What’s there to say about Greg Lake that hasn’t already? Starting his career with pioneers of progressive rock King Crimson and then founding the genre supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer. There’s not many who can define a genre like Greg Lake.
King Crimson was founded on November 30th 1968, by Lake and follow Crimson members. The band only played a few shows by time they reached out to 500,000 attendees of the large free Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park, 5th July 1969. By that point, they were set to release their debut album, one of the greatest of all-time, In The Court of the King Crimson, which inevitably came in October ’69.
King Crimson saw changes that they couldn’t recover from by the end of 1969, with Lake leaving the band to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Keith Emerson, keyboardist, was part of The Nice when he crossed paths with Greg Lake the first time.
The Fillmore West in San Francisco saw a series of concerts co-headlined by Emerson‘s prog standouts The Nice and of course Lake‘s greats King Crimson. They befriended quickly, both confessing they wanted to leave their bands but it wasn’t until the moment they soundchecked together and the electricity was there, that they decided to team.
Lake aimed to find the drummer for the act, asking Mitch Mitchell, the wonderful former drummer of the now-broken up The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell attempted a jam session between Lake, Palmer, himself and Hendrix which unfortunately never took place. The supergroup HELP (Hendrix, Emerson, Lake, Palmer) were rampant, however never was happening.
Cream‘s manager Robert Stigwood suggested Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster as their drummer. Palmer was reluctant to leave Atomic RoosterR, until ELP first played together and it was evident that they could be perfect.
It was formed. Emerson, Lake and Palmer were born, a supergroup that grew to their name. Lake continued his solo work through ELP‘s rise, including his number two hit “I Believe in Father Christmas”. After the demise of both Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, two of the flagship bands in the progressive rock genre, a new group Asia was formed. Palmer featured heavily in the group. In 1983/1984, Lake joined the band temporarily.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer released numerous albums through their career before calling it quits in 1998. After numerous 2/3 reunions, none of them fruitful or full reunions. In 2009, Asia toured with Yes and were joined by Lake once again (as Asia preformed “In The Court of the King Crimson” on dates).
However, after many years of wishes, Lake reunited with both Palmer and Emerson for one last show. ELP reunited for High Voltage in Victoria Park, July 25th 2010.
After five weeks of rehearsals, the three-piece finally took to the stage. Reservations were held by Palmer, who stated that five weeks weren’t enough and they simply weren’t up to standard. The appearance was disappointing, leading to ELP never playing again.
Lake continued by himself, releasing joint albums with other players such as Yes‘ Steve Howe yet never once again reached the levels of ELP or King Crimson.
In March 2016, Keith Emerson committed suicide after a lengthy battle with depression. Lake told press at the time he wasn’t shocked by Keith‘s death, dealing with his depression all the way back to The Works Vol. 1 in 1977.
Now Greg Lake has passed away, after 2010 it was sure that ELP would never play again and now after 2016 and both their deaths, it’s sure that ELP could and would never reunite.
We’re instead left with ELP‘s strong catalogue of material, along with King Crimson‘s masterpiece, both of which Lake had a strong part in creating.
Another musical legend has passed in 2016, just as we thought it was over.