The most successful British musician… no one’s ever heard of

Ever heard of Steven Wilson, 49?

No, not that guy in the accounts department at work, the rock star who recently sold out two nights at The Royal Albert Hall.

The chances are you haven’t. Yet his latest album To The Bone topped the UK charts this summer.

To those who know him, he’s a minor music god; to those who don’t he’s invisible.

Perhaps that’s because the 49-year-old has been dubbed ‘the king of progressive rock’ – not the coolest of genres. Perhaps it’s his age and the fact that he wears classic NHS black-rimmed glasses. Who knows?

The truth is that his music isn’t really that prog at all. More emotive AOR really. His new single Permeating is described by The Guardian as “unashamedly euphoric pop inspired by ELO and Abba”.

Check out the track Pariah below from his new album and make your own mind up.

As you can imagine, the invisible ‘king of prog’ has been around for a bit. He has recorded 50 albums most of which aren’t remotely prog. He has done ambient noise (as Bass Communion), postmodern psychedelic rock (as Porcupine Tree) and dreamy trip-hop (as No-Man). So perhaps it’s the genre-hopping nature of Mr Wilson that has kept him out of the spotlight – as soon as it hits him, he moves on.

Whether you like his music or not – and his new single gets the NDX stamp of approval – there’s no doubt Steven Wilson is quite a phenomenon.

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