Two unavoidable questions are strictly linked to this Procol Harum's 1968 suite, the first being "Is this prog?" and the second "If it is, is it the first progressive suite ever?". It was my duty to report them here, but luckily I'm not obliged to answer. Of course, if I put the song here you may imagine my answer to the first question... and after all, a long composition like this one, with strong rock roots and tons of changes in mood, tempo and genre, with guitar and keyboard solos can't really be too far from what we call progressive rock! Now, for the track itself, taken from the second album of the band, titled "Shine on Brightly" and lasting 17'31".
The American (left) and European (right) covers of "Shine on Brightly".
It's an eclectic one, divided in five parts being kind of separate songs (Glimpses of Nirvana, Twas Teatime at The Circus, In The Autumn of My Madness, Look to Your Soul and Grande Finale) with no recurring themes, many effects and some recited bridges. After an oriental first part, the piano dominates the second and the third brings back the band' signature Hammond organ, while the fourth segment is guitar and harpsichord driven and finally here's the classical and choral finale. So, you'll find enough reasons to listen or re-listen to this, but let me say that in spite of all the special effects and fireworks, what I really love here are the beautiful melodies spread all along the track. And after such a musical trip, if you think you can answer my second question above, well, let me know.