Emerson, Lake And Palmer

*special introductory paragraph!
*Emerson, Lake And Palmer
*Pictures At An Exhibition
*Brain Salad Surgery
*Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, Ladies And Gentlemen
*Works Volume 1
*Works Volume 2
*Love Beach
*Emerson, Lake And Powell
*Black Moon
*In The Hot Seat
*The Best Of ELP
*(Michael King reviews) The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
*(Michael King reviews) The Return Of The Manticore
*Beyond The Beginning DVD
Can I point something out here before I start making fun of Emerson, Lake and Palmer? Let me just say this here to all of you, my cyberfriends and webpals - ELP is the EIGHTY-SIXTH band I've reviewed since I began the site on that fateful day back in February '96. EIGHTY-SIX???? That's dedication! And the really neat thing is that, out of the 85 band reviews I've completed, none of them - not a one - are any good!

No, now I'm just kidding your crank there. I like a lot of my reviews. Why shouldn't I? I agree with most of 'em! And now there's something we have to keep in mind, you and I. Everybody likes different music. There - I said it. And we should be HAPPY about that! How interesting would the world be if I actually liked that crappy Ballbreaker album? How fun would life be if everybody (hell, anybody) agreed with me that The White Album is the best Beatles money can buy? And least but not last, why the hell doesn't anybody like The Cows??? Hah? Yeah! That's why my site kicks ass - it lets everybody have their say, darn it. Even though half the time, it seems like I have no conception of what the hell it is that I'm actually talking about, I always allow you the reader to present your own point of view and make the whole thing at least slightly worthwhile. Until I run out of web space, of course, but that's a discussion for another evening.

Why did I feel compelled to add that dumbass opening bit? Because it becomes exhausting defending my musical tastes day after day after day after day to people who think I'm a dick because I don't think Who's Next is the greatest record ever made (Come on, "Goin' Mobile"? You're telling me that "Goin' Mobile" isn't the aural equivalent of a grown man pooping on your shoe?). I can understand it, though, because I feel the exact same way when a Spin reviewer rambles off about how great that stupid new U2 album is or something. But that's just the world for you. Still, I want all of you to know that, no matter how obnoxious I can seem, I'm honestly not an asshole in real life. I'm just kidding around. In real life, most people actually like me because I'm pretty much happy and goofy all the time, plus I have that cool long hair. Oh, I know my words can seem dickish, but please remember that I am not an actual paid music critic - I'm just a guy who likes to chit-chat about rock and roll, both that which I like and that which I dislike. It's just fun! I don't have a huge ego or anything; I'm just a guy goofing around for kicks, probably like you. So don't cuss me out just because I don't like Love Beach.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way (I'm sorry, by the way. I hate it when critics talk about themselves instead of music. I just really wanted to clear the air. Plus, I figured if I put it at the beginning of the ELP reviews, nobody would read it anyway.), I can discuss ELP, a band heavy on musical skill but completely lacking any sense of restraint. Not to mention melody, most of the time. I guess what this bassist/guitarist, keyboard whiz, and drummer guy were trying to do was present classical music in a rock and roll context so that the kids could learn to dig "real" music, but, to be honest with you, if ELP are to be believed, these two genres should absolutely have nothing at all to do with each other ever. Most of their straight pop and rock music was just fine, from the Moody Bluesish balladry of Greg Lake to the synth-heavy Who-ish hard rock of, oh whoever, and heck, even their few moments of straight classical rendering (Emerson's contribution to Works 1, for example) generally work. It's just that when they try to combine the two, the result is a brutishly ugly heap of pretentious racket.

Boring, too. If there were ever a band that could literally bore the skin right off your face, it's the Smashing Pumpkins. ELP are a close second, though. Say, while we're talking about hip new music, did I point out that Sleater-Kinney are actually pretty good? A friend of mine bought Dig Me Out and I was surprised and thrilled to hear some really creative guitar lines coming out of the disc (no bass guitar, though, unfortunately, so I lost interest rather quickly).

Reader Comments

I just read your comments about "Goin' Mobile" in the ELP intro. Now I could make this a long, and rather boring rant. But I'll keep it short. And there's no need to write back, I'm just letting off some more steam here, that's all.


And just to show that there's no hard feelings I'll put one of those smiley faces at the end of this email.


space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Hey, love your site. Your quirky, irreverant critiques are hilarious to read, and quite frequently hit the nail on the head, as much as I hate to admit it! HOWEVER...you have crossed a very, very dangerous line with your lampooning of ELP. Some things are sacred!! Let me explain. Keith Emerson is GOD. Greg Lake is JESUS. Carl Palmer is that ghostly holy dude. They hear all and know all and are aware whenever anyone speaks their names in vain. I imagine they are QUITE wroth with you and their vengeance for your slander will be terrible indeed! Therefore, I would fall to your knees and beg forgiveness, lest you find your bathtub invaded with plagues of frogs and locusts, and every female descendant of yours born cross-eyed for all eternity!

(Now...on to the albums):

Emerson, Lake And Palmer - Atlantic 1971.
Rating = 7

It has "Lucky Man" on it! And that's a great song. Sounds like a lovely Hayward-penned Bloody Mues classic right up to the end when the lead character dies and the creepy fuzz keyboard comes in and turns the mood as sour as the cold light of murder. Do you recall that part? Numerous Gregs are still singing "Aaaaaaahhhh!!!!!," and Keith is just doodlin' away on his happy little keyboard when all of a sudden the guitars go away, the drums and organ become immersed in a heavy wash of reverb and Emmy hits those three evil notes - I don't know, maybe they're an E, C, and D - and those three notes are all. But that's enough. From that moment on, sickness and sorrow prevail for a good ten seconds as Carl Palmer goes "pa-tat-tat, pa-tat-tat" and Keith settles for a descending noteless "kkhhheeeooooo" noise until the whole thing comes down with a little drum bit and Carl smashing the cymbals (and probably some other drum too, but who would know about those things besides another drummer or one infatuated with drums and/or the act of drumming) three times and the DJ plays "Gimme All Your Lovin'" by ZZ Top. Aww fuckin' shit, it's the dick.

I guess there are other songs on here too, but who gives a crap?

Oh, okay. They're merging all kinds of neat musics, from jazz to classical to rock to - no, I guess that's it. It's cool, though. And they look and sound very young, which is a plus. Young men making this kind of racket can be considered "experimental." Old guys doing it are just "pathetic." "Take A Pebble" and "The Barbarian" are great songs with lots going on ("Barb" pounds viciously, and "Peb" is moodier than King Crimson, from whence Greg Lake hath arisen), but the other three tunes are just alright. All the jazzy synth crap gets old after awhile, as far as I'm concerned. There are definitely some fantastic and novel ideas being thrown around, but it's all packaged with too much filler, much like that Medeski, Martin and Wood concert I saw that time. Matter of fact, this ELP album really reminds me of Medeski, Martin and Wood because for the only time in their career, ELP don't seem hopelessly fruity here. This is by no means sissyish dumbass music. It gets tiresome, but not because it's wimpy; it's just a little too repetitive after a while. Still, it's got "Lucky Man"!

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
I generally agree with you on this one. Most of the album is boring, but "Lucky Man" and "Knife Edge" are awesome. "The Barbarian" started out ok, but the organ ruined it. I kinda liked the piano trio as well.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
Ah, the excesses of EL&P.

Vicious attacks on EL&P!

Emerson,Lake and Palmer was ok, I also enjoyed "Lucky Man." Maybe a 7/10 for this one.


space@wgn.net (King God Space)
You actually LIKE "Lucky Man"?? How is that possible, after hearing it at the top and bottom of the hour on every classic radio station worldwide?? Naah, just kidding, I like that song too, though it's probably the weak link on this album. "Barbarian" is so eeevil sounding, scarier in fact than those mascara-and-spiked-leather pictures of Slayer on the back of their "Show No Mercy" album. "Take a Pebble" is just superb with that eight-note piano riff repeating over and over and over and over again for about 65 hours. "Three Fates" and "Tank" may be overblown and pretentious, but being overblown and pretentious is the HEART of ELP, isn't it? But the *real* standout track here is "Knife-Edge"--that song just KICKS. In fact, it kicks so hard, you need to don a jock strap before listening to it! None of their umpteen live versions have matched the brilliance of the original.

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Hey, a good album. Absolutely not related to rock music, though - sounds more like avantgarde classical. But the songs are nice if taken as avantgarde classical. Just don't expect them to be memorable. 'Lucky Man' is the only one that comes close to 'rock'. 'Take A Pebble' in its singing part sounds suspiciously close to In The Court Of The Crimson King, which is not strange seeing that Lake had just departed from King Crimson. The intro to 'Barbarian' is great! 7/10, right.

penafiel@sep.gob.mx (Rafael Rodriguez Penafiel)
I completly agree with PDigugliel@aol.com: It's the BEST album. If you don't like The Barbarian, Tank, etc. you have no f***ing idea about progresive rock.

Listen, ELP is the best fucking band of all fucking time! So if you keep on dissin' them I'll kick your ass!

Three Fates What a tremendous classical effort- No orchestra could ever pull that shit off.

oneofakind151@hotmail.com (John Sieber)
FYI: the last three note of "Lucky Man" are D-A-E~F (E slides into F). I agree, pretty bitchin song. third only to Karn Evil 9 and Trilogy, respectively.

(next week)

sorry, just had to drop this little anecdote: at work today, the radio station (K-HITS 96, St. louis) played "lucky man" and immideately followed it with "gimme all your lovin'" by ZZ top. i shit you not. prindle, you are a fucking prophet.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
9/10. A brilliant debut. "Take A Pebble" is the best here, and it's amazing! Oh what an epic song! I love the piano playing and also the vocals here. "Knife-Edge" is awesome with a classical solo. I could live without "Barbarian" or "The Three Fates". Not that they're bad but they are more of a "show" instead of music. "Tank", although a real I-can-play-drums-like-a-god song, is interesting and cool. If you're a drummer you'll like it. And then comes "Lucky Man", a song we all know because it's too overplayed on the (American?) radio. It reminds me of King Crimson ("I Talk To The Wind" etc). Maybe because the singer is the same! Who knows... Anyways, if you're interested (at least) a little in progressive music, you should buy this album. It's a "must" for prog-rockers. And forget Yes, ELP are the real gods of progressive music!

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
"Take A Pebble" is among the greatest songs ever written. "Knife-Edge" is cool too. And the well-known song "Lucky Man" is like a cold breeze. The rest isn't too far behind, with "Tank" being one of the most intelligent drum solos ever. I'd give it a nine.

chrislogan11@sbcglobal.net (Christopher Logan)
Be real folks, "prog rock" is only a part of the many-faceted ELP catalog. The 1st album is the ideal introduction to Emerson, who is simply at the mercy of his classical influences, and bursts them onto the rock-n-roll scene in unforgettable fashion. If you insist on ragging on this record, why not just pick up a copy of any Kiss record, and don't confuse yourself with the intricacies and artistry of musicians who actually have talent! Calling ELP pompous may very well be born out of envy, and could just as easily be said about Beethoven, Mozart, ... This record was and still is a milestone in recording history, for reasons mentioned by others, and an aesthetic sense matched and maintained by few bands other than Yes! 9/10.

