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Readers Poll: The Best Prog Rock Bands of All Time

You chose Tool, Genesis, King Crimson . . . and a certain trio from Canada

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Last week, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite progressive rock bands. Looking over the results, it's a real pity that only two of the bands are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Here's hoping that the class of 2012 is entirely prog. (Just imagine the epic jam between Yes, King Crimson and Rush – the stage would buckle under the weight of the countless people that have played in the first two bands.) Anyway, until that magical day happens, click though to see the results of the poll.

By Andy Greene

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3. Genesis

Genesis break many rules of rock & roll. Bands aren't supposed to get more and more popular as as the decades go by. They aren't supposed to sell more records after their ultra-charismatic frontman leaves for a solo career. The drummer isn't supposed to effortlessly take over as singer. But Genesis are trailblazers. The early records from their Peter Gabriel days – like Foxtrot and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – give them endless credibility in prog community. By the 1980s, Phil Collins had taken over and they were churning out pop songs like "Illegal Alien" and "In Too Deep." They were also headlining stadiums all over the world. It was a weird time. Phil quit after the 1992 We Can't Dance Tour, and replacement singer Ray Wilson never connected with audiences. The Phil Collins line-up toured in 2007, but Peter Gabriel stubbornly refuses to commit to a tour.  In 2005, he called a band meeting and almost agreed to a reunion – but he got cold feet. It's very, very frustrating for the massive Genesis fan community. 

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2. Pink Floyd

You gotta hand it to Bob Geldof. By 2005 it seemed impossible to imagine the classic line-up of Pink Floyd ever standing on the same stage. It had been 24 years since Roger Waters had shared a stage with David Gilmour. In that time, there were lawsuits over the name rights, endless squabbles in the press and seemingly no chance of a reunion. Geldof can be convincing, and after much back and forth he got the four men to agree to it. Their four-song set was absolutely glorious, and just three years later keyboardist Richard Wright died – forever ruling out a full reunion. You hear that, Peter Gabriel? If you wait too long, it becomes too late. 

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1. Rush

Well, this poll wasn't even close. Rush won in a landslide – but this couldn't come as any surprise. The Canadian trio have perhaps the most intense and enthusiastic fan community in all of rock. The band deserves such commitment. While most of their peers have fallen apart due to greed or laziness, Rush has maintained the same line-up since 1975 and their concerts are as spellbinding as they ever were. It's also beyond dispute that Neil Peart is the greatest drummer on the planet. They just wrapped up an epic tour where they played Moving Pictures straight through, and are working on a new album. Here's hoping that they bust out 2112 the next time out. It's the only way to top that last tour. 

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