In September, a new series inspired by JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth story hits our screens. The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power takes place thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings live action trilogy and its prequel trilogy, The Hobbit.
Progressive music and Middle-earth have long been kindred spirits, with many bands taking inspiration from Tolkien’s fantasy world, from Marillion to Isuldur’s Bane to Gandalf’s Fist. To celebrate the release of this new series, we’re counting down 10 of the best prog songs inspired by Middle-earth.
Rush, Rivendell, 1975
Taken from their second album fly at nightby Rush Rivendell takes its name from the peaceful valley and elven city of Middle-earth. As the tranquil mood of the piece indicates, Rivendell is a place of sanctuary, and it is also where the quest to destroy the One Ring began.
Camel, Nimrodel/Procession/White Rider, 1973
A nine-minute epic based on The Lord of the Rings‘ the most famous wizard? You can’t get much more prog than that. Camel’s classic 1973 three-part track traces Gandalf’s journey, from his battle with Balrog to his return as Gandalf the White.
Enya, Lothlórien, 1991
Before appearing on the soundtrack of Peter Jackson’s 2001 film The Fellowship of the RingEnya freed Lothlóriena magnificent instrumental inspired by the elven forest of the same name.
Especially Autumn, Forge Of Sauron, 2001
In 2001, Mostly Autumn released an entire album inspired by The Lord of the Ringssimply titled Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings. The largely instrumental album was written and recorded in just two weeks and traces Tolkien’s story, from the opening Sauron’s Forge to the aptly named The king’s return.
Bo Hansson, Music inspired by The Lord of the Rings, 1972
Swedish instrumental progressive rocker Bo Hansson has done more than just a song – he’s recorded an entire album dedicated to Tolkien’s classic. Hansson had grown up in a Swedish forest and recorded his first album on a remote island.
Sally Oldfield, Songs of the Quendi, 1978
Best known as Mike’s older sister, Sally Oldfield, with whom she had performed as a duo The Sallyangie. She released her first solo album, Water Bearer, in 1976, which included the hit single Mirrors. The album also featured this 16-minute, Tolkien-inspired sequel.
Nightwish, Elvenpath, 1997
The opening track from Nightwish’s 1997 debut album The angels fall firstthe title gives it all, just like a straight out of the movie. Master of wishesthe title track of the band’s 2000 album was also inspired by The Lord of the Rings.
Silver, Lothlorien, 1971
The second track titled after Middle Earth’s real of the Elves, which was ruled by Galadriel and Celeborn, this seven-minute progger is from Argent’s second album. ring of hands.
Rush, The Necromancer, 1975
This 12-minute track from the band’s third album, Caress of steel, is the second offering from the Canadian trio to feature on this list. Inspired by Sauron, the main antagonist of The Lord of the Ringswho used the pseudonym The Necromancer.
Barclay James Harvest, Galadriel, 1971
Taken from the band’s second album Once againreleased in 1971, this ode to Royal Elf and protector of Lothlórien is notable for the fact that John Lees, who wrote the track, also played John Lennon’s guitar on it, a feat later immortalized in my song on John Lennon’s guitar 1990s Welcome to the show.