My measure is which band has the most albums that, IMHO, are really excellent and continue through the decades. Using that criteria and I’d have to plump for Genesis with PF a close second. In both these cases they have the most albums that I think are true greats. I’m not sure of the other factors you list but going by the most ‘great’ albums then it’s Genesis and PF.
There ain’t not greatest but their Gabriel era albums have a place on my record shelves and have continued to be played over the years, even Genesis to Revelations, despite Jonathan King’s involvement holding them back, how good could it have been without that?
I had cassettes of two of the post Gabriel albums, Trick and Three but never bothered filling in the gaps, or replacing them with vinyl or digital versions.
It’s because most of their music is tedious self indulgent crap. In my opinion of course. I once saw Steve Hackett play at the Brighton Dome and it was the most boring concert I’ve ever been to. There is no ‘best’ group. One may have a favourite but that’s entirely different.
I’ve never thought that being accomplished musicians was anything to do with being a great band. My faves include the Ramones, the Clash, the Faces and VU. Maybe one truly accomplished musician between them (John Cale), but 16 or so of the best rock albums ever recorded.
On the other hand, Genesis, Clapton, ELP, Queen and others of that ilk drive me from the room screaming.
Gen- who? I think I can say that, having been involved pretty much my whole life in music (as a photographer) I’ve never once listened to a Genesis album or had the urge to. For so called ‘progressive’ rock I’ll turn to the Germans any day - Can, Cluster, Agitation Free, Kraftwerk, and the mighty Popol Vuh, to name a few.