- Series: Music
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Quartet Books (UK) (March 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0704380366
- ISBN-13: 978-0704380363
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,806,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Music's All That Matters: A History of Progressive Rock Paperback – March, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
While highly opinionated, it mostly succeeds in this effort. However, I find it to be the least essential of the books on Progressive Rock that I have read. This is because Stump's writing style is somewhat taxing and I don't find myself gaining a deeper understanding of the music, or discovering new bands to listen too.
I wanted to briefly address some of the comments made by some of the other insightful reviewers.
1-I do believe that Stump thoroughly enjoys progressive rock. He just likes Robert Wyatt, (he sounds like the only person I have ever heard that has actually listened to EVERY Soft Machine album), Henry Cow and The Enid more than Yes, Pink Floyd and ELP. He does present with the bias that somehow if you became popular the music was no longer valid. Now this did happen to the most popular progressive bands as the 70's wore on, but he is also highly critical of the most successful progressive bands better work as well.
However, I take his criticism to be that of an insider, one of us. It is like family making fun of each other, its ok when it is with each other. With that said, I question does he really think ELP covered Pictures at an Exhibition because they thought it would make them international pop stars? It was about the music baby (at least in the beginning and I think among the current prog groups).Read more ›
What I like especially about this book is it gets far deeper into the Britishness of progressive rock, not just in terms of historical and contemporary cultural influences but also by virtue of an insider's knowledge of the music biz (record labels, concert promoters, etc.) and its relationship with the actual musical product. Stump is also an unabashedly British writer in style, and to a Yank like me this is always a source of pleasure.
However, just as a prog musician can't help writing passages in 15/4 time or soloing interminably from time to time, Stump can't help trotting out academia-jargon and Big Words that no one but English professors have ever heard of, let alone used in a sentence in anything other than an academic journal article. At the same time, Stump is aware of the relevance (or lack thereof) of terms like post-modernism and thinkers like Foucault and Derrida to actual music listeners.
This book gets bashed by prog fans/apologists (I claim to be the first, though not the second) for being critical of things like the lyrics of Greg Lake and Jon Anderson. I was thrilled to see someone knowledgeable finally agree with me that Land Lies Down on Broadway and The Wall are vastly overrated, and to peel back the LSD layer to reveal how mediocre the actual *music* of Hawkwind and Eloy was. Other criticisms are down to pure taste, and there's no way or reason to argue that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This history of what came to be called “progressive rock” was first published in 1997. The 2010 edition, which I read, is an updated version. The focus is on the British groups. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Sam Adams
Stump's book has dated, but if you're looking for a good back-up source book on prog bands like Henry Cow, Soft Machine, Magma and Van der Graaf Generator, it will at least give... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Tracy Deaton
To have a better understanding of this book one must take into account its author's ideology. As pointed out by Edward Macan (whose musicological and sociological analysis is much... Read morePublished on March 14, 2004 by MMM
The book is for very sophisticated readers that have a vast vocabulary, it is definately not for most readers. Read morePublished on February 15, 2004
I find this book to be superior to the other two leading works on prog by Macan and Martin, respectively. Read morePublished on August 10, 2003 by M
I have very mixed feelings about this book. Stump has written a well crafted history of the Progressive Rock movement (a daunting task) but has managed to insult most of the movers... Read morePublished on January 19, 2002 by Allison L. Rich
Paul Stump's book is a great treat to anyone interested in what Prog rock was really about. In the US, the Prog rock bands that we saw or heard about came to us after being fully... Read morePublished on May 14, 2001 by Mark D Burgh
This is my vote for the best survey of the music industry side of prog. Stump's book is particulary good at describing early English prog roots and how the music fit with the... Read morePublished on April 1, 2000 by RON AYERS