Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Victor, 1970

http://www.emersonlakepalmer.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/16/2004

On this month's Daily Vault Biography Series, we proudly present a brief look at three musicians who shaped the world of progressive rock as we know it.

KEITH EMERSON: Incredible piano and synthesizer player. Has a tendency to borrow music from other classical musicians and make it his own. Often indulges in long showy solos and dominates the music he helps write. Co-wrote most of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's eponymous debut album; his influence can be found on songs such as the bombastic but fun "The Barbarian" and the three-part "Three Fates," which ranges from doom-laden church organ to sprightly piano. Occasionally tosses in long piano bits that stretch out already-long songs, as in "Take a Pebble," but is skilled enough musician to make said piano parts catchy. Likes long walks on Love Beach and sticking knives in Hammond organs.nbtc__dv_250

GREG LAKE: Bournemouth, England native, skilled guitarist, bassist and singer. Helped bring ELP and King Crimson to stardom with unique, expressive voice, which ranged from tender vocals on "Lucky Man" to deep-throated growls on "Knife Edge," both excellent songs from ELP's debut album. Wrote catchy, folksy ballad at age 12 that later became a group staple in "Lucky Man" and added bass lines to enhance "The Barbarian" and "Tank." Future tendency to write incredibly sappy, overblown love songs with awful lyrics not developed by this point. Likes karn evils and manticores.

CARL PALMER: Talented drummer helped round out the sound on ELP's debut album with impressive solo "Tank" and a wide array of drumming styles, such as jazz ("Take a Pebble,") unique (end of "The Three Fates,") and rock ("Knife Edge"). Powerful and exciting percussion player, overshadowed on ELP's debut by two counterparts, but still gets enough drum licks in to satisfy. Likes joining pretentious pop bands that sell millions of albums and name themselves after continents.

EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER: The debut album by the first progressive rock supergroup, ELP is a dizzying mix of keyboard solos, incredible bass work, excellent vocals and powerful drums. Only a trace of the indulgence that would later sink the band is found in "Take a Pebble" and "The Three Fates," but the tunes move quickly and the playing is top-notch. Songs like the simple "Lucky Man" and the menacing "Barbarian" showcased both extremes of the group, but this was certainly different than anything else in 1970 and remains a classic in the annals of progressive rock.

Rating: A-

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