Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP)

@ Wiki
Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock group. In the 1970s, the band was extremely popular, selling over 30 million albums and headlining huge concerts.

The trio consisted of:
- Keith Emerson (originally from The Nice) keyboards
- Greg Lake (originally from King Crimson) guitars, bass guitar, vocals
- Carl Palmer (originally from Atomic Rooster) drums, percussion

The band formed in 1970. On two occasions in 1969, The Nice and King Crimson shared the same venue, first on August 10, 1969 at the 9th Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton, England and on October 17, 1969 at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, England.

After playing at a few of the same concerts, Emerson and Lake tried working together and found their styles to be not only compatible, but complementary. They wanted to be a keyboard/bass/drum band, and so searched out a drummer.

Jimi Hendrix was considering joining the group; the British press, after hearing about this, speculated that such a supergroup would have been called "Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer", or HELP. Before settling on Carl Palmer, they approached Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix Experience; Mitchell was uninterested but passed the idea to Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, tired of his band and wanting to try something different, expressed an interest in playing with the group. Due to scheduling conflicts such plans were not immediately realized, but the initial three planned on a jam session with Hendrix after their debut at the Isle of Wight Festival, with the possibility of him joining. Hendrix died shortly thereafter, so the three pressed on as Emerson, Lake and Palmer. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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@ Emerson Lake Palmer[com]
The seeds of ELP were sown in 1969, when both The Nice (which featured Keith Emerson on keyboards) and King Crimson (which featured Greg Lake on bass and vocals) did a few shows together. Both bands had been at the forefront of the British rock scene.

The Nice had enjoyed several hits, but were known more for its wild stage show that was a showcase for Keith Emerson, who had been tagged a keyboard wizard and "the Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond organ." They were just beginning to build a huge following in the United States. King Crimson, had exploded out of nowhere in 1969. Moving, in a matter of a couple of months, from club obscurity to big stars. The band's debut LP, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, had become an instant smash and established the band in the UK, Europe and America.

On two occasions The Nice and King Crimson shared the bill, once on August 10, 1969 at the 9th Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumton and on October 17, 1969 at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, England which was the premier of The Nice's "Five Bridges Suite" which featured an orchestra.

Greg Lake, about meeting Keith Emerson, has said: "It was at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and King Crimson was on the same bill as The Nice . King Crimson began to disintegrate at this time, and I met up with Keith at the soundcheck. Ian and Mike decided they didn't want to tour. They sort of pressured us. And, so the band was going to split up and at the time Keith was feeling that he'd taken The Nice as far as it would go.

"And he and I were on this stage during a soundcheck and so he was fumbling through this piece of....I can't remember what it was for the life of me, it was something - it was a jazz piece. And I played with him you know. "

Keith Emerson did confirm this jam at the Fillmore West in a 1972 press bio: "Greg was moving a bass line and I played the piano in back and Zap! It was there."

So after the soundcheck, we were both conscious of each other's position, and I think his manager, Tony Stratton-Smith, came over to me and said 'Can we talk about something personal?' And I said' Yeah', because I didn't want to carry on in King Crimson.

"I mean we had finished you know and so for me I was looking for a way to move on, musically, and there was Keith. And Keith was into a classical thing, me too - to some extent. He was a keyboard player and I'm a singer so.... it was a mutual need situation. We both needed something from each other to make a third person. So that was the basic embryo of the situation and then we obviously turned to the third member who was Carl Palmer."

The final live performance for the original King Crimson took place on December 16th., and the band returned home to the United Kingdom.

The band still had contractual obligations and Fripp was desperately trying to re-build King Crimson with Greg Lake still at the forefront.

"Bob wanted me to stay in the band and put a new line up together, but I wasn't prepared to carry on. I had already made up my mind to work with Keith Emerson, but I agreed to help him finish the second LP."

A tour booked for January and February had to be canceled because of the departure of McDonald and Giles, so Fripp and Lake returned to the studio, using other musicians.

The album was called "In The Wake Of Poseidon", and featured Lake singing on three tracks, including the single, "Cat Food."

(Both Michael Giles and Peter Giles also appeared, as did vocalist Gordon Haskell and sax player Mel Collins).

The album was released in March of 1970, and during the same month, King Crimson appeared on the BBC TV show, "Top Of The Pops", lip synching "Cat Food", with Greg Lake on an acoustic guitar. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Bruce Eder @ Allmusic
Emerson, Lake & Palmer were progressive rock's first supergroup. Greeted by the rock press and the public as something akin to conquering heroes, they succeeded in broadening the audience for progressive rock from hundreds of thousands into tens of millions of listeners, creating a major radio phenomenon as well. Their flamboyance on record and in the studio echoed the best work of the heavy metal bands of the era, proving that classical rockers could compete for that arena-scale audience. Over and above their own commercial success, the trio also paved the way for the success of such bands as Yes, who would become their chief rivals for much of the 1970s.

