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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Emerson Lake & Palmer picture
Emerson Lake & Palmer biography
Formed 1970 in London - Disbanded 1979 / Reformed from 1991 to 1998 / Reunited in 2010

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 release...
read more

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Pictures At An ExhibitionPictures At An Exhibition
BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd 2016
$16.98
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER ELP: 'Live At The Royal Albert Hall' CD USD $6.97 [0 bids]
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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 | 1904 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
1970
4.06 | 1660 ratings
Tarkus
1971
4.11 | 1469 ratings
Trilogy
1972
4.13 | 1709 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
1973
2.90 | 692 ratings
Works Vol. 1
1977
2.38 | 573 ratings
Works Vol. 2
1977
2.06 | 619 ratings
Love Beach
1978
3.12 | 430 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
1986
2.85 | 436 ratings
Black Moon
1992
1.77 | 356 ratings
In The Hot Seat
1994

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

3.86 | 894 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
1971
4.24 | 519 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
1974
2.71 | 198 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
1979
2.94 | 158 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
1993
3.32 | 147 ratings
Works Live
1993
3.35 | 51 ratings
Emerson,Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour (AKA "Live")
1997
3.38 | 70 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
1997
2.76 | 67 ratings
Then And Now
1998
2.83 | 15 ratings
The Show That Never Ends
2001
4.07 | 36 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1
2001
3.73 | 30 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2
2001
3.28 | 23 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 3
2001
3.26 | 43 ratings
Live In Poland
2001
2.26 | 19 ratings
Best of the Bootlegs
2002
2.91 | 10 ratings
Lucky Man (Live) (Re-released as " Fanfare: The 1997 World Tour")
2002
3.71 | 19 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: Live In Concert - Lakeland Florida, 1986 (An official bootleg)
2003
3.12 | 15 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: The Sprocket Sessions (An Official Bootleg)
2003
2.41 | 11 ratings
The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2003
2.79 | 15 ratings
Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults, Vol. 4
2006
3.42 | 27 ratings
A Time And A Place
2010
2.65 | 39 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
2010
3.70 | 41 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
2011
4.21 | 55 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
2011
3.88 | 8 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
2012
1.00 | 1 ratings
Live in California 1974
2012
2.53 | 19 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
2013
3.00 | 6 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
2015
3.69 | 14 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
2015

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

2.75 | 19 ratings
Welcome Back
1992
3.76 | 38 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD)
2001
3.55 | 84 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
2002
3.19 | 18 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
2003
4.57 | 33 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
2003
3.61 | 54 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 | 74 ratings
Beyond The Beginning
2005
2.63 | 32 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2006
4.40 | 10 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
2007
3.88 | 51 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)
2011

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

2.39 | 65 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
4.21 | 47 ratings
The Atlantic Years
1992
3.59 | 67 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1993
1.72 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
1994
3.88 | 37 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1994
1.43 | 13 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2000
2.55 | 13 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
2001
3.44 | 13 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
2001
1.38 | 24 ratings
Re-Works
2003
3.71 | 12 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
2004
3.67 | 12 ratings
An Introduction To... Emerson Lake & Palmer
2004
4.34 | 23 ratings
From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
2007
3.56 | 14 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
4.57 | 7 ratings
The Anthology
2016

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

3.44 | 20 ratings
Lucky Man / Knife Edge
1971
3.38 | 17 ratings
From the Beginning
1972
4.19 | 32 ratings
Jerusalem
1973
2.68 | 13 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
1973
3.07 | 11 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
1977
2.43 | 9 ratings
Tiger in a Spotlight / So Far to Fall
1977
2.94 | 16 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
1977
1.77 | 12 ratings
Canario
1978
4.13 | 10 ratings
Peter Gunn
1980
3.46 | 14 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
2.53 | 25 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
1995
4.29 | 8 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2002

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 From The Beginning (5CD+DVD) by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
4.34 | 23 ratings

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From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars "FIRST REVIEW OF THIS ALBUM "

"A complete waste of time, talent and electricity"! (BBC Radio dj John Peel about ELP, after their 1970 Isle Of Wight festival gig)

CD 1-4 : A career spanning selection of their songs between 1970 and 1994, including original album tracks, first mixes, early versions, single versions, B-sides and live versions, plus the Emerson, Lake & Powell track Mars - Bringer Of War.

