A new factory sealed CD of legendary rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer called " Extended Versions " . I guess that says it all!Emerson, Lake & Palmer were progressive rock's first supergroup. Greeted by the rock press and the public as something akin to conquering heroes, they succeeded in broadening the audience for progressive rock from hundreds of thousands into tens of millions of listeners, creating a major radio phenomenon as well. Their flamboyance on record and in the studio echoed the best work of the heavy metal bands of the era, proving that classical rockers could compete for that arena-scale audience. Over and above their own commercial success, the trio also paved the way for the success of such bands as Yes , who would become their chief rivals for much of the 1970s.
Keyboardist Keith Emerson planted the seeds of the group in late 1969 when his band the Nice shared a bill at the Fillmore West with King Crimson , an up-and-coming band that featured lead singer and bassist Greg Lake . Emerson and Lake first discussed the possibility of collaborating at that point, but only after the Crimson lineup began disintegrating during their first U.S. tour did he finally opt to leave the group (after agreeing to sing on the forthcoming Crimson album). Upon officially teaming in 1970, Emerson and Lake auditioned several drummers, including Mitch Mitchell , before they approached Carl Palmer , a former member of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown who later hooked up with bandmate Vincent Crane in an experimental band called Atomic Rooster .
The trio's first rehearsals mostly picked up from the Nice 's and King Crimson 's repertoires, including such well-known numbers as "Rondo" and "21st Century Schizoid Man." In August of 1970, even as they were working on the songs that would ultimately comprise their first album, ELP played its first show at the Plymouth Guildhall, just ahead of the Isle of Wight Festival in August of 1970. The group's self-titled debut album was finished the following month and released in November; an instant success, it rose to the Top Five in England and the Top 20 in America. The single "Lucky Man" also was a hit, and their stage act rapidly became the stuff of legend.
The recording of the second ELP album, 1971's Tarkus , tested their cohesiveness while stretching their sound in new directions. Emerson was interested in further exploiting the range of the Moog synthesizer, and had conceived of an extended suite built around an opening eruption of sound, while Palmer had come up with an unusual drum pattern that he was eager to use. When they tried to present their ideas to Lake , who had assumed the mantle of producer with the first album, however, he couldn't really grasp the piece. He balked, and arguments ensued, and for a time it looked as though there might be no second album.
The group eventually agreed to disagree about the proposed track: "Tarkus" became the title of the new album, and ultimately defined the ELP sound as most people understood it — the song was loud and bombastic, somewhat gloomy in its lyrical tone, and exultant in its instrumental power. A descendant of "The Three Fates" and "Tank" from the first album, "Tarkus" was a much denser piece of music, featuring not only multiple overdubs of instruments but textures that ultimately proved very difficult to re-create on-stage. After Tarkus hit the number one spot on the English charts and reached the Top Ten in America, their March 21, 1971, concert at Newcastle City Hall — featuring the group's adaptation of Mussorgsky 's "Pictures at an Exhibition" — was recorded for release, and became another major hit.
It was eight months before ELP's next record, Trilogy , was released in July of 1972. In the interim, they toured extensively, and made it their business to cultivate the college audience that took most naturally to their work. With Trilogy , the partnership was back fully in balance, with each member taking an equal share of musical responsibility. Moreover, Lake never sang better, nor di...
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