Gusto, from San Francisco, writes to BtP (September 2002)
Thought you might be interested in my question and answer with Robert Hilburn, the LA Times music critic for thirty years ...
Robert, do you ever break out the old stuff from the '60s and '70s and ruminate about "staying power"? Are there bands that you think have withstood the test of time better than others? One criminally under appreciated band that seems to get better with time is Procol Harum.
Sure, it's interesting to see what bands hold up, but there are two ways to look at it. Some bands hold up well critically (such as the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Velvet Underground), but they mean very little saleswise. Then, there are bands like Chicago and Styx that continue to have drawing power, but get almost no respect critically. The Beatles, of course, would be the best example of someone holding up critically and commercially.
Procol Harum was indeed a great band. It has gotten better in time. Conversely, ELO seems to be less interesting today than when it was making those ambitious records.
It does not seem quite clear, from Mr Hilburn's reply, whether he's aware that Procol Harum is a living force today ...
More features at BtP