The first 3 tracks on CD-1 are an introduction of each ELP member from their previous band: Greg Lake his warm and distinctive voice in Epitaph from King Crimson, Carl Palmer his powerful drumming in Decline And Fall from Atomic Rooster and Keith Emerson his awesome skills on the Hammond organ in Fantasia: Intermezzo Karelia Suite from The Nice. Then we can follow ELP chronologically, from their eponymous debut album (1970) until their final effort In The Hot Seat (1994). We can enjoy their best work (I only miss Nutrocker) featuring outstanding interplay, but of course the focus is on Keith Emerson his jawdropping skills on an array of keyboards. Especially in the longer and epic compositions Tarkus (great work on the Modular Moog synthesizer), Trilogy (sensational blend of sparkling Grand piano and Moog flights), Karn Evil 9 (Hammond and Moog, along some fiery electric guitar by Greg Lake) and Fanfare For The Common Man and Peter Gunn Theme (both featuring sensational work on the super Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer). And in Honky Tonk Train Blues the virtuosic Keith Emerson plays the honky tonk piano very swinging, accompanied by a big band, yes, ELP was always scouting the borders of prog.

But there is also the mellow side of ELP, with Greg Lake his warm vocals and acoustic guitar, in Lucky Man (including the legendary Moog solo), Oh My Father (subtle wah-wah guitar and Grand piano), Still You Turn Me On (wonderful romantic climate), the varied C'Est La Vie (orchestra, harmonica) and From The Beginning (delicate Moog solo).

Included are also a serie of previously unreleased good sounding live tracks: The Barbarian, Knife Edge and Rondo (London 1970), Hoedown (Italy 1973), Pirates (New York, 1978), Romeo And Juliet (London 1993) and Touch And Go (Poland 1997, including the Yamaha GX-1).

CD-5 : Live At The Mar Y Sol Festival, Puerto Rico, 4th January 1972.

According to many ELP fans on the Internet this is the best early ELP live sound. But Keith Emerson had problems with his Moog, it didn't work during the intro of Hoedown and Emerson played only a short Moog solo during Lucky Man. And the drum solo on the extended Rondo is way too long. But for the rest this is an excellent registration, ELP at its peak, here you can listen to one of the best progressive rock bands of first part of the Seventies.

The 60 page booklet : liner notes, interviews with all 3 members of the band, full discography and rare photos.

A nicely put together story with lots of interesting facts, like Carl Palmer was only 14 years old when he became professional, Steve Howe was close to becoming a The Nice member, Keith Emerson wanted Chris Squire for his new trio after The Nice and the 67-piece orchestra during The Works live costed 200.000 US $ a week!

The bonus DVD : the Manticore Years, a documentary.

This was broadcasted by the BBC in 1998, including interviews with the band and many images from their 1973 world tour (focussed on Italy, the first country that embraced ELP) and their luxury homes and extravagant hobbies.

Although I am not very much into Karn Evil 9 (lack of structure) and the albums Love Beach, Black Moon and In The Hot Seat, I highly recommend this box, you can't beg for more, this is ELP extravaganza!

 Live in California 1974 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 2012
1.00 | 1 ratings

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Live in California 1974
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
1 stars Another archival concert from the Shout! Factory vaults, this one documenting ELP's now legendary appearance at the Cal Jam festival in April, 1974. The performance has long been a favorite of bootleggers, but this official release needs a caveat: it's the same incomplete recording available elsewhere, apparently representing all the surviving audio tracks from the original ABC-TV broadcast.

