Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 1991 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Emerson Lake & Palmer's eponymous debut hit the world in 1970 and started what would become a fruitful, yet at times trying relationship among these three talented musicians. Labeled as a supergroup at the time, and although unfortunate that they never got the chance to explore the incorporation of Jimi Hendrix into the group due to his unfortunate death, that supergroup label stuck with them ever since, even during their dismal return in the 1990s. It was well deserved nonetheless.

Although the talent was there, much of the material off their debut was mostly solo-related. The only song where all three received credits was on the opening track The Barbarian. Lake was responsible for both ballads, Take a Pebble and Lucky Man. The latter track was originally recorded to fill leftover space on the record at the request of the record company. It was actually penned by Lake as a teenager, not well received by either Emerson or Palmer, and featured a one-take, improvised Moog solo at the end by Emerson. It became one of the band's biggest hits and a concert favorite.

Carl Palmer is showcased on Tank where he shows off his virtuoso drumming style. The remaining tracks are Emerson's contributions. Incorporation of classical influences is easily noticeable with references to Bartók, Janáček, and Bach. In fact, many of these inspired pieces were note-for-note extractions placed inside a rock music setting, something Emerson is most noteworthy for. Original or not, it made for some interesting listening showcasing some beautifully played symphonic prog rock with many complex time signatures.

My biggest issue with ELP is that each of their albums seems to have a couple of what seem to be unnecessary tracks just thrown in like they were there to fill up the space, maybe even precursors to what we all know as bonus tracks these days. For me, they tend to be the ballads and acoustic numbers written by Lake. When you have someone pounding away on the keyboards like a madman, although sloppy at times, and follow it up with a sleepy lullaby, the unevenness is glaring. Sometimes that can be put to good effect, but not here nor in any other ELP album that features this flaw. Furthermore, just from hearing these differences in style between Lake and Emerson on their very first album clearly shows the personality conflicts that would erupt between them for many years to come.

An excellent debut with a perfect marriage of classical and complex rock, but with some flaws like the Lake filler and a question of being slightly unoriginal. Clearly very pretentious, but we all like that about ELP, don't we? Definitely a worthwhile purchase and easily worth four stars.

progaardvark | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMERSON LAKE & PALMER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives