Steven Wilson doesn't look like your average music megastar, nor does he act like it, and chances are you have never heard of him. However, the 49-year-old, who The Telegraph described as "The most successful British musician that most people have never heard of" has this week scored a UK number three album with his fifth solo album, To the Bone. Even more impressively, on the midweek charts, To the Bone was at number one and was only knocked down to Friday's number three position by music giant Ed Sheeran with his hugely successful third album Divide and Elvis Presley's The 50 Greatest Hits, the sales of which have sky-rocketed in the 40th anniversary of his death.

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Steven Wilson, 'the king of prog rock'

In 2015, following the release of his previous album Hand. Cannot. Erase. Steven Wilson won three awards at the Progressive Rock Awards in London and was crowned "the king of prog rock". Even more impressively, Wilson has also received four nominations for the Grammy Awards: twice with the band Porcupine Tree, whom Wilson fronted from 1987 to 2010; once with his collaborative project Storm Collective and once as a solo artist. Additionally, he has worked with artists such as King Crimson; Yes; Marillion; Jethro Tull; XTC; Tears for Fears and Roxy Music.

Steven Wilson began recording To the Bone in December 2016. Having parted company with most of the members of the solo band he had used on Hand. Cannot. Erase., Wilson played many of the instruments on To the Bone himself while enlisting the services of drummers Craig Blundell and Jeremy Stacey, who has previously drummed with Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

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The album also features two songs written by XTC's Andy Partridge, To the Bone and Nowhere Now.

While Steven Wilson's crowning as the "king of prog rock" has gained him a cult following, it has also pigeonholed him into a genre that is often associated with beard-stroking middle-aged men, ten-minute keyboard solos, science fiction themed albums and over-blown stadium extravaganzas. However, while To the Bone does feature elements of the prog rock genre, it is, for the most part, much more reminiscent of the sophisticated pop sounds found on Tears for Fears' 1989 album Sowing the Seeds of Love and Talk Talk's 1986 album The Colour of Spring. Take, for example, the album's lead single, Permeating, which was inspired by ELO and ABBA. So massive is 'Permeating's step away from the sound that Wilson is associated with that it has even managed to upset some of his fans for not being prog enough. One fan, a Spanish journalist, felt so incensed by the single, that he booked an interview with Wilson and flew to the UK to tell him that his new music was "shit".

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A number three album, sell out shows at the Royal Albert Hall and still invisible in the mainstream

Whilst promoting To the Bone, the prog rock's underground hero told The Guardian, "I'm invisible in the mainstream, I can do two nights at the Royal Albert Hall and nobody notices except my fans". Selling out two shows at the Royal Albert Hall is a far cry from the days when Steven Wilson played to four people in a pub in Carlisle. This week, he told BBC Breakfast News, "It was a Tuesday night, it was raining and there were four people ... I think it is called paying your dues and I have certainly paid my dues".

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