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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Emerson Lake & Palmer picture
Emerson Lake & Palmer biography
Formed in London, UK in 1970 - Disbanded in 1979 - Regrouped between 1991-1998 - Reunited briefly in 2010

ELP revolutionized the 70's rock scene by introducing a new line-up format. This fact really mattered due to each musician's geniality and unlimited talent that, put together, generated a level of music never achieved by anybody else as of yet. All of the musicians came from established bands before joining forces together: Greg LAKE came from KING CRIMSON, Carl PALMER came from ATOMIC ROOSTER, and Keith EMERSON came from THE NICE.

They explored their capabilities to an extreme, even with the technology limitations of the early 70's, breaking ground, setting the new parameters for a new vein in the english pop music (at the time) which would be called progressive music. ELP released 10 outstanding albums during the 70's, and after a long break, they got back in the 90's with a new approach, but still making good music. In 1986 Cozy POWELL replaced PALMER and they put together EMERSON, LAKE and POWELL, a good effort as well.

They've pushed their ambitions over-the-edge. On "Tarkus" the title suite was an inventive and edgy suite revolving around jazzy textures. Their most popular album "Brain Salad Surgery", was their most grandiose and refined. Next, the more adventurous listener might try "Trilogy" or ELP's self-titled first album. In my opinion, these four albums form the core of ELP's best material. Other good ELP albums include "Pictures at an Exhibition", their provocative, fiery and intense take on a classical work. and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends", a triple-live album (now on double-CD) with some absolutely stunning playing.

2016 was a sad year for Prog fans, because Keith and Greg left us, Rest in Peace and thank you for everything

Being that some albums belong to a different band with only two members of ELP, we have to make this addition:

Emerson, Lake & Powell (Active between 1985-1986)

Emerson, Lake & Powell, often abbreviated to ELPowell, were an offshoot of a classic prog band Emerson, Lake & Pa...
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.23 | 2091 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
1970
4.06 | 1805 ratings
Tarkus
1971
4.13 | 1594 ratings
Trilogy
1972
4.13 | 1862 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
1973
2.93 | 757 ratings
Works Vol. 1
1977
2.44 | 628 ratings
Works Vol. 2
1977
2.08 | 671 ratings
Love Beach
1978
3.13 | 469 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
1986
2.84 | 468 ratings
Black Moon
1992
1.79 | 393 ratings
In The Hot Seat
1994

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 962 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
1971
4.26 | 559 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
1974
2.74 | 212 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
1979
2.94 | 161 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
1993
3.32 | 154 ratings
Works Live
1993
3.35 | 51 ratings
Emerson,Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour (AKA "Live")
1997
3.45 | 74 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
1997
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Poland
1998
2.76 | 70 ratings
Then And Now
1998
2.83 | 15 ratings
The Show That Never Ends
2001
4.07 | 36 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1
2001
3.73 | 31 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2
2001
3.28 | 23 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 3
2001
3.26 | 44 ratings
Live In Poland
2001
2.40 | 21 ratings
Best of the Bootlegs
2002
2.91 | 10 ratings
Lucky Man (Live) (Re-released as " Fanfare: The 1997 World Tour")
2002
3.72 | 20 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: Live In Concert - Lakeland Florida, 1986 (An official bootleg)
2003
3.14 | 16 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: The Sprocket Sessions (An Official Bootleg)
2003
2.43 | 13 ratings
The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2003
2.79 | 15 ratings
Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults, Vol. 4
2006
3.46 | 30 ratings
A Time And A Place
2010
2.64 | 43 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
2010
3.72 | 44 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
2011
4.21 | 60 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
2011
4.00 | 10 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
2012
1.27 | 3 ratings
Live in California 1974
2012
2.71 | 22 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
2013
3.29 | 7 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
2015
3.68 | 15 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
2015
3.10 | 2 ratings
Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972
2019

