EW recommends five essential classic-prog albums -- We urge you to look at ''Brain Salad Surgery,'' ''Moving Pictures,'' ''Close to the Edge,'' and more

May 09, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

1 BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1973) Synths imitating trumpets! A track based on the work of a classical composer from Argentina! A half-hour suite pitting man against computer! What’s not to love?

2 MOVING PICTURES, Rush (1981) Geddy Lee sings like a duck from planet Zerfnog, but prog’s last significant old-school band attacked their instruments with uncommon zeal. Pictures boasts some of their best work, including ”Tom Sawyer.”

3 CLOSE TO THE EDGE, Yes (1972) Fragile has ”Roundabout” and ”Heart of the Sunrise,” but Yes reached its apotheosis on this opus, with its resplendent title track (in four movements!) and cosmic-elfin lyrics about the ”colour door of time.”

4 THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY, Genesis (1974) From back when Peter Gabriel was their singer and Phil Collins merely the drummer, this double-LP concept album follows a street urchin’s misadventures in the New York underworld.

5 YETI, Amon Düül II (1970) The German band’s second album sounds like deranged hippies shredding Eastern European folk songs — which, of course, makes it indispensable. Plus, double umlauts!

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