This is a nice album, assfuck.

Here are the songs of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer in order of quality ranging from 20(absolutely flawless song Ex: Mozart's Requiem) to 0 (unlistenable piece of shit Ex: "Disappointment" by the Cranberries). Anything above a 10 is quality only attainable by ELP, Pink Floyd, and various classical artists. I will use the same scale to comment on some of your other reviews too, which by the way were very interesting to read.

1. Take a Pebble -- 17

2. Knife Edge -- 16

3. The Three Fates -- 14

4. The Barbarian -- 9

5. Tank -- 9

6. Lucky Man -- 7

Take a Pebble is gorgeous. Lake must have turned his voice way up in the studio as he was producing, and the result is a rich, enrapturing tone. The piano parts are still the best part (as usual) and in the middle they are brilliantly improvised. The ending leaves the listener completely satisfied. This song would have gotten a 20 if not for the pointless acoustic solo in the middle. (Their live versions of this were even cooler).

Knife Edge is a tremendous improvement over the original "Sinfionetta" by Janacek (very hard to find by the way!), and is the best single on the album (not Lucky Man). It repeats the same riff a lot, but the riff that it repeats is so cool that the repetition is beneficial to the song. It could use a little more lyrics though (Lake has a voice that I never get tired of).

The Three Fates -- is Lake even in this song? The organ solo is good but I wasn't impressed until Lachesis, which alongside Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression sounds like the hardest piece Keith had to play on an album. Atropos is the nuttiest part of the album; I can't imagine anyone not liking Atropos, even if they don't like ELP.

The Barbarian has a bad transition in it -- that from the scale in the middle to the gong and then back to the theme, but it is completely redeemed by Palmer's drum fills at the end. Palmer is more likeable on this track than on Tank.

Tank kicks ass until the drum solo (drum solos belong in live shows, not studio albums). Other than that, the clavinet was a nice touch, and it fits in rather perfectly after the crashing finale of The Three Fates.

Lucky Man is a very good song. Period. But on this album it has to compete against far better compositions and things that simply do not show up in mainstream music. When pitted against every other song ever written, it is fantastic, but when pitted against ELP songs it is actually towards the bottom of the heap.

P.S. King God Space's comments are hilarious.

Add your thoughts?

Tarkus - Atlantic 1971.
Rating = 5

This is a rock opera - the tender and moving story of a prehistoric armadillo tank that pops out of a volcanic egg and goes on a killing spree, murdering a giant automated grasshopper and a big metal horse-bird before becoming locked in heated hand-to-hand combat with a lion that has a scorpion's tail.


No, of course I have no idea what they're talking about. I was just describing the pictures on the inside sleeve. All I can tell you is that "Tarkus" starts off with some bitchin' Yes-ish thinking man's prog rock and quickly becomes unfathomably tiresome. These guys just didn't have the brains of Yes. I apologize if I've upset any of you, but I owe it to myself to share my deepest feelings re: ELP's disastrous lack of songwriting ability with you, my internet stalkers. Yes had it goin' on; ELP, for the most part, couldn't get it together. Side two actually has some decent songs, though. "Bitches Crystal" is an interesting bit of moody jazzamatazz and "The Only Way/Infinite Space" is one of this trio's coolest tunes ever. Right up there with "Lucky Man," honestly. Okay, it's not that good. It IS good, though! See, it's all church organy like a hymn, and then it's got these lovely Greg Lake vokes and eye-opening lyrics like "Can you believe God makes you grieve? Why did he lose six million Jews?" and "Don't be afraid/Man is man-made." I dig it! It's a good song! The rest of the album's a little iffy, though. A tad ehh. A touch nnnn. A smudge pblllh. A few bricks short of one brick.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Aren't you being a little generous and forgiving on them here? I mean, the first 8 minutes of the title track are incredible, but the rest completely sucks. And side two is even worse. Seriously, does anyone on the planet actually LIKE "Are you ready Eddy?"

I love your reviews...much better than the haughty critics at Rolling Stone and Musician magazines....

Anyway, I don't see how anyone can think anything other than that Tarkus is wonderfully corrupt!

Check out "Battlefield" and "Aquatarkus" and you'll be playing those mock keyboards forever...

Long live the gong!

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Now this one is just fantastic. In fact, after I went to the dentist and learned that I was (ouch!) immune to novocaine, before my second visit, I meditated to this song and played it over and over in my head while the doctor was drilling away. Totally relieved me of the pain. (And PLEASE, no smartass comments saying "Of COURSE it relieved the pain, what could be more painful than listening to Tarkus??") "Jeremy Bender" is short and sweet and downright weird (who else would come up with the line, "Finally he decided to become a nun"???) "Bitches Crystal" does nothing for me, but "The Only Way" is simply lovely. I love the way Greg Lake trashes on the Christian church even worse than Ian Anderson did in "My God". (Quote from "Lend Your Love" off Works I: "No crucifix, I am not lame!") And add me to those who like "Are You Reddy Eddy"...that song's so silly and out of place, you just gotta love it!!

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Er, gotta disagree with you on this one, Mark. I've been listening to this album fairly regularly during the past two months, and gradually I came to the conclusion that this is the absolute pinnacle of ELP's career. Let's see, there are rather few twenty-minute tracks in this world I enjoy freely, and this one happens to be one of them. The boys seem to fall into a classy groove which they actually have a lot of fun with themselves. Emerson makes classy bunches of synth noises which are quite entertaining, and Lake's sung parts are just fantastic. The guy is really a heck of a songwriter. Come on now - don't you get caught and carried away by 'Mass'? I'd choose that ditty over anything Yes ever produced any minute of my life!

Now the second side seems to be slightly worse, but I just can't understand the general hate towards 'Are You Ready Eddy' on this site. I think it's a silly, jolly, friendly parody and I enjoy it as such. I totally agree with the previous two comments. Maybe some of the individual songs on Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Trilogy are better than almost anything here, but taken as a whole, this is the best introduction to the group's sound - before they started getting way too serious and un-catchy. 10/10. It's better than Close To The Edge, that's for sure.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Huh. It's, um, different. I definitely will _not_ agree with George that Mass is better than anything by Yes, but the suite, as a whole, really isn't horrid. It is kinda catchy, but an almost annoying catchy though. I don't hate it, tho. And the second half is decent. I'd give the album a 6.5, so I guess it gets a 7.

umthom39@cc.UManitoba.CA (Andrew Thompson)
Okay, listen: lyrically Tarkus is a goofy concept. But musically, the suite is a tour de force. The ostinatos of Eruption and Manticore are pure Ginastera. The whole of side one is made up of fourths (and augmented fourths): there's a real compositional brain behind it. And to have the totally retarded throwaway "Are You Ready Eddy?" at the end of the album was pure genius: the deflation of their own pomposity really comes off. As bizarre as it sounds, these guys WERE real iconoclasts. This album shows them off at their best.

jclaypool@adt.com (Jeff Claypool)
I think that Tarkus is one of the most intelligent pieces of music I've ever heard. The level of educated musicianship needed to imagine and perform this is far beyond the ability of the majority of musicians out there. Frankly, I think you reviewers who bash this album aren't musically educated enough to qualify as reviewers. Were you music majors in college? Have you studied anything above theory level 1? Obviously you'll never admit it, but reviews like these illustrate your ignorance.

This album mostly blows, but the highlight IS "The Only Way". And on the box set they put everything on it EXCEPT that song. I'll bet Greg Lake is mortally embarrassed by that "6 million Jews" line.

ELP also left their other 2 greatest rockin' moments off the box set, too: The amazing "Nutrocker" from Pictures, and the live "Hoedown" from Welcome Back, which is the greatest example of wacky electric keyboard playing known to man.

This is one of my faves. You shouldn't dis my favorite shit, assclown.

*Sigh* Some people just can't understand high art...

Ah, just kidding. ELP may suck, but they suck in such a way that I get a kick out of it. "Tarkus" is fun! I love both the studio and the live versions. It is actually one of my favorite prog sidelongs along with Close To The Edge and anything on Tales From Topographic Oceans (sic). Well, if giddy keyboards aren't your way of fun, then my man Keith will probably give you a nice 'ol kick in the nuts. If not, then roll up! See the show!

1. Tarkus -- 20

2. Bitches Crystal -- 13

3. A Time and a Place -- 11

4. The Only Way -- 10

5. Infinite Space -- 8

6. Jeremy Bender -- 4

7. Are You Ready, Eddy? -- 3

Tarkus is ELP's best song (although not by far). It's also a candidate for best song written, ever. Everything about this song is perfect. The 25 seconds of chorus buildup and the ferocious 5/4 organ riff with left hand. "Stones of Years" is built around a C minor scale (kind of), but it's so unusual that no other song in existence even resembles it. Iconoclast and Mass are two more hefty spoonfuls of badass before the best part of the song, Manticore. Battlefield is climactic -- really fits the lyrics too. Aquatarkus is a bit different -- I can see why someone might not like it, but its a nice little march (the highlight being Carl's snare). Then right before you get tired of it CLANG a big gong and it goes back to Eruption and an enormous Holst-esque finish! Absolutely splendid.

Bitches Crystal is not exactly Lake's best lyrical work, and the first few seconds where it fades in is dumb. Other than that, this song kicks ass -- mainly because of the ragtime solos.

A Time and a Place is very similar to "Living Sin" from Trilogy. Theyre both hammond-dominated, theyre both single length, theyre both good songs, and they both precede the worst songs of each album. I like this song but have nothing unusual to say about it.

The Only Way has bad lyrics too, but thats ok because Lake's voice is so great. More standard-issue piano beauty in this song too. It continues to the jazzy "Infinite Space", which is relaxing but not even close to their better works.

Jeremy Bender is presumably where it is because another song even close to Tarkus-quality at this point would make the listener evaporate from too much masterful composition. It's lame, but by the time it comes on I am too blown away from Tarkus to touch the "skip" button.

Are you Ready, Eddy? could have easily been removed from the album and not used at all. It's dumb. Emerson sounds like he's screwing up in his solo. Theyre trying to imitate rock from the 50s, but rock from the 50s sucked. Lake's voice is the only thing keeping this song from a 1 or a 0.

Add your thoughts?

Pictures At An Exhibition - Atlantic 1972.
Rating = 1

Knock knock!

Who's there?