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.75 | 19 ratings
Welcome Back
1992
3.77 | 41 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD)
2001
3.56 | 86 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
2002
3.19 | 18 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
2003
4.57 | 34 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
2003
3.61 | 55 ratings
Live At Montreux 1997 (DVD)
2004
4.09 | 30 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Concert (DVD)
2004
3.83 | 75 ratings
Beyond The Beginning
2005
2.65 | 34 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2006
4.45 | 11 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.88 | 54 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
2011

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.38 | 68 ratings
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of ELP
1984
4.22 | 49 ratings
The Atlantic Years
1992
3.60 | 70 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1993
1.81 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
1994
3.89 | 37 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1994
1.52 | 13 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2000
2.61 | 15 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2001
3.48 | 14 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
2001
1.40 | 25 ratings
Re-Works
2003
3.72 | 13 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2004
3.67 | 12 ratings
An Introduction To... Emerson Lake & Palmer
2004
4.34 | 26 ratings
From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
2007
3.60 | 16 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2007
3.29 | 9 ratings
Come And See The Show: The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2008
2.16 | 10 ratings
High Voltage
2010
2.69 | 7 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2011
1.83 | 6 ratings
From the Beginning - The Best of ELP
2011
4.67 | 9 ratings
The Anthology
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lucky Man
2018
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Anthology (4LP)
2019

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 21 ratings
Lucky Man / Knife Edge
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
Stone of Years / Time and a Place
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
Nutrocker / The Great Gates of Kiev
1972
3.40 | 19 ratings
From the Beginning
1972
2.55 | 17 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
1973
4.11 | 38 ratings
Jerusalem
1973
3.10 | 12 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
1977
2.60 | 11 ratings
Tiger in a Spotlight / So Far to Fall
1977
3.35 | 17 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
1977
2.36 | 15 ratings
Canario
1978
4.13 | 10 ratings
Peter Gunn
1980
3.46 | 14 ratings
Touch and Go
1986
2.02 | 12 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.61 | 12 ratings
Black Moon
1992
4.25 | 4 ratings
Farewell to Arms (promo)
1992
1.89 | 8 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.75 | 4 ratings
Affairs Of The Heart (limited edition collectors doublepack)
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
Gone too Soon (promo)
1994
2.53 | 26 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
1995
4.50 | 10 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Moon - Rough Mixes (December 1991)
2017

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1862 ratings

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Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Mark-P

5 stars This is the 4th album from Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) released on 1973. The quintessence of this album (and I think of entire ELP catalogue) is the Karn Evil 9. This is an epic and powerful composition, consisting of 3 parts (called impressions) with nearly 30-minute duration. Not only the music that really defines what a progressive rock is, but the lyrics ? like many progressive musics ? is challenging to decode (extra works for audience like me without having English as mother tongue). For what I understood from several articles, Karn Evil 9 tells us a story about battle between human and artificial intelligence. The 3rd impression fortunately gives a lot of clue about this.

1st Impression: a powerful 13-minute show off of great musicianship of the trio. They work meticulously to create this composition. A short but dense example is the "..roll up! .. roll up!.." part, as if the bass, keyboard and drums are playfully teasing each others. The beginning of Part 2 is perhaps the most recognisable piece, with famous opening line "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends". 1st impression is my favourite ELP tracks, and I enjoy every version of this song being performed live in several albums.

2nd Impression: is a 7-minute colourful instrumental composition. Started with kind of fast pace jazzy piano tunes, and I feel a bit of African dance music in the middle. An interesting article offers a interpretation that this part depicts the machine preparing the overtaking of human control. 3rd Impression: how did ELP get the idea of human versus artificial intelligent at that time? I grew up with sci-fi movies with that kind of story so it is not too difficult to enjoy this part while imagining the struggle of mankind against machine. The song and sounds are perfectly fits this story-line. "I'm Perfect. Are You?" is the chilling closing phrase from the machine.

Two other tracks in this album adapt classical pieces. "Toccata" is an adaptation from Toccata Concertata (Piano Concerto No.1 Op 28) written by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. I think this piece has a kind of complexity that Keith Emerson fonds of. The ELP version is vibrant, with a bit of space rock sound. Anyway, it is said that Ginastera is happy with the way ELP adapt this piece, describing that Keith Emerson was able to catch the mood of the piece beautifully. "Jerusalem" is adapted from Hubert Parry's choral song of the same title. Not too many re- arrangements for this song.

