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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 & Palmer with Cozy Powell taking over the drumming duites in place of Carl Palme...
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The AnthologyThe Anthology
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$11.86
$14.83 (used)
Trilogy / Deluxe EditiTrilogy / Deluxe Editi
R M 2016
$10.21
$16.48 (used)
Brain Salad SurgeryBrain Salad Surgery
R M 2016
$10.21
$16.48 (used)
Emerson Lake & PalmerEmerson Lake & Palmer
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$10.05
$11.47 (used)
TarkusTarkus
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$18.67
$10.25 (used)
ELP Live at the Nassau Coliseum '78ELP Live at the Nassau Coliseum '78
Imports 2014
$10.99
$12.59 (used)
TarkusTarkus
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$9.46
$11.47 (used)
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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 | 2021 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
1970
4.05 | 1750 ratings
Tarkus
1971
4.13 | 1550 ratings
Trilogy
1972
4.13 | 1812 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
1973
2.93 | 738 ratings
Works Vol. 1
1977
2.43 | 612 ratings
Works Vol. 2
1977
2.07 | 651 ratings
Love Beach
1978
3.13 | 456 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
1986
2.84 | 457 ratings
Black Moon
1992
1.79 | 377 ratings
In The Hot Seat
1994

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

3.86 | 943 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
1971
4.24 | 544 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
1974
2.74 | 209 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
1979
2.94 | 161 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
1993
3.33 | 153 ratings
Works Live
1993
3.36 | 51 ratings
Emerson,Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour (AKA "Live")
1997
3.44 | 73 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
1997
2.78 | 69 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
2.33 | 20 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
3.44 | 29 ratings
A Time And A Place
2010
2.61 | 42 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
2010
3.71 | 43 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
2011
4.22 | 60 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
2011
4.00 | 9 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
2012
1.27 | 3 ratings
Live in California 1974
2012
2.65 | 21 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
2013
3.29 | 7 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
2015
3.74 | 16 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
2015
3.00 | 1 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
3.55 | 84 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
2002
3.19 | 18 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
2003
4.57 | 33 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
2003
3.61 | 54 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
2.63 | 32 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2006
4.45 | 11 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.88 | 51 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
2011

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

2.40 | 67 ratings
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of ELP
1984
4.22 | 49 ratings
The Atlantic Years
1992
3.60 | 69 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1993
1.72 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
1994
3.88 | 37 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1994
1.45 | 12 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2000
2.58 | 14 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2001
3.44 | 13 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
2001
1.38 | 24 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
3.58 | 15 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2007
3.29 | 9 ratings
Come And See The Show: The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2008
2.11 | 9 ratings
High Voltage
2010
2.69 | 7 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2011
1.20 | 5 ratings
From the Beginning - The Best of ELP
2011
4.63 | 8 ratings
The Anthology
2016
0.00 | 0 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
3.40 | 19 ratings
From the Beginning
1972
4.11 | 38 ratings
Jerusalem
1973
2.55 | 17 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
1973
3.07 | 11 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
1977
2.52 | 10 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
1.96 | 11 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.53 | 11 ratings
Black Moon
1992
4.25 | 4 ratings
Farewell to Arms (promo)
1992
1.77 | 7 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
2.56 | 26 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
1995
4.38 | 8 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2002

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 943 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If, like me, you're of the opinion that part of the reason for ELP's downfall was that the band couldn't focus on a single musical direction but tried to accommodate too many incompatible musical ideas on the same album - leading to albums which presented a jumble of classical adaptations, original prog works, wistful ballads and dreadful comedy numbers which failed to hang together - then Pictures At An Exhibition might be one for you.

There's no gentle Greg Lake ballads here, and there's certainly no horrible comedy songs - the band are focused on adapting some old-school classical music to an electrified prog context, and they do so with gusto. A pretty excellent little exercise from before Emerson's rocking-the-classics schtick started to wear thin.

 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 943 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Published before "Trilogy", but recorded before the release of "Tarkus", "Pictures At An Exhibition" is a brave live album that introduced some rock listeners to classical music, however, to the test of history, judgment is merciless. The group performs four paintings of Musorgsky's composition (remember: all performed with piano solo, while Ravel made a beautiful orchestral transcription), along with three Promenades (walks), representing the visitor's journey along exposure.

The firsts three pieces, "Promenade", "The Gnome", "Promenade", are a strange mix between good inventions and pretentiousness but the result is quite bad, expecially the second Promenade, where Lake sings accompanied by the organ: it's almost embarassing. Rating 5,5/6.

