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Emerson Lake & Palmer - The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer  CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.39 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I could have picked better songs with big winter mittens on. Nothing from "Tarkus", "Pictures..", or the live "Welcome Back My Friends?" C'mon. The decision not to revisit "Love Beach" is understandable, but a lot of what makes the final cut here is fluff: "Hoedown", "Peter Gunn", "Tiger in a Spotlight". No wonder Blender's readers ranked ELP as the world's second-worst band in a September 2003 poll. (Incidentally, that poll was a lazy endeavor from the start, the sort of misery mongering that we can all do without.)

It's unlikely that ELP fans would write a similar roll call when the band's best work is accounted for. Listen to "Trilogy", "Jerusalem", "Lucky Man" and "Karn Evil 9". This is what draws the admiration of listeners, not the hollow-sweet novelties of "Peter Gunn" or "Fanfare for the Common Man". Choosing famous and infamous selections without discriminating between the two, "The Best of Emerson Lake & Palmer" trivializes the trio's accomplishments. By appropriating popular classics and processing them in their idiomatic way, ELP courted the contempt of listeners who felt that prog rock was the insolent upstart in the musical court, but on their albums this was usually balanced by breathtaking originals and ameliorative infusions of humor.

This compilation bypasses much of that genius and humor, leaving pomp and presumption to speak for the band's accomplishments. All in all, a baffling postscript to a noteworthy career. Both the 1994 Victory compilation (which bears the same name as this) and the 2000 Rhino release (The Very Best of.) slight fewer masterworks, and thus can be recommended over Atlantic's first draft (which went out of print in the '80s).

daveconn | 3/5 |


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