Keyboardist Keith Emerson planted the seeds of the group in late 1969 when his band the Nice shared a bill at the Fillmore West with King Crimson, an up-and-coming band that featured lead singer and bassist Greg Lake. Emerson and Lake first discussed the possibility of collaborating at that point, but only after the Crimson lineup began disintegrating during their first U.S. tour did he finally opt to leave the group (after agreeing to sing on the forthcoming Crimson album). Upon officially teaming in 1970, Emerson and Lake auditioned several drummers, including Mitch Mitchell, before they approached Carl Palmer, a former member of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown who later hooked up with bandmate Vincent Crane in an experimental band called Atomic Rooster.

The trio's first rehearsals mostly picked up from the Nice's and King Crimson's repertoires, including such well-known numbers as "Rondo" and "21st Century Schizoid Man." In August of 1970, even as they were working on the songs that would ultimately comprise their first album, ELP played its first show at the Plymouth Guildhall, just ahead of the Isle of Wight Festival in August of 1970. The group's self-titled debut album was finished the following month and released in November; an instant success, it rose to the Top Five in England and the Top 20 in America. The single "Lucky Man" also was a hit, and their stage act rapidly became the stuff of legend.

The recording of the second ELP album, 1971's Tarkus, tested their cohesiveness while stretching their sound in new directions. Emerson was interested in further exploiting the range of the Moog synthesizer, and had conceived of an extended suite built around an opening eruption of sound, while Palmer had come up with an unusual drum pattern that he was eager to use. When they tried to present their ideas to Lake, who had assumed the mantle of producer with the first album, however, he couldn't really grasp the piece. He balked, and arguments ensued, and for a time it looked as though there might be no second album.

The group eventually agreed to disagree about the proposed track: "Tarkus" became the title of the new album, and ultimately defined the ELP sound as most people understood it -- the song was loud and bombastic, somewhat gloomy in its lyrical tone, and exultant in its instrumental power. A descendant of "The Three Fates" and "Tank" from the first album, "Tarkus" was a much denser piece of music, featuring not only multiple overdubs of instruments but textures that ultimately proved very difficult to re-create on-stage. After Tarkus hit the number one spot on the English charts and reached the Top Ten in America, their March 21, 1971, concert at Newcastle City Hall -- featuring the group's adaptation of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" -- was recorded for release, and became another major hit.

It was eight months before ELP's next record, Trilogy, was released in July of 1972. In the interim, they toured extensively, and made it their business to cultivate the college audience that took most naturally to their work. With Trilogy, the partnership was back fully in balance, with each member taking an equal share of musical responsibility. Moreover, Lake never sang better, nor did the group ever sound more comfortable and laid-back; among the eight very solid numbers in a classical-rock vein, there was tucked a track that became virtually the band's signature tune, a version of Aaron Copland's Hoedown.

Such was the group's credibility that when it came time to record a version of the first movement of Alberto Ginastera's Piano Concerto No. 1 and the publisher denied them permission, they approached the composer himself, who fully approved and applauded the track that became "Tocatta" on Brain Salad Surgery, released in 1973 on their own record label, Manticore (named for one of the mythological creatures portrayed in "Tarkus"). Through Manticore, ELP also released material by Pete Sinfield and the Italian progressive rock band PFM; Sinfield's presence as a composer with Lake on Brain Salad Surgery helped strengthen one of the group's lingering weaknesses, its lyrics -- where Lake's use of language had always tended toward the pleasant but simplistic, Sinfield, a veteran of King Crimson, provided lyrical complexity nearly as daunting as the best of the group's music.

In the wake of this string of successes, ELP released a triple live album, Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends, in August of 1974, but their streak came to a halt with Works, an album that also marked the dissolution of the group sound. At the time, each member was feeling constrained by the presence of the others, and their inclination was to release a trio of solo albums; cooler heads prevailed, however, and they reasoned that none of their solo works would sell remotely as well as an ELP album. The result was Works, a double album released in March of 1977. The album consisted of three solo sides and a fourth side on which the group did two extended collaborative efforts, "Pirates" and "Fanfare for the Common Man." =>>>>>>>>>>>

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@ Classic Bands
Emerson, Lake and Palmer were one of rock and roll's earliest "supergroups" who were formed from members of three already successful bands, The Nice, King Crimson and Atomic Rooster.

The Nice had enjoyed several minor hits and were beginning to build a following in the United States, gaining attention for their wild stage show that was a showcase for keyboard wizard, Keith Emerson. King Crimson had risen to fame after their debut album "The Court Of The Crimson King" had caught on with underground rock lovers. The amazingly tight LP had brought the band from obscurity to a major concert attraction in the UK, Europe and America in just a few months.

In the summer and fall of 1969, the two groups shared the bill at two major concerts in England. Inner turmoil had already begun to tear King Crimson apart and Keith Emerson was feeling that he'd taken The Nice as far as it would go. During a sound check, King Crimson's bassist, Greg Lake began to jam with Keith Emerson. After some discussion, the pair came away with the feeling that it was time to move on from their current bands.