"Still ... You Turn Me On" written by Greg Lake is a beautiful ballad song, kind of a nice short break for our brain among other complex tracks. Greg Lake's guitar work is very nice and in a excellent detail. Rolling Stones magazine lists this as one of ELP 10 Essential Songs (even without Carl Palmer on his drum).

"Benny the Bouncer": a nice ragtime piece. A background sound of bar-fight and breaking glass go well with the track's title. A lot of fun in this song.

I consider this album as one of Progressive Rock Icons, and one of album that shape my interest in progressive rock music. A lot of respect for this trio. May Greg Lake and Keith Emerson rest in peace.

 The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer  by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1980
2.38 | 68 ratings

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The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Review Nš 328

'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a compilation of Emerson, Lake & Palmer which was originally released in 1980. However, it was released a second version of this compilation in 1994 with the same name but with a different cover art. The original compilation has nine tracks and the second has fourteen tracks. The version I own a copy it's the first one, the version with only nine tracks. So, it's going to be the first one that will be the subject of my review here.

The first track 'Hoedown (Taken From Rodeo)' is from 'Trilogy'. The second track 'Lucky Man' is from 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer'. The third track 'Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression, Part 2)' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. 'Karn Evil 9' is a long piece with almost 30 minutes and is divided into four parts, the '1st Impression ' Part 1', the '1st Impression - Part 2', the '2nd Impression' and the '3rd Impression'. It was recorded the second part, the '1st Impression ' Part 2', with less than 5 minutes, the smallest part of that piece. The fourth track 'Jerusalem' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. The fifth track 'Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini)' is a version of a classic TV theme, an American private eye television series which aired from 1958 to 1961. It was never released on any of their albums. It was also released as a single in some countries. Frequently the band opened with this song on the 'Works Vol. 2' live tour. The sixth track 'Fanfare For The Common Man (Aaron Copland)' is from 'Works Vol. 1'. The seventh track 'Still'You Turn Me On' is from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. The eighth track 'Tiger In A Spotlight' is from 'Works Vol. 2'. The ninth track 'Trilogy' is from 'Trilogy'.

'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a very interesting compilation but it's also, at the same time, very strange too. The tracks were almost taken from three of their four best studio albums, which are, in my humble opinion, the three only studio masterpieces from the band, their eponymous debut studio album 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', their third studio album 'Trilogy' and their fourth studio album 'Brain Salad Surgery'. 'Tarkus' isn't, for me, truly a masterpiece as I wrote on my review about that album. It's an unbalanced album due to the differences between the two sides. The side one is a masterpiece but the other isn't, really. About the selection of tracks, the only song taken from 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer', 'Lucky Man', I've nothing negative to say about it. Of course there are other best tracks on that album, but 'Lucky Man' is a very good song, one of the best Lake's songs, and it suits very well on this compilation. Relatively to the selection of the songs taken from 'Trilogy', 'Hoedown' and 'Trilogy', both are excellent choices. 'Trilogy' is an excellent album where all songs are great. It's, in my humble opinion, the less pompous, the most complete, the most progressive, the most classic and the finest album from them. In relation to the songs taken from 'Brain Salad Surgery', 'Jerusalem' has an extraordinary musical arrangement of the classic British church hymn and represents a great musical moment on the album. So, it became an excellent choice. 'Still'You Turn Me On' is another Lake's good ballad in the same vein of 'Lucky Man'. I accept the selection of this song to this compilation because it represents one more great contribution of Lake and is a much better choice than 'Benny The Bouncer' would be. About 'Karn Evil 9', I can't agree with the option of their record label. 'Karn Evil 9' is a greatest epic from the band and it's also, for me, one of their two best pieces of music ever, with 'Tarkus'. So, I think it's completely unacceptable the cut of the piece only for commercial reasons. Relatively to the rest of the selection, they're all minor tracks compared with the others. However, 'Fanfare For The Common Man' is a great piece, one of the best pieces on 'Works Vol. 1'. The problem with it is that this is the single version, which means a short version, and not the complete original version, as it should be.