The Sage, which Lake performed solo with the accompaniment of folk guitar is largely the best moment on Side A (rating 8).

"The Old Castle" and "Blues Variations" are repetetive, they're exercise of pure virtuosity without inspiration. (rating 5).

Side 2 opens with "Promenade" theme on the piano, played by the whole trio. Not bad.

The sequence, inspired by Musorgskij's opera, "The Hut Of Baba Yaga" - "The Curse Of Baba Yaga (with addictional vocals by Lake)" - "The Hut Of Baba Yaga" is emblematic of Emerson's ability to distort a musical motif of classical music to turn it into a powerful hard-rock piece, as happens in this case, which accelerates and exaspifies the melody of the original opera, with an almost punky sewer. There are some good passages, but overall the sequence suffers from Palmer's excessive sound saturation and intrusive drumming. Rating 6,5.

"The Great Gates Of Kiev", arranged by Lake, is the cover of the ending of Musorgskij' Pictures At An Exibhition. The effort is big, the result it's pretty good, although Lake struggles to sing the melody and is forced to growl certain notes. The structure of the piece however is well studied. Rating 7,5.

"The End - Nutrocker", inspired by Tchaikovskij, is embarassing, trivial, ridicolous. I think I've rarely heard something worse than this contextual to prog music. Rating 4+.

The concert offers few good pieces: those where Lake dominates and adapts the melody to his voice, especially "The Sage". For the rest, the adaptation of Musorgsky's opera to rock music succeeds only in the main theme and in little else. The excessive virtuosity of Emerson and Palmer produces uninspired music that takes refuge in very forced hard rock rhythms and and sometimes embarassing pieces.

Rating: 6,5. Two Stars.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 1750 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A few months after their debut album, EL&P churned out their most famous Lp, "Tarkus", released in January 1971 and containing a suite, "Tarkus" precisely, that lasts the entire first side (almost 21 minutes): again EL&P are confirmed as precursors of prog ( few before June 1971 had already made a suite that would last all one side: perhaps only King Crimson with Lizard) and in fact their ability to reinvent cultured music, turning it into jazzed hard rock, and now, with Tarkus, the ability to produce a suite written by Emerson's keyboards, it was fondamental in the development of progressive rock. In addition, with this suite EL&P build a mythological story around a monstrous animal-machine, which will then become their symbol thanks to the design of the cover.

Side A. After a first instrumental, pyrotechnic, hyperfast movement, which acts as an overture, begins the second, beautiful, thanks mainly to the voice of Lake, which remains the strong point of the formation, then takes a short instrumental passage of Emerson that leads towards a new melody, however, which soon breaks up to give the group the opportunity to make a hard rock passage with electric guitar and overflowing drums. Around the 11th minute, the fifth movement, also hyperfast and instrumental, begins. So far the suite has not had any time to breathe. It's impressive how many musical notes EL&P grinds, they almost seem like a writer who, in order to prove his greatness, has to write the world's longest book in a short time. The instrumental piece, in fact an exercise in virtuosity, ends early and gives the baton to Lake's voice for Buttlefield (written by him) which almost always has a relaxing effect for the group. Lake seems the only hippie, while the other two of the musical machine species. This piece, in fact, restores a certain harmony to a composition that seemed dictated by performance anxiety. The final piece, unfortunately, at a pace, and driven by little atmospheric synths, is perhaps the worst of the suite, and describes the escape of the monster Tarkus after the defeat. Just before the end, the initial theme is taken up and pumped beyond measure.

This suite is good for the compositional effort but is not a masterpiece that, compared to "Lizard" (KC) that precedes it, and "Plague" (VDGG) that follows it, disfigures for lack of memorable melody and for atmosphere and creativity. It remains virtuosity and good compositional ability and, most of all, good pleasure to listen to it. Rating SIDE A: 7.5/8.

SIDE B "Jeremy Bender" is a very short song, retro honk tonk style, cute, resembling some vaudeville pieces by Paul McCarteny, only that here lacks a whole sound, and a real unfolding. Rating 5.

"Bitches Crystal" has a hyperfast rhythm, basic is a boogie, which prosergue becomes more and more frantic and hard rock, with Lake forced to shout. Rating 6.5.

"The Only Way" is brave for Lake's text, which professes an atheism that believes in humanity by quoting the 6 million Jews who were victims of the Holocaust, and all with Emerson's church organ in the background. The song is suitable for a musical, very narrated. Rating 7,5/8

"Infinite Space" is a pedantic exercise, rating 6.

