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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


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greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is a compilation of excellent songs from their first albums: "Trilogy", "Brain salad surgery" and "Works Vol 1 & 2". Notice that the songs are short, so it is a good choice given this constraint. Nevertheless I do not agree with "Peter Gunn", a bland pop synth for the simple minded. "Lucky man" should not belong to the list; one must not take popular for best. This is a good LP for the beginner who looks for catchy and accessible songs, but it does not represent the whole work of ELP, which is also full of complex epic tracks.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#14574)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
daveconn
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).

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#14572)
Posted Saturday, April 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#14579)
Posted Sunday, March 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
rhaydon@ntlwo
4 stars This is really the bargain bucket compilation of ELP.Released pre CD it barely registers 40 minutes of music.If you get it on the cheap then go for it.It has the essential short tunes although exactly what Tiger In A Spotlight is doing here is anyone's guess.There are much better compilations available of course ('The Atlantic Years' would be my recommendation if you can find it) but this is perfectly serviceable as a starter for getting into ELP.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#14580)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This is by no means a good selection of their best materials, but it can serve purpose of quickly introducing the music of ELP to someone who never heard them before. Nothing more than that. The choice of songs is not quite representative without "Take a Pebble" or "C'est la Vie", or something from "Tarkus". Still, I don't mind listening even to such a truncated ELP career. Given the limitations of the LP format, many longer tracks would not fit in but if they have included at least "C'est la vie", it would have been 3 stars compilation for me.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#36865)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not one of the best ELP compilations around, but I have a soft spot for this one: it was my introduction to the ELP's world. And it served it's purpose perfectly: I'm a die-hard ELP fan now.

Of course, of course...the selection of the songs is far from perfect. This is showing the "catchier" and poppier side of ELP. The proggier tracks are "Hoedown", "Karn Evil 9" (just the First Impression Part 2 of course) and "Trilogy". The only lengthy track is "Trilogy", and there is not a single song from "Tarkus" masterpiece or any Keith's piano improvisations. And no sign of Mussorgsky.

Having that said, I still think that this is the ultimate young person's guide to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I'm almost glad that there is no tracks from "Tarkus": compilations can be a nice introduction, but they are usually distorting the listeners perception of the main artistic unit: an album. There is always enough time to discover "Pictures To An Exhibition".

ELP's two most omnipresent ballads are here, band's habit of adopting hymns is represented with "Jerusalem", and lighter, rocky aspect of the band could be found in "Tiger In The Spotlight", the track that is, in my opinion, much better that any Benny-Jeremy Bounders & Bouncers. "Peter Gunn" is a nice excerpt of ELP's live catalogue, sounding a little bit more modern (late seventies) than the rest of the compilation, because of use of multi-layered and polyphonic synths. Very expressive solo is rising an average song above average.

One more thing to be mentioned, the cover of the vinyl is awesome. If you have a chance, take a look at back side - it's lovely and funny.

This compilation can fully satisfy any newbie; but since it's just a compilation, it's not fulfilling the needs of an average ELP fan (or progressive rock fan), not to mention that it can't actually be compared to any of the key studio albums.

Three stars, well-deserved.

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Send comments to clarke2001 (BETA) | Report this review (#101679)
Posted Tuesday, December 05, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess it is difficult to compile ELP. Maybe a double album around "Tarkus" and "Karn Evil" (part one and three) could have been a great idea. But nothing as such here.

Very few great numbers. If you appreciate Lake acoustic ones, you will live with "Lucky Man" (which I like altough it has been very much criticized) and "Still...".

If you like their pompous style, I guess that "Jerusalem" will please you (as it pleases me). But frankly, to pick up the second movement of "Karn" must be a joke.

ELP must have quite a sense of humour because to feature "Tiger in a Spotlight" on a compilation is great fun! The useless "Fanfare" is reduced (as our supplice) to a mere three minutes. What a good idea !

So, the final track which I moderately appreciated on the according album is one of the highlight here. "Trilogy" being one of the only few songs to be welcome here.

Two stars for this useless compilation.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#124414)
Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the only ELP album I ever owned, I used to have it on vinyl A long time ago, and I loved it - played the tracks till they wore out. Truly fabulous - especially the Aaron Copeland tracks - hgihly skilful and impressive music. Not quite a masterpiece as it was a compilation, but I would recommend it if you are trying ELP for the first time - then you can decide what other albums to get.

