Best British Progressive Rock Albums - My Top 250

By richardcostantino richardcostantino
updated about 1 month ago

Britain was the home of my favourite musical genre - Progressive Rock.

While there were a few good progressive rock bands coming out of the US/Canada (like Jefferson Starship, Rush, Kansas, Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Glass Harp, Pavlov's Dog, FM), they were not quite in the same class as the British bands. Some may argue that US musical geniuses Frank Zappa & Captain Beefheart could be categorized as progressive, but they were really in a genre all of their own

Other European countries did produce many great progressive rock bands - particularly Germany & Italy (see my other lists) - but, for me, there was something about the British sound and lyrical imagery that no other country could match.

I do however have a great dislike for unmelodic, arty-farty prog/jazz/rock fusion bands that mainly appeared on the Vertigo label (like Ian Carr's Nucleus, Elton Dean, Centipede, Catapilla, Keith Tippett), and Avant-Garde/RIO/Canterbury bands (like Matching Mole, Hatfield & The North, National Health, Gilgamesh, Fred Frith/Henry Cow/Art Bears, and post Kevin Ayers Soft Machine).

I've tried my best to filter out bands that could be labelled folk rock, hard rock, or psychedelic - they deserve their own lists, but sometimes the deliniation lines are very fuzzy.

Here are 250 of my all-time favourite British Progressive Rock LP's, in no particular order. Some of the albums listed are box sets, because it's too hard to pick just one favourite album by that artist.

  1. 801 - 801 Live

    Featured Phil Manzanera & Brian Eno (Ex Roxy Music)

  2. Aardvark (5) - Aardvark

    Ex Black Cat Bones, Crushed Butler

  3. Affinity (4) - Affinity

    Features singer Linda Hoyle

  4. Jon Anderson - Olias Of Sunhillow

    Wonderful solo LP by the lead singer of Yes

  5. Jon And Vangelis* - The Best Of Jon And Vangelis

    Superb combination of talents. Jon Anderson (Yes) on vocals, Vangelis (Aphrodite's Child) on keyboards

  6. Andromeda (10) - Andromeda

    Featured guitarist John Du Caan (Attack, Atomic Rooster, Hard Stuff)

  7. Arcadium (2) - Breathe Awhile

    This excellent debut LP promised great things, but being on an obscure record label, with non-existent marketing, and poor record sales, quickly brought about their demise, and none of the members went on to do anything musically significant.

  8. Argent - All Together Now

    Features keyboardist Rod Argent (ex Zombies), as well as talented singer/songwriter Russ Ballard. Contains the hit 'Hold Your Head Up'

  9. Argent - In Deep

    Features the song 'God Gave Rock & Roll', which became a hit for Kiss

  10. Armageddon (6) - Armageddon

    14 For Sale from $28.41

    Featured members of Yardbirds, Captain Beyond, Renaissance

  11. Arthur Brown's Kingdom Come - The Lost Ears

    Ex Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

  12. Ashton, Gardner, Dyke & Co.* - What A Bloody Long Day It's Been

    Ex members of Remo Four, went on to play in countless other bands including Family, Badger, Paice Ashton & Lord. Best known for their one hit 'Resurrection Shuffle'

  13. Atomic Rooster - Atomic Rooster

    Featured Carl Palmer (pre ELP), Vincent Crane (Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)

  14. Atomic Rooster - Made In England

    41 For Sale from $10.50

    Features Chris Farlowe on vocals

  15. Audience (2) - The House On The Hill

    Featured lead singer/songwriter Howard Werth. The Martin Luther King tribute 'I Had A Dream' is one of the greatest songs ever to come out of the progressive rock scene.

  16. Kevin Ayers - Bananamour

    Ex Soft Machine

  17. Badger (5) - One Live Badger

    Features singer Jackie Lomax, plus Gardner & Dyke

  18. Baker Gurvitz Army - Flying In & Out Of Stardom

    Ex members of Gun, Three Man Army, Cream

  19. Bakerloo - Bakerloo

    10 For Sale from $318.18

    Featured guitarist Dave (Clem) Clempson (ex Colosseum, Greenslade)