I must only to say one more thing. I suppose that as many of you, I love the cover art work of this compilation. It has an amazing Japanese ukiyo-e cover, commonly known as the Japanese print. It's a genre of woodcut and painting that flourished in Japan between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. I really must confess that I love it very much. However, that's really a pity that the content on this compilation doesn't can reflect the real quality of the cover art on it.

Conclusion: 'The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer' is a very difficult compilation to rate. It's a nice compilation with some excellent songs, in general. However, it has, in my opinion, a big problem. It's a collection of short tracks thought to be a good commercial deal without the concern to be the best representative compilation of the band's career until that moment. So, this is by no means a good selection of their best material, but somehow, maybe it can serve the purpose of quickly introducing the music of the band to someone who never heard them before, despite the selection of the tracks be far from being perfect. But honestly, and despite all I said before, I can see really no purpose on this kind of compilations since we are talking about a progressive rock band. Sincerely, I never was a great fan of compilations of progressive rock bands. Anyway, I guess that it's rather difficult to compile the music of this band on a compilation album. Still, there are some other compilations which are much better. So, I can only recommend this to completionists.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010) by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover DVD/Video, 2011
3.88 | 54 ratings

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40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by DerSenator

4 stars I was there, having flown over from the States for what I suspected was my last chance to see my teenage musical heroes on one stage. It was both deeply sad and deeply moving to see them reaching for past glory. There were a few transcendent moments; Emerson's piano soloing during Tarkus was unexpectedly fluid and melodic. The conclusion of Pictures at an Exhibition had the audience in a state of rapture. But the years were not kind, especially to the man who did more to establish prog as a genre than anyone else. The world's most dangerous synthesizer clearly got the best of him on this evening. Still, it turned me on. Just hearing those tones and textures and rhythms again was enough, even if the performance was nowhere near the standard they set at their peak.

By sheer coincidence I ran into Mr Emerson the next day walking around Soho. I told him that I had traveled all the way from Michigan to see them, and he could not have been more gracious or humble. He did not look well at all; in fact, he introduced the man he was with as his doctor. Avid followers will know that he had a serious health crisis not long after.

Not the coda to their remarkable career one would have hoped for, but if you were in attendance, i doubt you regretted it. Try to catch Carl Palmer if he comes to your area; his tribute to the legacy of ELP is quite an emotional experience.

 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 962 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

4 stars Review - #8 (Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition)

Pictures at an Exhibition is the bands first live album, on which they basically play a breathtaking 35 minute epic based of Russian composer Mussorgsky's Classic piece. However, as the band does, they decided to adopt it into a style of their own. The song was actually one of the first songs written by the band but was scrapped as a studio recording and instead became a live staple of the band. Thus, when deciding between releasing this album as a live or studio album they decided to go with the live route. In addition, the band are on top of their game. Carl Palmer's fantastic and speedy drum work is shown throughout the album, as well as Keith Emerson whose great keyboard playing matches with the Greg Lake's bass work and vocals.

"We're going to give you Pictures at an Exhibition..." The Album begins with Promenade Pt. 1 which is a theme that will be repeated throughout the album. Eventually, we get into The Gnome which perfectly displays the bands musical skill with Carl Palmer matching exactly with Kieth Emerson. Half way through Side A we get to The Sage, which has to be one of Greg Lake's best pieces. The lyrics combined with Greg Lake's beautiful voice and guitar work is really something to behold. The Old Castle shows off an electronic landscape with a top notch keyboard solo that goes into the next song, Blues Variation.