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Send comments to PinkPangolin (BETA) | Report this review (#151302)
Posted Saturday, November 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I believe that legendary prog bands usually have songs with long duration which conceptually not possible to make it as compilation album. This happens for Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, ELP, etc. Not only that, sometimes the sequence of songs in the album does matter for me too. So, actually I do not buy the idea of having compilation from those bands. And, looking at the total duration this LP offers, it's just 38 minutes - much lesser than one LP could take (roughly 45 minutes). So, it's such a waste having this compilation.

However, I did purchase this compilation as well for two reasons. First, I really love the cover art work. Second, I purchased in cassette format with very affordable price. Once I have it, I rarely play it because of my BIG disappointment having Karn Evil 9 was taken in a very short duration. This is actually a masterpiece song by ELP but in a very long duration. What I also like is that Trilogy is being performed in its entirety. In fact this track is really good as an introduction to newbie.

I can only recommend this to those completionist. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#160028)
Posted Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Yes. I agree with some of the previous reviewers of this album: it is not easy to make compilations from Prog Rock bands that recorded long pieces of music like EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, YES and others. But I think that in 1980, the year that this "The Best of ELP" album was released, their record label (or labels?), with the band having split after the recording of the "Love Beach" album (which was more of a "Contract Obligation Album", as the band really wanted to split before having to record that album in 1978) still wanted to earn more money from some Prog bands like ELP. The record label, apart from "Love Beach", still released a live album in late 1979 called "In Concert" and this compilation was released a year later. Maybe these two post-split album releases were also "Contract Obligation Albums". I really don`t know.

Now, about the material included in this compilation:

Some of the musical pieces are not very Prog Rock songs, like "Lucky Man" and "Still... You Turn Me On" (both were very popular acoustic guitar ballads composed by Lake), "Peter Gunn" (composed by Heny Mancini and taken from the "In Concert" album, I think that the band played this song more as a joke to open their concerts during their last tours in the seventies) and "Tiger in a Spotlight" (a Rock and Roll song played with keyboards). The rest of the songs are more Prog Rock in style, so many fans from this band could be angry to find two of them in edited form ("Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Karn Evil (1st Impression - Part 2)" ). Yes, it was hard to make a compilation like this to please ELP fans, so I think that this album was released more for the casual listener or the new listener who wanted then to knew this band. But it is not a very good compilation for beginners, so...this album is not a very good representative of the Prog Rock music that this band created.

I think that this compilation is out of print, but maybe I`m wrong, but there is another album also titled "The Best of ELP" released in 1994 by other label with different cover art and tracks listing. It is better than this 1980 compilation, in my opinion.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#160071)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
1 stars I was staying with a friend's uncle for a weekend in Georgia and he generously gave me this compilation (as well as one of Yes and one of Fourplay). I already had one ELP compilation that contained essentially the same material (The Very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer- Ha!) , but who was I to turn down such munificence? This terse compilation (less than forty minutes worth of music) contains most of the obligatory radio hits (curiously missing, though, is the popular "From the Beginning"), and quite naturally omits the most delicious work from the band's 1970s career. Even with the time constraints LPs present, a far better collection of songs could have been put together without bothering with the epics- the album Tarkus isn't represented at all! What's more, three of the tracks are covers (two Aaron Copland and one Henry Mancini) and one is "Jerusalem" (not exactly an ELP original). Two songs are Greg Lake acoustic ditties. That leaves three original, genuinely progressive rock tracks where the three members are more or less equally represented, and one of those three is the jaunty "Tiger in a Spotlight." Including "Trilogy" is about the only thing the record company got right. So due to its brevity, even by vinyl standards, and the serious omissions, this compilation is not recommended, especially since there are far superior choices available (such as the aforementioned one, which is not only easier to find, but is also reasonably priced). Are there better compilations on the top shelf? Someone get me a ladder...

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#242560)
Posted Friday, October 02, 2009 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
1 stars Poor excuse for a compilation should be avoided at all costs.

I saw this compilation sitting in a bargain section of a second hand CD shop that I frequent often for about $10. With not a word of a lie it is still sitting in the same CD rack 3 years later, as it appears that the buying public are not stupid after all. It is not going to sell. The reason why is it commits no less than 5 unforgiveable ELP sins.

So they squeezed about 40 minutes of legendary symphonic proggers ELP and slapped a label on it, and a poor excuse for a cover, and called it "The Best of". The result is a hit and miss affair.

Hoedown (Taken from Rodeo) begins proceedings and it is OK to begin this compilation and not a bad choice in essence. Then we have the mandatory Lucky Man that everyone already has.

Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2) is here and it is criminally undercut to 4:48, which is sin number 1 as far as ELP goes. Jerusalem is next and I always liked this so no harm there.