This is one of the worst records I've ever heard. This is exactly what I was talking about when I said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "ELP shouldn't try to mix classical music with rock and roll. They don't have a clue what the fuck they're doing." This is Cumbersome, Flake, and Embalmer's half-assed attempt to show off how cultured they are by destroying a work by some guy named Mussorgsky whom I can't imagine any of you have ever heard of, so don't bother trying to claim that you have heard of Mussorgsky because all you'll be doing is "pulling an Emerson" (i.e. pretending that familiarity with a work of "high art" somehow makes you a more interesting person than a normal everyday Chuck Berry fan). This record is just awful. I mean, even if you're a fan of classical music, surely you must agree with me on this point. This work is neither sufficiently challenging nor melodically enchanting enough to warrant its existence in my world - my Earth 1997. AND THEY END THE RECORD WITH "NUT ROCKER"!!!!! WHY??? WHY??? TELL ME WHY!!!!!!!

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
One point? Well, I'd have given it two, but who cares. I do admire the gaul that it took for them to add lyrics to an established classical piece, but for the most part, this album is crap. They did re-record "Pictures at an Exhibition" in 93 and included it as a bonus track on their 94 album (In The Hot Seat), and it was actually pretty cool.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Keith Davis)
I have ELP's version and an orchestrated version at home. OK, they butchered it! Granted, they should have chosen something less tedious to butcher, perhaps 'Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherezade.' Although, that would probably create many enemies for them. On the subject of "Nutrocker". Why, why, why indeed! How dare they take excerpts from 'Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite' and butcher it! Naughty! Naughty! Overall, not as horrid as either of you believe, but not worthy of an excellent rating! I would give it a 4/10, just because I own a copy and only play it for some back- ground sound while cleaning the house or doing the dishes!

Of course, I purchased my copy in 'Japan' 10 years ago or so!

When considering Pictures at an Exhibition, just remember the technical aspects of recording a live concert in 1971...

The music actually is great....if only the production had been, say, even five years later this would have been considered one of the best art-rock albums of all time....*OK, maybe "Nut Rocker" should have been left off*

But how can you accuse ELP of not being fun? They are clearly having a great time bastardizing the classics....Adding lyrics and creating songs to add such as "Curse of Baba Yaga" and "The Sage"....just make this plain cool...

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Hey Mark! Just browsing through and wanted to tell you that I never heard of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (ok, ok, so I did, but I never heard anything BY them, so it's all the same to me), but I DID hear of Mussorgsky. So hold your horses - I do like 'Pictures At An Exhibition' (by Mussorgsky), and I would advise any fan of music (neither classical nor rock, just music) to listen to it at least once. If ELP try to destroy it, as you say, it doesn't matter to me. I'm really writing this only to extinguish a bit of your flamy style.

buckmann@concentric.net (Ben Mann)
Well . . . I like ELP's Picture's at an Exhibition. Of course, I haven't heard the "real" _Pictures at an Exhibition_, or much else by ELP, but I guess I can't end this sentence without restating that I like this album. Oops.

So. What could I possibly like about this album? Well, I dig the way-over the top parts where the keyboards sound like music from Doctor Who, and the mellower sort of parts that use classical music to make really slow pop, like "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum. And the rockin' parts. And Greg's voice. Obviously it was a bad idea to interpret a classical piece, and they probably butchered it, but having never heard it done "right," I can enjoy it on its own.

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Huh??? Only ONE FARKING STAR???? Are you people LAME?? Are you HIGH??? SHOULD you be high????

Let me set the record straight -- this album RULES. Second only to "Karn Evil 9", this one's a masterpiece from beginning to end. Sure, it's pretentious and overblown, but that's what makes ELP ELP (or did I say that already?) I mean, seriously, have you ever heard a recording that so deftly mixed classical, blues, progressive, acoustic guitar, choral hymns, and totally weird keyboard noises?? Heck, even my MOTHER likes this album...and she HAS heard the original by Mussorgsky! Heck, if it wasn't for ELP I never would have listened to classical in the first place. Not that I listen to classical much, but I try when I can.

And those of you claiming that the new version of "Pictures" is better are out of your fucking skulls. That version BLOWS!! Tired vocals, lazy keyboard work, fuzzy, hollow production...BLEEAACHH!! They didn't even do the whole song! What a rip.

Oh yeah, don't blame Keith Emerson for trashing Tchaikovsky in "Nutrocker". That song was written by Kim Fowley, and ELP merely covered it. So there. :-P

sungkang@Princeton.Edu (Sung-Hoon Kang)
O.K. ELP sucks. But I find this one better than the other ELP albums (unfortunately I have some). At least the original scores are better..LOL. By the way, what's wrong with rock bands' re-interpretating classasical pieces? Actually, the orchestrated version of Pictures at the Exhibition itself is a re-interpretation by Ravel (a French composer whom I afraid you may not have heard of). The original one was a piano suites. So, re-interpretaion of a classical piece by a classical composer/player is OK, and by a rock band/musician is not, huh? Oh, by the way I'm not a fan of classical music. I like rock music way, way, way better than any other kind of music, and I don't think classical music is "high art." If it's good, it's good; if it's bad, it's bad, rock, jazz, classics, whatever.

juvenal@citrus.infi.net (Michael Rohm)
I actually HAVE heard of Mussorgsky. He performed "A Night on Bald Mountain," one of my favourite classical pieces. It can be heard, among other places, in The Wizard of Oz. The piece itself is about a Witches' Sabbat atop a mountain in Russia. Pretty interesting stuff, methinks.

What the fuck are you people thinking?ELP is extermly taltented and creative.I hope you burn in hell! Fuck you!

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Ooh, Mark, now that I've listened to this album, I must express my surprise. A 1 is given to an album that must be so offensive it's totally impossible to sit through it. I don't see what is so offensive about Pictures. Just forget that they are butchering Mussorgsky (which they really aren't, because a lot of times they're changing the original to the point of unrecognizability). It's a groovy album! All these synth noises, drumming, Lake's guitar - they're cool. Sure, it's not their best, but I'd give it a 6 or 7 for the fun and virtuosity.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
I like this album!! It's funny, it's well played, and I like this piece. I'd give it a 7 or an 8 personally.

First off, I've got to say that I admire a 27-year-old guy who is under no compulsion to buy ANY Emerson, Lake and Palmer album yet still goes out and buys every record by a band he so evidently dislikes. And I'm not being sarcastic, because I'M also that 27-year-old guy, although I like ELP a lot more than you do.

And that would include Pictures At An Exhibition. I hated it when I first heard it too, but the beauty of prog is that it tends to grow on you. Pictures... becomes a surprisingly intense album upon repeated listens. The Great Gates of Kiev is, to my ears, a beautiful, awe-inspiring song. But, yeah, Nut Rocker can certainly go straight to hell.

HE_Tasca@webtv.net (H Tasca)
I'm not sure what is more pretentious.... the fact that you have the audacity to give this ELP album a score of 1... or the fact that you have the audacity to assume no one would know who Mussorgsky was....

Pictures at an Exhibition was Mussorgsky's best-known work, and it in fact includes the piece "Night on Bald Mountain" mentioned by one of your other readers.

Before you trash ELP for bastardizing Mussorgsky, it would seem intelligent to know a little about the Russian, don't you think? The truth, of course, is that Mussorgsky himself was known for breaking all kinds of musical rules.... he was considered innovative to a fault; his music was thought to be outlandish in terms of both structure and content; he was sometimes tasteless and always mad. Fitting, then, that Emerson should choose Pictures At An Exhibition to experiment with.

Remember also (if you ever knew) that Muggorsky never orchestrated Pictures at all... the score was full piano. There have been a few attempts by brave fools to capture this... Ashkenazy the best of the lot.. but for the most part they failed miserably. Hence, there are TWO orchestrated versions of Pictures currently in existence... the more popular by the french Ravel... and a lesser-known orchestration by Rimsky-Korsakov, which is widely considered inferior. Neither of these sounds overwhelmingly similar to Mussorgsky's piano work, but both bring out the inherent beauty and power of the work.

What better for Emerson to bastardize that a work that is widely known ONLY in bastardized forms?

Your opinion about the work might hold up if you had the slightest notion what you were discussing, but clearly you do not.

As for why they decided to cover Nutrocker.... ... I dunno... maybe they were stoned?

katsman7@hotmail.com (Madd Hunter)
HEY YOU!! You'd better listen to this live record more times. This is an highly enjoyable ELP live record. I know, there's nothing except the classical composition by Mussorgsky, but it kicks ass (yeah, it does. good bass playing here). ELP showed their full progressive powers. I don't have yet "Welcome my friends...", but I suppose it's really damn good as this one! One of the best live albums. 9/10

a.murray1@home.com (Alex Murray)
Now, I don't know why you give all these shitty reviews if you're even an ELP fan at all (Of course, it's for the sap-happy Lucky Man, innit?).

Pictures was my intro to ELP, and I thought it was damn good, even excellent, with the exception of the repetitions of "Promenade" and "Nutrocker" can pretty much go to hell. Of course, it was on vinyl originally, duh, so you needed filler, because a typical single LP of the time was around 42 minutes.

Of course, it wasn't the motherfucking-horrible 1992 version when Lake's voice was on life support, the Moog was fried enough that it was unsuitable for playing, and all the MIDI keyboards retriggered every note after Emerson released (poor bastard). So reconsider, hear the newer version, and you'll come back with a bribe for not having me hurt you badly.

Nutrocker absolutely rules, ya doosh.

Well, maybe mixing rock and classical music wasn't the best idea....but even still, MODEST PETROVICH MUSSORGSKY IS MY FAVORITE COMPOSER OF ALL TIME! I love the Promenade from Pictures At An Exhibition. As for ELP's rendition, i prefer no version except for the one they performed at Isle of Wight....AWESOME! Bottom line.........................5/10

crazydiamond@comcast.net (Alex Murray)
Maybe you're on to something, Mark. Pictures is actually a bit boring to me now. Sure, when I got it I liked it, I was only a naive kid at the time. I revoke my last comment and give it a 5/10. 3 points for trying, 2 for Lake's classical guitar on The Sage. 5 points off for being too goddamn repetitive (yes, Mussorgsky did it too, but remember, it's a ROCK album). I got a hold of an MP3 copy of one of their concerts, which didn't sound too bad, but when they started to play Pictures, you could hear a guy in the audience moan "Oh no!" Too bad it wasn't you, Prindle, you'd be off ranting, which would made the tape a whole lot funnier than a lot of ELP's songs.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
7/10. A fine playing of the famous classical piece by these three gods. Shame on you, Mark! This record is 10,000 times better than the infamous Sex Pistols album Never Mind The Bollocks. Please change your rating or I'll shit on this page.