Clearly this particular show left a strong impression, not least on the trio itself. "The event was of biblical proportions," said Greg Lake, who called it his favorite gig, "...if my life depended on it and I were given no other choice than to select one show as being 'it'. And here's Carl Palmer, likewise quoted in the skimpy CD booklet (and conveniently forgetting the 1970 Isle of Wight spectacle): "The scale of the festival was the biggest we had ever played..."

Maybe so, but you'd never know it from this pitifully butchered facsimile. The CD actually opens well down the setlist, in the middle of "Toccata", which cuts before the ending to Greg Lake singing "Still...You Turn Me On", likewise already in progress. "Lucky Man" (the only truly complete song on the disc) then segues awkwardly into Keith Emerson's "Piano Improvisations" from the extended "Take a Pebble" medley, omitting entirely the opening song.

The epic "Karn Evil 9" suffers more damage, beginning on Part Two of the First Impression and skipping the Second Impression altogether. Even Carl Palmer's drum solo sounds truncated; surely the real thing was longer a mere five minutes?

The Cal Jam concert was staged less than two months after the Anaheim show where the "Welcome Back My Friends" live package was recorded, and presumably included the same material. ELP were the headliners that day, and at least one attendee remembers their set being "at least two hours long", a far cry from the skeletal 52-minute abridgement here.

Even worse: the same tapes were already released as part of the 1998 "Then and Now" compilation. The only change is the inclusion of the "Pictures at an Exhibition" encore, a dynamic rendition but again only an excerpt.

The sound quality is acceptable; the performances are superb: this was ELP at its creative and commercial peak. But the strictly piecemeal arrangement of musical fragments does nothing to validate the claim made by, among others, biographer Edward Macan (in his book "Endless Enigma"), that it "just may be the crowning performance of their career".

I guess you had to have been there.

 Live at Montreux 1997 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 2015
3.69 | 14 ratings

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Live at Montreux 1997
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars This Montreux concert is an ELP performance from 1997. I owned the DVD and loved the music so it was worth checking out the CD.

ELP in the late 90s were a cohesive unit and put a lot of effort into this performance but they are not as good as they used to be, comparing to the dynamic energy of Isle of Wight 1970 and the exuberance of California Jam 1974. This is a very impressive setlist overall with some of the best the band have done. The supergroup loosen up a bit midway through the concert, perhaps that is the effect of Knife Edge, such a great song. Take A Pebble is the definitive highlight for me, an incredible song the band seem to enjoy, and a song that drew me to this band in the first place.

The Montreux concert showcases the best ELP tracks such as Karn Evil 9, Hoedown, where Emerson gets to use his cool mini keyboard, Knife Edge, Tarkus and Pictures medley, and the finale medley consisting of Fanfare for the Common Man, Rondo, and other pieces. The tracks are all played competently but some of the magic is lost in these performances. Emerson dazzles on the blindingly fast solo renditions but it is piano kanoodling at its highest order.

Which brings me to the big problem of the concert. The band are not as precise or tight as usual. Emerson is a Tiger in the spotlight but he muddles up some of his triggerfingers solos, Lake could do with some Brain Surgery as he misses cues and struggles with the vocals at times, and Palmer is a bit detached, lost in his own private Tarkus tank. They even play an Emerson Lake and Powell number in Touch and Go. So it is a bit confused and lacking in quality in places. However with all its flaws, ultimately here is one of the last big concerts from the legends of Symphonic Prog.

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.11 | 1469 ratings

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Trilogy
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nš 133

Though they were barely two years into their existence, the progressive rock super group known as Emerson Lake & Palmer released their fourth album, three studios and one live album, in 1972, titled "Trilogy". It was another remarkable achievement that saw the musical and compositional skills of the trio once again taking another giant leap, as the album was filled with not only uncanny playing but also memorable songs brimming with intelligent melodies and daring arrangements. So, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had already released previously, two very carefully performed studio albums. The first album was dominated by virtuoso keyboards including the church organ, distorted bass and powerful drumming and the second album is pure progressive rock of epic proportions being as bombastic as it was ambitious.

So, "Trilogy" is their third studio album and was released in 1972. "Trilogy" features the trio settling down in a more crowd pleasing. Actually, the group was gaining in maturity what they lost in high pure energy. Every track of this album has been carefully thought, arranged and performed into a process of perfection. "Trilogy" increased Emerson, Lake & Palmer worldwide popularity and consolidated definitely their great, unique and original musical project.

The front cover of the album depicts Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer respectively, and in the interior of the gatefold of my original vinyl record features a photomontage showing multiple images of the band members in a forest carpeted with autumn leaves. This is really a very nice cover for this excellent album.

"Trilogy" has nine tracks. The first track "The Endless Enigma (Part One)" written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, the second track "Fugue" written by Keith Emerson and the third track "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" written also by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is a single piece of music. It's a superb trilogy piece of music which opens magnificently this fabulous musical work. This is, in my humble opinion, one of their best compositions and I'm also convinced that it's also one their most unknown musics. Unfortunately, this composition was rarely performed live and I think this is the main reason why it never reached the just recognition that it deserved. The fourth track "From The Beginning" written by Greg Lake is a beautiful acoustic song featuring Greg Lake on vocals and guitar with some participation of Keith Emerson in the end of the track. It's a song with a very simple musical structure but I think we can say that this is one of the best musical compositions of the group. The fifth track "The Sheriff" written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake is another song on the same mould of "Are You Ready Eddie?", "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" and "Benny The Bouncer". As I've written before, I don't particularly like this kind of songs and despite not being a bad song, I think it's quite unnecessary in an album of a progressive band like Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The sixth track "Hoedown" is a musical interpretation of the band taken from a ballet named "Rodeo" written by the American classical composer Aaron Copland, which was one of their most popular songs when performed live. This is a fantastic piece of music also performed live on my CD version. I honestly don't know if I prefer the studio version or the live version, especially if it's the version played live on their fantastic live album "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends". The seventh track "Trilogy" is the title track. It was written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is one of the highest moments on the album and is also one of their best and most beautiful musical compositions. It's largely an instrumental song very much over piano in the beginning, heavily influenced by the classical music. In the middle, the music blasts with all instruments playing in continuo, altogether. This is really an amazing track. The eighth track "Living Sin" written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer is the most heavy and dark song on the album. Despite not be one of the best songs on the album it's still very good. It has different vocals along the song, which is very uncommon on the band, but they do a great use of them. The ninth and last track "Abaddon's Bolero" written by Keith Emerson is one of their most popular songs. The musical structure of the track is very simple with a main theme that gradually builds the final hypnotic climax. This is a very good and interesting piece of music that closes perfectly well this fantastic album.

Conclusion: "Trilogy" is, in my humble opinion, the most underrated album from the group. It's true that it hasn't the immediacy of "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" or the pomposity of "Brain Salad Surgery". However, relatively to "Tarkus" is much more balanced, despite not have a masterpiece like its suite "Tarkus", probably the best song ever composed by the group. "Trilogy" is probably the less pompous, the most complete, the most progressive, the most classical and their finest album. It's perhaps the most beautiful too. Sincerely, it's a pity that this is the least known and the most underrated album from this remarkable serie, composed by their four first studio albums. For those who aren't familiar with the musical work of this super group, I think this album is a great starting. So, sit down comfortably and enjoy it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Works Vol. 2 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.38 | 573 ratings

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Works Vol. 2
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

1 stars A nice bullfrog, but otherwise...