Peter Gunn composed by Henry Mancini is another highlight and very well performed by the band. Fanfare For The Common Man (single version) follows and it is great when it is in full length or even half length but here we have the butchered length of 2:57 which is cardinal sin number 2. It is not worth hearing when it sounds like nothing more than the theme to TV reporting shows "World of Sports" or "Boating", to name 2 of the themes this ended up on in Australia.

Still... You Turn Me On is the other Lake ballad that ends up on many compilations but one ballad is sufficient for my ears. Tiger In A Spotlight is here from the awful years of ELP when so much more could have been included, so this is sin number 3.

Finally a masterpiece with Trilogy clocking 8:51 closes the album on a high note.

Sin number 4 is nothing from the legendary "Tarkus" is included.

Sin number 5 is Take A Pebble is missing, one of my favourites and The Barbarian would have helped too.

This is such a pedestrian release, really commercial and takes no risks, and this is also a sin for ELP, one of the most innovative non commercial acts in history. Listening to this lot one may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. It may introduce the odd alien out there who do not have any ELP albums but really this is an obsolete mess and should be avoided. I dare say the compilation will sit on the shelf in that store for another 3 years unless the price drops again. If you are looking for a compilation "The Ultimate Collection" 2 CD package is a must!

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#293860)
Posted Monday, August 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This LP was issued in 1980 and two or three years later it introduced me to the world of ELP. Of course you listen to ELP in different ways, depending if you are 14 or 34, if you own the whole back-catalogue or just this one album. So, of course it should have been double vinyl, of course the more complicated and impressive stuff was left out. Of course this compilation aimed for the blatant commercial success. Do you think that mattered to me in 1982? I have nostalgic feelings about this album, although my personal 2CD collection of ELP differs greatly. I simply loved the single version of Fanfare...

So whether this a successful introduction to ELP or a throwaway depends on the circumstances. Only when you know the back-catalogue you realize this compilation is a trivilization. For personal reasons I cannot rate this album less than 3 stars.

Favourite Tracks: Hoedown, Jerusalem, Peter Gunn, Fanfare for the Common Man, Trilogy.

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Send comments to strayfromatlantis (BETA) | Report this review (#295987)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This "best of" compilation is very strange in that it doesn't include any of ELP's best tracks. These are all of the band's most boring and unimportant tracks that act mostly as filler for their albums. It seems impressive, really, that someone would take time out of their day to put together such a collection. This compilation really isn't worth any amount of money, besides the cover being sort of interesting but not really fitting to ELP's style. It's almost like this albums was made by setting a playlist by random selection. Skip this and go for "The Essential ELP" instead.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431147)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Oh, I remember when this LP came out in 1980. It was odd. ELP was the least unfashionable band then. They were the treated as scapegoats for the Press at the time. For them they represented better than any other band "everything that was wrong in rock music at the mid 70´s" as critics always love to say before the "explosion" of their beloved punk rock bands. Well, ELP did made some excesses alright, but for the early 70´s they were truly great and innovative. And very succesful (critics hate succesful bands, did you notice?). Unfortunatly ELP did comit the awful Love Beach album by the end of decade, which did not help things in any way.

So why this compilation? The band was finished, the style dead and buried (at least for the main musical press) and progressive was a swear word. But the recording company still thought they could squeeze a few more bucks from the dead corpse, releasing this LP containing some of their most accessible stuff. Granted: for the time the selection was not that bad, but hardly representative. If they wanted their lighter tunes, where are their best selling singles From The Beginning and C´est La Vie? Several tracks here are great and had their importance for the band´s career, but as one might have guessed, they are also quite edited. There is barely 39 minutes of music in all.

So if you ever find this turd, avoid at all costs. If you want a good compilation, get 1994´s CD namesake, which has a far more thoughtful selection of tracks and gives a good overview of their classic period plus some other less popular, but equally good, material.

I´m giving it two stars for the quality of the band and songs themselves, but only for this reason. Not recommended to anyone.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#659734)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Making a "Greatest Hits" album for Emerson Lake and Palmer is a tough and near impossible task, and this 1980 release has only about 38 minutes of music, so even harder. I don not think they really picked the best ELP songs but I guess that is really not what a compilation album is really all about. Typical stuff like "Peter Gunn", "howdown", and "Lucky Man" are here, of course. But ELP was much better in their longer stuff like "Tarkus", "Take a Pebble", and the entire "Karn Evil 9". Here we just get a slice of "Karn Evil 9" running just under 5 minutes.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#749377)
Posted Saturday, May 05, 2012 | Review Permalink

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