This was cool in it's day so fuck you, cockbite.

guy_wild@hotmail.com (slumbug, motorslug)
If you hated the album Pictures at an Exhibition then stay the fuck away from The Video. Itís even worse!

soulquest7@aol.com (Nick Kokoshis)
Pictures at an Exhibition features some of the finest monophonic synthesizer work of any album in the progressive rock era. Bob Moog must have been proud as a new papa when he first heard this album. Not to mention fine arranging and one of Greg Lake's loveliest songs ever (The Sage). ELP were blessed with a superb trio of musicians: Emerson was capable of adapting many styles to small rock ensembles, Lake brought beautiful songs with a folk sensibility, and Palmer was one of the most impressive drummers of ANY era of rock (he's the only drummer I ever saw who could play ONLY his cymbals during a solo and make it sound amazing). On this album, all these talents came together with the wonderful melodies of Mussorgsky to create one of progrock's greatest achievements. Even Lake's bass work, employing wah-wah pedals and fuzz tone, is fascinating. Near the end, Palmer plays some spellbinding drum fills. But of course it is Emerson that deserves the lion's share of the credit-- his obvious adoration of the classical composer's work showed that this music could successfully be introduced to contemporary audiences who were completely removed from the classical scene. I was one such listener in 1972 when this album was released. And released after it was refused by their American record label on the rational that it would ruin their career. After tens of thousands of imports sold, it was rush-released domestically in the US and went to the top ten of the charts, showing that rock audiences were starved for something other than blues-based rock. Progressive rock artists opened up many worlds of music to us, not only classical, but ragtime, country, folk, jazz, experimental, and ambient electronic. It was an amazing education, and Pictures At An Exhibition is one of the finest introductions you could have to this amazing genre. And don't forget to search for the now-readily available DVD of a 1970 performance of Pictures at an Exhibition. Recorded a few months before the album, it shows how passionate their performance of this music actually was. If you enjoy good musicianship, beautiful vocals, tight arrangements, and knob-twiddling synth explorations, you're gonna love this album. ENJOY!

Knock knock!

Who's there?

A pretty darn good album, that's what!

The fact that ELP arranged (or re-arranged) Mussorgsky's classic and managed to come out with something that was faithful to the original yet adding rock/prog elements to it and come out with a top 5 album is pretty f***ing amazing.

I remember reading other reviews (a long long time ago) that said ELP *raped* P.a.a.E

(abbrev. of Pictures at an Exhibition, which i'm going to refer to it as through the rest of this review).

Now, IMO, I LIKE this album. In fact it was one of my first encounters with ELP. It has its rockin' out bits and quiet acoustic bits, prog. bits, quite varied, really.

The sound quality is pretty good for a live album from 1971. (who knows if they did any overdubs, though...)

Okay that was the good stuff. Now

Here's the bad stuff:

Emerson somehow manages to emit the most horridly ugly noises from the synth and organ.

Lake's bass isn't very loud.

Nutrocker (heh heh --- funny title) is pretty pointless, just tacked on at the end (probably to fill time requirements). Lake's acoustic song on the first side seems pretty pointless too. (if find the latter is pretty quiet on my LP copy --- if have to turn the volume up high to hear it).

It would've been nice for it to be a double album and and have renditions of their then-current songs on the second LP. (the whole P.a.a.E. piece is only about 35 minutes.)

All in all, i think it's pretty groundbreaking for its day (well, except for that stupid and dull Deep Purple w/ Symphony album released in either the late 60's or early 70's....). and for the most part it's pretty listenable and catchy. (catchy? yes. it's in there somwhere - trust me).


(note --- this rating is just based in relation to other ELP albums, not going against/v.s. any other artist of the same era, etc. etc.)

1. The Curse of Baba Yaga -- 15

2. Blues Variations -- 12

3. The Hut of Baba Yaga (either one) -- 12

4. The Old Castle -- 10

5. The Sage -- 8

6. The Great Gates of Kiev -- 7

7. The Gnome -- 7

8. Nutrocker -- 5

9. Promenade (any of them) -- 4

The Curse of Baba Yaga is, in a word, dazzling. Organs and synths all over the place, furious drumming, Lake screaming at warp speed (I don't think anyone knows what the lyrics to this song are) and the perfect lead in back to Hut. Want to get worked up into a frenzy? Put this song on.

Blues Variations is another fantastic Emersonian performance, and one of those happy jams (like Hoedown) that make you want to listen more than once. This piece actually IS derived from Mussorgsky as well even though it doesn't say -- the original Old Castle has the same notes.

The Hut of Baba Yaga works fantastic where it is, and the three Baba Yaga songs are the highlight of the album.

The Old Castle is really the start of the show -- if you cropped off everything before it you wouldn't be losing that much. The synth at the beginning is extremely annoying on the album, but I bet if you were at Newcastle Hall watching it he was probably doing something really cool (same with Kiev towards the end)

The Sage is Lake's second best song after Take a Pebble. Very good classical composition; sounds sort of like Rodrigo, who they did later. His voice sounds just as good live as in the studio too -- not many modern singers can boast that. Still, the placement is bad, it's too early and it should really be wedged between two furious pieces.

The Great Gates of Kiev is an example of a song that is completely dependent on placement. If you heard it by itself you wouldn't think much of it, but it is the perfect closing song for an ELP show, and they used it a lot for this purpose (California Jam). Lyrics are dumb again, oh well.

The Gnome is clunky and quirky, and doesn't have much to redeem it except for the loud, dissonance-laden organ chords right in the beginning. Mussorgsky's Gnome is much better.

Nutrocker falls into the category of "bad ELP songs" with most fans, but it's really not bad, its just placed EXTREMELY poorly. Nothing should be played after Kiev except maybe Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression or Take a Pebble.

The Promenades are boring and could have been played only once. To omit them completely would be bad, because it is a recognizable theme from the original but THREE TIMES? Ugh.

Add your thoughts?

Trilogy - Atlantic 1972.
Rating = 6

Hey! Not too bad! Once you get through the first three fudgepackers, there are some pretty good songs, although "The Sheriff" is certainly quite the buttmonkey, and "Hoedown" is without a reasonable doubt the sort of song that would invite another song of the same gender to ram its primary sexual organ into the greased buttocks of

On the other hand, I'm all for "From The Beginning" (Moody Blues again!), "Trilogy" (fantastic! All three parts almost!), and "Abaddon's Bolero" (foreboding and fuzzy!). There's some really good sounds on here! You just gotta sit through some garbage to get to it.

And how about this - every pro-lifer must be forced to adopt an unwanted crack baby! You???

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Well, "From The Beginning" starts like a shameless ripoff of Yes's "Roundabout", but it quickly redeems itself. I think this is probably the most listenable album they did in the early 70's.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
Personally, Trilogy is one of my favorite cds. It contains "The Endless Enigma Parts I & II" and "Fugue." Maybe they were trying to recreate a rock version of that famous "Salvador Dali" painting. Does Josey become the sheriff in "The Sheriff?" "From The Beginning" is magnificent! I can take or leave "Hoedown." "Trilogy," "Living Sin" and "Abaddon's Bolero" are quite good! Overall a 9/10 for this cd.

The remastered version of Trilogy is also quite impressive! We can hear "The Sheriff" and "The Endless Enigma" suite (including "Fugue,") with more crystal clarity; the same holds true for "From The Beginning." Overall, another very impressive cd worthy of a 9/10!

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Err...I don't get it, I just don't see what's so prissy about this album. Yeah, it's got some quiet moments, but prissy? Naah. On the other hand, you were dead-on about Jon Anderson of Yes. That guy's a fruity-pie through and through.

I'll take five, you pathetic loser.

david@roycenet.com (David B. Wilson)
Hey, that wouldn't be fair to the unwanted crack babies.

greensteins@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
I really like it. The title track is my favourite - the way it unexpectedly bursts out of the classical part into a chaotic opus still shocks me every time I hear it. I also dig "Hoedown" - what a fantastically trippy arrangement of that great, corny classical folk gem. Hell, I don't even dislike "Endless Enigma"! I think it's kind of cool! I don't know jack crap about ELP, so I could only give it an eight for now, but I'm quite sure that if I ever get into the band's other stuff, this rating would go up.

And I'm not too fond of "Lucky Man," by the way, and Yes just sucks.

Trilogy is sometimes my favorite ELP. And "The Endless Enigma" is one o' my favorite prog songs. That ending is just sooo....emotional. Listen to it while you're me, and you'll understand. What great solos (and guitar tone) in From the Beginning!

I like this too you, faggotwhore.

Hey, I just noticed that From The Beginning (probably a whole bunch of other Greg Lake penned ELP songs too) sounds like a Tenacious D song! Listen, the vocals and acoustic guitar - uncanny or what?

1. Trilogy -- 16

2. Hoedown -- 16

3. Endless Enigma Part One -- 12

4. Living Sin -- 10

5. Endless Enigma Part Two -- 9

6. From the Beginning -- 8

7. The Sheriff -- 8

8. Fugue -- 5

9. Abaddon's Bolero -- 1

Trilogy is an oddly written song which reminds me of Take a Pebble for some reason, except I like Take a Pebble better. But that doesn't stop Trilogy from being a masterpiece. The beginning is pretty, then comes the best part of the song which is made very evident for your convenience -- the part where everything changes and gets louder and rockier in a split second, and piano changes to moog. I also like the vaudeville ending -- its got style.

Hoedown is somewhat marred because of the beef commercials, but the Aaron Copland song is great and this one is better. In Milan in 1973 they played this about twice as fast, and if you are a keyboard player you may know that this song is VERY hard to play, because almost everything in the melody is done with right hand (this involves octave jumping, fingers leaping over one another to get places, all kinds of fun stuff).

Endless Enigma Part One -- My only problem with this is that when this song first gets kickin' (between zourka and first verse) -- that part is fantastically written and needs to be WAY longer. The verses offer a lot of variety, and another cool thing about this song is it establishes the Western theme of the whole album, brought up again by tracks 4, 5, and 6.

Living Sin -- Hey! Lake is a bass singer too! Take that Jon Anderson. I don't know what "hooked you up with Coca-cola coming, nice and slippery" means. Also this song is another reminder of how awesome Hammond organs sound.

Endless Enigma Part Two -- Best part is the last few seconds. Very powerful.

From the Beginning -- Nice song, also sounds westernish. Good song to play if you should find yourself driving in the Arizona desert at night alone. And yes, the guitar at the beginning is Roundaboutish but I bet FTB was written first. If not, ELP is still better than Yes and deserve to use whatever they want.

The Sheriff -- Most ELP fans don't like this one either -- I don't know why. The best part of this is Lake's voice, and the honky tonk thing at the end that gets your ears all set for Hoedown. In the beginning, listen real close, you can hear Palmer mess up and say "shit".

Fugue -- Reminds me of Emerson's Piano Concerto No. 1. I like Fugue, but it's not as good as a lot of the other stuff on the album. Lake's bass playing is rather impressive on this track.

