Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Prog Rock Albums of the SeventiesPicks include 'Close to the Edge,' 'Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Selling England By the Pound'
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6. Rush, 'Hemispheres'
Rush's 1978 LP Hemispheres was the group's last indisputable prog album. They went out with a bang. The success of 2112 and A Farewell to Kings gave them complete freedom to do whatever they wanted. The first side of the LP is taken up by "Cygnus X-1," a six-part song about an explorer that goes into a black hole. (That's about as proggy a storyline as you can get.) Side two wraps up with "La Villa Strangiato," a 12-chapter instrumental. The subtitle of that song is "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence," a clear sign the band knew they had taken prog rock as far as they could without seeming ridiculous. The band re-emerged two years later with shorter songs, and suddenly they were all over the radio. That wasn't anything they had to worry about with the songs on Hemispheres.