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Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed is a freelance music / pop culture journalist / editor. Besides Diffuser.fm, he currently contributes to Rolling Stone, Paste, Billboard, eMusic, The Phoenix, Metro Pulse, Blurt, Relix, American Songwriter, and many other outlets. He's also an adjunct English and Communications professor. When he's not writing or teaching, he's probably recording his own music, record shopping, playing with his Brittany Spaniel (Tegan), eating copious amounts of chicken wings, or drinking girly beverages.
Frank Zappa
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45 Years Ago: Frank Zappa Releases ‘Lumpy Gravy’

Frank Zappa is often regarded as one of the most brilliant, idiosyncratic musicians in rock music. But, looking back at his eclectic, monstrous body of work as a composer, guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader, Zappa really wasn't a "rock" musician. That fact is cemented on 'Lumpy Gravy,' Zappa's first official solo album, which was released 45 years ago today (May 13, 1968).

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Genesis
Graham Wood, Getty Images
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35 Years Ago: Genesis Release ‘. . . And Then There Were Three . . .’

How exactly did Genesis, progressive rock's defining band, manage to survive so much turmoil? The group weathered the loss of key members and a shifting musical landscape to produce '. . . And Then There Were Three . . .,' the 1978 album that introduced a leaner three-man lineup and helped them move from prog toward the poppier sound that would define their career in the '80s.

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Examiner / Getty Images
Examiner / Getty Images
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45 Years Ago: Genesis Release First Single, ‘The Silent Sun’

Genesis are rightfully regarded as one of the most innovate and eclectic progressive rock bands of all-time. But -- a couple late-era Phil Collins belters aside -- they're not remembered as cookie-cutter pop balladeers. Timing is everything: On Feb. 23, 1968, these British lads got off to an awkwardly uncharacteristic start with debut single, 'The Silent Sun,' the most saccharine, lightweight ditty in their entire discography.

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Fleetwood Mac
Keystone, Getty Images
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45 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac’s Self-Titled Debut Released

There have been many Fleetwood Macs over the years: the late '60s blues-rock titans, the transitional folk-rock successors, and the unexpected crossover pop-rock mega-stars of the late '70s. But this complex game of musical chairs begins way back in February of 1968. That's when the band released their fascinating debut album, defining a new era of British blues.

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Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Rush, ‘The Anarchist’ — Song Review

One of many things that makes Rush so consistently rewarding is that they stick with what they do well --  more than likely, Geddy Lee won't form an electronic side project any time soon, and it's a safe bet Alex Lifeson won't switch over to steel guitar. 'The Anarchist,' the anthemic third single from the excellent 'Clockwork Angels,' is a perfect example of Rush reveling in the many things Rush do well.

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Jon Anderson
Ebet Roberts / Redferns, Getty Images
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25 Years Ago: Yes’ ‘Big Generator’ Album Released

In the history of progressive rock, only three bands -- Yes, Genesis, and King Crimson -- have truly been able to survive and even thrive past the genre's critical fall-out in the '70s. For Yes, the more focused, radio-driven '80s were a time of new beginnings, which resulted in some excellent sonic reinventions, along with a few awkward missteps. The band's 12th studio album, 1987's 'Big Generator' (which turned 25 last month), is a prime example of both.

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Peter Gabriel
Real World / Geffen
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20 Years Ago: Peter Gabriel’s ‘Us’ Album Released

As any Peter Gabriel fan knows, the maestro works at a snail-like pace, but it's that attention to detail that made his 1992 album 'Us' such a great listen. Gabriel's sixth studio album may be celebrating its 20th birthday this week, but here's a more staggering statistic: The art-rock godfather has only released one follow-up album in the two decades since.

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