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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Emerson Lake & Palmer biography
Emerson, Lake & Palmer

ELP revolutionized the 70's rock scene by introducing a new line-up format. This fact really mattered due to each musician's geniality and unlimited talent that, put together, generated a level of music never achieved by anybody else as of yet. All of the musicians came from established bands before joining forces together: Greg LAKE came from KING CRIMSON, Carl PALMER came from ATOMIC ROOSTER, and Keith EMERSON came from THE NICE.

They explored their capabilities to an extreme, even with the technology limitations of the early 70's, breaking ground, setting the new parameters for a new vein in the english pop music (at the time) which would be called progressive music. ELP released 10 outstanding albums during the 70's, and after a long break, they got back in the 90's with a new approach, but still making good music. In 1986 Cozy POWELL replaced PALMER and they put together EMERSON, LAKE and POWELL, a good effort as well.

They've pushed their ambitions over-the-edge. On "Tarkus" the title suite was an inventive and edgy suite revolving around jazzy textures. Their most popular album "Brain Salad Surgery", was their most grandiose and refined. Next, the more adventurous listener might try "Trilogy" or ELP's self-titled first album. In my opinion, these four albums form the core of ELP's best material. Other good ELP albums include "Pictures at an Exhibition", their provocative, fiery and intense take on a classical work. and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends", a triple-live album (now on double-CD) with some absolutely stunning playing.

2016 was a sad year for Prog fans, because Keith and Greg left us, Rest in Peace and thank you for everything


Being that some albums belong to a different band with only two members of ELP, we have to make this addition:


Emerson, Lake & Powell

Emerson, Lake & Powell, often abbreviated to ELPowell, were an offshoot of a classic prog band Emerson, Lake & Palmer with Cozy Powell taking over the drumming duites in place of Carl Palmer which released one self-titled album in 1986.

After releasing Love Beach in 1978 Emerson, Lake & Palm...
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Pictures At An ExhibitionPictures At An Exhibition
Remastered
Shout Factory 2007
Audio CD$20.99
$4.72 (used)
2017 Box Set2017 Box Set
Box set · Import
Imports 2017
Audio CD$83.99
Love BeachLove Beach
Import · Limited Edition · Remastered
Jvc Japan 2008
Audio CD$10.99
$12.90 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
URIAH HEEP *Look At Yourself* & EMERSON LAKE & PALMER RARE Spain 7" PROMO Single USD $399.99 Buy It Now 44m 23s
Emerson Lake & Palmer Tarkus Vinyl LP Cotillion SD 9900 USD $7.49 Buy It Now 45m 26s
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION,1971,GATEFOLD SL,VG+ CONDITION USD $9.97 [0 bids]
1h 12m
Emerson Lake & Palmer The Atlantic Years Cassette 1 & 2 USD $14.95 Buy It Now 1h 49m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Live at the Royal Albert Hall Cassette USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1h 51m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER 'Jerusalem' 1973 UK 7"/45 rpm vinyl single USD $4.98 Buy It Now 1h 57m
EMERSON LAKE PALMER Brain Salad Surgery P8395M LP Gd7470 USD $0.99 [1 bids]
2h 25m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery - Vinyl LP Gatefold UK 1973 USD $17.40 [0 bids]
2h 26m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Black Moon - Vinyl LP UK 1992 USD $31.12 [0 bids]
2h 26m
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Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Volume 1 Cassette Tape - TESTED USD $8.72 Buy It Now 3h 26m
EMERSON LAKE PALMER PICTURES at an EXHIBITION ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING MFSL LP USD $45.00 Buy It Now 3h 49m
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? Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Trilogy (Cotillon 9903) original pressing-gatefold USD $14.99 Buy It Now 4h 32m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Welcome Back My Friends (3 LP set) (triple-fold cover) USD $19.99 Buy It Now 4h 39m
Emerson Lake & Palmer ELP Works Volume 2 embossed ELP logo Canadian LP Canada USD $4.98 Buy It Now 4h 41m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Fanfare For The Common Man 7" Company Sleeve, B/W Brain S USD $6.22 Buy It Now 4h 50m
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Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert 8 track tape tested w/ sleeve USD $4.95 Buy It Now 6h 51m
1977 Atlantic Records SD 19147 Emerson, Lake & Palmer "Works" Volume 2 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 6h 53m
ELP EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER i believe in father christmas EP USA R2 72242 CD USD $49.99 [0 bids]
8h 4m
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Emerson Lake & Palmer DEBUT 1971 Vintage Vinyl LP ELP Lucky Man Tank SD 9040 USD $4.50 Buy It Now 8h 45m
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Emerson Lake & Palmer. Welcome Back My Friends...33 lp Gatefold Triple Album. USD $11.52 Buy It Now 12h 37m
EMERSON LAKE PALMER Works Volume 2 ATLANTIC US Press LP  USD $12.47 Buy It Now 13h 23m
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20h 30m
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Trilogy 1972 ORIGINAL 8 TRACK TAPE US TESTED ELP USD $5.98 Buy It Now 20h 47m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer Vinyl LP Atlantic Records 1978, SD-19211, Love Beach ~NM- USD $6.99 Buy It Now 20h 49m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER "LOVE BEACH" LP 1978 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 21h 15m
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER pictures at an exhibition LP VG+ K 33501 UK 1971 Mantic USD $28.00 Buy It Now 21h 47m
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER WORKS ATLANTIC P-6311A,2 Japan OBI Vinyl 2LP USD $0.99 [1 bids]
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EMERSON,LAKE & PALMER PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION ATLANTIC P-8200A Japan Vinyl LP USD $0.99 [0 bids]
22h 19m
emerson lake palmer Cd Trilogy Remastered - Limited Edition Pic Disc 1996 USD $3.73 [0 bids]
22h 23m
EMERSON,LAKE & PALMER - BRAIN SALAD SURGERY / VINYL LP USD $3.73 [0 bids]
22h 27m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery 1977 Atlantic 12" 33 RPM LP (EX) RE USD $12.00 Buy It Now 22h 35m
Emerson Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery 33RPM SD19124 011517LLE USD $19.99 Buy It Now 22h 46m
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 1801 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
1970
4.06 | 1586 ratings
Tarkus
1971
4.10 | 1404 ratings
Trilogy
1972
4.13 | 1634 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
1973
2.88 | 654 ratings
Works Vol. 1
1977
2.38 | 540 ratings
Works Vol. 2
1977
2.06 | 589 ratings
Love Beach
1978
3.12 | 403 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
1986
2.87 | 409 ratings
Black Moon
1992
1.77 | 339 ratings
In The Hot Seat
1994

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 850 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
1971
4.23 | 491 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
1974
2.68 | 183 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
1979
2.92 | 147 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
1993
3.30 | 136 ratings
Works Live
1993
3.34 | 48 ratings
Emerson,Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour (AKA "Live")
1997
3.37 | 63 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
1997
2.74 | 66 ratings
Then And Now
1998
2.83 | 15 ratings
The Show That Never Ends
2001
4.06 | 31 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1
2001
3.73 | 27 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2
2001
3.27 | 21 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 3
2001
3.25 | 41 ratings
Live In Poland
2001
2.24 | 18 ratings
Best of the Bootlegs
2002
2.91 | 10 ratings
Lucky Man (Live) (Re-released as " Fanfare: The 1997 World Tour")
2002
3.73 | 18 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: Live In Concert - Lakeland Florida, 1986 (An official bootleg)
2003
3.12 | 14 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: The Sprocket Sessions (An Official Bootleg)
2003
2.37 | 10 ratings
The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2003
2.79 | 14 ratings
Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults, Vol. 4
2006
3.36 | 24 ratings
A Time And A Place
2010
2.61 | 35 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
2010
3.45 | 37 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
2011
4.19 | 49 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
2011
3.88 | 8 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
2012
3.00 | 12 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
2013
2.25 | 4 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
2015
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
2015

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.77 | 18 ratings
Welcome Back
1992
3.76 | 37 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD)
2001
3.54 | 81 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
2002
3.19 | 17 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
2003
4.56 | 31 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
2003
3.60 | 52 ratings
Live At Montreux 1997 (DVD)
2004
4.09 | 30 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Concert (DVD)
2004
3.83 | 71 ratings
Beyond The Beginning
2005
2.62 | 30 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2006
4.40 | 10 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.90 | 47 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
2011