Side B begins Promenade Pt. 3 which reprises the past two Promenade parts. However, now we have some drums going along with it. Which continues to turn the Promenade them into something new and exciting. The Curse of Baba Yaga and The Hut of Baba Yaga are great instrumental tracks that have incredible skill and creativity woven throughout it, which can actually be said for the album as a whole. The Great Gates of Kiev ends the 35 minute epic perfectly. When you get to the middle of the song, you hear these other worldly sounds that come Kieth Emerson's keyboards. Those sounds were made with his classic stage craziness which he is known for. After assuming that the album is over, we are greeted with one last song. "Want some more music?" The Nutrocker, brilliantly brings an end to the album that contains some of the best music by the band.

This album seems to be a somewhat "forgotten" album by the band. Which is a shame since the music found on the album is something really to behold. There is so much creativity found here with making this classic Mussorgsky piece their own. However, it does have to be said that there are a few points in the album where some instruments are not perfectly timed. But, it also has to be said that these moments are few and far between. If you call yourself an Emerson Lake & Palmer fan and you haven't heard this album, do yourself a favor an check it out. An excellent album, by an excellent band!

Pictures at an Exhibition - 4.5/5

 Works Vol. 1 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.93 | 757 ratings

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Works Vol. 1
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by iluvmarillion

2 stars How to Save a Mess?

Back in the 1990's I used to take the freely available outtakes from the Beach Boys Smile sessions and arrange them in various different ways onto a CD to play back in the way I envisage the album was meant to unfold in the vision of Brian Wilson. The choral introduction of Our Prayer followed by the long version of Heroes and Villains was easy, but then came a jigsaw puzzle of piecing together the middle tracks through to the culmination of the seminal track Surf's Up to finish the album. Brian Wilson solved the puzzle himself when he released the Smile album under his own name around 2004.

Works doesn't command the legendary status of Smile but it does represent a watershed for the excesses of the Prog Rock movement which was being overtaken in popularity by Punk and New Wave.

Where it all went wrong I think was in its conception of giving each band member a side of music with the fourth side devoted to a band effort. Throw in a complete side of Keith Emerson music which is purely piano and orchestra and try to mesh it with acoustic Greg Lake numbers and a drum orchestral suite by Carl Palmer would be an impossible task for any record producer. Maybe it was a case of ego in combination with ambition, with the added anxiety of wanting to put out a studio album after a three-year absence, overriding common sense. The result actually isn't that bad. Musicians like Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer are incapable of producing sludge (even Love Beach has its moments).

So, this in my opinion is how the whole project could have been saved:

Opening track. Fanfare for the Common Man. This is a fantastic version of the Aaron Copeland and a favorite with ELP fans. Fast and jazzy with a catchy upbeat why was it hidden on side 4? It has to open the album.

Track 2. Piano Concerto. Keith Emerson's attempt at sonata form which sits with mainly 19th classical music. That's ok I guess because Keith is attempting something purely orchestral with piano. Trouble is even George Gershwin was dispensing with sonata form back in the 1920's. Bela Bartok was composing piano concertos in the early 20th century but they depart radically from anything before that period. I think inwardly Keith is a romantic who loves that period of symphonic music from mid to late 19th century and sees the pure orchestral form as a challenge reflecting his love of that period. If it was Gershwin it would be very jazzy and very American. That's not Keith. He turns to European late romantic 19th century. Whether he succeeds or not depends on your love of that period, your love of the symphony orchestra and your willingness to suspend your love of electronic form which led you to ELP in the first place.

Track 3. C'est La Vie. Greg Lake's song writing skills are never going to be a match for Ray Davies, Bob Fripp or David Bowie. Nevertheless, Greg has a voice to kill for, a beautiful guitar playing style and the sensibilities of building a song structure. C'est La Vie is a typical Lake acoustic ballad, a French flavor with the cliched piano accordion accompanying it and a beautiful orchestral arrangement. Ok, it not the most subtle composition Greg Lake ever wrote but it suits the romantic theme of the album.

Track 4. Pirates. Grand finale all guns firing, group effort here. Ok again, subtlety it isn't with cliched lyrics and a rousting theme, but the playing is superb and the orchestral arrangement is quite stirring.

