beat. Add to this a high degree of theatrical sense (learned as a drummer for”The Crazy World of Arthur Brown”) and you had a musician whose skins were backed with fire.
Prior to joining Emerson and Lake, Palmer founded what, by all rights, should’ve been the premier rock band of the late Sixties, Atomic Rooster. Rooster (with Vincent Crane and Chris Farlowe) combined heavymetal and jazz with classical and a strong r&b base for one of the most exciting augers going. Unfortunately, record company disinterest and sporadic touring combined to limit Atomic Rooster to cult status and creative but commercially stiff records. (The best of which Made In England is worth looking for.)
And so the consensus was, when the three got together in 1970, that sparks were about to fly. They did not disappoint.
In quick succession Emerson, Lake and Palmer and its single offspring, “Lucky Man,” opened up new possibilities for the future of popular music fusion. The album ushered in a couple of new vistas for the group who had made a career of doing it first; as Emerson’s use of the Moog synthesizer and Palmer’s synthesized percussion were adventursome landmarks.
Tarkus, Pictures At An Exhibition and Brain Salad Surgery continued making inroads in sights and sounds as the group consistantly developed and refined their attitudes as musicians. Following a much hearalded appearance at The California Jam in 1974, E, L and P took two years off to recharge their creative cells and in 1977 have returned with Works Vol. 1, an album that’s an ode to creativity and individuality.
The appropriately titled album contains a side each of individual performances as well as a side where all hands join together for a highly advanced workout.
The Emerson side, aided by the London
Philharmonic Orchestra, highlights a classic journey into symphonic form that allows for technology and
pure emotion to meet in Keith’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.”
Lake’s penchant for romantic ballads is exercised to the fullest as his clear vocals and guitar playing form a mutual auger with orchestra and choir. This expansive, yet down to earth set, highpoints the distinctive shades of “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Closer to Believing.”
Palmer shows his dexterity with various genres as his percussion as valid instrument runs through such diverse areas as the rocking “L.A. Nights” and the big band remake of E, L and P’s classic “Tank.”
The group side returns to a classical situation as the band’s interpretation of Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” and the swift flight of “Pirates” make for complex yet readily identifiable music.
And so, in the name of hall of fame integrity, I have presented this rather extensive brief. Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
I rest my case.