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Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Genre:Classical, Rock

Most Popular Songs (more)

1Karn Evil #9 lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2The Sheriff lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
3Jerusalem lyrics
Greg Lake feat. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
4Battlefield lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
5Piano Concerto No. 1, 2nd Movement: Andante Molto Cantabile lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
6Better Days lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
7Take a Pebble (Including Still... You Turn Me On and Lucky Man) lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
8The End lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
9Bullfrog lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
10Honky Tonk Train Blues lyrics
Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Most Popular Albums (more)

1Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
3Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
5In the hot seat
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
6Works Volume 1
Emerson, Lake & Palmer


Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock supergroup formed in London in 1970. The band consisted of keyboardist Keith Emerson, singer, bassist, and producer Greg Lake, and drummer and percussionist Carl Palmer. With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 48 million records sold worldwide, they were one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s, with a musical sound including adaptations of classical music with jazz and symphonic rock elements, dominated by Emerson's flamboyant use of the Hammond organ, Moog synthesizer, and piano (although Lake wrote several acoustic songs for the group).

After forming in early 1970, the band came to prominence following their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970. In their first year, the group signed with Atlantic Records and released Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970) and Tarkus (1971), both of which reached the United Kingdom top five. The band's success continued with Pictures at an Exhibition (1971), Trilogy (1972), and Brain Salad Surgery (1973). After a three-year break, Emerson, Lake & Palmer released Works Volume 1 (1977) and Works Volume 2 (1977) which began their decline in popularity. After Love Beach (1978), the group disbanded in 1979.

The band reformed partially in the 1980s with Emerson, Lake & Powell featuring Cozy Powell in place of Palmer. Robert Berry then replaced Lake, forming 3. In 1991, the original trio reformed and released two more albums, Black Moon (1992) and In the Hot Seat (1994), and toured at various times between 1992 and 1998. Their final performance took place in 2010 at the High Voltage Festival in London to commemorate the band's 40th anniversary. Both Emerson and Lake died in 2016, leaving Palmer as the only surviving member of the band.

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake met in December 1969 when Emerson's then band The Nice and Lake's band King Crimson co-headlined a series of concerts at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. Emerson was looking to form a new band, and Lake wished to leave King Crimson. During a sound check before one of the shows, Emerson described the first time he and Lake played together: "Greg was moving a bass line and I played the piano in back and Zap! It was there." The pair had met twice before in England in 1969 when the Nice and King Crimson performed at the Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton and Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

When Emerson and Lake decided to form a new group, they initially approached drummer Mitch Mitchell who was at a loose end following the break-up of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell suggested a jam session take place with himself, Lake, Emerson and Hendrix; though the session never took place, it caused the press to report rumours of a planned but abandoned supergroup named HELP, an acronym for "Hendrix Emerson Lake Palmer", which Lake debunked in 2012. The two then hired a studio by Soho Square and began to audition new drummers. After several unsuccessful try-outs, Emerson was close to searching in America before he asked his manager Tony Stratton-Smith for names of good drummers, who suggested Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster and previously, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Palmer accepted the invitation and jammed to a blues shuffle and enjoyed the chemistry, but expressed his wish to stay in Atomic Rooster as they were still in their infancy and had attained success in Europe. He soon received a call from Lake's management asking to reconsider; after several weeks of further sessions, Palmer agreed to join. Triton was a group name that Emerson said "was buzzing around" for a little while, but they settled upon Emerson, Lake & Palmer to remove the focus on Emerson as the most famous of the three, and to ensure that they were not called the "new Nice".

After a series of rehearsals at Island Studios in Notting Hill, the band formed a live set featuring "The Barbarian", an arrangement of the piano suite Allegro barbaro by Béla Bartók, "Rondo", an arrangement of the jazz standard "Blue Rondo à la Turk" by Dave Brubeck that Emerson had recorded with the Nice, an arrangement of "Nutrocker" as an encore, and a rock adaptation of Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky that Emerson wished to do after seeing it performed with an orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London when he was in the Nice. He bought a copy of the score, and Lake and Palmer agreed to adapt it. Their first live gig as Emerson, Lake & Palmer followed at Plymouth Guildhall on 23 August 1970, supported by local band Earth. They travelled to the venue in a transit van previously owned by fellow progressive rock band Yes, and were paid around £400 for the gig. A small venue situated outside London was deliberately chosen in case the concert was a failure, but the concert was well received. Their second gig took place on 29 August with a set at the Isle of Wight Festival which was attended by an estimated 600,000 people and drew considerable attention from the public and music press. At the end of Pictures at an Exhibition, the band fired two cannons that Emerson had tested in a field near Heathrow Airport.

The success of the group's debut led to a recording contract with Island Records, an English label which had an American distribution deal with Cotillion Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic, itself owned by Ahmet Ertegun. Emerson believed that Ertegun agreed to take the band on "because we could sell out 20,000-seaters before we even had a record out. That was enough for him to think that a lot of people would go out and buy the record when it did come out."

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer

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