Appearances by Todd Rundgren, Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel), David Sancious, Thijs Van Leer (Focus), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre) and more!
Los Angeles, CA – 2016 has been nicknamed “The Year The Music Died” as it saw the passing of such musical giants as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen (not to mention George Michael, Leon Russell and Alan Vega of Suicide, among many others). Two more names that should absolutely be mentioned in the same breath as these legendary figures are keyboardist Keith Emerson & singer/songwriter/bassist Greg Lake both of whom passed away in 2016 and both of whom had a massive impact on modern rock music not only collectively as part of the brilliant Emerson, Lake & Palmer but individually as well with Emerson as part of pioneering English prog band The Nice and Lake as a founding member of juggernaut King Crimson.
Now a pantheon of well-respected musicians, vocalists and performers have come together, under the watchful ear of highly celebrated producer Billy Sherwood, to offer new interpretations of some of the best loved songs from the careers of these two towering figures of prog rock. From King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man” to ELP’s incredible “Karn Evil #9” and of course the mainstream hit single “Lucky Man,” A Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake offers a fresh and comprehensive look into some of the 20th century’s most daring compositions re-imagined by a the likes of Todd Rundgren, Larry Fast (Peter Gabriel), Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash), Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Geoff Downes (Yes/Asia), Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre), and Arthur Brown plus a very special performance from Emerson’s son Aaron & grandson Ethan!
Producer Billy Sherwood shares his thoughts about the project, saying “The music these guys created is timeless. And is there for future generations to discover. I’m honored to be a part of this project which displays an amazing collection of songs as well as artists contributing to the record. I think fans of the original will appreciate the attention to detail, love and care that went into the production of this project.”
A Tribute To Keith Emerson & Greg Lake will be available starting April 10 on both digital, CD and vinyl (limited edition ORANGE) courtesy of Purple Pyramid Records, a division of Cleopatra Records, Inc.
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man feat. Todd Rundgren & Brian Auger 2. A Time And A Place feat. Leslie Hunt & Derek Sherinian 3. The Sheriff feat. Billy Sherwood & David Sancious 4. C’est La Vie feat. Jon Davison & Larry Fast 5. From The Beginning feat. Thijs Van Leer & John Wesley 6. Hoedown feat. Patrick Moraz 7. Still…YouTurn Me On feat. Sonja Kristina & Steve Porcaro 8. Lucky Man feat. Martin Turner & Geoff Downes 9. Fanfare For The Common Man feat. Aaron & Ethan Emerson 10. Karn Evil #9 1st Impression Part 2 feat. Arthur Brown & Jordan Rudess BONUS TRACK [CD ONLY] 11. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – ELP Suite: Tarkus / From The Beginning / Tarkus (Reprise)
Produced by Greg Lake! Limited edition 1000 paper sleeve CD and 500 gatefolds colored audiophile vinyl!
Italy – Much to the excitement of Greg Lake & ELP fans worldwide, Annie Barbazza & Max Repetti are releasing MOONCHILD – A deep journey into the music and poetry of Greg Lake! To be issued as Limited edition 1000 paper-sleeve CD (MAN002) and 500 gatefolds colored audiophile vinyl (MANLP002) on Manticore Records on May 18, 2018, this album marks Greg Lake’s final production before his passing on December 7, 2016.
“Amongst the many projects Greg Lake and I planned for Manticore was the re-arranging of his favorite songs in a black and white, contemporary way. A sort of back to the bone, vocals and guitar setting, as simple as that. I remember Greg became an advocate of the new ‘less is more’ concept and he often reminded us that ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’
“As we went further into the project, we soon discovered that an acoustic guitar could be fine for some tunes, but not suitable for others; so Greg decided we should go for piano and vocals and asked me to look for a talented piano player. I knew Max Repetti who I considered to be the perfect pianist for Greg. Apart from the fact that he had the entire ELP songbook in his repertoire, he is a very able musician. The audition lasted just a few minutes in a countryside restaurant on an upright piano which had seen better days, slightly out of tune, where Repetti dared to propose a medley of ‘The Stones Of Years,’ from ‘Tarkus,’ and ‘Take a Pebble.’ Greg was so delighted that he immediately asked Max to arrange for him a list of tunes he intended to put on the album that we called ‘Moonchild,’ after one of our favorite early songs.
“Sadly, in early 2014 Greg called me with the very worst news. Shortly after that, he decided to ask his young friend and talented singer and musician Annie Barbazza to take his place and carry on his legacy with this album. He patiently trained Annie using all the available technology to keep him up to date with our progress, while continuing to work with Max Repetti and me on the arrangements and production. We all spoke on Skype several times a week to ensure this project matched his standard of perfectionism and musical integrity.
“When Greg was awarded with an honorary degree for lyrics and music composition by Conservatorio Nicolini in January 2016, he was already too ill to attend the ceremony in person. I decided to surprise him by having Annie and Max perform his music on his behalf in front of the dignitaries. Greg was attending via Skype and you may listen to his encouraging comments on Greg Lake’s Official Channel on Youtube. He was so happy with the results that he pushed even harder for Annie to improve her skills as a singer. Annie Barbazza and Max Repetti performed Moonchild again at a sold-out concert for Greg’s last birthday on November 10, 2016. As Greg wanted, we will keep the flame alive by playing his music. So this is for you, Grande Gregorio wherever you are. May your music resound forever in our hearts.” – Max Marchini
Greg Lake, Annie Barbazza
“Annie and Max recorded such a wonderful and touching tribute to the music I have made during my lifetime. Max’s arrangements are absolutely superb! What a magical touch he has and Annie’s vocals are at the same time beautiful, brave and heartfelt. It is a very moving experience for me to hear them perform these songs so passionately.” – Greg Lake, 2016
01. In The Court of the Crimson King – 21st Century
02. Trilogy – The Endless Enigma part II
04. The Stones Of Years – Take A Pebble
05. C’est La Vie
06. Battlefield including Epitaph
07. Karn Evil 9 1st impression, part 2
08. Memories Of An Officer And A Gentleman
09. In The Wake Of Poseidon
10. Lucky Man
11. The Sage / The Great Gates Of Kiev
Gregory Stuart ‘Greg’ Lake – (November, 10th, 1947 – December , 7th, 2016)
Label: Island Records Release Year: 1972 Country: United Kingdom Genre: Progressive Rock
Keith Emerson – Hammond organ C3/Steinway Piano/Moog Synthesiser III-C/Mini-Moog Model D/Zurna (listed as a “Zoukra”) Greg Lake – Vocals/Bass/Electric and Acoustic Guitars Carl Palmer – Drums/Percussion
The Endless Enigma (Part One) – Keith Emerson, Greg Lake 6:41 Fugue -Keith Emerson 1:56 The Endless Enigma (Part Two) – Keith Emerson,Greg Lake 2:03 From the Beginning – Greg Lake 4:16 The Sheriff -Keith Emerson,Greg Lake 3:22 Hoedown – Aaron Copland (Arrangement). Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer 3:47
Trilogy – Keith Emerson, Greg Lake 8:54 Living Sin -Keith Emerson,Greg Lake, Carl Palmer 3:13 Abaddon’s Bolero – Keith Emerson 8:08
Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer were all well known musicians in their own right long before they created what would be progressive rock’s first ‘Supergroup’ ELP or Emerson Lake and Palmer. ELP or Emerson Lake & Palmer would also become one of progressive rock’s Big 5 joining the ranks of Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and Jethro Tull.Keith Emerson would come to the band from The Nice,Greg Lake from King Crimson and Carl Palmer from Atomic Rooster by way of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Emerson Lake & Palmer would form in London, UK in 1970. Emerson Lake & Palmer would go on to become RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) with nearly 48 million + albums sold. After forming in early 1970, the band came to prominence following their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in August 1970. In their first year, the group signed with Atlantic Records and released Emerson, Lake & Palmer – 1970 and Tarkus -1971, both of which reached the United Kingdom top five. The band’s success continued with Pictures at an Exhibition – 1971. However it was the bands third studio release and fourth album overall Trilogy – 1972 that many believe the band really came into their own as a powerhouse in progressive rock and rock in general. Where most of their contemporaries were totally leveled with the strictest of scrutiny by the progressive rock purists elitist notions, Emerson, Lake & Palmer managed to avoid anything super critical.
Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Trilogy was the band’s fourth album. More surprising it was the third album in 18 months at the time of its release. Trilogy would definitely secure the band on the mountain top of progressive rock and rock in general. Some believe without Trilogy placing the band on the mountain top, that the monumental monterous success of Brain Salad Surgery – 1973 would of not been possible. The Trilogy album and later Brain Salad Surgery would fit the band so firmly on the apex of the mountain where the band were able to place a flag for themselves on the mountain top. So what was it that about Trilogy that allowed the band to be such standard bearer’s within the progressive rock genre? Over the course of this retrospective we will attempt to bring light to this subject.
The musical landscape in progressive rock in 1972 was totally loaded with talent coming out of the United Kingdom. Some even believe 1972 was a ‘Ground Zero Year’ for progressive rock. Among the milestone albums that came out of 1972 from the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe were Yes – Close To The Edge, Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick, Genesis – Foxtrot, Caravan- Waterloo Lily, Gentle Giant – Octopus, Pink Floyd – Obscured by Clouds, Uriah Heep – Demons And Wizards and Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Trilogy. While Brain Salad Surgery – 1973 was their best selling album and saw the band at its peak zenith, it was Trilogy – 1972 that boosted the band to the initial summit where they went from just a ‘Progressive Supergroup’ to a band that transcended the typically cliched ‘Progressive Rock’ banner.
Trilogy is the third studio album by the English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in July 1972 on Island Records. The cover, designed by Hipgnosis, depicts the band attached at the shoulders, while the interior of the original gate-fold sleeve features a photo montage of the three in Epping Forest. Trilogy increased ELP’s worldwide popularity, and included “Hoedown”, an arrangement of the Aaron Copland composition, which was one of their most popular songs when performing live. We are about to revisit Trilogy on a song by song basis. Without over analyzing the album too much or beating the horse to death we will explore how every composition and song made Trilogy the masterpiece it is.
The Endless Enigma (Part’s I & 2)
A two-part showcase for the com positional and improvisational abilities of Emerson Lake and Palmer, “Endless Enigma” holds so many musical wonders that it’s easy to become consumed with the work of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. Keith Emerson, after all, starts out spooky and dark, then rushes forward into a thunderous outburst while Greg Lake — his vocal instrument at the peak of its powers — moves from sweet reverie to foundation-shaking retorts. And that’s just their co-written Part 1. Keith Emerson then contributes a roughly two-minute fugue that joins the two segments, as “Endless Enigma” comes crashing to a resounding conclusion.
Go back, though, and pay closer attention to Carl Palmer. He’s just as adept at the stick-splintering crashes needed to propel the song to that big finish as he is the song’s angular jazz segments as he is the bass-drum heartbeat that opens “Endless Enigma” — years before the effect became central to albums like Dark Side of the Moon from Pink Floyd and A Passion Play by Jethro Tull. 2112 & Moving Pictures by Rush and areas of both Images & Words and Awake by Dream Theater.
This one is a Classical Music Tour De Force. This comes on beautifully and seamlessly from The Endless Enigma Part 1 and serves as a beautiful classical composition to bridge into The Endless Enigma Part 2. While some people will see this as a filler on the album, some will not. There is a very intended purpose for The Fuge. Keith Emerson does a great job on piano to set The Fuge up to smoothly and seamlessly transition into The Endless Enigma Part 2. You can hear some of The Fuge’s last legacy in Dream Theater’sJordan Rudess, especially on the Dream Theater side project Liquid Tension Experiment 1 & 2 and Feeding The Wheel and The Road Home.
The Endless Enigma Part 2
The band brilliantly composed this in such a way where it was both a continuation form The Endless Enigma Part 1 and seamlessly transitioned off The Fuge. This was handled by Keith Emerson tapping more into the bass chord progressions on keyboards. Then Greg Lake came on board with the bass guitar and Carl Palmer with his multi-dimensional approach to the drums met both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake in a more harmonious balance.
From The Beginning
ELP’s formula for successful albums seemed to be a concept covering several songs – a beautiful acoustic number by Greg Lake, and one comedy song per album. For Trilogy,“From the Beginning” was Greg Lake’s beautiful acoustic number that showed his acoustic guitar skills were right up there with his bass talents.
A heartfelt song of devotion, Lake claims that the inspiration for the song has left his memory.
Says Greg Lake:
“Very often lyrics simply come about simply because of the way one feels at a moment in time. There is no earth moving moment of divine inspiration or grand plan and I’m sure that was the case with this song. Although very young at the time I sometimes had moments of reflection and maybe also perhaps a feeling that I could be a better person, I think this was just one of those.”
