Sep 232010

Carl Palmer

To be honest, until Carl Palmer crept up the standings in our Sexiest Man in Prog-Rock poll, I couldn’t have identified Palmer if he showed up at my front door carrying drum sticks. It took me into my sophomore year of college to begin making sense of the prog-rock I couldn’t stand as a young teen, but even after digging King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd (maybe more of an “Art Rock” band), and some more obscure bands, I left Emerson, Lake & Palmer in the dustbin of my youth. Reviewing old live clips of the band, I still don’t like the music, but I’m seeing that ELP was the most brazenly sexual of prog-rock bands. There was a lot of bare, sweaty flesh being flashed at those old ELP shows. Palmer had the boyish-yet-hardy appeal of a star midfielder on the soccer (sorry, football) pitch. Maybe it’s the hair, but in this clip of Palmer’s drum solo I’m reminded of To Die For‘s Alison Folland.

Looking back at still images of Palmer, he’s occasionally seen in a soft, hippified light, but more often than not he’s in full-on jock mode. It’s coming back to me now, the crowd in my high school that liked ELP. It was a party-hearty crowd, but these guys were also capable of excelling in the classroom and on sports teams. If you were a prog-loving woman in search of a goal-oriented, dynamic guy, you couldn’t go wrong with any member of the band.

Next, the smouldering David Gilmour.


  36 Responses to “Making the Case for the Sexiest Man in Prog-Rock: Will it Be John Wetton, Chris Squire, Carl Palmer, or David Gilmour?”

  1. jeangray

    That is some serious analysis. I’m sticking with my Gilmour vote.

    Strong work, Mr. Mod!

  2. This is some quality analysis, Mod. Good job!

    I have it on good authority that So-era Peter Gabriel is considered very attractive to many women. But of course, that album’s not really prog. Still, I’m surprised that’s he not higher in the poll.

  3. BigSteve

    I voted for Wetton, because he’s got the voice to go with his Look, but the thing about Gilmour is that he retained his hunkiness as he got older.

    Btw Wetton’s website is driving people here to vote in the poll. We never get that many people voting. Something similar must be happening with Squire.

  4. ladymisskirroyale


    There is good looking. There is cute. There is hunky. There is adorable. There is even handsome. But sexy is as David Gilmour does.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    I’m glad Townspeople have been taking this matter as seriously as it needs to be taken. Imagine if you were a hard-working musician in a genre that’s never been thought worthy of objectification. These guys deserve a little love for more than their chops!

    I can tell you that Wetton’s peeps are not the only ones who’ve been driven here to vote. It’s truly an honor that the sites for some of these artists have picked up on our efforts and are driving interest among their fans. Let’s make these newcomers welcome. I’m hoping some of them decide to participate in this and any other thread that strikes their fancy.

    As we determine the Sexiest Man in Prog – once and for all… – we hope to hear from not only the fans of the contestants but maybe even the contestants themselves! Why not? I don’t see any other rock music blog addressing this issue the way we have.

    Thanks to all – new and old – who have been making this topic way too much fun for me – and hopefully for some of you.

  6. Hey!!! And where’s Mike Oldfield???? Or doesn’t he count as a prog-rocker? 😛

  7. Mr. Moderator

    My apologies to fans of Mike Oldfield. I know his music, but I had no idea the guy was so snazzy!

    Welcome aboard, musicfreak!

  8. I just checked out the John Wetton yahoo message board and found this most disturbing post:

    “John, you just got my vote….will try to cast a second vote for you via my IPhone…”

    Clearly there are some voting improprieties going on. I fear with their keen interest in both technology and John Wetton, the JW fans have sorted out how to hack their way into the system and stuff the ballot box.

    As for the multiple Chris Squire votes, I assume that is just some lonely, socially awkward dude living in his mother’s basement who has figured out how to vote for Squire 68 different times.

    If had a chance to do it again, I would probably vote for Gilmore. The lack of support for my original choice, Ian Anderson, has left me wondering if I was off base about the inherent sexiness of the cod piece.

  9. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that at the tender age of 13, I was sonically traumatized by witnessing a live show by prog supergroup UK, and that experience has left me unable to view Wetton objectively.

  10. So, let me get this straight. This sex thing is driving up hits and registration to RTH? It’s like a breakthrough. The photo-studded, 5 page post was clearly a labor of lurve for the Mod.

    So, with the proper low level of enthusiasm warranted by the topic – Go Carl Palmer.

  11. Mr. Moderator

    Who woulda thunk it, k.? Not since our wildly popular Hot Rocks day have we brought in so many new members. If you missed that special event, The Main Stage from that day is compiled here:

  12. Mr. Moderator

    I just received a piece of spam e-mail with the subject line, “Lack of mojo in pants?” Is this the price I pay for dedicating hours to this analysis?

  13. misterioso

    It’s ok, Mod, the spammers can be so cruel sometimes. Your obvious obsession with the Sexy Men of Prog Rock does not, in itself, call for you to mocked as lacking mojo in pants. Per se. Necessarily.

  14. Yay!!! Thanks for the warm welcome! ♥

    Well, even when it puzzled me not seeing Mr. Oldfield at the poll (he’s a real beauty!) I have my heart (and eyes) all set for Mr. Palmer… so i am pretty happy to see how he’s reaching to the top! I saw him quite back regarding the other 2 guys (Squire and Wetton… i can understand Wetton… but Squire???? nahhh…) and i thought he would never make it there… i am now gratefully surprised 😀

    This blog is AMAZING! I will never finish thanking to this poll for making me know about its existence!

    And yesss, Go Carl! ♥♥♥

  15. As a female prog rock fan,just a few musicians get my vote.With the absence of Mike Oldfield,Carl Palmer gets my vote easily.Then and now.