"A time and a place" is a short song, three minutes, is perhaps the only song with a sound in line with the first front of the album, it is a very forced hard rock, where again Lake finds himself forced to shout. Vote 6+.

"Are You Ready Eddy" is yet another retro song, this is a Jerry Lee Lewis-style rock and roll, short, smooth, perhaps the most casual of the side. Rating 7.

Rating side B: 6,5.

It's an album that suffers for the diversity between side A and B, which are actually little assimilated. While the A-side is very well-groomed for the Tarkus suite, the second seems ragged, putting together, often retro short songs that are a step back from the sound and song form they were experiencing already on the previous album. Lake's voice is not enough to revive the LP's fortunes. Overall, the qualitalist level is similar to the previous Lp, which is more whole coese album, while this Lp can boast the compositional effort of Tarkus.

Rating album 7+; Three stars.

 Emerson Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.23 | 2021 ratings

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Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After finishing the Nice experience, Keith Emerson joins the great drummer Carl Palmer, the excellent singer and bassist Greg Lake, and founds Emerson, Lake & Palmer, a group that since the name highlights the three singularities of the artists who are part of it, and who there will be some three soloists playing together. Their first Lp, definitely one of the most important in the history of symphonic progressive rock, is qualitatively controversial, let's see why.

1) "The Barbarian". First instrumental song inspired by Bartok's Allegro Barbaric, it starts as a heavy metal piece, then Emerson gives vent to his virtuosity, and Palmer tends to overdoing, then comes a piece played by the piano more adhering to Bartok's original, then the heavy metal sound returns for the ending, that is too pompous. Beautiful reimagining, never monotonous, just a little repetitive and bombastic in some passages. Rating 7.5/8.

2) "Take A Pebble". Acoustic ballad written by Lake, with country inflections, where Lake sings up to 2'30''; then comes a long instrumental piece of very nice pastoral atmosphere, dictated by Lake's guitar; then at about 6'30' is Emerson's piano to lead, joined by Palmer's drums towards 8'30'. At that point the song becomes prolish and jazzy. Lake's voice returns at 11'20'' and restores balance. It's the best piece on the album, the one and only masterpiece. Rating 8.5.

3) "Knife-Edge". Hard-rock song, with a good aggressive beginning, quotes Janacek with the organ in the instrumental part. Repetetive in the ending. Good but not excellent. Rating 7+.

End of Side A.

Side B begins with a mini-suite in three movements: "The Three Fates", written by Emerson. A solemn beginning with the organ, then the piano arrives and the song improves; finally Palmer arrives, the song becomes jazzy and pedantic, too percussive and obsessively repetitive. It's a piece with some good ideas, especially in the middle, but overall it is not quite successful, the listening isn't very pleasent. Rating 6.5.

"Tank" is another instrumental track led by Emerson and Palmer, more unpredictable than the previous one but also more spoiled by the style exercises played by Palmer and Emerson: decidedly the weakest piece (euphemism) of the album, which with the last two tracks has dropped dramatically in quality after the promising start (the first two songs). Ratin 5+.

With "Lucky Man" fortunately Lake brings the music back to more relaxed atmospheres. Simple and linear piece, less beautiful than the second, progressive only in the arrangement. Emerson buns in the ending. Rating 7+.

Qualitatively, this Lp is a long way from the masterpiece: this album can keep up with the best of 1970 only for the first two pieces, then otherwise it's mediocre. Rating 7+ (average 7,08); Three poor stars. If there weren't the first two pieces, it would take two stars.

 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1812 ratings

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Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

2 stars There's an impressive amount of talent here, both in the performances and the arrangements. Other than a best-of CD, Brain Salad Surgery is the only Emerson, Lake and Palmer album I own (I'm reviewing the 2014 remaster). So my impression of the group is based on a limited sample, although Brain Salad Surgery isn't a departure from the other ELP works I've heard.

As a musical act, Emerson, Lake and Palmer is based on a piano-led jazz trio with occasional vocals. Nearly all of the time, the keyboards are front and center. Since there are just three instruments, the drums are more important than they would be in a larger combo. The bass is a supporting instrument whose role is often to expand the dynamic range, not to add tonality. Works for me. But the bassist/singer and the drummer also get their names on the marquee, and that seems to have created a need to alter the framework of the trio. Drummer Carl Palmer needs a solo every so often, and Greg Lake should get a vocal showcase. Right?