Abaddon's Bolero is atrocious. It is SOOOO boring. I cannot believe that the same guy that wrote Tarkus penned this disgrace. The only reason it is not a 0 is because I refuse to rate any ELP song 0. Ravel's Bolero is repetitive and progressive too, but his is neo-classical and has saxophones and is better written (not that I like saxophones, but they are great in Ravel's Bolero.) Ravel's Bolero is daring and alluring -- Abaddon's Bolero is annoying. I am being especially critical of Emerson for this song because ordinarily he is pretty much the best composer and musician ever, right next to Mozart, Bach, and Holst -- in fact, he's better than all three of them. But Abaddon's Bolero still sucks.

Add your thoughts?

Brain Salad Surgery - Atlantic 1973.
Rating = 8

There's a little tiny bug flying around my apartment right now, and it's pissing the hell off out of me, damn. This is my favorite ELP record. I'm extremely fond of it. In faq, I'd go so far as to say that I loved it if not for the fact that the last nine minutes are atrocious.

There's lots of good stuff on here. The boys' sci-fi covers of "Jerusalem" and "Toccata" start off the record with concrete proof that they actually CAN combine modern rock sounds with classical compositions when they try really hard. Then, there's "Still....You Turn Me On," another beautiful Lake acoustic ballad (except for that corny wah-wah guitar in the chorus), "Benny The Bouncer" (the spiritual follow-up to the carnivalesque "Jeremy Bender" and "The Sheriff," and the only part of the trilogy that I like at all). And then - WHAM-O! It's "Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 1)," which rules!!! It's that one with the complicated little break and Greg Lake going, "I'll be there! I'll be there! I will be there!" until about halfway through the tune, when it unexpectedly turns into that one that goes, "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!" (although I don't think it says that until you turn the record over.)

Not to get behind myself, but when you turn the record over, you hear pretty much the same song again, this time, in the name of ego, entitled "Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2)." Can I stress how much I love this song? Can I? Both of these first bits - the "I'll be there," the confusing little break, the "Welcome back..." part, the bouncy speedy little keyboard break, EVERYTHING!!! I love this song!!!! It's so catchy!!!! But all good things must come to end (you'll die), so finally they crash the whole overblown shop down with a triumphant shout of "SEE THE SHO-O-OWWWWW!!!!" and then "2nd Impression" starts up and it's kind of Indian or African sounding but cool enough, and then "3rd Impression" interrupts a perfectly lovely experience by being really really friggin' prissy for a full 9:05, completely ruining an otherwise stellar prog rock release. Regardless, I really like the record and am proud to give it an 8.

Except one thing. And I promise I'm not making this up, although it certainly seems like the sort of thing I would make up. According to Keith Emerson, the phrase "Brain Salad Surgery" is a euphemism for fellatio. If you don't believe me, look closely at the album cover. Right there on the front, right below the woman/skull's face - that's a penis head. Don't tell me you don't see it. It's there.

Why? I have no idea.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
For the most part, I didn't like this one. "Jerusalem" was pointless, "Benny the Bouncer" was stupid, and I didn't care much for that classical thing, but "Still You Turn Me On" is a good song. As for "Karn Evil 9", it's one of the best songs ever written. I agree completely with you on that song. "it's the greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth."

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
I have yet to purchase the remastered version of Brain Salad Surgery on cd. I remember some of it, especially the cynical lyrics by Peter Sinfield which dominated "Karn Evil 9." I am certain that the new version is much better. I would rate that cd at 8.5/10 though.

hslawlor@hotmail.com (Joe Lawlor)

"Karn Evil No. 9 - Third Impression"....prissy?!!!???!!??

You've got to be kidding.....so then what is every Yes record ever made? How can a song be prissy with words like `Ties a rope to a tree and hangs the universe/Until the wind of laughter blows cold" or `Draws a blade of compassion kissed by countless kings/Whose jewelled-trumpeted words blind his sight"

And how about that little battle at the end going on between Greg and the Computer, and then the mysterious steel-drum-like ending, swirling to a furious crescendo, stopping as abruptly as a car braking for a deer *how about that for a horrible analogy*

Sure, it's corny, but so what? ELP are unabashadly corny, and should be loved for it. Don't ever question their manliness, they might beat you with their gong mallets!

By the way, what a great album, overall. A complete, art-rock classic, sillier than Dark Side of the Moon, but much more musical. A perfect 10 for the boys on this one....

zorra@hempseed.com (Adriana)
I AGREE COMPLETELY!!!!!!! I just don't like Toccata, sorry... But the Karn Evil thing is exactly like you wrote! It starts off awesome, then it goes on a cool keyboard/drums jam, then the starship and computer thing fails miserably!

I never thought someone would have the balls to say the truth about this song!!!

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Phew, at least you liked this one. Probably saved you from eternal damnation. :-P I agree completely, except about the last part of Karn Evil 9...I thought it was GREAT. A perfect depiction of the final confrontation between man & computers: "NEGATIVE...PRIMITIVE...LIMITED...I LET YOU LIVE" "But I gave you life!" "WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU DO" "To do what was right!" "I'M PERFECT ARE YOU?" Segueing into that totally weird repeating synth riff. Oh yeah, you should hear K.E. play that final part on their triple live album. It goes so damn fast, I'd swear he was using a sequencer. Except I don't think they HAD sequencers in 1974. Heh, no wonder he got carpel tunnel syndrome...

9.3 is decent. 6/10.

Jerusalem is great,Toccta is awesome,Still is great,Benny is ok.Karn Evil 9 kicks ass!The 3rd impression tough is not a faggot song!It is a Star Trek like theme!If you are ignorant enough to hate elp you probally hate Star Trek.KE9 is an epic, begining with the 1st impression about beatings of poor then going onto the show.The second impression is great with the mixture of bass and piano.The 3rd impression is awesome,especially the organ solo.

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
Oh, Karn Evil 9.3 isn't _that_ bad. It's sci-fi, and I enjoy it quite a bit. In fact, I love the entire suite. It's cool!

Anyways, I don't know how this really compares to other ELP stuff, as this is my first one, but I'll be looking for more. 9.

eeinhorn@home.com (Eric Einhorn)
Karn Evil 9 Third Impression is one of the coolest things ever recorded. While Greg's vocals (for the most part) are dumb, the music in between is excellent, and Keith has some really nice keyboard lines throughout. And you've gotta love the ending - Greg duels it out with the computer (played by Keith), the computer wins, and out of the close of the song comes a Moog sequence which gets slowly faster and faster until it stops suddenly in the middle. Killer stuff.

Oh by the way - Emerson is the greatest keyboard player ever. Which makes KE9 Second Impression one of the best instrumentals ever.

rcbmarcomm@nwinfo.net (Richard Burger)
I've been listening to classical prog for a couple years now, but for all my stacks of Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, I'd never heard an entire ELP album until now. But most people seem pretty fond of this one, so I thought I'd give it a try. After listening to it enough that I can hum the songs that have tunes, I thought I'd put my thoughts in the pot.

The first thing to get used to here is the combination of Greg Lake's manly-bland voice and those big keyboard washes, unadulterated by any form of guitar, which form a sound so amazingly stereotypical that I had never thought it actually existed. But maybe I was just unprepared for English prog in such a pure form.

"Jerusalem" is a pretty song and an excellent opener, but since it's a cover, it seems to me like all ELP have contributed so far is their trademark sound and some good song selection. I do think that this would get really irritating if it went on for more than two and a half minutes.

"Tocatta" really does nothing for me, even after listening to the sucker ten times. There's no tune. There's just keyboard effects and drum solo. I'm sure lots of people love this, and that's their right, and their opinion is probably a lot better than mine (good opinions have more intrinsic value than bad ones,) but... BLEAH!

"Still You Turn Me On" is just as Mark said, (as is most of this album, which I think comes off pretty much the same for any non-fan that listens to it.) The verses are pretty. The chorus is, well, stupid. As are the lyrics, I think.

"Benny the Bouncer" also really, really sucks. I think the excuse that die-hard ELP fans usually attach to it is that it's funny, but you know what? It's NOT! Prog-rock bands aren't supposed to do novelty songs anyway, it's against the rules. Greg Lake and Carl Palmer made the rules as far as prog-rock goes, so it's fine with me if they break them, but, really, is this anything more than just a violent version of Cream's "Mother's Lament?" Nooooooo...

So, what do we have thus far? Certainly nothing deserving of its reputation. But then there's Karn Evil 9! Their most famous song! And what do I think? Well, the "I'll be there" bit is EXCELLENT! The refrain, the wanking, the arrangements, even the lyrics, really. It's just... sublime, there's no adequate way to describe it. Unfortunately, it sets a pace the rest of the song can't live up to, even the second half of the first impression lacks the melodic flair of the first. The "evil" lyrics seem out of place here too, they just don't sound right delivered in Carl's purely happy voice. If, hm, Peter Gabriel were doing it, he could lend it some character. Carl just doesn't sound like an evil circus pitchman.

Second Impression isn't bad, certainly, most of it sounds like one of those New Tango records, which I like. But New Tango had vibes, and it's not as interesting without them. It has its moments.

Third Impression does a pretty nice job of conjuring up a big old-fashioned war, even if it's pretentious and bombastic to the point of near insufferability at times. This may be heresy, but I really think this bit could go without the five minutes or so of instrumental breaks (well, it seems like five minutes.) I actually like the computerized voice, though. It's cool.

And does he really say "No man yields two flies in my shit?" That's what it sounds like.

I agree with your rating and most of your review, except I think that the 2nd Impression of Karn Evil 9 is the part that really blows to high Jupiter. The rest of the suite is really friggin' cool - the "Welcome back my friends!" part sounds better in the context of the whole song than when it gets played on the radio, where it somehow manages to sound like some sort of redneck song. Of the song-based segment of the album, my favorite song is "Tocatta" - yeah, it's a rambling, unstructured classical update, but it somehow manages to be engaging in spite of itself. "Still... You Turn Me On" and "Benny The Bouncer" are also pretty good too, and for the record, I don't mind at all when prog bands attempt humor like ELP did in the latter song.

SELLSW@WESTAT.com (William Sells)
Enjoyed the review and the comments. Funny the diversity of thought. I can always find something I like in a song - even if it's the ending. In defense of "Benny" - it helps to be a Jim Croce (Outta South Alabama come a country boy - He say I'm lookin' for a man named Jim - I'm a pool shoot'n boy by name of Willy McCoy - But back home they call me Slim) fan. Then you can appreciate the humor in "Savage Sid!" There's still the piano, you know. Speaking of piano - 2nd impression of KE9 is awesome! So, if you're looking for great songs to review - don't overlook the individual notes.

a.murray1@home.com (Leigh Murray)
Yes, Brain Salad Surgery is a slang term for oral sex. But that managed to escape today's crowd, huh?

I'd take the rating one point up. Considering you just LOVE "Lucky Man", I am not surprised you haven't set the dynamite off in front of "...Turn Me On." Lake had no power. Also, the man must be gay, because the majority of people who bought this and Works 1 (if there was a majority for the latter) were of the male homo sapiens species.

