It’s a sad state of affairs when someone in the music business passes on. You grow up with their music and you and, when they go, a part of you goes with them. I never really felt that until John Lennon was killed. You realize you will never hear their voice again except through their music. Yesterday, the second member of a great band that helped defined Progressive Rock passed on, Greg Lake. Earlier this year fellow ELP member, Keith Emerson, took his own life. Greg left this world after fighting cancer.
His voice is iconic. Once you heard Greg’s voice, you never forgot it. You knew it from the first word sung. And Greg was the voice of many an iconic band. He was the voice behind King Crimson on such great’s as 21st Century Schizoid Man. He sang on their first 2 albums. Then came the now infamous Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They began turning classical pieces into rock with Pictures At An Exhibition. The band took music to a whole new level…a level you wanted to listen to and pick out the parts to the music.With songs like Lucky Man and Still…You Turn Me On, you could feel Greg’s vocal prowess. From there was the sound-alike group Emerson, Lake and Powell with their single Touch and Go. Then he also headed the supergroup Asia with songs like Heat of the Moment and Sole Survivor.
If you want a retrospective of his work, listen to his live solo albums “Songs of a Lifetime”, London ’81, and his last release “Greg Lake Live”. These three projects will give you a good list of his most famous works, sometimes with a little twist. I especially like “Still…You Turn Me On” off the Lifetime CD.
I first Greg’s voice in a record store. They were playing ELP’s then new release “Trilogy”. “The Endless Enigma Part 1” came on. They had it in stereo and you could hear the music coming out of both speakers and the panning from one end of the store to the other. I fell in love with ELP from that moment on and had to have every copy of every song they ever did. And I’ve followed Greg, Keith, and Carl ever since, even when they broke up ELP.
So, it’s another sad day in the rock world, a great musician that played guitar and bass better than most. And a voice that would bounce off walls in performance halls. We will miss you, Greg !!!