Of course, all three of the musicians here are excellent. But as the keyboardist, Keith Emerson is by far the best suited to be the main instrumentalist - - and Brain Salad Surgery works reasonably well when the bass and drums are there to support the keyboards. Although I wish more of the album was structured this way, my main complaint is not the musicianship or the arrangements.

The issue to me is the quality of the compositions. It seems like the group had a shortage of ideas when they entered the studio to record Brain Salad Surgery. Thus, they adapted a hymn and a piano concerto to account for about ten minutes of runtime, stretched 'Karn Evil 9' to nearly half an hour, and wrote two other songs whose brevity might excuse their lack of inspiration. The compositions do have their bright spots; for example, parts of 'Karn Evil 9, First Impression, Part 1' are very good.

But to me, Brain Salad Surgery is three bona fide stars of progressive rock demonstrating their chops - - and in the case of Keith Emerson, displaying his skills as an arranger. To employ a cliché, there's plenty of style here, but not enough substance.

 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1812 ratings

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Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars To me it seems like almost every big classic prog band from the 70s had that one album in which they pushed their ambitions far beyond anything else to create something truly grandiose and excessive. Genesis had The Lamb, Yes had Tales From Topographic Oceans, King Crimson had... well, most of their output, and Emerson Lake and Palmer had this album, Brain Salad Surgery. To be honest, while this definitely has more qualities of excess than previous works, I do find this to be much less of a drastic jump than what many other bands had, although a lot of that comes down to how bombastic this band already was. Despite the fact that Brain Salad Surgery does in fact attempt to take on even more ambitious concepts, I do feel as if just with a lot of this band's output, even from their prime, that the execution ends up being somewhat off.

The first issue I have with the album is the mixed grab bag that the first 4 tracks are, ranging so drastically not only in tone and style, but in terms of quality as well. While Jerusalem is no doubt an incredibly powerful sounding song, some impact is taken away by the fact that this is simply a rendition of an actual hymn, and does feel kinda dull by the end, despite its very short length. Toccata on the other hand is likely one of the band's best remakes of a preexisting song, showing their more avant garde tendencies to create a track that both sounds extremely dense, and also relatively empty at other points, in either case being the clear highlight of the first 4 songs. Other aspects of this song that impress me are the only Carl Palmer drum solo that doesn't bore me to tears, and the gradual build up from there, starting off quietly with bells ringing, and eventually sounding like the soundtrack to a crisis ona spaceship, the various synths sounding like an array of alarms, all signalling imminent danger. Still... You Turn Me On isn't bad, but I find it to be a fairly mediocre love song all things considered, Lucky Man is still their crowning achievement in terms of ballads for sure. Benny The Bouncer is the most overtly ridiculous joke song in an Emerson Lake And Palmer album, but it also manages to be the most enjoyable, being the only one that I actually find to be amusing in any way whatsoever, the extremely goofy ragtime sound crossing the line twice, becoming so on the nose that it manages to be entertaining.

The biggest issue I have with this album, despite the fact that it's definitely not the worst part of it, is that fact that I just cannot even consider Karn Evil 9 a proper epic, it's just a collection of extremely energetic prog songs that turn up every element of the band to their absolute peak, but honestly, they don't even try and make this a proper epic in any way other than possibly lyrics, not even having proper transitions between each movement. I also feel as if there is a disparity in quality between these sections. With this said, the entirety of the first movement is the greatest thing ever written by the band, and is definitely a major highlight of classic prog all together. The energy present here is utterly astounding, and what makes this even better is the relative lack of unnecessary instrumental breaks that can disrupt the flow of the song, most of them sticking to the central themes established. Despite the fact that the song has a combined length of over 12 minutes, I also find this to be amazingly catchy,especially with the keyboard melodies throughout being as good as they are. There really isn't a best part to this song, as every moment in it is near flawless, but the second half once the pace increases really highlights the playful nature of these tracks, with a lot of smaller moments such as a brief moment of silence to highlight a particular vocal line, the occasional insane drum fills just thrown in, and a brief moment of dramatically increased temp, all coming together to make a near flawless song brimming with energy, character and charm. The second movement unfortunately is a large step down from the previous song, being entirely instrumental and taking on a distinctly jazz approach. While the song does indeed display incredible skill from Keith Emerson, with his frenetic piano playing that jumps around to an insane degree, quite a bit of it ends up feeling less spectacular than what it feels like it should, although there are occasional moments of absolute greatness within, especially when the drumming is briefly accentuated, revealing more of the energy that the first impression had so much of. The worst aspect of this by far is quiet middle section, as it goes absolutely nowhere and pointlessly extends this track by about 3 minutes. The third movement is somewhat better, although I personally couldn't really get behind the extremely anthemic nature of this one for some reason, although the robotic voice strongly reminiscient of a Dalek was definitely a great touch. This song is uplifting and powerful for sure, but to me it's just missing something, not quite sure what, but whatever it is does stop it from being the impactful masterpiece that felt so close to hitting, and instead just being an all around decent prog song, but nothing truly mind blowing.