Jerusalem you could take or leave. Toccata is pure diabolical madness, translation MASTERPIECE, or variation of a piece made into a masterpiece, but whatever. I just told you about the dipshit ballad, no more please. Benny The Bouncer is a pretty funny song and I'm relieved to see you like a song that others think is the worst.

Karn Evil 9 is so truly progressive, hence 3 impressions. The 1st Impression, at least the first part, is actually sung by maestro Emerson (hence the microphone stand in live pictures) and is undoubtebly the most recognized part of the whole thing. Part 2 is the radio single, which did pretty well in sales, but Part 1's the best.

The 2nd Impression is a very enjoyable jazz piece with Emerson at the helm of the grand piano and the Minimoog for the steel drum bit (which sounds more like an African ceremonial dance).

The 3rd impression is the worst, particularly because Pete Sinfield, lyricist for a number of bands, wrote it about a time when computers ruled the world. It also contains a misheard lyric. "No man yields to flies in my shit." You just gotta laugh at that one.

BSS was and still is the best ELP album hands down.

drummerboy_91@yahoo.com (Chris Federico)
You know me. I LOVE to add my comments. Actually, this is meant to be a bit of an educational addition to your atypically generous account of Brain Salad Surgery.

This album is brilliant. I wish more modern groups would be inspired by this kind of versatility. It's very free-feeling rock and roll. Lyrically, I've always felt that the story was about humans' destruction of their own environment by reaching for one-dimensional ideals. "Jerusalem" is featured as the opening piece because it represents the cries of humans who maintain that they won't rest until this so-called perfect city is truly built on Earth. It's naive and a bit sarcastic, but also lovely in its well-intended righteousness. The man in "Still...You Turn Me On" continues to express deep emotions for his sweetheart even though her mannerisms have been rendered nearly lifeless by her conformity to an increasingly cold world, which is making itself colder and colder (and "crystalized") in attempts to make everything trouble-free. It's the same point as Jethro Tull makes in A Passion Play: It's not human, or in fact possible, to be 100% evil OR 100% perfect and "good." The interpretational problems inherent in trying to decide what's "good" and "bad" surface in "Karn Evil 9," which is mostly about a show going on somewhere on the Earth of the future. This supposedly "perfect" civilization has practically rendered the planet lifeless in attempts to meet an ideal. Even a blade of grass is kept behind glass. The items showcased from "Earth in the past" are completely misunderstood by this cold future culture; even emotions are seen as part of the "decadence" that's been purged ("he laughs until he cries..."). Finally, at the end, we see that man, in his efforts to make things perfect, has behaved naturally and "progressed" technologically -- to the point at which his own creations, the computers, overtake humanity. "Perfect" in a sense, maybe -- but utterly lifeless.

Guyr@sigma-systems.com (Guy Robinson)
Agree totally with your comments on this one. However, you have not heard this properly until you spin the DVD Audio surround version. Absolutely incredible, and you can hear a lot more detailing which you may or may not have wanted to actually hear. This one was made for surround if anything was.

watta502@yahoo.gr (Akis Katsman)
what can I say about this album? It does have one of the very best compositions of 20th century, the infamous 'Karn Evil 9'. I don't know if it's the best prog song ever written, maybe 'Supper's Ready' by Genesis is. I dig all the three impressions, especially the first one, which has the most hooks (in both organ and voice). The rest of the album is no filler, though. I adore the hymn 'Jerusalem', Lake shines on this one. 'Still... You Turn Me On' is a nice catchy pop song, 'Toccata' has great keyboard work and the synthesised drums of Carl, and while I didn't like it at first, it did grow on me. Finally, 'Benny The Bouncer' is the most filler-ish here, reminds me of Super Mario Brothers music in Nintendo, but I like it still. Overall, a 'more than great' album, highlighted by 'Karn Evil 9'. I give it 9.5/10.

Note: Try to get the remastered version on cd, the bonus single 'Brain Salad Surgery' is a guilty pleasure.

threegtrz@hotmail.com (Mark Mills)
I used to be a DJ (or DeeJay, which is close to, well never mind) at a Classic Rock Station back in da 90's. T'was my goal to seemlessly segue KE9 1st Impression parts 1&2 on the air at my earliest opportunity. Infact, I don't unnerstand why the CD wranglers just didn't do that in da first place since the only reason ELP split the two was due to the limitations of the LP (or ElPee, which is close to, um never mind again) format. Okay so I gots part 1 in the top CD player, part 2 cued up in the second CD player. The synth zig zags all over the place and builds and builds until the whole friggin thing stops down to a tickle. BAM! I hit the PLAY button on CD-2. Yeah Bay-Bee! It just sounded like one song! I DID IT! My ELP segue! IT'S ALIVE! It's giving me a cockstand the size of Godzilla! (Whoops, wasn't Godzilla a female in that one movie? You get the picture.) Satisfied with my musical monument, I dab the flop sweat off my brow, mop off the drool slicked on my chin, and towel off the jizz shot onto my belly and wait for the phones to go apeshit from amazed listeners telling me how much that fuckin rocked, dude!! You know what? No-buddy called! Know why? No-buddy gave a fraction of a shit-dingle off a rat's ass, that's why! The next call I got was from 7-year-old wanting me to play "Pink" by Aerosmith!

If you listen, you can hear the sound of a cricket catching the clap off a crab in the woods when no one is around to hear.

Great articles, dude. You're gonna get me in trouble at work from laughing my ass off!

now you like theis piece of shit? This blows, dogdoo.


The little lady is sucking on something similar to a dick. That doesnít make ĎBrain Salad Surgery a euphemism for fellatioí as you say. Itís more an evidence of the artistís interestingly depraved mind.

Check out H. R. Giger to see more dick-like objects inserted in different female orifices. http://www.hrgiger.com/


Karn Evil 9 1st Impression (parts 1 and 2): 19

Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression: 16

Toccata: 16

Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression: 15

Jerusalem: 5

Still You Turn Me On: 5

Benny the Bouncer: 3

Karn Evil 9 1st Impression is ELP second best song. Part 2 (Welcome back my friends) is the perfect show-opener. Lake's guitar sounds great, and the lyrics are particularly good (you can tell when they enlist Pete Sinfield). If you happen to own the "Beyond the Beginning" DVD, there is footage of this song on which Palmer has a lengthy drum solo. It is the most impressive solo I have ever seen, although I have to admit I have never seen Neil Peart live (I like Palmer better anyway though). On the last "See the show", Lake sings a high C. I think that is the highest note he sings on any of their albums (Time and a Place being a high B). 2nd Impression is great solely because of the piano. The middle part is kind of boring, but it's worth the wait. This piece benefits from superb composition.

Toccata should be listened to only after the listener is used to ELP's style. You will hate this song if it is the first ELP song you hear, because it is ELP's weirdest song. Another thing -- this song is extraordinarily difficult to count along to -- Carl's got skillz.

Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression is another weird song, but the solo between "I AM YOURSELF" and "Rejoice!" makes the song a masterpiece. Lots of variation in the composition, this song never leaves you bored. The last verse is particularly majestic, although the ending computer noises could have faded out instead of just abruptly stopping.

Jerusalem -- Brain Salad Surgery is a very unbalanced album, and so is Tarkus. You have your masterpieces, and then you have stuff that just does not belong on the same CD. Jerusalem was not worth the criticism they received to record it. Lake's voice sounds great, as usual, but there are too many highs and there is pretty much no solo (although I realize it was pretty much impossible to work one in).

Still You Turn Me On is Pete Sinfield's worst lyricism and Lake's worst ballad. Still, its not that bad of a song, except the end where it gets noticeably cut off and you are left with Benny the Bouncer to make up for it, which of course does not work.

Benny the Bouncer sucks. The piano in it is very good, but it's too light and dizzying to be on this album, and Lake's altering of his voice sounds really stupid. Actually, the worst part of this song is when that bottle breaks after "one hell of a fight!" It only lasts for half a second, but that breaking bottle ruins the whole song. We get it, it's a bar fight. Please omit the cartoony sound effects. Man I hate that bottle. Without the bottle it would have been a 5.

First of all, please, no one argue with the whole fellatio thing. There IS an airbrushed penis below the woman's lips. "Brain salad surgery" IS a euphemism for a blow job. If you listen to the remaster, there's a 13+-minute track called "The Making of Brain Salad Surgery (Anecdotes About Recording this Classic Album, 1996)" during which this fact is verified by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer. Go on, listen to it and shut up.

With that out of the way, I just bought this album tonight (at a decent price for Barnes & Noble -- $13), and I must say I like it. Lately I've been trying to listen to more progressive rock, so I picked up Foxtrot for $7 (great bargain), and liked it. The best tracks on it are "Get 'em Out by Friday" and "Supper's Ready" (of course). The other day, I dug out two old Yes vinyls, The Yes Album and Fragile, and listened to them in their entirety. Good stuff! The radio hits are not all there is to a good prog band, and I'm learning that as I delve further. And delving I am.

Finally, on to my review of THIS album. I've been looking for it for at least a year and a half, and I finally found the remaster tonight. It's got itself a pretty little holographic cover and whatnot, nice packaging, liner notes, etc. The music is something else...pretty friggin' weird at times, I know that. "Jerusalem" is nice, and a good opening track. "Toccata" is better, a very fine prog song. "Still....You Turn Me On" is quite pretty, and a great ballad, except for the cheesy wah guitar that would've fit ANYWHERE else but this song. And "Benny the Bouncer" is hilarious. Christ, it made me laugh out loud.

"Karn Evil 9" is a prog masterpiece, but not without its flaws. All of the First Impression kicks my ass all over the place. All of it. The Second Impression is nice, with some entertaining instrumental showboating. While I wouldn't dare crap all over the Third Impression, I'll agree it's the weakest part of it. Pink Floyd's "New Machine" has a more convincing computer voice, and the bombast of the instrumental part is almost unforgivable. You just have to think of it as a joke, and it'll ease your ill will towards it. Did mine. The man vs. machine story would not work in any album that wasn't progressive, so that is also forgiven here. I've heard better prog (those two Yes albums are excellent), and I haven't heard Wind and Wuthering by Genesis, but taking George Starostin's word, there is much worse prog. I am satisfied with this release and my purchase. Finally, I apologize to you sitting there right now reading this for my not inserting much humor into this review. I normally would, but I just didn't think it'd suit this review for some reason. Besides, it's one in the freakin' morning. The end.

P.S. My current age is 18 1/2. For the first 16 years of my life, I was convinced that "Karn Evil 9: First Impression -- Part 2" (yep, the radio hit) was The Who. Thought it mighta been some showtune from the somewhat-crappy Quadrophenia or something. Good night.

Add your thoughts?

Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends, Ladies And Gentlemen - Manticore/Atlantic 1974.
Rating = 6

A triple-live album? Whatever.

