As we all know, every music critic's "best of" piece is created through rigorous experiments, with the results reviewed by a body of one's peers.

Just kidding. Turns out this list of the 50 Best Progressive Rock Artists was based on opinion, not objective fact. There is no guidebook or grand methodology: We didn't force ourselves to shoehorn in a certain number of acts from a particular style or era; we didn't consult Metacritic or the Billboard charts; we didn't require a band to have multiple Minimoogs in their keyboard rigs. We just thought about it a lot — and ultimately went with our gut.

That being said, this process wasn't a cakewalk. For space reasons alone, we had to leave off a ton of semi-obscure artists who deserve a bigger spotlight. (If only we'd had room for late-'70s acts like Argentina's Invisible or France's Mona Lisa.) Some bands, like Harmonium, are heavy on quality but, for our purposes, too light on quantity. And then there's this age-old dilemma: "How much prog makes you a prog band?" Electric Light Orchestra, for example, don't feel quite prog enough — even though they've certainly made a solid chunk of it.

But we imagine you’ll disagree with some of these selections, and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re here to debate prog civilly, you’re among friends.

From Kansas to Can, from King Crimson to Curved Air, behold UCR's Top 50 Progressive Rock Artists.

Top 50 Progressive Rock Artists

From Kansas and Can to King Crimson and Curved Air. 

Gallery Credit: Ryan Reed

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