Pomp Pop

For years there had been confusion surrounding the bands who emerged in England during the early-mid ’70s that straddled a stylistic nexus betwixt the prevailing prog heavyweights and the preceding pop practitioners of the late 1960s. This curious clutch of bands – which included Supertramp, 10cc and the Electric Light Orchestra – forged a succinct hybrid of music which combined the jaunty songcraft of 1966-1969 era Beatles and Kinks with the quasi-symphonic fullness embedded in the aural riches of reigning musical masters like Genesis and Yes.

In his scholarly book Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture, esteemed musicologist Ed Macan coined the phrase ‘British Symphonic Pop’ to delineate this particular splinter of the progressive rock era. On Usenet, some notably erudite parties, such as Geir Hongro of Norway, coined the rather telling moniker of ‘pomp pop’ to ensure the historical enshrinement of this integral synthesis of ’70s rock. Personally, I prefer the latter phrase for its self-explanatory ease (classic pop with a lushly enlarged sound) as opposed to Macan’s more generic term, which in copy could easily be confused for other hybrids of rock and symphonia, namely the ’60s ‘pocket symphony’ approach as exemplified by “Eleanor Rigby” and the Brian Wilson scrapbook.

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