Author Mike Barnes’ vivid chronicle of prog rock in the late 60s and 70s is suitably epic and grandiose in both its scope and ambition. If A New Day Yesterday was an album, it would surely be a triple gatefold. The publishers just may have missed a trick by not commissioning Hipgnosis to design the cover. The phrase ‘progressive rock’, Barnes notes, was coined in 1967 by Melody Maker’s Chris Welch, and that is more or less when the journey begins with the creative outpouring of the psychedelic underground.
From there, via a series of interviews with musicians and industry insiders we are skilfully navigated through the entire history of the movement.
From Camel to Caravan, from ELP to The Enid, from Hatfield And The North to Henry Cow, the usual suspects are all in here. But the book, unlike this review, is not simply a list of bands and the author most be commended for his astute handling of such a wide-ranging genre. Most startlingly, Barnes reveals that progressive rock wasn’t all about wizards after all. Who knew?