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.37 | 60 ratings
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of ELP
1984
4.22 | 45 ratings
The Atlantic Years
1992
3.59 | 64 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1993
1.73 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
1994
3.89 | 37 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1994
1.42 | 13 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2000
2.53 | 13 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2001
3.42 | 12 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
2001
1.38 | 23 ratings
Re-Works
2003
3.71 | 12 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2004
3.50 | 12 ratings
An Introduction To... Emerson Lake & Palmer
2004
4.50 | 20 ratings
From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
2007
3.55 | 13 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2007
3.29 | 9 ratings
Come And See The Show: The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2008
2.11 | 8 ratings
High Voltage
2010
2.69 | 7 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2011
1.20 | 5 ratings
From the Beginning - The Best of ELP
2011
4.60 | 5 ratings
The Anthology
2016

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 18 ratings
Lucky Man / Knife Edge
1971
3.38 | 17 ratings
From the Beginning
1972
4.30 | 30 ratings
Jerusalem
1973
2.68 | 13 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
1973
3.07 | 10 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
1977
2.43 | 9 ratings
Tiger in a Spotlight / So Far to Fall
1977
4.09 | 15 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
1977
1.77 | 12 ratings
Canario
1978
3.80 | 10 ratings
Peter Gunn
1980
3.43 | 13 ratings
Touch and Go
1986
1.90 | 10 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.45 | 10 ratings
Black Moon
1992
4.25 | 4 ratings
Farewell to Arms (promo)
1992
1.64 | 6 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
1992
2.75 | 4 ratings
Affairs Of The Heart (limited edition collectors doublepack)
1992
4.00 | 4 ratings
Gone too Soon (promo)
1994
2.46 | 23 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
1995
4.00 | 8 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2002

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer  by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1980
2.37 | 60 ratings

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The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars Well, some compilations are great, some others are just ok or even poor.

When it comes to talk about a legendary band whose tunes have stayed in our memories for years, it is difficult to make a good selection of tracks that can be named "best of", though the question is best of what? We could find different answers according to the field, I mean, some compilation albums feature the best tunes commercially speaking, some others choose representative songs that can work as introduction for a newbie, some others really feature the best compositions (though this might also be a subjective thing).

Judging by the short running time (38 minutes), this could never be a Best of ELP tunes, but it features cool representative tracks such as "Lucky Man", "Still... You Turn Me On", or "Hoedown" that could be appreciated by any rock fan (not strictly prog). It features a short version of "Karn Evil" and some other songs that are cool but would never make me fall in love with the band. The only massive exception is the amazing "Trilogy", that song alone can quench my musical thirst and feed my prog senses, that song is amazing, though I am not sure if that would be ideal for a newbie, since I believe this album was made for newcomers and for new label incomes, I don't know.

This is just a regular compilation album, there are some others that are much, much better. However, if you happen to have it, enjoy it!

 40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010) by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover DVD/Video, 2011
3.90 | 47 ratings

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40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by berkaal

3 stars First thing: I love ELP. But this concert is soooo sad. I never saw time take its toll on musicians like with ELP. Emerson is clearly in trouble with his right hand, and keyboard parts are obviously....let's say not precise. Carl Palmer is overweight, he struggles to play but makes so many mistakes....too many....Greg Lake is over-over weight, not at ease on the stage and he doesn't remember some of his bass parts, anyway his singing is quite good, better than what I heard in other concerts. To see them like this has been a pain....Well, three stars for their music, that will live on forever.
 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 850 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 97

"Pictures At An Exhibition" is the debut live album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and was released in 1972. It was a huge contribution to the popularity of the band. The album was recorded at Newcastle City Hall in North East, England. It was the band's third official release, despite it has been made after their eponymous debut album. Due to management conflicts, the album wasn't released until after "Tarkus", their second album. Their record label didn't want to release this album as a rock album, because they thought that it must be released on their classical music label, instead on their rock label. Thinking that it would lead to poor sales, the group decided not to release it in that moment, waiting for a better chance. However, after the success of "Tarkus", the record label agreed to release it, but as a live album.

