1973 was a time of great political turmoil and musical upheaval. U.S. President Nixon, in his second term, was embroiled in political morass, the Vietnam War had escalated to frighteningly new heights (despite peace talks), and the hardcore spirit of activism of the ’60s had tapered off, hindered by a creeping feeling of indifference.
Despite, or perhaps because of, world events (and the repercussions of U.S. foreign policy around the globe), rock music had become more ambitious and creative than ever.
It seemed the more helpless we felt in the face of world events, the more artists of the early 1970s were motivated to create music of grand scope, just as fans clung to it for wisdom and even escape.
“I think the music being made then had something to do with the political climate at the time and rise of the counterculture,” says Spock’s Beard guitarist Alan Morse, who grew up loving the music of the early 1970s (including prog rock and jazz-rock fusion). “The ’60s were about rejecting the norms and progressive music grew out of that.”
What we now call “progressive” or “art rock” and “prog rock” (traditionally seen as having originated simultaneously in Britain and the U.S. in the mid 1960s) — post Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Pet Sounds, The Doors’ debut, Frank Zappa’s Freak Out!, The Moody Blues’ symphonic Days of Future Passed, and the San Francisco Sound — gave shape to, and expanded upon, ’60s psychedelic music’s wanderings through a compositional approach and the ability and willingness to incorporate disparate, and cutting-edge, musical elements (and instrumentation), such as classical, folk, R&B, blues, jazz, and experimental/found sounds (sometimes generated by newly invented technology).