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

THE BEST OF EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.37 | 50 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars Every certain number of years when ELP is not releasing new material or touring around the world, one of the several labels for whom ELP has worked gives us a compilation album made with almost no artistic criteria, it's only an easy way to gain some fresh money with a band that they believed probably would never be together again.

Lets see, in 1980 after they were forced by Rhino to perpetrate the horrible Love Beach, Atlantic Records releases The Best of Emerson Lake and Palmer.

In 1994 after the excellent Box Set The Return of the Manticore, Rhino Records (A label specialized in re-issues and compilations) attacks us with, "oh surprise" The Best of Emerson Lake and Palmer (Didn't even take the time to change the name).

A new Millennium is also a great opportunity to earn a few bucks, so Rhino in a "display of imagination" releases a new title, The Very Best of Emerson Lake and Palmer (A very similar selection to their previous 1994 release, with some different tracks but the same mistakes).

But what do all versions have in common? A terrible selection of songs that don't reflect the greatness and pomp of a band like ELP that represents one of the strong forces of Progressive Rock

Now to the issue, Atlantic's The Best of Emerson Lake and Palmer is a classic example of why I usually don't like compilations, the label hungry for fresh money takes a bunch of tracks with the only requisite that they fit the time format planned, and if not, they take a pair of scissors and cut the tape in the point they need.

Atlantic Records simply included songs from different stages or ELP eras that have no logic connection between them, trying to include some hits for the casual listener and a few challenging tracks for the more exigent fan and the only thing they get is a strange and distasteful mixture like a sandwich of cheese, avocado and grape marmalade (The ingredients are delicious but they don't go together).

But in this case even the order of the tracks is terrible, for example, Peter Gunn is a simple song which works as an excellent opener, but Atlantic decided to place it between the solemn Jerusalem and the pompous Fanfare for the Common Man.

Now, there's another issue that deserves comment, I always thought Fanfare for the Common Man was too long with it's almost ten minutes, probably 5 or 6 minutes would have been better, but to cut it after 2:45 minutes is too much, by art of magic Atlantic changed a semi epic into a very short track, far bellow the time average for an ELP track..

Of course Lucky Man and Still You Turn Me On are included, mainly because both are short and popular, not a bad choice at all, but seem out of place in this terrible mixture.

I will always ask myself, why Atlantic Records included the jazzy Tiger in a Spotlight from one of the weakest ELP albums in a "Best of" compilation? It's not popular, not even very good IMO, but the answer is simple, has the required length for the album.

Won't talk about Karn Evil 9 First Impression Part II because this small portion doesn't makes justice to the extraordinaire epic, one of the highest points in ELP's career.

Just before I threw away the album, Atlantic hits the center of the bull with Trilogy, one of the finest ELP tracks that represents the best of progressive rock, and even better, it's placed as the closer leaving a good taste in the soul of the listener.

So, if you like good music, get the original studio albums, if you like great live selections, you got Welcome Back My Friends. but don't buy this compilation, if you want to have the best of ELP, get The Return of The Manticore, that includes some rarities and never released versions, if you can't afford it but you want compilation, burn or tape your own selection from your original albums (it's legal BTW), I'm sure that will be done with better taste than this mediocre album.

Only two stars, but not because of the music, most tracks are near the status of masterpieces if played in their original albums, but because the distasteful way Atlantic Records selected, mutilated and mixed the tracks.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 2/5 |

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