"Pictures At An Exhibition" is one of the seminal documents of the golden progressive rock era of the 70's, an album that made its way into the musical collections of high-school kids, like me, who never heard anything about the classical composer Modest Mussorgsky, and also knew nothing about the Russian nationalist artist Victor Hartman, whose work was the real inspiration for this Mussorgsky classical composition.

"Pictures At An Exhibition" was a suite written for piano by Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. When Mussorgsky was going to an exhibition of paintings at a gallery of art in St. Petersburg of Viktor Hartmann an architect and painter and a great friend of him who had recently died in 1873, he had an idea after visiting it, and soon he decided to pay a tribute and homage to his great friend. So, he chosen ten pictures of his friend, among all exposed, and then he decided to compose a song for each one, uniting by a common theme "Promenade", the various parts of the musical piece.

This band's version of Mussorgsky's beautiful work remains as one of the best examples of a rock version of a classical piece. This wasn't their first treatment of a classical piece. Emerson, had made several previous versions of some other classical pieces with The Nice. But it was the first time he reached a mass audience or get heavy radio play, at least some excerpts. It introduced the notion of "classical rock" to millions of listeners, making the classical music seen from another point of view, becoming to be considered less pretentious and more popular into the public.

With this version of "Pictures At An Exhibition", the band stayed true to the original themes, but played them with the energy, rawness and loudness of rock. However, they also added some self written pieces, like "The Sage" and the energetic jam "Blues Variation". The piece was one of the band's favourites on stage. So, the album was naturally also recorded live. This is the live album that best demonstrates what a tight and powerful unit, Emerson, Lake & Plamer, was on stage. It was also their most moog dominated album, to that point, and Emerson experiments with any sound possible on the instrument. But his organ playing was still the main focus in the music, and especially on the side two, delivering the whole band some of their most raw and energetic playing ever. The album also featured a rather cheesy version of "Nutrocker" which was released as a single. "Pictures At An Exhibition" is a wonderful and captivating album that proves the progressive rock still has many interesting boundaries of the 70's that can be explored today.

For many, the Emerson, Lake & Palmer's performance of "Pictures At An Exhibition", in this period of time, will no doubt show the band at the peak of their powers. It's not hard to see why. This progressive rock super group at this stage in their career were about to prove to the world that they were the real musical deal. Playing, they certainly could, as their skills were perfectly on display throughout this set, as each part of Mussorgsky's composition contained lengthy solos, especially from Emerson, whose array of Hammond organ, moog synthesizer, piano and clavinet never fails to deeply impress a real listener watchful. We really can say that the man is truly a great gifted artist.

Conclusion: "Pictures At An Exhibition" is a very uncommon and special live album. It's a new album where all the songs are original and which was never initially released as a studio album. "Pictures At An Exhibition" is a great album and is also a very special album because it brought many people to the pleasure of the classical music world. So, personally I have no problem with it and I applaud the pioneering and the audacity of this musical adaptation. We may say that "Pictures At An Exhibition" is probably their most accessible musical work and it's probably also the less prestigious album, of which are in general considered their six most important and indispensable musical works. Those works are their first six albums, four studio albums and two live albums. So, "Pictures At An Exhibition" is a difficult album to digest if you aren't used to with the sound of the group or with the classical music. However, believe me. This live album, even after all these years, still remains as a magnum opus of the classic progressive rock era.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1586 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by ster

5 stars A seminal album in the prog universe, no question about it. My rating is largely based on the strength of the title suite. The title track alone makes this an essential record despite the inconsistency of the second side (tracks 2-7 for the younger crowd), although I love most of those tunes.

The Tarkus suite was one of the major prototypes of progressive rock as we know it. A convoluted concept, experimental passages and insane musicianship. Essential ingredients to a great prog record. Second (in my humble opinion) to King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King in creating a template for subsequent prog bands. Lots of instrumental passages augmented by a couple of Greg Lake penned pieces that adds much texture and dynamics. After the title suite we get a bit of a mish-mosh of tunes. Mind you, this was only ELP's second album and there was already much infighting at this time. Each member was young, full of ideas and extremely self- righteous. So much so that Greg Lake was ready to split due to his lack of acceptance to the direction Keith Emerson was headed.