    Some prog rockers have suffered with the aging process…some have become interesting like Roger Waters in a certain way.Although some have become a serious issue…they haven’t benefited with age,like John Wetton and David Gilmour.Chris Squire also.

  16. misterioso

    The fact that the poll has drawn new people to this page is fascinating. I can’t shake the image of folks routinely, if not daily, searching for “prog rock”+”sexy men” and coming up empty, day after day after day. And then, finally, one glorious day: A Hit! And mountains come out of the sky and they stand there!

    Well, whatever the circumstances, welcome aboard.

    All of which reminds me of one of my favorite Onion pieces, “Yes Lyrics to Be Added to New Testament.”,966/

  17. Mr. Moderator

    Welcome to the show that never ends, the sentinel! As misterioso says, the more rock fans who are willing and able to see things in a different light the better!

    We’ll be closing this historic poll in a few days. Then the popular vote will be analyzed along with other criteria by a panel of judges in Rock Town Hall’s Back Office to determine…once and for all…the Sexiest Man in Prog Rock!

  18. WTF? Now Keith Emerson is creeping up the charts for sexiest prog-rocker? Really? Keith Emerson? To paraphrase Jeffrey Ross, I wouldn’t bang Keith Emerson with John Anderson’s vagina.

  19. When I was a kid and fell in love with prog, there were a small few that ranked as “sexy”. But the leaders always ELP, they were all great looking and absolutely sexy. Top that with great chops, whatawinner. Carl Palmer always had dorky haircuts, though. Greg Lake had amazing everything. I loved John Wetton, David Gilmour, and Mike Oldfield too. Never thought much about Chris Squire, looks wise, even though he plays a hot bass. But I will stick to Greg Lake. Or Keith Emerson. Or…

  20. Mr. Moderator

    Good stuff, sancia, and welcome to the show! In researching this topic I did notice that ELP was the most soid collective lineup of progcake.

  21. hrrundivbakshi

    Mod coined the term:


    I say:


  22. Dear cdm, as a lady, I don’t know why somebody could surprise about Keith Emerson coming up in the chart… I love Carl Palmer, but I’ve found myself many times, when watching any ELP show, finding hard to keep my eyes out of Keith… And not only because of his showmanship, I find him very hot…

    Yup, Jon Anderson may be cute… but he’s way too short…

    I think Keith has this ‘manliness’ aura that, even when i find very sexy those men with a quite ‘feninine’ look, makes me see him more than attractive 😉

  23. Dear Musicfreak,
    I was just goofing around. Count me as one of the folks who is delighted by the influx of new members, but bemused by the way that they found this site. I hope some of you stick around and weigh in on some of the meaty topics that we regularly take on in these hallowed halls.

  24. I will, for sure!!!! 😀 I will try at least! I love music over how the person who creates and performs it looks… (of course, it’s always a bigger pleasure having something nice to see… but it’s not what’s most important about music, right?)
    And yes, it’s quite funny that many of us came across this hallowed halls because of such a ‘shallow’ (?) reason *g*
    But well, we’re here now, and that’s good, i hope!

  25. Mr. Moderator

    Newcomers and veterans, we’ve got some really cool news coming on Monday that will surely steer us back toward the music, if we don’t get back there before then. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of other musical topics at hand that I hope play a small part in keeping you excited about pulling out your old records and buying new ones.

    This entire thread, with its twists and turns, has been delightfully unexpected. While watching some old King Crimson clips a few days ago I truly appreciated Wetton’s role as a remarkably cool frontman for a band that seemed to me tough to front. The joke about him being the Sexiest Man in Prog-Rock was for my own amusement, but I’m glad it struck a chord with others. What I think it really gets to, and what the amusement over this silly notion may be getting at, is that live music requires real, live people. Some folks have no problem with shoegazer bands, but the leading vote-getters in our fun poll probably get as many votes for their ability to help animate the music as much as for any “god-given ass,” as David Bowie once said.

  26. Gotta be Carl

  27. Apparently you’ve never seen the vid of Greg Lake singing “Still You Turn Me On” at Cal Jam. Any woman that watches that and doesn’t melt has a broken libido!

  28. Mr. Moderator

    drawbridge and kb, thanks for joining the fray and backing up your votes with personal perspectives. Feel free to drop in any time, on any subject!

  29. Mr. Moderator, be careful what you ask for 🙂

  30. Do we have the results of the poll?

  31. Mr. Moderator

    kb, the top vote-getters will be listed tomorrow along with a cool announcement. Sorry to those who were still looking to vote in the poll, but the nearly 700 votes we received seemed to be a more than adequate sample. One thing those of you new to Rock Town Hall may find is that we have an extensive archive with Comments that almost never close. This discussion and others may continue as long as we do. Thanks.

  32. Thanks for the info!

  33. Am waiting for “Sexiest Man” poll results with baited breath…

  34. I am commenting to let the world know there ARE real ladies that find Squire very hot. I have been in love with him since I was 13. Great cheekbones, a wonderful showman and a monster on bass.The guy has a sense of humor as well.
    Yes, he did have a feminine look in the 70’s but later in the 80’s when he had facial hair I found him just as attractive.

    I came late to the party so I didn’t even get to vote but if it were a poll on who is hottest today, I would have voted for Palmer. Hottest ever, SQUIRE.

  35. Mr. Moderator

    yesindeedy, thanks for pointing out the charms of your man, The Fish, and thanks for checking in with us. Feel free to join in on any other thread that rocks your world.

  36. Mr. Moderator,

    Thanks for indulging me and for the warm welcome. I will have a look around 🙂

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