I awoke to the news this morning that legendary Emerson, Lake and Palmer bassist/vocalist Greg Lake had passed away sometime during the evening before and what a terrible loss for music lovers worldwide this is. 2016 has been a cruel year for music fans with the likes of David Bowie, Glen Frey and even Keith Emerson himself leaving us and there were so many others that I have not listed. Greg Lake was something special to many and Progressive Rock fans first knew him well as being instrumental in the early years of King Crimson where he recorded “In The Court Of The Crimson King” along with many of its other notable tunes like “20th Century Schizoid Man” and “Epitaph”. Personally speaking I was not one of those who followed the Crimson stuff and first heard the golden melodies of his voice on the “Brain Salad Surgery” album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. My Dad had the album and its Giger cover fascinated me so as a younger lad that I began to play it over and over and over again. I was a fan of the band ever since and though I would follow them for many releases afterward I would never get to see them performing in concert. I had always wanted to and hoped that some sort of reunion/farewell would be mapped out but that thought ended when Keith passed and now we only have the countless albums and performances of their material in Carl Palmer’s project.
While I mentioned never seeing ELP in action, I did get to see Lake perform at a couple of special appearances and the first one was with Trans-Siberian Orchestra several years ago where he performed “Karn Evil 9” with them. It was outstanding for sure. Then there was a special invite only event to discuss his “Songs Of A Lifetime” appearances. That photo above was taken by me at the Gibson Guitar studios in NYC where Mr. Lake was doing that and also giving a demonstration of some guitars for select media and friends. It was an incredible experience hearing him perform songs like “Lucky Man” and “Jerusalem” in such a private setting. He even found the time to talk to all of the attendees and take photos with them. I remember thanking him for so many amazing songs which is something I was quite certain he had heard over and over for years. Speaking of the ELP songs, I’ve recently secured copies of the bands remasters and shall be starting to put up thoughts about each of them. Now its even more important to discuss their impact on music and the bands that followed them. Greg Lake was 69 years old at the time of his passing and it would be cancer that took him from us. We thank him for so many incredible musical contributions and for being a truly influential legend of a player and we wish his family, close friends and worldwide fanbase the deepest of condolences. Lake’s passing is a dark moment in Progressive Rock music history for sure. May you Rest In Peace Mr. Lake.
As in the past, this was not a memorial loaded with finer details outside of my own thoughts. All of that stuff is well penned in his Wikipedia entry and I encourage you to read and learn more about Greg Lake and celebrate his music going forward.