Now do you understand why The Ramones formed in 1974?

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Sorry, I haven't the attention span to listen to this album all the way thru. It's just too incredibly long.

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
The most annoying bit about this album is you have to turn over the record in order to hear a complete song. Even when they reissued it on CD, they had to split up "Take a Pebble" on the two discs. Great performances, though. Simply outstanding.

It is great.The material is awesome

jevmass@erols.com (James Evans)
Yeah, but you can still see all members of ELP at a gig - we're missing 2 Ramones, no? Gabba-gabba hey-hey - now, there's a real contribution to music. Never got into the punk scene, thank Christ. Emerson and Palmer get better with age; not so hip on Greg Lake any longer though.

Easily one of the best progressive live albums of all time. To me, everything clicks here. These guys were (and still are) at the top of their game musically. I love Take A Pebble. Greg Lake even manages a chorus of Epitaph right in the middle of it. Then out of left field comes the acoustic Lucky Man. I didn't think I would like it but I do. It's a nice refreshing counterpoint to the version we're all so accustomed to hearing. I must say the Ramones comment slightly ammuses me. I respect Mr. Prindle's opinion and love the fact that he is so loyal to his favorite band. But to say The Ramones changed anything musically or altered the direction is a bit silly. I love The Ramones. Think their first album is fun as well as a classic for the ages. But punk rock was a short lived fad. Even most of the punk bands (not the Ramones...ever) sold out to great commercial success. Blondie, The Clash, Talking Heads...hell punk was all about rebeling against the well established classic bands of the day, so to see the Clash sharing the stage with The Who in 1982 defeated the purpose somewhat. Rock and roll and pop was still going strong in the late 70's and early 80's, and all the progressive rock bands made strong comebacks in the mid 80's. This is why I think punk changed nothing. Was it fun? Sure. Get the Ramones debut album. It's silly fun. Get some ELP too, including this brilliant live album to see what absolute masters of their instruments can do. They're all going to be in the same rock and roll hall of fame someday.

For the record, the Talking Heads were never really a punk band. And Epitaph comes in the middle of Tarkus, not Take a Pebble. But 'whatever' is probably the best way to describe this...I bought a used triple LP copy and it's even MORE tedious than the CD version, because they put Sides 1 and 6 on the same record and Sides 2 and 5 on a different one. So I gotta keep changing records every 20 minutes. And the title itself is tedious, I get bored halfway through SAYING it. But I'll be darned if there aren't some great performances here...just the opener, "Hoedown" blows away the studio version, because it's twice as fast! "Tocatta" and "Tarkus" are great too as is the like hour-long "Take a Pebble". Unfortunetly the sound quality really wanes by the time "Karn Evil 9" comes on, but even listening to that is impressive, as Palmer plays a like, 6 minute drum solo on it early on and still has enough energy to bash and crash for the rest of the song. Certainly this is ELP at their prime.

Add your thoughts?

Works Volume 1 - Atlantic 1977.
Rating = 6

Emmylakepal's Ummagumma. Their Fragile, if you shall. Their Recurring, if you hah? A double-album full of solo pieces by each band member. On first listen, it sounds like an overblown disaster, but repeated listens reveal that there's actually quite a good deal of talent displayed on this record. Unfortunately, not two albums worth.

Emerson starts off the shenanigans with a side-long classical piece that he claims to have written himself. It's good! The fact that he approaches the project as a "classical" piece and not a "rock" piece, backing himself up with a real-live orchestra instead of two aging hippies, really helps. Then, Lake takes over side two with some short pop songs (his forte!), three of which are perfectly lovely ballads, the other two of where are atrocious and almost disco-like rock and roll throwaways. It's nice to have a bit of down-to-earth pop music after the haughty Emerson piece (which goes so far as to having zany weird section titles like "Allegro Giojoso" and "Toccata Con Fuoco" in some crazyass language that Keith made up! That Keith! What a skinflint!), but I still wouldn't want a solo Greg Lake album in my billiards room, if you know what I mean by "billiards room."

Side three goes to Mr. Drummer, who fills it with rhythmic but mainly directionless noodlings of the sort you may have heard in the middle of actual ELP songs of days gone by. You know, bits of "Tarkus," etc. An interesting little sound he's got there, but did they have to give him TWENTY MINUTES? You know, like maybe there was a reason Bill Bruford only got 35 seconds on Fragile, eh? Side four, then, is the much-anticipated (rolls eyes while performing wanking motion with left hand) full band side, which starts strong with a bouncy synth rendition of "Fanfare For The Common Man" (surely, this crap influenced Mannheim Steamroller) and ends weak with an endless hokey number called "Pirates" that's just waaaay too Broadway for my personal taste. Pretty good album, as a whole, but those last couple of sides really bring down the property value a little bit.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
The Emerson piece is cool. "Cest La Vie" is cool. The rest of the Lake and Palmer solo stuff sucks. I loved "Fanfare", even though Mannheim Steamroller has made loads of money ripping it off. "Pirates" is ok. Do you think they milked the "works" thing enough? I mean, Works (double ablum), Works II (outtakes from Works), Works Live (double live album), and Love Beach (primarily outtakes from Works that were too horrid to make Works I or II).

akeithdevis@mailcity.com (Andrew Keith Davis)
Since I have last written, I have accumulated several more digitally remastered versions of ELP's work. I now have the digitally remastered versions of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Tarkus, Trilogy, Brain Salad Surgery, Works Vol. I, The Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and The Atlantic Years in my collection. I have decided to reevaluate Emerson, Lake and Palmer and give it the new rating of an 8. "Take A Pebble," "The Three Fates" and "Lucky Man" are just too awesome to ignore. Tarkus is fantastic. I agree with your opinion on the "Endless Way" and "Infinite Space." Tarkus deserves an 8/10 also. Brain Salad Surgery is much better than I remember, I especially enjoy the conversation about the making of Brain Salad Surgery; this deserves an 8/10 also. Works Vol. I is superb! No, technically I can not classify it as "rock" per se, but it is fantastic nevertheless. Could the names of the different parts of the "Emerson" piece be in Italian?? In any event, the Greg Lake songs are great and so also are the songs by Carl Palmer. But, the best work on this compilation has to be "Pirates" and "Fanfare For The Common Man!!" An altogether superb cd worthy of a 9/10!!!

Therefore here are my evaluations of the ELP cds.

Emerson,Lake and Palmer 8/10
Pictures At An Exhibition 5/10
Tarkus 8/10
Trilogy 9/10
Brain Salad Surgery 8/10
Works Vol. I 9/10
The Best Of ELP-Atlantic 7/10
The Atlantic Years 10/10
The Best Of ELP-Rhino 9/10

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Heh...well, being the total ELP nut that I am, I'm reluctant to say anything bad about this album. Don't want their Godlike wrath to fall upon me. :) Just think I'll say that the fourth side (referring to the crappy vinyl, since CD's obviously don't have "sides" anymore) was superb, especially "Pirates" which is my third favorite ELP song (after "Karn Evil" and "Pictures"). In fact, every time I listen to that song, I imagine in my head a sort of high-budget music video complete with Greg Lake wearing a patch over one eye and a parrot on his shoulder, with a pistol shoved in his belt and his hands swimming through piles of stolen gold. Then during the "fast" part of the song, I see Greg & his fellow pirates in a seaside tavern, knocking over tables and snatching up prostitutes, and breaking into this sort of boogie-woogie dance routine. It's a total trip, I wish you could see inside my head to see what I'm talking about.

And now that you mention it, "Fanfare" DOES sound like Mannheim Steamroller....

starostin@geocities.com (George Starostin)
Special comment: Emerson's piano concerto is indeed labelled with Italian subtitles, no crazyass inventions here at least. Which are: 'Allegro Gioioso' - 'at a moderately fast tempo, joyful'; 'Andante Molto Cantabile' - 'at a slow tempo, sing-along-style'; 'Toccata Con Fuoco' - 'played with fire'. The terminology is standart classical terminology. There. I've finally satisfied my linguistic ambitions on this site. Now I just HAVE to listen to this album, so expect some comments in a millenium or so.

Add your thoughts?

Works Volume 2 - Atlantic 1977.
Rating = 5

Presumably this was their attempt to "loosen up" and just "play some good old-fashioned rock and roll." But see, the problem is that most of us out here in the real world are basically bright enough to tell the difference between "light-hearted" and "half-assed." Sure, "Tiger In A Spotlight" is catchy, but it's still just a rip-off of old boogie-woogie, as is "Barrelhouse Shake-Down," neither one of which are as good as the two ACTUAL boogie-woogie songs covered by ELP on this release ("Maple Leaf Rag" and "Honky Tonk Train Blues"). Now, knowing what you know about Emerson, Lake and Palmer, aren't you, oh, just a little suspicious that they would put FOUR simple little boogie-woogie songs on the same forty-minute record? Well, you should be. I don't know if this was just a bunch of outtakes or not, but it sounds like they haven't really bothered to come up with any new songs, aside from the beautiful Greg Lake classic "I Believe In Father Christmas."

You know, come to think of it, this must be a bunch of outtakes, considering there's a song on here called "Brain Salad Surgery" that sounds just like every other song on that record. Oh well. It's definitely the most fun ELP album, and that counts for something!

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Outtakes from Works I. This is the crap that didn't cut it the first time. No thanks.

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Outtakes it may be, but pretty darned fine outtakes at that. Oh, and listen carefully to the lyrics in "I Believe in Father Christmas" -- lotta people mistake it for a pretty, holiday-oriented song, when it's NOT! Greg bags on Christianity even worse than he did in "The Only Way".

stoo@imsa.edu (John McFerrin)
This album is great! Yeah, it's outtakes, but they're great outtakes. Give it an 8.

Anyways, despite your reviews, I've procured myself quite a bit of ELP. My ratings are as follows

Emerson Lake and Palmer: 7
Tarkus: 7
Pictures at an Exhibition: 8
Trilogy: 6
Brain Salad Surgery: 10 (KE9 Rules!)
Welcome Back...: 8 (I love live albums, and Tarkus is terrific on here, especially Battlefied/Epitaph and Aquatarkus)
Works 1: 6 (Other than Emerson's piece and Fanfare... it's kinda weak)
Works 2: 8

When I finally get around to making a good music review page and finally deciding which Beatles album deserves the ten (it's so hard to pick!!) I'm gonna give ELP some of the credit they deserve.

Add your thoughts?

Love Beach - Atlantic 1978.
Rating = 2

Hmm. Okay then. The album is called Love Beach and the cover features our heroes smirking and showing lots of chest hair. The inside jacket offers exclusive ELP tour gear, including Love Beach satin jackets and jogging shorts. Hmm.