I've deliberately left out side three which features a drum orchestral suite by Carl Palmer in which he offers a remake of Tank from their self-titled album and a reinvention of pieces of JS Bach and Prokofiev. As an added bonus you get to hear guitarist Joe Walsh on LA nights.

Verdict:

Two Stars for the original double album.

Three and a half to four stars for a reconstituted album stripped back to a single album size with my above suggested changes.

Fours stars for Carl Palmer's drum orchestral suite which is really the best thing on the Works album and deserved its own solo studio album.

 Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.13 | 469 ratings

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Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars In 1978, Emerson, Lake and Palmer released their trash hit 'Love Beach' posing on the cover like they were some kind of super models. Why it took 8 years to decide to bury that embarrassment, no one really knows, but suddenly, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake got the bug to do another album, so they went to Palmer to get him to join in with them. Unfortunately, Carl Palmer was contractually obligated by 'Asia' and was not available at the time, so the other two, not wanting to wait, went out to find another drummer. Their original intention was not necessarily to find any drummer whose name started with a 'P', but Cozy Powell ended up being the one to replace Palmer, and it was just convenient that the letters were the same. That's how it all started (and ended).

Emerson was still feeling a bit creative and brought along some ideas for longer tracks and things looked pretty positive about this realignment of the once classic prog trio. However, the chemistry wasn't there and the new band was missing a bit of the old enthusiasm. The album, on the surface, looked like it would start out good enough, with the 9 minute 'The Score'. The music was definitely blessed by Emerson's signature sound, and the music was complex enough that it could almost slide by as a late prog classic from the trio. When Lake's vocals come in, it almost sounds like a decent take off of 'Pirates', but the thing that is noticeable right from the outset is that Powell's style of drumming just doesn't mesh, or at least it doesn't carry the style of music that the original band was known for. Lake said that this line up just ended up being a completely different band, but that isn't quite true. What it ends up sounding like is a cheap imitation, almost, but not quite. It is still a bit salvageable, and it was definitely better than anything on the first side of 'Love Beach'.

With an opener as ambitious as 'The Score' it is easy to see why at least 2/3rds of the band felt it was ready for a comeback. At the time, I can see why they wanted to make the attempt without Palmer, but now, after the fact, it makes you wonder if it would have been better to wait and hold on to the song ideas. That would have been better that what resulted in the aftermath of this album ('3'). It sort of makes sense that a shorter song follows this, and 'Learning to Fly' is that song. It's not as interesting, of course, and it is definitely more commercial sounding, but it at least it balances out the 1st half of the album and it fits between the two longer songs of the album as the 7-minute 'The Miracle' follows. So, these two longer tracks looks good on paper, but by this time, the older fans were probably looking for an instrumental, or something more interesting. Even though the tempo is more moderate, things are sounding a bit too much alike, nothing is standing out, and the hopes of ELP fans everywhere are waning. Not even the heavy organ chords or the choir effects from the synths are enough to save this lyrically heavy song. All I could think of is 'When is Lake going to stop singing?'

'Touch and Go' turned out to be an appropriate single from the album. But mixed in with the rest of this album, it is just another mediocre track with a nice march rhythm that might feel great in an arena. When it was proven that Asia had found some success with prog dinosaurs doing anthem rockers, I suppose ELP thought they could do it too, and they might have been more gelled with the real 'P', not the substitute. It's not that Powell isn't a great drummer, it just doesn't work with this line up, but I'm not even sure if Palmer would have been enough to save this mediocre album. 'Love Blind' continues with the boring, commercial ELP music, more of the same. Finally, 'Step Aside' takes a break from the same sounding music, but it goes to a somewhat 'lounge jazz from Vegas' sound. It's good for a change, but not quite what you expected from ELP, but that's okay too. 'Lay Down Your Guns' might sound like the title of one of the bands cheesy, over-the-top, honky tonk songs, but it is actually more of a ballad, though it still has the cheesy aspect. Unfortunately, its not an emotional sounding ballad, which ELP used to pull those off, its mostly 'plastic' sounding. The album ends with the only instrumental on the album 'Mars, the Bringer of War', the token classical-turn-rock song based off of the same title that comes from Gustav Holst's 'The Planets'. This is Emerson's show piece for the album, however, Emerson was not certain that he wanted to even do it because he was afraid it would sound too much like 'Hooked on Classics' or something. It ends up being the most interesting thing about the album and also the one thing that is most like many of his instrumental works from the band's better days. Being over 7 minutes long, it, along with the opening song 'The Score' are the only real redeeming things about this mediocre album.