As many have noted, instead of being a 'real' album this is made up of b-sides and tracks left off former albums, put together when the band couldn't agree on what to release next. It really sounds like it too. There are some nice ragtime piano tracks (including Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag, which Emerson plays decently), but these feel like filler. There is only one track that for me has stood the test of time, and that make this album worthy of a second look - "Bullfrog". This is a great jazzy and quirky instrumental track. To my ears this is probably the only of these tunes to be left off a previous album due to lack of fit, rather than quality. But it is less than four minutes long. And the rest of the tunes are definitely seconds. The opener, "Tiger in a Spotlight", somehow makes onto ELP compilations, but it is such a 'normal' rock song without anything to make it special, whether lyrics or musicianship or even a catchy melody (which it lacks). The song "Brain Salad Surgery" would lend its name to the album of the same name, but was also left off it - one listen and it is clear why. In fact, the vocal tracks on this album are all worse than the instrumentals. As a whole this album is not nearly as bad as many other one-star albums, but it is not quite good enough to make it to two stars. I rate this 2.3 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 1 PA star.

 Works Vol. 1 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.90 | 692 ratings

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Works Vol. 1
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Worth getting for the Piano Concerto.

While Emerson is an awesome organ player, I always enjoyed his piano playing even more. His solo on the live 'Take a Pebble' (from Welcome Back..), for example, is the highlight of that album. And his 18-minute Piano Concerto No. 1, the first side of this double album, is for me the highlight of Works 1. I am not sure why some other reviewers seem dismissive of this. Emerson is such an amazing pianist, and it is clear he put his heart into writing this piano concerto. And, it is really so good! Of course, many can look at Works vol. 1 as the beginning of the end of the classic ELP, as they were not getting along that well by this point. Well, sure. And in that case, perhaps the best option IS to record the album as a series of solo contributions? I actually think this album works better than many naysayers, at least in terms of containing good new music. Not only is Emerson's Piano Concerto excellent, but some of the Lake pieces ("C'est La Vie", "Hallowed..." ) are decent, as well as the solo Palmer pieces ("The Enemy God Dances Within", his "Invention Part II", "Food for the Soul", the cover of "Tank"). The fourth side contains the only group recordings, and I have to say, it is not any better than the solo sides. ELP's version here of "Fanfare for the Common Man" is actually pretty bad. "Pirates", recorded with a full orchestra, is better, but no where near as good as Emerson's Piano Concerto. So, it is not clear that if the band had made the album a full-on group effort it would have been better than what we have here. On balance, averaging across all the tracks, I give this mixed bag a score of 6.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to mid 3 PA stars. The best track here is Emerson's wonderful Piano Concerto.

 Pictures At An Exhibition by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 1971
3.86 | 894 ratings

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Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Interesting - worth having.

I love the original version of Pictures at the Exhibition, as well as the Ravel's orchestrated version. Knowing ELP's tendency to overt-showmanship, I was skeptical of their attempt to record a rock version of this. And indeed, there are sections here where Emerson goes a bit too wild on the synth solo, making noises not for musical reasons but for show. They insert a blues variation on the main theme. Furthermore, ELP commit a classical cardinal sin by writing new movements for the piece, including some with cheesy vocals. Saying this, I don't mind this version either. While it is never going to become the penultimate version of Mussorgsky's classic, it seems to me that ELP (especially Emerson) liked this piece so much that they/he really tried to make it musical. It works sufficiently that one doesn't feel the need to rip it off the turntable, and the way they interpreted is sufficiently interesting that even purists will probably stop and think about how well different sections work or not. Saying this, its not at the level to deserve four stars, and I still would rather listen to a virtuoso pianist play Mussorgsky's original piano version than this one. But it is a valid interpretation, and is good enough to keep in the ELP discography. I give it 6.8 out of 10 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which places it in the mid 3 PA stars realm.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.06 | 1660 ratings

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Tarkus
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

2 stars Not quite so good...