All in all, this was a very difficult album to solidify my feelings on, as there are some truly incredible moments to be foud here, but then there are others that either feel ill conceived or poorly executed, such as the fact that Karn Evil 9 just sounds like 3 loosely connected songs, with 1 of them being an utter masterpiece, one being great and just not for me, and one that I find to be incredibly flawed and more an exercise in technical playing rather than composition. The first half is mostly forgettable, with only Toccata really being a song that I wholeheartedly recommend, although it's another absolutely incredible one. I still personally believe that Emerson, Lake and Palmer's best album is Trilogy, as the band works far better when their excess is kept more in check, but certain moments of this definitely surpass it, despite the fuk package being one I can't always wholeheartedly enjoy.

Best songs: Toccata, Karn Evil 9 First Impression

Weakest songs: Jerusalem, Still... You Turn Me On

Verdict: This is Emerson, Lake and Palmer at their creative peak, it's just unfortunate that their songwriting didn't always match up to these grandiose concepts. If you are a big fan of this band, you'll definitely get a massive kick out of this, but I personally found a lot of elements that didn't work particularly well, despite portions of this being astounding.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 1750 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars After the success of their first studio album and tour, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer had to come up with something that would imprint itself into everyone's mind so that critics and fans would know they were more than just another supergroup. One of the biggest complaints of the debut album was that it wasn't concise enough and uneven, even though the performances were amazing. Personally, I love their debut album and the variety of sounds and use of dynamics. However, for this 2nd album, the band was a bit uncertain which path they wanted to take. Emerson, being classically trained and a lover of classical styles loved experimenting with that, but he also agreed with Frank Zappa that music didn't need to have meters. It was just too hard for them to understand why they had to fit their music into these organized bars. This was the direction that Emerson wanted to follow for this 2nd album.

Palmer was also leaning in the more progressive direction too, and even though Emerson and Palmer were both working independently in their own homes during the initial stages of this album, they were both coincidentally working with complex rhythmic ideas, so they were able to mesh their styles into a singular direction, and so it was pretty much decided at that point that the band would go into a full-fledged progressive style, at least with the album's centerpiece composition. In the initial stages of the musical creation of this song, Emerson was inspired by Frank Zappa and Albero Ginastera. Albero is the classical composer from Argentina that originally wrote the piano concerto that 'Toccata' (from 'Brain Salad Surgery') was based on. Emerson said that there was no plagiarism of any kind in the music, but there was a nod to Prokofiev in the opening movement of what would be known as the 'Tarkus' suite.

Finally, Emerson presented the almost finished composition to Lake, who immediately hated it. In fact, Lake almost left the group at that point because he felt the composition was pointless and had no direction. The record company talked Lake into staying, but Emerson had to think of subject matter for the piece so that Lake could write the lyrics. The interesting thing about all of this is how Emerson finally got the idea for the subject of 'Tarkus' after seeing the artwork of William Neal, who had just dropped off some of his artwork. Emerson was impressed with the armadillo on tank tracks and finally came up with the name 'Tarkus'. The concept was to be about the power that is sought by warmongers. The subsections were going to be about the different creatures that Tarkus fought and finally killed which would end with the death of Tarkus from one of those mutated creatures, the Manticore, who would sting Tarkus in the eye. Lake was finally sold on the concept because he liked the idea of it being an anti-war message and even wrote the 'Battlefield' section as his contribution to the centerpiece of the album. Thus 'Tarkus' was born.