Jeremy Bender, one of the most reviled songs from this great trio is meant to be a bit of comic relief from the maybe too serious music that these guys were producing. A fun song that also shows off their diversity.

Bitches Crystal follows the same formula more or less from the title track. Excellent tune. The piano playing is off the charts.

The Only Way & Infinite Space always tends to lose me somewhat. I lump these together because they run into each other and aren't very interesting. Not terrible but lacks focus and just flat out isn't that great.

A Time And A Place is an excellent short tune packed with detail, excellent playing and is one of my favorites by them.

Are You Ready Eddy? Ok this should have been left off in hindsight but whats wrong with a little fun?

 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 850 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I started buying vinyl way back in 1991, during the beginning of the dark days of vinyl. Back in those days it was frequently easy to find almost the entire back catalogs of such groups as King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, Led Zeppelin ELP, and many more and on the cheap (but this was before I was aware of obscure prog bands). Then I bought a copy of Picture at an Exhibition, already owning a copy of Tarkus (on vinyl), Trilogy (also on vinyl) and Brain Salad Surgery (on cassette). This copy of Picture at an Exhibition was the American copy on Cotillion. At that time I pretty much dismissed it as a lame interpretation of Mussorgsky's work with plenty of creative liberties from the band.

I revisited this album years later, this time an upgraded vinyl copy, an original UK Island copy (strange that this one bore a black label with the pink "i", turns out it was Island's brief budget subsidiary, as the album would have been released on the palm tree label if it were a standard release). I find it a rather hilarious take on Mussorgsky. Obviously they took many creative routes that would obviously make classical purists cringe. I understand only four of the ten songs are used here, the rest the band doing their own thing. The "Promenade" theme revisits itself several times, which makes since, there's an acoustic passage with Greg Lake singing, but what really cracks me up is some of the synth passages. What didn't dawn on my 19 year old self back late in 1991 was Emerson's Moog was going haywire (right where "Blues Variations" starts), all this shrieking noise, it's nice to see he finally got the thing to properly behave. I didn't realize how much intense moments on this album, probably because my younger self didn't care for the slow parts of the album. Regardless, it's almost entirely agreed the album's big mistake is the cover of Kim Fowley's "Nut Rocker", which was originally recorded by B. Bumble & the Stingers back in 1962 (probably the first pop/rock adaptation of classical, but that still hardly constituted as prog, unlike what the Nice, Trace, ELP, or dare I say, Ekseption). The ELP version is pretty lame, but even if they did a more straight take on Tchaikovsky, it'll still end up cheesy.

So this album actually grew on me big time after years of not listening to it. It's pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. It's not perfect, "Nut Rocker" could have been easily jettisoned.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1586 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Ijon Tichy

5 stars A masterpiece from the first to the last note, recorded in two weeks (1 per side), the time you need today for adjusting the drum set, by three grandmasters of prog. Many agree to the ultimate rating of the title track, as many dislike the B-side. For me it's a perfect counterpart to the serious construct of 'Tarkus', with a lighter, sometimes humorous touch. Emerson, Lake & Palmer plays Honky Tonk, simple songs, fifties Rock'n' Roll. So what? They always did. And they are doing great! I find all songs masterly played, authentic and well composed. In fact, the combination makes 'Tarkus ' such a great album, and ELP such a great band!
 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1586 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars My conversation with God took place at an old (and I mean old), shoebox-sized roadhouse in west central Texas somewhere outside Abilene. It was hot, breezy, and the cicadas were out in full song. My host, a physically ambiguous presence wearing stained, ancient brown coveralls and nursing the butt of a near-gone cigarette between lips, spoke briefly of classic era rock and several favorites. A rusting reel-to-reel played some of the muddiest, rankest sludgerock I'd ever heard but at a volume we could talk over. "This is the sh*t", the nominal Ruler of the Universe commented. How could I disagree.

Of course what I really wanted to hear about was progressive rock, if it was the extraordinary artistic breakthrough it seemed to be, or a bunch of nonsense; smoke & mirrors easily lapped-up by a gullible rock market. "It's all smoke & mirrors, everything", came the immediate response, "that's why it's called show business". I blushed with embarrassment and began the interview.

A- What is your personal favorite prog album?

