So I have to say right off the bat that I wasn’t a huge fan of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer or King Crimson growing up. I’d heard things on AOR stations like ROCK104 out of Fort Wayne, IN and 95.3 WAOR out of Niles, MI. Brain Salad Surgery was an album I cherry picked from in my teen years as I thought since I was a Rush fan I should probably like that album as well. Turns out that wasn’t a prerequisite to being a Rush fan, but I still ended up buying a cassette copy of ELPs Pictures At An Exhibition on a whim. The only thing it did was impress my Music Appreciation teacher. King Crimson I only got into after realizing Adrian Belew was in the 80s version of the band and I got pretty heavy into Discipline, Beat, and Three Of A Perfect Pair, as well as their VROOM record in the early 90s.
In the early 2000s I bought an album buy a band called Wondermints. They were this incredibly talented power pop band that backed Brian Wilson on his Smile tour, as well as his reinterpretation of the Smile album in the early 2000s as well. On their album Bali they had a song called “In And Around Greg Lake” which I absolutely loved. It sounded nothing like ELP or King Crimson, but I figured if these guys dug Greg Lake(or at the very least took the time to name a song after the guy) then maybe I should give him another chance. So I went back and revisited all those ELP records and In The Court Of The Crimson King and was pretty floored by them.
I’ve since grown to love Lake’s work on those early pivotal progressive rock albums. His singing and bass work were as important and vital to the bands and albums he was involved with as anything. He helped set the precedent for the guy leading the progressive rock charge by manning these bands front and center. I’m not sure if he knew how important he was, but if he’s reading this on some other existential plain, know that you were indeed important to expanding minds, opening hearts, and bashing open doors to deeper musical consciousness Mr. Lake. Your bass playing was outstanding and your vocal delivery was on par with some of the best. I’m saddened to hear of your lost battle with the big C, so may you find peace in the next stage.
It’s been a pretty miserable year(even before November 8th), but take heed friends and readers. 2017 is just around the corner and it’s a chance to hit the reset button. It’s a chance to look back on 2016 and have that feeling of ease come over us as it sits stagnantly in our rearview mirror. We’ve lost some truly incredible artists and have seen some incredible tragedies(Oakland Warehouse fire the most recent one…at least here in the US.) Let’s brush off the dust, get up from where we’ve fallen down, and begin that trek to the finish line. I know you can do it. We can all do it.
Despite it all….still you turn me on.