The album is divided into two sections, with the first section being the first side of the album with 'Tarkus' taking up the entire first side and lasting almost 21 minutes. This 7 part suite starts up with the instrumental 'Eruption' which, as mentioned earlier, has a short section inspired by Prokofiev. This depicts the volcanic eruption that would produce Tarkus' egg. This section produces the familiar theme played by the various keyboards with the usual complex drumming and basswork done by Palmer and Lake respectively. The meter is, of course, non-standard, but it mostly follows a 10 / 8 pattern. The second section 'Stones of Years' begins when the music settles down and Lake's vocals begin. This tells of the voyage of Tarkus to meet his first enemy. The spider-like creature is represented by Emerson's staccato notes and the tempo speeds up to represent the fight and Tarkus' winning of this first battle before the vocal returns. 'Iconoclast' is another instrumental, again with complex drumming and rhythms, dark keys. This movement represents the 2nd battle of Tarkus, this time with a pterodactyl like war mutant. The fourth movement is 'Mass' as Lake's vocals start again and represents the 3rd battle, this time with a lizard / grasshopper / rocket launcher. Again, Tarkus is the victor. It is also full of religious undertones and a developing melody that gets extremely intense by the end. 'Manticore' is the final enemy and the one that finally kills off Tarkus. This battle is represented by an instrumental clash of the Tarkus main theme and the separate Manticore theme. 'Battlefield' is the section solely written by Lake and features a rare electric guitar solo by him. Lake has said it was inspired by the song 'Epitaph' that he cowrote and sung while with King Crimson. 'Aquatarkus' is the last movement based on a march based on the theme from Battlefield. Aquatarkus is the creature created by the dead body of Tarkus, or maybe another morphing of the creature born from the water, and this is represented by the sudden reappearance of the original Tarkus theme after the march section fades.

The overall feel of 'Tarkus' is chaotic with the melding of several themes throughout the track. It can be hard to listen to, especially in the first listenings when one is not familiar with the story or the multiple themes. The music is complex and thick, but when divided up into it's respective parts, and having the story explained, then the layers of music and complexity start to peel back and make more sense. It is quite an undertaking and it is definitely the center piece of the album. The remainder of the album is made up of short tracks that make up side 2.

'Jeremy Bender' is a honky-tonk style track with the subject ELP would come back with several times throughout their time together. 'Bitches Crystal' is more complex after the style of their more rock style similar to 'Knife's Edge'. The song features a lot of fast piano passages. 'The Only Way (Hymn)' uses themes from Bach's 'Toccata in F' and 'Prelude and Fugue VI' played on top of each other on an organ to give it a cathedral type feel. The lyrics are more anti-religious, which was also a theme Lake used a lot. Both Emerson and Palmer thought it was a bit too harsh, but left it the way it was. If you really listen to the lyrics, you will see what I mean.

The next track is 'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' written by Palmer. This one is a piano and drums led instrumental with alternating meters and the best track on this side of the album. 'A Time and a Place' returns to the heavier progressive rock sound that sounds similar to the theme on 'Living Sin' from the 'Trilogy' album. 'Are You Ready, Eddy?' is inspired by the 1956 song 'The Girl Can't Help It' by Bobby Troup and retains the 50's rock n roll style. This track closed the original album and according to Emerson, it was an impromptu song celebrating the completion of work on the album. The Japanese version of the 2010 SHM-CD reissue included another track 'Prelude and Fugue' which was written around the same time and previously only available on the 'Return of the Manticore' box set. It is a piano solo of a composition by Friedrich Guida, very difficult to play because of it's many thematic lines, performed amazingly by Emerson, of course.

On the 2012 remix edition of the album, there were three additional bonus tracks that were recorded during the same sessions and previously unreleased. First is 'Oh, My Father' written by Lake. It is a slow and pensive piano ballad with Lake's lyrics and vocals. There is a sparse use of drums and acoustic guitar. There is also a choral effect and a electric guitar solo in the middle. It's a nice track that could have easily been a single. 'Unknown Ballad' is written by Emerson with vocals. I am guessing it is Emerson singing because it definitely is not Lake, though he might be involved in the harmonies. It is a simple piano ballad. The last bonus track is an alternate take of 'Mass', the 4th movement of 'Tarkus'. It is a bit sparser than the original and seems a bit unfinished.

For many, this album would be their favorite ELP album. I don't agree so much because I don't like the unrelenting feel of the over-the-top bombastic feel of the title track. Though I have come to appreciate it and the genius behind it, I still have a hard time with it, just like I have a hard time with the 'Karn Evil' suite from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. I tend to like the ELP albums of the 70s that were less bombastic like the debut album, 'Trilogy' and the 'Works' albums, not because they are less progressive, but because they are not so flashy. Strangely enough, this always seems to be the case for me with ELP, and I don't necessarily recommend Tarkus as an album for beginning listeners for the band. Nevertheless, there is no argument that Tarkus is an amazing composition. But I am unable to give the album more than 4 stars; 3 stars for side 2 and 4 stars for the Tarkus suite but tipping the scales in favor for the album because of the complexity (not the bombast) of the track.

 Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 2019
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars This album, released on colored vinyl by Manticore/BMG for Record Store Day 2019, appears to be more of a collectors item than a carefully crafted live release.

It appears to be a sound board recording, with the bass a bit too far out front, and the keyboards a tad too faint. The entire sound level on the records is very low as well, making me think this was just slapped together by some record company people trying to make a few extra buck without much effort.

Nonetheless, it is a far better recording than the bootleg sets the band put out some years ago.

Tarkus is the highlight of this album. Emerson plays fair amount of riffs that don't appear in later performances, when the band seemed to settle in to nearly note-for-note identical performances in show after show.

The second side of the album is the Take A Pebble/Lucky Man medley with the piano improvisation that was a concert staple of the band. The piano improv is essentially the same as on Welcome Back..., but does vary more than most of the other recordings of this that I have heard.

Pictures at an Exhibition is another highlight, although it is the truncated version that ELP used throughout the rest of their career.

And a side-long version of Rondo, now correctly titled Blue Rondo A La Turk, giving Dave Brubeck his due credit.

This was a great performance, and if the record company made an effort to adjust the sound levels, it might be a 4-star recording, or better.

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1550 ratings

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Trilogy
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars To me, Emerson, Lake and Palmer's album Trilogy was an attempt to curb to their enthusiasmafter the ambitious undertaking of Tarkus, providing much more restrained, polished songs while also maintaining some ambition and bombast from Tarkus, making a perfect middle ground betweem the two albums. This is definitely my favourite album by the band, as the issues that the previous albums had have been fixed for the most part, with much more focus on songwriting rather than showing off talent while also maintaining focus throughout the album. Just like previous efforts, there is still great focus on making an energetic, fun experience, except this time I feel they execute it extremely well without any major problems. One thing that I have noticed in this album is that many sections seem to take strong inspiration from certain other symphonic prog bands of the time, especially Genesis and Yes.

The Endless Enigma is definitely one of the highlights of the album, a 3 part suite switching between hyperactive instrumentation and melodic power with what feels like some Genesis inspiration, including Greg Lake at times sounding quite similar to Peter Gabriel, especially during the rising crescendo of a chorus. The song overall has an extremely powerful, grandiose tone to it that I feel is rarely matched by the band, or many other classic prog bands at all for that matter, and find this to easily be one of the greatest songs by the band, with the varied percussion and frantic piano in Fugue to add an additional layer of depth to it. The album continues going strong with my favourite slow song by the band, From The Beginning, which begins sounding extremely similar to the intro of Roundabout before developing into a relaxed beat with various kinds of percussion, as Greg Lake's wonderfully nuanced voice carries the listener along smoothly, with this being such a wonderfully relaxing song. On the other hand, the album is far from a quiet one, after all, it's ELP, with an extreme amount of energy being released in one of their best classical reimaginings, Hoedown. This is without a doubt one of the most entertaining songs the band has put out, constantly keeping the amazing, fast pace and high energy of the song and displaying the extent of Keith Emerson's keyboard playing. My favourite part is easily once various melodies begin crossing over one another in the final half minute of the song, fully displaying the insanity capable of the band. Trilogy is another song split up into multiple sections, although this time not in any way other than compositionally, with no different section names or the like. I personally don't find this song to be quite up to the same level of the previous ones, but it is still quite an impressive song. Living Sin is a surprisingly dark sounding piece, with a much lower, more foreboding tone of voice used by Lake, while still maintaining his charm. While the song is more simplistic than others here, that isn't an issue when it is made up for immensely through just how enjoyable it is.

The album does unfortunately have two songs in which I am not particularly keen on, those being The Sheriff, which has a similar ragtime feel to Jeremy Bender, albeit better in this case, but not by enough to elevate it beyond mediocrity, and Abaddon's Bolero. WHile I love the idea behind this song, taking the inspiration of the Bolero by creating an ever crescendoing instrumental, I don't find it to be particularly interesting beyond the fact that it sounds like an intense war march. While these two songs don't dampen the experience by an extreme degree, I do still find them to be somewhat disappointing, especially The Sheriff, which didn't have the benefit of being interesting in concept.