Some of the US and Japanese CDs had two bonus tracks, the first one being 'The Loco-motion', which is the band's symphonic take on the classic rock and roll song. It's kind of dumb, but in a charming way, you know, the way your old high school band used to be. 'Vacant Possession' is a moderate vocal song, again quite mediocre compared to their previous music.

This would be the only studio album this line-up would produce. Yes there have been some live albums surface as of late, but they were not originally meant to be released. Following this, the band would take another re-alignment, this time with Palmer coming back and Lake missing, being replaced by Robert Berry, and going under the moniker of '3'. It was also quite mediocre, if anything, even less interesting than this one. After that, the original line up would return for two more studio albums, but they would never return to their full glory of their pre-'Love Beach' days. There would be an occasional interesting track from time to time, but unfortunately, there would never be enough quality on any one album to actually sustain anything above mediocrity.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1805 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by PrimeReviewsMusic

4 stars Review - #5 (Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus)

Emerson Lake & Palmer's Tarkus is a tale of two half's. Half can be considered to be a masterpiece, and rightfully so. The other half can be considered to be dull, average music. Also rightfully so. Tarkus was released in 1971 following their 1970 European tour. The 20 minute Tarkus Suite actually caused tensions within the band to get so bad that Lake nearly left the group over it. But, one of the band's managers persuaded him to stay. (Probably some money was involved). Lake eventually came to see the work's value, and even contributed the Battlefield section on the Tarkus Suite.

The side long Tarkus Suite is a definitive masterpiece from start to finish. The song begins as Emerson's keyboard explodes onto the scene. The drums, keyboards, and bass all come together to make you feel like this is how a volcano would sound if it exploded while listening to some Progressive Rock. The band is able to combine instrumental passages with Lake's vocal passages in an incredible and satisfying way. From beginning to end, the band was able to create something truly amazing that is most likely their ultimate masterpiece.

Now, let's take a look at the Dark Side of The Tarkus... I know, hilarious. From the first song on Side B, Jeremy Bender, you know something has gone terribly wrong. How does an album go from the masterpiece of the Tarkus Suite to this? Sadly, the story doesn't change much for the rest of the songs. The only song that I would even consider recommending on Side B would be Bitch's Crystal which is pretty good. However the rest of the songs don't get much better then "not too bad".

This album is definitely an interesting one. If anything, it should be checked out for the side long Tarkus Suite alone, along with some bonus songs once your done. The Tarkus Suite in of itself makes this album as essential listen.

Tarkus - 4/5

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1594 ratings

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Trilogy
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Music is Forever

5 stars Perhaps ELP's ultimate masterpiece. "Trilogy" is where all the music elements and mega talent of each band member comes together for one fine album. Whether it's Keith Emerson's amazing keyboard solos, Greg Lake's splendid guitar work, or the hard drumming of Carl Palmer, they all gel together to create majestic prog while not losing their individual musical identities. Each track on "Trilogy" is a gem and a must listen for any serious progressive rock listener. While ELP's debut album is a little rough around the edges, their second album a bit overblown, the third album in it's entirety is simply magnificent in its musical compositions. It's hard to recommend just one or two songs since each song is superbly exceptional. A must have for fans of 70's classic prog.
 Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1974
4.26 | 559 ratings

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Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I'm of the opinion that while ELP cut a number of five-star tracks in their time, they never quite managed to produce the five-star studio album they had the potential to create. Their debut album, though a strong effort and perhaps their most consistent work, still finds their sound in the process of coming together and not quite gelling yet. The first side of Tarkus is their greatest ever work, but the second side had patchier quality control issue - with their tendency towards throwing in dreadful novelty songs beginning to rear its ugly head.

