Progressive Rock Legend Keith Emerson Passes Away (1944-2016)

I’m really getting tired of these sort of announcements but alas there has been need to do it again for it was just making the rounds on the web that Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s legendary keyboardist/composer Keith Emerson had passed away. The master musician was 71 years old.

Photo - Keith Emerson

The announcement was made via the band’s Official Facebook page and official website and very simply reads….

“We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, aged 71. We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected”.

There’s far too much to note about the level of accomplished musician that Emerson was so I’ll just mention that I have personally been a fan of his work for many years now and actually am well into the third decade and closing in on the fourth. My Stepfather had a copy of “Brain Salad Surgery” in his record collection and while I didn’t hear this work at the time of its initial 1973 release (I think it was closer to 1979-90), it quickly became one of my very favorite albums based on the overall musical acrobatics being performed by Emerson and Palmer all over it. Sadly, I never got to witness ELP in concert nor see Emerson performing as a soloist and it was mostly due to the availability of those gigs in my overall life. ELP originally disbanded in 1979 and while they reformed some years later, the gigs for my part of the world were few and far between. Fortunately, the world of mass media has given us numerous albums and video releases to enjoy so many of us can relive the very classic years over and over in the comforts of our own home. Upon hearing the news about Keith’s passing I began spinning my “Essential Emerson, Lake and Palmer” to help me deal with yet another giant loss for the music world. The great thing about Emerson is that you always knew it was him based on his innovative and iconic sound. He was truly the master of any keyboard that he touched and his developments in composition with the creations of Dr. Moog inspired generations of players. On behalf of the PiercingMetal outlet, I send heartfelt condolences to Keith’s family, band mates, friends and worldwide fans. The great band in the sky has officially become a supergroup now that Emerson joins the likes of David Bowie, Chris Squire, Paul Kantner, Lemmy and so many other amazing talents. Each of them left us just a little too soon. Goodnight Mr. Emerson and thank you for the sounds that took us to realms previously uncharted.

UPDATE: Several hours after this memorial reflection went online it was disclosed that Emerson had died from a self-inflicted single gunshot wound to the head. Suicide. Reports state that a degenerative nerve disease in his hands had compromised his abilities and left him despondent. What a shame that he took this route as opposed to continuing to inspire the masses. It sucks learning this was the case.

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