Nine complex and intriguing prog rock albums from 1969

These nine prog rock classics were the best albums released in that genre from the final year of the 1960s.
The Moody Blues
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Progressive rock as a subgenre was booming by 1969 after being pioneered by Birmingham, England group the Moody Blues in 1967 with that group’s debut album, Days of Future Passed. In the intervening two years, the genre exploded in popularity as music fans craved more complex musical arrangements, more obscure instruments, and more lyrical depth – which prog rock delivered in spades.

Prog rock drew many fans because it had no limit as far as influences. Bands could take from rock, jazz, folk, and classical music. What they did with that was left up to each group.

This meant while many bands were called "prog rock," they each could turn out tracks that did not sound similar. The albums could be dense or slight. The overall experience was meant to be a journey, however.

Progressive rock (aka prog rock) had a banner year in 1969

Though 1969 had its fair share of albums from many genres that have stood the test of time, these nine prog rock albums celebrating their 55th anniversary in 2024 are surely among the best from that year.

9. Deep Purple – Deep Purple

A strong “Mark I” album from Deep Purple (denoting the period before vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover joined the group) saw the group maturing and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, especially, coming into his own as both a guitarist and composer.

“The Painter” is a clear highlight – and it showcases the instrumental talents of both Blackmore and organist Jon Lord. Awesome blues jam “Why Didn't Rosemary?” opens side two of this 1969 release, and if you needed a reminder that this is truly a prog album, just listen to the album-closing track, “April” – over half of that song is an orchestral composition written and arranged by Lord.