The final live performance for the original King Crimson took place on December 16th and the band returned home. The group still had contractual obligations and were desperately trying to re-build King Crimson with Greg Lake still at the forefront. Although he had already made up his mind to leave, Lake did stick around long enough to finish a second album, using studio musicians to fill in for band members who had already split. The album, called "In The Wake Of Poseidon" was released in March of 1970 and featured Lake singing on just three tracks. King Crimson made one final appearance on the BBC TV show, "Top Of The Pops" with Greg Lake on an acoustic guitar, later the same month.

Two weeks later, Britain's New Musical Express ran the headline: "Keith Emerson and Greg Lake to form new group", while the pair were busy holding auditions for a third member. Several drummers were considered, spoken to, or auditioned; among them were Coliseum's Jon Hiseman, Cream's Ginger Baker, as well as Mitch Mitchell from The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was Cream's manager, Robert Stigwood, who suggested Carl Palmer, a 20 year old drummer who had worked with Atomic Rooster and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. After a pair of auditions, Palmer was hired.

Although Emerson wanted to keep the project a keyboard-bass-drums trio, there were serious talks about adding Jimi Hendrix to the line up. A jam session was set up with Hendrix for late summer, 1970, but Jimi died before it came together. The rumours of the potential band with Hendrix did leak out to the British music press, who began running articles saying the band would be called "Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer" or HELP for short.

Before they even had an album out, the band began playing shows. Although most ELP fans believe their first gig was at the massive three day long Isle Of Wight Pop Music Festival on August 29th., the band has since revealed that their first gig actually took place six days earlier at a 3000 seat hall in Plymouth Guildhall. According to Lake, the band was paid $500. The show that ELP played at the Isle of Wight was spectacular. Keith Emerson played the Hammond organ, piano, and his custom Moog synthesizer. Since their first album had not yet been released, the audience was not familiar with their music, but responded with thunderous applause, nonetheless.

Although some critics, such as Melody Maker's Chris Welch, praised the band's early shows and its debut album, not everyone in the media was a fan. John Peel, a popular British DJ called ELP's performance at the Isle of Wight, "a tragic waste of time, talent and electricity."

The trio spent much of the summer of 1970 rehearsing and writing material for its debut album after signing with Island Records for Europe, and an Atlantic subsidiary, Cotillion Records, for the US. Recording commenced in July, 1970, with Lake producing. The resulting album, simply entitled "Emerson, Lake & Palmer", remains one of the most popular rock LPs of all time. It would be the album's final track, an acoustic / folk ballad called " Lucky Man" - penned solely by Lake - that would launch the group, bring Greg Lake's voice to the forefront of the pop music scene, and give the band its biggest hit. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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@ Articles from Friends Magazine Oct 2nd 1970
Emerson Lake and Palmer grooved onto the stage after an hour of watching their equipment being set up, looking so typically like Speakeasy hipsters it was painful. Why they chose to try so hard to look like superstars is a mystery , who are they trying to alienate themselves from ? Their music turned out to be technically brilliant , definitely the most proficient band IÕve seen in months , shades of King Crimson in the constructions of Greg Lake , neither good or bad as such, just similar. Emerson, not content with the organ , played two organs, a piano, electric piano and moog synthesiser ,sometimes simultaneously , always with his usual picturesque flair. The groups "piece de resistance "turned out to be a version of one of the finest classical compositions a I know, Mussorgsky's incredible "Pictures from an exhibition " . As their model they used Ravel's orchestration of the work and amongst any criticisms of their efforts it has to be noted that they performed on stage . the most convincing and excellent version of any classical piece that any rock band has ever done . Try listening to the Berlin Philharmonic doing the same piece and you'll probably see why in comparison ELPÕS version of "Pictures At An Exhibition " was, to me anyway , unconvincing . The finest orchestra in the world easily makes one of the finest bands in the world sound like a weak fart. As usual precise and faultless drumming from Carl Palmer . The clothes and aura of the band were less entertaining than their music , Pity. =>>>>>>>>>>>


Carl Palmer Helming New ELP, Asia Projects
Anni Layne @ Rolling Stone
Never mind the Y2K problem. In the year 2000, a more menacing threat may come from YELP -- as in "Why Emerson, Lake and Palmer?" Concern is just as foreboding with respect to Asia -- the other Carl Palmer band, not the continent -- as both groups plan to christen the new millennium with a fresh batch of art-rock. |

The reunited ELP, for one, began writing material for a new album this fall, immediately following their three-year international tour. So far, keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson has laid down a twenty-five minute tape of rough cuts that Palmer says he will work from during a creative brainstorming session in London this January. The new material, he says, is accented by strong melodies and elaborate instrumentation -- trademarks of classic ELP albums like 1971's Tarkus and 1973's Brain Salad Surgery.

"I feel that the band just needs more musical ideas collectively and individually. We need to stockpile," Palmer says of the album-in-progress. "Prog rock is a part of us, and we can't abandon that. But we have to move forward, too. We might have to look at doing something retro again, like appearing with an orchestra. Or we may have to look at new ways of presenting ourselves. Who knows, maybe a ballet." =>>>>>>>>>>>

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