Their second studio album saw ELP write an extended track across an entire side, like many other bands here on PA did (Floyd, etc). Unfortunately, most of the music on this album is not up to the standard set by their first album. The 'concept' for the long suite "Tarkus" is pretty goofy (a story about an armadillo-tank that goes around battling other strange machine-animal creatures, ultimately to be defeated by 'Aquatarkus'). But that is not the main problem. I think the problem is that ELP rushed this album without making sure it was sufficiently musical. Like Emerson's wild live synth solos, ELP was as much about the show as the music, and in some cases the music took second-place. There are some good moments on Tarkus (the song), but a lot of un-musical themes too. Indeed, some of the music here is plain-annoying. It is difficult to listen to all the way through, at least more than a couple of times. Well, at least that first side was ambitious, even if not fully successful. The second side is mostly filler, with some even-sillier tracks ("Jeremy Bender" and "Are You Ready Eddy?"). The result is an album that is, on balance, not musical enough to draw the listener too often. But I have to give some credit for the song Tarkus, which if nothing else, is unique. I give this album 5.1 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to (high) 2 PA stars. ELP fans will obviously love it. The uninitiated - well, start with their debut, and Trilogy, first.

 Emerson Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.24 | 1904 ratings

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Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Great Debut.

The first album by ELP is one of their strongest, although both Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery are better. But after those two, their first remains one of their most solid. Beginning with the great "The Barbarian", the album set the tone for not only the 70s (it came out near the beginning of the decade) but also virtuoso progressive rock with Emerson's quirky Romanesque organ. The second track "Take a Pebble" is the best track on the album, a nuanced and lovely Greg Lake song that would become a live highlight. Emerson's piano work is wonderful here. "Knife-Edge" mixes Emerson's organ skills with Lake's edgy singing. The suite "The Three Fates" is not quite as successful, extending Emerson's peculiar compositional style over three movements named after each of fate in the classic story. "Tank" is similar to this, highlighting Palmer's drumming, while the closer, "Lucky Man" became a very well-known radio hit, despite not sounding much like the rest of the album. The formula set here would have worked well on subsequent albums, but alas ELP was to experiment, which is good but can lead to mistakes, which ELP would seem to be prone to at times through their career. I actually give this album 7.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is at the bottom of the range for 4 PA stars. It just creeps in.

 Works Vol. 2 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.38 | 573 ratings

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Works Vol. 2
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars I was never much a fan of Works Vol. 1. That was maybe not a total trainwreck, but it clearly demonstrated ELP's fall from grace. I mean their egos must have been so big that they only bothered to perform together on exactly two songs: on side four, with each of the other sides focusing on solo material from each member. So it ends up a truly messy album, with too much messing about to make it worthwhile (and while I'm at it, I found the Beatles White Album vastly overrated, it too suffered with way too much messing about, but at least it had a lot of great classics, but bogged gown by a bunch of sappy McCartney stuff, and even Harrison's "Piggies" is easily the most insipid thing he did in the Beatles). So I compared Works Vol, 1 to the White Album, only worse (and ironically sporting a black cover). It didn't help that Keith Emerson decided to put the Moog and Hammond organ aside for this monster Yamaha GX-1 (the three keyboard predecessor to the CS series). So I didn't expect much out of Vol. 2 (truly, their "white album" as it sported a white cover). I was a bit surprised. Hardly a masterpiece, but this time just one disc to sit through, and luckily nothing as barf inducing as "Closer to Believing". "Tiger in a Spotlight", "Brain Salad Surgery", and even Greg Lake's Christmas favorite "I Believe in Father Christmas" are actually quite good, as well as "When The Apple Blossoms Bloom In The Windmills of Your Mind I'll Be Your Valentine". At least the nonsense on this album is Emereson messing about with ragtimes, including Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag". OK, so he's that skilled on piano to pull off ragtime, but it's best not wasted on an ELP record. Again, Emerson is still in love with that monster GX-1 at the expense of the Hammond organ and Moog, so if you didn't like what he did with it, you won't like it here. While hardly a masterpiece, I am in the minority that I enjoyed this one better than the first (usually Vol. 2 is regarded as inferior). So three stars (definitely nothing more) it is.
Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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