Trilogy was also marred by the comedy songs, whereas Brain Salad Surgery I regard as a bit of a disaster - individual songs on it have grown on me, but as an album, as a cohesive piece of work, it's a disaster - a set which captures the band straining in multiple essentially incompatible directions (including novelty tracks again, ugh) and with a hollow pomposity to proceedings which undermined even the better songs (mostly Jerusalem, Toccata and the first and third impressions of Karn Evil 9). In short, it was an album whose fatal flaw, to my ears, is that it lacks a balance point: the band are either mucking about with awful comedy tracks or taking things entirely too seriously without there being any middle ground.

Then, after that, you have Works - a two-album set where most people can find a few tracks they'll enjoy, but almost nobody would claim is perfection through and through - and then, after that, the nightmare landscape of Love Beach and the reunion albums beyond it. But rewind a little to the Brain Salad Surgery era, because whilst I still find the studio album bad as a studio album (though not unlistenably so - I'll put it on specifically when I want to laugh at it), we also have ELP's absolute best work in the form of this triple live album.

Like I said, my big problem with Brain Salad Surgery is that, after Tarkus briefly brought the different musical forces at work in ELP and got them pulling together in a distinctive direction on its title track, Brain Salad Surgery has them going at full speed in all different directions. Conversely, Welcome Back My Friends... manages the difficult task of encompassing all the dimensions of ELP whilst, amazingly, making it all work reasonably well together.

Arguably, the triple album format was essential to this; you need the space provided by the format to really let everything ELP bring to the table breathe. Another thing which helps is that the novelty songs are dialed back - they're represented by a medley of Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff, two of the more tolerable songs ELP did this vein, and at that point in the running order it makes a reasonable enough palette cleanser.

The other thing which makes the album work is that the live versions of the material here are absolute corkers. This is especially true of the two epics represented. Karn Evil 9's first and third impressions have an injection of raucous live energy which makes them feel less stilted and plastic than their studio incarnations; even the second impression makes a bit more sense in context, since the improvisations here go to somewhat darker places than the jazzy tinkling of the studio version, and we're already in the context of a live set where ample time elsewhere is set aside for Emerson to improvise on piano so it's less jarring in context. The version of Tarkus, meanwhile, is greatly expanded on the original, with even a detour into King Crimson's Epitaph partway through the story which actually makes a lot of sense in context.

The main downside of the original set was that the grand version of Tarkus presented there got split into two due to the limitations of vinyl sides - but thankfully, this is something the CD age can heal, so I'd actually recommend the quite decent 2CD remasters of the album over the original vinyl release.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1805 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by handwrist

4 stars Tarkus, the song, is one of the most iconic pieces in all of prog rock history and associated genres. One has only to take a listen to an orchestral rendition of the music to see how sophisticated this composition is. The trio of course performs it to perfection too.

The problem is that the album is not only Tarkus, side B. Most of those songs are forgetable, probably the most forgetable from their entire classic period. The only exception being Infinite Space, which is also a classic to my ears.

Jeremy Bender is horrendous. Bitches Crystal is uninspired fooling around.

The Only Way is musically cute (and borrowed), but the lyrics are distracting and sounds out of place in the album.

Inifite Space, as said, is great.

A time and a place is ok, but sounds almost like a rehash of Tarkus, or an earlier piece from which ideas were taken from. Maybe it would have made sense at the beginning of side B, but not now.

But then, we are treated to one of the most unintentionally stupid pieces of music ever written: Are you ready Eddy.

Some musicians can be funny with their music, without compromising the music or the humor, Zappa, Canterbury bands, but not ELP. This is their worst song, and I am including everything on the later albums as well.

Album organization was always a problem for ELP, which suggests to me their compositions resemble more the format of earlier composers, especially with Tarkus. In the modern album format, they were forced to add stuff to fill the time - Side B is, unfortunately, just that something.

Because of side B alone, this album does not take 5 stars. That's testament to the greatness of that one piece which gives the album its title.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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