Despite a couple of more minor flaws, I find this to be Emerson, Lake and Palmer's best work, being highly consistent and polished all the way through with very minor flaws for the most part. I also like the fact that in many respects, this is a far more restrained approach to the band's songwriting, with far fewer moments of pure bombast and excess, embracing the more subtle side of songwriting to write some truly unforgettable tracks. This is where I'd recommend newcomers of the band to start off, as it's more refined and subtle than previous albums and seems like a much easier entry point into the band.

Best songs: The Endless Enigma, From The Beginning, Hoedown

Weakest songs: The Sheriff, Abaddon's Bolero

Verdict: A more refined, subtle album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer that displays increased maturity, leading to a more well rounded album. Definitely my favourite by the band and an ideal starting point for those interested.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 1750 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars When it comes to my enjoyment of an album, I need consistency in order to want to listen to it, I want a more complete listening experience in which everything fits together cohesively, not necessarily a concept album, but something that feels properly planned out and conceived. This is a big reason why Emerson Lake and Palmer's Tarkus fails so miserably, it doesn't matter how great your side long epic is guys, the rest of the material sucks and greatly drags everything down. While I found their debut album to be quite rough around the edged with a lack of polish and tight songwriting causing to to be much less enjoyable than it could have been, this album feels more like an ill conceived mess, with a single good song in its entirety.

To be fair, this one good song happens to be Tarkus, so it's not as if this album is completely worthless, as despite the fact that I don't find this quite as good as other epics of around the time such as Supper's Ready, Plague of Lighthouse Keepers and Close To The Edge, this is nonetheless an excellent track all the way through. One aspect I really love about this song is how it manages to control the bombast and relentless desire for showing off, making for a technically impressive song that doesn't go overboard with wandering jams, instead moving between each section seamlessly, with a strong jazzy tinge to Keith Emerson's playing. Furthermore, the song has a great progression to it, continuously switching between quiet, beautiful moments, and chaotic, bombastic instrumental sections that sound like an off kilter war march in certain respects, especially in terms of the wailing moog. One of my favourite moments of the song is definitely Mass, which is just so wonderfully groovy and energetic, building up to a drum solo that impresses me every time, which is balanced out by continuing to push the melody and rhythm, stopping the isolated, dull feeling that the drum solo of Tank created. Honestly, this is one of ELP's crowning achievements, being able to create a 20 minute epic without a single moment of filler.

The unfortunate thing is that after this absolutely monumental track, the rest of the album is without a doubt extremely painful to listen to. For one, most of the songs are quite generic, with barely anything of interest to be found at all. At the very least, both Bitches Crystal and The Only Way (Hymn) feel like there was an effort made in them, although the latter, while somewhat nice to listen to, is extremely boring, although the church organ and the way it picks up at the end stops it from being bad. The former feels rushed with parts that feel unnecessary, like, in such a bombastic, insane song, there is no need for the quieter moments, it's Emerson, Lake and Palmer, excess is everywhere and in spades, so I find it annoying that a time where this could be used to their advantage ends up being wasted. Time and a Place and Infinite Space (Conclusion) are both songs I have very little to say about, as they are simply beyond dull and unneccesary, further damaging an album that is already slipping. The final nail in the coffin is that this album has not one, but two comedic songs in them, both of which are awful. Jeremy Bender employs a sort of ragtime style to a very simple melody, and it's just really bad all around, especially since it comes straight after Tarkus. Are You Ready Eddy on the other hand is nothing short of utter garbage, and definitely one of the most unbearable songs the band has ever put out, trying to take a more classic rock and roll approach, but falling on their face so embarrassingly with every step. Furthermore, this is the song the album closes off on, leaving a sour taste in my mouth afterwards.

Honestly, if the band decided to maintain the same kind of magic and focus as Tarkus displayed, I think I'd absolutely adore this album, but as it stands, it's by far my least favourite of the peak of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's career. It's amazing just how different in quality the two halves of this album are, and just how obnoxious and bad I find the second half, making me treat this album as a single, 20 minute track instead most of the time, as I just have no desire to listen to it in full. If not for the masterpiece of the first half, this would be an easy 1 star, but I'll rate it 2, since I can't call this album good, but would be horribly wrong to completely write it off.

Best tracks: Tarkus, which is definitely a high point in the band's meterial

Weakest tracks: While the second side is all bad, Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddy stand out immensely in this category

Verdict: An uneven mess of an album with its first side being incredible, but it's second side being borderline unlistenable. I only relistened to anything the second side had to offer in order to be able to give this a fair review.

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

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