G- The one with the totem on the cover, the fetish. Y'know, the armadillo with the guns.

A- Tarkus?

G- Is that it? All I know it that the artwork and music were the closest anyone's come to a perfect match.

A- You believe the art and music of that record enhanced each other?

G- I don't believe anything, but that's my current thinking. And that would be the best example I can think of.

A- Let me just say we're all gonna miss Keith Emerson a lot, and hope he's in a good place.

G- I didn't know him and have no idea where he is or if he still exists. He's dead.

A- Right. What is it about the music of Tarkus that attracts you?

G- Y'know, I'm not even sure-- It is, man, and that's what counts.

A- Can you expand on that?

G- Not really, no.

A- Okay-- Tell me about your first time hearing it.

G- (with a grin) That would've been at Dan's, an old buddy who has the best record collection I know and he only owns maybe two or three hundred LPs. But somehow each one represents the distillation of a certain music. He goes by the cover as much as the content; in other words, he'll often buy an LP strictly based on the artwork. That's where I learned you can and should judge a record by its cover, if not a book. It was a used first issue so it had seen better days but he put it on this elderly turntable of his, the overture swelled up, and then that opening organ phrase. It had me like a mainline of high-quality heroin. Marvelous.

A- Could you be more specific?

G- Listen to it, that intro, 'Eruption', is it?

A- That's right.

G- Well there it is, all of it, the cerebral culmination of everything modern music had accomplished in the five-hundred years before they recorded. The very foundation of modern populist tonalogy; the classics; the advent of electricity; jazz; mid-20th Century; and folk. Emerson understood, and knew he was the right man at the right time to attempt what needed to be done. To do, if you'll forgive me, God's Work.

A- I've always felt the album is a sort of "Church of Prog".

G- If you like, but that opens up a big festering can of worms. It suggests worship and I don't care for that.

A- And the rest of the first side?

G- Yeah, great, I mean can you imagine a clearheaded music appreciator hearing that thing for the first time? It's almost beyond reason that some scruffy English rock trio would have, not the skill, but the balls to do something so beyond the scope of what rock 'n roll was. It was a sublime moment, you see. It was crash or fly and they knew it. Big risk. Music is a business and the possibility that Tarkus would've sat on shelves getting dusty was quite high. They broke something the day that record was released, a barrier, or maybe just a membrane, that had been between youth music and something more.

A- Great. Let's talk about side two, reviled by many as inferior; a letdown compared with the first half of the record.

G- Really? But you see if it had just been more of the same it wouldn't have had the same impact or been as important. You have to have the contrast, the difference, otherwise there's nothing to work against it all. Like fruit and cheese, coffee and cake. Besides those are some great tunes, melodic, straightforward, well-performed.

A- So in closing, what's the overall assessment--

G- Sometimes a piece of work is so great it can't be seen. I don't think I could explain it any more clearly than that. ~~

 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1634 ratings

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Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Hello there, plastic-bombastic!

Brain Salad Surgery is arguably one of progressive rock's most controversial albums. A few titles and artworks were denied, settling on this one, still with a dirty subtext, though less visible.

This is widely known as ELP's last true progressive rock album. Without a doubt, it is. However, the progressive factor seems to get out of control at times. Huge, powerful passages are simply all over the top. In places, this work gives the listener a feeling as if being approached by the armadillo-tank from the cover of Tarkus. It's obviously worth appreciation, but sometimes makes the album simply unpleasant. The breathtaking factor of Emerson Lake & Palmer's debut and sophomore (and "Pictures From An Exhibition") albums is clearly overshaded by the "size" that music grows to. Perhaps ELP had just a little too big of a brainstorm overload. However, Carl Palmer considers "Brain Salad Surgery" group's most accomplished work and recalls it was a pure joy to work on.