From The Beginning continues to be a fixture on ‘Classic Rock’ radio to this day. What Lucky Man off the ELP debut in 1970 by putting the band on radio, From The Beginning off Trilogy kept the band in great standing on radio.
In the opening drum solo on the track “The Sheriff”,Carl Palmer accidentally hit the rim of his tom-tom with a drumstick. He responded with the word “shit” which can be heard when listening carefully. “The Sheriff” ends with a honky tonk-type piano solo with Carl Palmer playing woodblocks. Lyrically this was a tribute to the American Old West. The track opens up as if a Mob were after a character. The drums of Carl Palmer simulate the knock of a door very eloquently. Keith Emerson remains very heavy on the Hammond Organ here.
“Hoedown” is a cover of “Hoe-Down” from the Rodeo ballet by Aaron Copland (1942). It became the opening song for both the Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery tours. “Hoedown” is big, brash and showoffy — perfect for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who adapted the piece for their 1972 album Trilogy. It’s the only song on the group’s third album not written by a member of the trio, but they have such fun with it (especially in concert) that it sounds like a natural fit on the LP. In a March, 11th, 2016 article Rolling Stone had this to say about ‘Hoedown’.
March/11/2016 Rolling Stone:
A showstopper that was actually a show starter for two tours, “Hoedown” was the first ELP adaptation of composer Aaron Copland, as brassy a show-off (in his way) as the trio itself. Keith Emerson began work on the piece after returning from a classical festival in Romania, so East European elements find their way into his rollicking organ and Moog arrangement alongside American folk tunes like “Shortnin’ Bread” and “Turkey in the Straw.” Emerson stumbled onto the track’s signature synth sound by chance: “We’d started working on that arrangement and then I hit, I don’t know what, I switched a blue button and I put a patch cord in there, but anyway, ‘whoooeee.'”
In a March, 11th, 2016 article on Ultimate Classic Rock, this is what they had to say –
The nine-minute centerpiece, and title track, to the trio’s highest-charting studio album takes almost three minutes to kick in. The lengthy intro features guitarist / singer Greg Lake getting his classical-music voice on while Emerson pounds away on piano keys. But then a swarm of synths ushers in a typically complicated time signature that eventually gives way to a percussion tour de force by drummer Carl Palmer.
Living Sin is the second song on Trilogy that was written by all three members of the band. Living Sin had a unusual avant garde vibe about it. This track definitely tapped into Greg Lake’s former band and sound in King Crimson, especially with the song 21st Century Schizoid Man. It had a very early proto thrash sensibility about it. Unlike most of the songs on Trilogy that started out and had a steady climatic build in them, Living Sin was a rare song that was to the point make their statement and move forward.
This is a instrumental ‘Tour De Force’.“Abaddon’s Bolero” sounds like a bolero turned into a march (in 4/4 rhythm rather than the usual 3/4). The song was originally titled Bellona’s Bolero after the goddess of war. A single melody containing multiple modulations within itself is repeated over and over in ever more thickly layered arrangements, starting from a quiet Hammond organ making a flute-like sound over a snare drum, and building up to a wall of sound – Maurice Ravel’s famous Boléro uses a similar effect. “Abaddon’s Bolero” is replete with overdubs. Almost every time an instrument comes in, another overdub follows.”. The over abundance of overdubs made the song very hard to perform live and the band only attempted it a few times. Despite the challenges due to multiple overdubs, the instrumental still served a purpose on Trilogy. This was like a soundtrack that would be played at the end of a movie when they roll the credits. This is the more appropriately arranged track to end Trilogy.
I would like to thank Ultimate Classic Rock and Rolling Stone for some of the information used in this article.
Not too many bands can say they got it right with one album let alone two albums. Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery certainly reinforced the notion among fans and critics that Emerson, Lake & Palmer got it right on consecutive releases in the 1970’s. In 2018 I will be back here with a entire 45th Anniversary Retrospective of Brain Salad Surgery. Sadly as the date I prepare this, we have lost two thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Their legacy does live on through Carl Palmer. He has started Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy. I am sure at some level we will be talking about Trilogy going forward 45 years from now and its pivotal influence and place in Rock History.
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