Illusion. Amazing Blondel. Happy the Man. I'm impressed with the completeness. Or at least the effort. So far.
There's even a whole section on "Prog Folk" that includes people usually left out of prog retrospectives: Strawbs, Renaissance, Incredible String Band, Gryphon, Amazing Blondel, Illusion, etc. Fairport Convention's even in here, I assume Bcos of their tie thru Sandy Denny back 2 The Strawbs....
It's worth noting that this isn't a critical history -- Romano passes no critical judgements on mosta these artists. He calls Yes's TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS "mostly misunderstood," makes some other comments about the careers of Genesis & Camel that R hard 2 argue with. But mostly he just lays-out the evidence & history & lets you the reader Dcide if you want 2 investigate further.
The closest Romano gets 2 a critical outlook is at the very end, with a list of nearly 300 "essential prog-rock listens," leading off with DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, of course.... Hawkwind is listed here (with SPACE RITUAL), if nowhere else. But this list is a little odd: The Beach Boys' PET SOUNDS is included -- great album of course, but prog? Perhaps a sorta precursor 2 prog.... & The Band's MUSIC FROM BIG PINK. I don't get that 1 at all.
I promise more on this as I get further in2 it. But, unlike other previous prog-rock histories, this may take me awhile.... For now, I'd say if U're a prog fan & can get ahold of a copy cheap (thru the usual sources), it's well worth browsing thru....
PS -- I see copies of David Sancious & Tone's TRANSFORMATION (THE SPEED OF LOVE) R going 4 as much as $300 at Amazon.com. It's well worth hearing if you're a jazz-rock fan, there's a coupla beautiful melodies on it. But it's wildly inconsistent. & it's not worth THAT much. In fact, I'm not sure what album WOULD be worth that much. An original demo copy of the Beach Boys' SMILE, maybe?