Here is a sampling of my faves. I cannot guarantee that this list will be "free from prog" cause I don't think that was. Me faves is me faves.
plug alert) you can hear all these folks on my radio show. And more.
-Electric Light Orchestra-Hooky fun pop/rock w/nifty orchestration and great vox. Buy em all.
-Yes. Yes, Yes. Yes. GH loves 'em. See my interview this Thursday nite to hear what Steve & Fred say about them. Yes remasters on Rhino ROCK!
-Kansas-Truly original America prog-rock. I like early Kansas. I like mid-period Kansas. I like late Kansas (w/Elafante vox, and then the Steve Morse insane guitar period Kansas). Still put on a good show!
-Proto-Kaw-Kansas w/Kerry Livgren before the classic Kansas we know. Recording a new CD so I guess they are pre-Kansas as well as post-Kansas. Confused?
-Spock's Beard-Fun prog w/great melody and pop sensibility. Lost their main creative force in Neal Morse but still plugging along admirably.
-Neal Morse-Ex singer/writer for above. One of my faves of 2003-CD Testimony
-Monkees-Fun, fun, fun and catchy pop-rock
-Steely Dan-Wry, ironic, jazzy, unforgettable.
-King's X-Melodic hard rock, drop-D tuning, Seattle stole a lot from their sound. Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
could SAVE your life
-Galactic Cowboys-see King's X mixed w/the Beatles
-Beatles. Do you need an intro?
-Led Zeppelin. See Beatles blurb.
-Pink Floyd. See Zep & Beatles blurb.
-Cream-Clapton/Bruce/Baker psychedelic blues-hard rockin', unforgettable. Buy 'em all
-Jimi Hendrix-rock fans must own the 3 original Experience CDs
-The Kinks-Classic, classic rock/folk/power-pop
-Cheap Trick-Classic power-pop/lotsa punkers influenced by. Good sense of humor
-Rock and Roll Worship Circus-The name says it all. Retro-rock worship music. Great live show
-The Swift-Piano-based Christian pop/rock. GREAT!
-Moody Blues-Their name is apt. Classic prog, elegant use of mellotron, wonderful vox. Retro (some would say OLD sound) but very cool
-Smashing Pumpkins-Many musical styles, recommend Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness & Siamese Dream. Corgan is awesome on guitar.
-Zwan-Billy Corgan's now defunct post Smashing Pumpkins band with a suprising and fresh spiritual emphasis
-Rev. Al Green-Smooth soul, possibly greatest vox of all time
-Talking Heads-Early to mid period. Great whacky new wave fun. Don't like the artsy/world music late period. Yuck.
-Traffic-Jazzy/rock/fusion/prog. Steve Winwood-probably my second fave vox of all time
-Blind Faith-Supergroup w/one CD w/naughty cover. But incredible music...Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker (incredible double bass attack), Rick Grech
-Santana-Early to mid period. Supernatural was OK, Shaman so-so.
-Phil Keaggy-Guitarist extrodinaire. You must buy his Myrrh rock CDs. Pay any price on e-Bay (Blue, Sunday's Child, Find Me in These Fields)
-Daniel Amos (DA/Swirling Eddies)-Legendary Christian rockers. Beatles/Talking Heads/New Wave/Alt-Country/Avant-Garde
-Glass Harp-Early Phil Keaggy band. Moody Blues/Cream-ish
-Nuggets Box Sets-Lotsa garage/fuzz rock/psychedelic bands
-77s-Christian Led Zeppelin/U2/Beach Boys(!)
-The Choir-Moody, atmospheric alteranative Christian rock
-PFR-Late, great Beatles/Jellyfish Christian rock band
-Jellyfish-Fun, retro Beatles power-pop
-Doug Powell-Fun Beatles power-pop
-Todd Rundgren-Classic rock, weird, prog, electronic, power-pop icon. Like the Utopia stuff, Something/Anything, A Wizard, A True Star
-Mortal-Classic heavy Christian industrial. One member is now in Switchfoot. In a perfect world these guys would sell a lotta CDs.
-Fold Zandura-Same guys as Mortal, but cool power-pop/rock/keyboard/catchy stuff
-Juggernautz-Same guys as Mortal and FZ but a little more dancy
-Switchfoot-Great pop/rock Christian rockers
-Cars-First few CDs are must buys. New-wave classic rock
-Emerson, Lake, Palmer-Classic keyboard oriented prog
-Pigeon John-Witty Christian rapper. Also part of LA Symphony
-John Coltrane-Patron saint of jazz. Must buy-A Love Supreme...a jazz psalm
-Journey-Love 'em. Classic rockers. Like mid to early period best.
-KY Headhunters-One of my best friends plays guitar for them (Greg Martin)-psycho/blues/boogie/southern-fried/classic rock-n-soul.
-Lynyrd Skynyrd-before the plane crash. Classic stuff. Used mellotrons. 5 guitar attack!
-The Band-Blues, americana, folk, rock
-Big Star-Classic, influential power-pop
-Simon & Garfunkel-Singer/songwriter folkies. Tops
-Stereo Motion-Retro Christian pop/rock.
-The Flower Kings-Yeslike prog/fusion
-Dream Theater-Metallic prog
-Rick Altizer-Incredible power-pop http://www.rickaltizer.com
-Toto-Classic, tight pop-rock
-Electric Flag-Classic psychedelic/soul/blues/rock combo
-Elton John-Early, pre-lounge lizard years
-Badfinger-Beatle-esque power pop
-Larry Norman-Christian rock pioneer
-Keith Green-Incredible piano based Christian pop/worship
-Sonic Flood-First CD...classic worship/rock CD
-Delirious-Worship rock ala' U2
-Fleetwood Mac (The Blues years AND the classic rock years)
-.rod laver-Christian rap rockers
-Audio Adrenaline-Christian alt-rockers. Went to college with em.
Whew, all I can think of for now!