Emerson, Lake & Palmer

  • British progressive rock band formed in 1970. Its members were Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (guitars, bass guitar, vocals) and Carl Palmer (percussion). Both Emerson and Lake died in 2016 – Emerson committed suicide (age 71), and Lake died of cancer (age 69).
  • Emerson and Lake previously were members of 60s bands The Nice and King Crimson respectively. Both were looking for a change, and agreed to form a new group. Palmer was recruited after several other drummers were auditioned. The band decided on Emerson, Lake & Palmer (or ELP) as the name of the group, because they did not want too much focus on any single member of the band.
  • They released 9 studio albums and 16 singles. Only 3 singles charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. – Lucky Man, Nut Rocker, and From The Beginning (charting the highest, at #39). Despite their relative lack of successful singles, Lucky Man continues to get frequent airplay today from classic rock radio.
  • They created a unique sound, heavily influenced by classical compositions, jazz and symphonic rock. Emerson was a virtuoso with his keyboards, and created unique sounds that musicians were starting to learn with the advent of electronic instruments – notably, the Moog Synthesizer.
  • The “big” sound that comes with progressive rock has always been among my favorite genres of music. I got hooked on ELP watching them perform on Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert on TV in 1974 – black and white TV, headphones on (the show was simulcast in stereo through one of the local radio stations). The show included Emerson suspended in mid-air with he and his piano rotating. Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

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