That is not to say that it does not have a potential. "Jerusalem" is a traditional English liturgical song. Quite predictable, but very enjoyable. "Toccata" is a quintessence of what I talked about in the previous paragraph. Synthesizers are getting all over one's head. Personally, I like the introduction of interesting percussion and the dissonant melody, but the drum synth appearing at the beggining of the 5th minute is just too much and makes me want to skip the track. "Still You Turn Me On" is a great acoustic piece kept in a very Jethro Tull-esque mood. Inventive, not too harsh on the listener, inspired and well played. In case of the "Benny The Bouncer", the bombastic factor seems to finally be working. It is a very comedic tune, again quite British with a strain of ragtime/boogie-woogie fashion and incredible drumming. Greg Lake's voice goes from gentle to "burnt by whiskey" type of timbre. "Karn 9 Evil" features many allusions to their much greater "Tarkus". In my opinion, this one doesn't bring anything new to the game other than just being your another multimovement suite. The 2nd part of the "1st impression" is sort of unbearable for me. This one shows the musical bourge element that ELP started having right around this period. "2nd impression" is possibly the best of all, strongly influenced by jazz, it features a Dave Brubeck-like soft, smooth melody. 3rd movement is another huge-feeling track, but quite interesting. Characterised by a nice theme passage with a good idea being transformed in many different ways for the best result. It also features a nice jazzy jam.

All in all, this album is something that every ELP fan should have, but something that newcommers should avoid. This is not a good way to start your adventure with prog rock. If you are an expirienced progressive rock listener, you will be able to appreciate many different factors of "Brain Salad Surgery", which lie burried in a garden of overabundance of sounds and moods on this album. 3.33 stars!

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1586 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

4 stars Review Nº 65

This is my fourth review of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. The others are their eponymous debut studio album 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer' released in 1970, their fourth studio album 'Brain Salad Surgery' released in 1973 and their debut live album 'Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends' released in 1974. 'Tarkus' is their second studio album and was released in 1971. It represents my first contact with the group. 'Tarkus' was my first vinyl disk of them and is also one of my eldest vinyl records. I bought it in the distant years of the 70's. So, I know it very well.

This was a very important album to the band because after the huge success of their eponymous debut studio album, the band was under an enormous pressure to come up with something special. This was a hard task basically because of two reasons. The first was that the first super group in the rock history had the obligation to make a very special musical work with great quality. The second was that their first studio album was seen more like a collection of individual efforts and ideas than a collective musical effort. So, there were doubts about the result of the collective musical composition of the band. However, after the release of this album, all doubts were dissipated.

'Tarkus' was their first successful conceptual album and has seven tracks. It's a very special album divided into two parts. However, essentially everything runs around their first track who gave its name to the album. It occupies an entire side of the LP, almost making us forget the other half of the album, what would be a little bit unfair because it has also some very good songs with a certain charm. As I wrote before, the first part is entirely completed by their first track 'Tarkus', which is divided into seven parts: 'Eruption' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Stones of Years' written by Emerson and Lake, 'Iconoclast' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Mass' written by Emerson and Lake, 'Manticore' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Battlefield' written by Lake and 'Aquatarkus' (instrumental) written by Emerson. It's a very complex and a fantastic piece of music with great creativity, very experimental in rock music and certainly avant-garde for those times. This great progressive epic represents the lengthiest studio song made by the band, 20:35, until their song 'Karn Evil 9', 29:37, released on 'Brain Salad Surgery'. This remains a favourite song for the fans and was consistently played live by the group, and is also my favourite song of them. Namely, 'Battlefield' is absolutely superb, beautiful, memorable and an unforgettable song. The side B of the LP has the remaining 6 tracks. The first track 'Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff' written by Emerson and Lake and the sixth and last track 'Are You Ready Eddie?' written by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, are two comedic rocker songs on the same mould of 'Benny The Bouncer' released on 'Brain Salad Surgery'. Sincerely, these two songs are very pleasant to listen to, but hardly worthy of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. The second track 'Bitches Crystal' written by Emerson and Lake is a song strongly influenced by jazz and represents a very good song. The third track 'The Only Way (Hymn)' written by Bach, Emerson and Lake and the fourth track 'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' are also two very good tracks with a fantastic piano and organ works. The fifth track 'A Time And A Place' written by Emerson, Lake & Palmer do a nice contrast to the other songs. It's the hardest song on the album and it shows the rocker quality of the band.

