Rick Wakeman, 'Journey to the Center of the Earth' (1974)
Bombastic, overwrought and, in the truest definition of the word, epic, sometime Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman's third solo album embodied everything prog-rock fans love: a fantastical storyline drawn from a Jules Verne novel, accents of jazz and classical flourishes and solos-upon-solos-upon-solos. It reached Number One on the U.K. chart and, in the U.S., it made it to Number Three and was certified gold. Wakeman performed Journey in full on tour – complete with narration, symphony and choir – and even dressed in mystical garb (i.e. capes!). But while all the pageantry and pretentiousness elated prog fans, Wakeman's unabashed myth-and-magic jones limited his popular shelf life. Where his somewhat harder-edged prog brethren in King Crimson have resonated with Tool and Opeth fans in recent years, today's noodlers aren't quite as keen on sporadic xylophone solos and fantasy storytelling.