The art cover of the album was made about the first track of the album and was created by the artist William Neal. It depicts an image of a creature half armadillo and half a tank of the World War I. Inside the cover of the album there is a gatefold who features a sequence of pictures which show us the birth of Tarkus, from an egg erupted from a volcano, and others depicting pictures of some other battles fought between Tarkus and some other half mechanical creatures, until their defeats by a Manticore, the only creature totally organic on the story. It's interesting to note that the band later named their record company as the Manticore Records. To sum up, 'Tarkus' described a story about reverse evolution and speak to us about the futility of the war in general, and it's also about the religious hypocrisy.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, due to the profound musical differences between the two sides of the LP, 'Tarkus' is somewhat unbalanced and failed to be a masterpiece. The problem with this album is that on side A we have 'Tarkus', a truly masterpiece, but on side B, despite the songs being good, they're in generally with a slightly lower quality. Nevertheless, with this album the group made a great musical work and 'Tarkus' can be considered a landmark to the band's musical career and represents one of their best pieces of music. With it, they made a lasting impression on the music scene and to this day their musical influence can still be felt and their music still inspires bands from around the world. They simply became as one of the most influential bands to come out of the treasure that was the early 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Live at Montreux 1997 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 2015
4.00 | 6 ratings

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Live at Montreux 1997
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Booking Emerson, Lake and Palmer at the Montreux Jazz festival in 1997 must have seemed like forcing three very square pegs into an elliptical hole. Not because the event was actually a jazz music festival (it wasn't), but because the trio had been considered obsolete for over two decades already: chart-topping superstars reduced to a legacy act, playing the same old hits for their aging fans. Emerson even dedicated one song in this set ("Honky Tonk Train Blues", hardly a model of Progressive Rock) to his mum, watching from the balcony.

But you'd never guess from this late gig that the band was only a year away from its final breakup. Keith Emerson's dexterity had suffered after his radial nerve (not Brain Salad) surgery in 1993. But he could still attack his keyboards with surprising gusto, in the Tarkus chestnut "Bitches Crystal", and elsewhere.

Greg Lake's ailing voice was likewise no longer a pristine thing of beauty. But as I noted in an older review of the band's Royal Albert Hall performance (recorded five years earlier), the rust in his pipes gave his singing more character, as heard in the low opening verses of "Knife Edge".

And Carl Palmer simply refuses to age.

The material here won't be unfamiliar to diehard fans. This last phase of ELP's career is well documented on the "Live in Poland" CD (from a show only two weeks before this one), and on the lopsided "Then and Now" compilation. And a DVD of the same Montreux concert was released in 2004. I haven't seen it, and frankly don't want to: on compact disc the trio sounds a lot younger than they probably looked in 1997.

The set-list too won't hold any surprises, from the obligatory "Karn Evil 9" Welcome-Back-My-Friends introduction to the usual overkill finale: a 19-minute collision of Brubeck, Copland, Bach and Orff, complete with drum solo and ritual Hammond organ abuse. That trademark vulgar showmanship still raises hackles among the narrow-minded Blues Orthodoxy crowd, but screw them: what you see with your head in the sand is the same view as someone with his head up his ass, after all.

The performances gain strength as the concert continues, by the end of Disc One recapturing (at least audibly) some of the rapport too often lost behind the triple arsenal of egos (and in "Take a Pebble" finally airing a little ersatz jazz on the shores of Lake Geneva). The abbreviated "Tarkus" suite - actually an extended "Stones of Years", with a longer, atypically sensitive Emerson solo - proves yet again how innovative that classic always was. And the climactic segue to the end of "Pictures at an Exhibition" was a perfectly judged moment of high musical bombast.

I've never been the biggest fan of the band's Mussorgsky upgrade, and especially its hyperbolic "Great Gates of Kiev" finish. But the crescendo here is undeniably exciting, with Greg Lake's melodramatic doggerel ("Death is Life") becoming suddenly relevant as the band approached its omega. The lyrics may have sounded trite in 1972, but in 1997 expressed all the frustrated optimism felt by closet Progheads enjoying a rebirth of interest in a style of music long considered dead when it was only dormant.

Regardless of how poorly ELP rode "the tides of fate" after the band's mid-'70s peak, and how little effort the resurrected trio made to transcend the faded glory of those bygone years, the mere fact that they were still alive and kicking and attracting crowds in the late 1990's is reason enough to award this gig a bonus fourth star, as the band was nearing the finish line.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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