The question is moot, because the songs are atrocious. Side one has a bunch of ditzy '70s boppy keyboard-heavy ballads and crappy "tough" rockers, along with a decent cover of something called "Canario." Side two is a side-long suite (shocker!) called "Memoirs Of An Officer And A Gentleman," which boldly spends a good third of an hour retreading musical ideas that were much more fully developed on earlier records by this same group. Word has it that they were tired out from years of touring. More likely, they ran out of ideas about four years prior.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
The outtakes from Works I that were too crappy to even make it to Works II? This is the worst of the worst. If they'd actually recorded a new album in 79, it might have been cool, but this is horrid.

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
Hey, don't feel bad about hating this one...even the most ardent of ELP fans will agree that it's the worst damn album ever created by any band (except, perhaps, The Miracle by Queen.) The only tracks even remotely listenable are "The Gambler" (a shameless ripoff of "The Sheriff" and "Tiger in a Spotlight") and a third-rate instrumental whose title escapes me at the moment.

a.murray1@home.com (Leigh Murray)
Two points? Lower please, as in NONE!


(a few months later)

me again! I am more of a yes guy than an elp guy! I mean I do not know what to choose emerson or wakeman? wakeman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! emerson was too excessive for me but he can be tasteful nonetheless.

no no no no no not a brain salad but it is more of a soundtrack to the love boat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1.all I want is you: since the day of loneliness I found joy and happiness! all I want all I want all I want is you!! cameron diaz!!!!!! not quite a start or a bang but a real start for elp changing from prog gods to soft rockers! girl all I want is your sweet loving my my sunshine!

2.love beach: loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove beach her tasty looking body her hot lips oooooooooooooooo! sorrry I'm drooooling! 2 pop songs with no solo? meh!

3.taste of my love! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! you think that is bad I will show you my version of this stupid sex song: it is a match a 3some between fry and cameron diaz and me. let me put it this way! fry is sooooooooooo hot maybe I am gay but fuck you! I don't care! he is delicious! his underwear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanna sex you up! cum on my lovely sex bomb! do ya think I am sexy? yes! I'd ride yer pony! touch me! cameron my tasty woman! bump bump bump! she blew my mind 69 times! cum to my cradle of love! I want action! I dip you into honey love let us ride! physical sex! me love Is like ..fuck! splash waterfalls!

4.the gambler: hot! the last song In the bennie the bouncer collection.

5.for you: neil diamond!

6.canario: I told u I did that song

7.memoirs of an officer and a gentelman: like a harliquin romance novel, it star quietly then boom loveman greg lake sings like mr. diamond. emerson the pianist bangs his piano like liberace the 3rd part sounds like epcot center 4th Is a cute synth march.

that may be the last we hear of those guys. I give it a 9. yike I am about to got mobbed! (runs from a pack of mad elp fans)

Add your thoughts?

Emerson, Lake And Powell - Polygram 1986.
Rating = 2

What a stirring comeback! Why, it's been eight whole years, and they're still able to put together an album every bit as lame as Love Beach! Okay, so I'm gonna make an assumption. The assumption could very well be wrong, but in life sometimes you just have to make an assumption, even though, in the immortal words of whoever wrote the script for that fine action picture The Long Kiss Goodnight starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson, "it makes an ass out of you and umption." My assumption is as follows: Emerson and Lake watched jealously as fellow art-rockers Yes reformed as an accessible pop-rock group with their hit LP 90125 - and even MORE jealously as they saw their old buddy Palmer have hit after hit with his new accessible pop-rock group Asia, made up of former members of Yes, King Crimson, and... well, ELP, of course.

So Emerson and Lake said to themselves, "All we have to do is mainstream our sound a little more! You know, so the kids will dig it!" Then they looked for a drummer whose last name started with a P. Phil Collins probably tried out, but Emerson and Lake decided that Emerson, Lake and Phil would just sound silly, so they recruited "legendary" (?) session drummer Cozy Powell and rocked back to stardom with a great song called "Touch And Go" that sorta had an "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" thing going (only a little bit, though...). Wow! "Touch And Go"! Catchy synth-driven anthem! If only the rest of the album wasn't a bunch of lifeless tuneless nonsense!

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
Emerson, Lake, and who? Sorry, no dice.

space@wgn.net (King God Space)
I think you're mistaken to treat this as a regular ELP album, since only 2/3 of the band is on it...what's really amazing is how well they fit Cozy Powell's style into their music. I love this album to death. "The Score" takes off in a big way, even incorporating that famous "welcome back" line from KE9 (whee!) "Learning to Fly" just plain SOARS (pun unintended)--and isn't it strange how Pink Floyd AND Tom Petty had songs named "Learning to Fly", within a year of this album's release?? "The Miracle" is delightfully slow and heavy. "Touch and Go" may have been overplayed, and the band's "new" take on the song totally ruins it, but I still like it. But what REALLY stands out here is their rendition of Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War". If you think ELP shouldn't mix classical & rock, you're totally wrong on this one. This is a POWERHOUSE of a song. No question about it.

As for the more recent ELP albums, Black Moon was okay, the best songs on it were "Better Days" and the instrumental "Changing States". Except for one song, In the Hot Seat blew chunks. But the good news is that ELP is supposedly recording a new album which is supposed to get back to their early, progressive daze. I saw the band in concert a couple years back and they were in tip-top shape. They seem up to the challenge. Are you?

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
Prindle, your Cozy Powell education is long overdue and will begin immediately.

Cozy Powell (real name: er... no idea. I think it might be Colin but I somehow doubt he had the same name as the world's whitest black man) was born... er... sometime in the 1950s? Okay, I don't really know much about him, but I do know he was an awesome drummer. He first hit the big time in 1976 with Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore's band. He played on three fantastic records (two featuring Ronnie James Dio!!) and later played in Black Sabbath and Whitesnake, as well as playing with pretty much every rock legend you can think of and pursuing a surprisingly successful solo career. Some of the albums he played on (e.g. late Sabbath stuff) was not great, but his playing always was. Heavy, heavy, pounding drums that most rock bands would kill for. He was a genuine powerhouse who was strongly rumoured in 1980 to be joining Led Zeppelin, but alas it didn't happem. He died in 1998 in a motorcycle crash on the M4 motorway in England. A sad loss.

As for this album, I give it a four even though I have never heard it.

davhoelz@bsn1.net (Dave Hoelzen)
For Rob Chaundy (and anyone else interested) from your review page on ELP:

I first heard Cozy Powell back in the early 70's, playing with Jeff Beck on two of his albums, 'Rough And Ready', and the eponymously titled album 'Jeff Beck Group'. The second is the better, and has to rate a nine and a half. Tight, interesting drum rhythms from Cozy. And yes, his name really is Colin. Guess this world is only big enuf for one of them at a time. A short biography can be found at: http://musicfinder.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc&id=1800124125&cf=11&intl=us

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Black Moon - Victory 1992
Rating = 3

When I woke up this morning, I felt as sick as a legless woman locked in a tennis shoe factory. So I went back to sleep and wound up crawling out of bed later than a man who vomits whenever he sees a rooster. But now that I'm as awake than a Jack Russell Terrier after his fifth cup of cocaine juice, I figured I'd might as well review the 1992 collorabation between esteemed philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, geriatric golfsman Arnold Palmer, and popular Georgia leisure destination Lake Lanier.

Although Emerson gives it his classic '70s-toned synth-playing all, particularly in his cover of Prokofiev's "Romeo & Juliet" and his own terrifically heroic happy hopeful instrumental "Changing States," the overall songwriting on this CD is as poor as a panhandler begging for a pan. Lake's lyrics are as smelly and cliche'd as a dog/fire hydrant relationship and his melodicism is about as creative as five years in the life of Michael Bay. The most enjoyable track on here -- the Miami Vice/Pete Townshendy pseudo-dramatic programmed bass/beats garbage heap "Better Days" -- is only a gas because it's even more hilariously misguided than Michael Jackson entering a nose contest. The rest of the record is more adult contemporary than an orthodontist's office for Michael Bolton. Not to mention, Lake's singing is as fat as Michael Moore after filming an expose of donut factories, and Palmer's synth-drums sound about as natural as the breasts of a woman who lives in Los Angeles.

Comparing Black Moon with ELP's classic work is sort of like comparing a recent Genesis CD with an album that has even one good song on it. Their reunion made about as much sense as Sean Combs changing his name to Puddle Piss and was (deservedly) received by the public about as well as Tom Cruise's declaration that chemical imbalances can't possibly exist because if they did, the dead aliens living in our bodies would have told us about them.

My final complaint is that after losing Powell, they should have become Emerson, Lake and Dahmer and totally toured around with a drummer who ate people. That would have been as cool as the Fonzie skateboarding on an iPod with Pink while Bill Murray instant messages his cell and plays a popular videogame of the day.

Dave Barry or other syndicated humor columnist

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In The Hot Seat - Victory 1994
Rating = 4

I'm told that the People's Republic of China loves knock-knock jokes, so I'd like to share one with you now, especially for our friends in the Iron Kingdom.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Water who?
WATER you doing!?!?!?!!!
Eating dinner.

First of all, what are these piece of shit lyrics? Let's count the lyrical cliches: "shaking like a leaf," "one more tumble of the dice," "I will never mend these broken wings," "flickered like a candle," "just a stone's throw away," "it's a thin line between love and hate" -- those are from the THREE songs I can find lyrics for online. Second of all, if you're going to write a heartbreaking song about a little girl being kidnapped and murdered, have the lyrics make some semblance of sense. From the first verse: "It was getting late, there was something wrong/ Then I heard the news/A TV Flash and by 9 o'clock/They'd found her socks and shoes." Maybe I'm protesting too much here, but since when do the TV news crews go on high alert when they FIND A FUCKING PAIR OF SOCKS AND SHOES??? HE HADN'T EVEN REPORTED THE FUCKING KID MISSING!!! WHAT, DID THE PRODUCERS JUST WALK DOWN THE STREET, SEE A PAIR OF SOCKS AND SHOES LYING THERE, AND GO, "HOLD THE PHONES!!! WE'VE GOT OUR TOP STORY OF THE NIGHT!!!!"!??!?!

Sorry, my cap locks key got stuck for a moment. Greg then goes on to plead, "She's all I have, all I possess/And to me, she means the world" before switching to the pronoun "we," implying that he does in fact have a wife -- one whom, if we judge by his previous statement, means not a heck of a fuck of a lot to him! Finally, he sobs, "I know she rests in Heaven/With the angels on a throne." Very touching, if you're somehow able to get the image out of your head of his dead daughter sitting on a toilet taking a ghostly crap while a bunch of little Chuck Berry angels videotape it.

Thirdly, I know I've said many bad things about Greg Lake's former colleagues King Crimson over the years, but at least at no point has it ever seemed like Fripp Robertson was trying to createLite-FM shit music for your mom. And that's precisely what 80% of this CD sounds like. 80s fuzzy synth tones, big huge fake-sounding boring drums -- just ridiculously out-of-touch adult contemporary ickiness, mostly co-written by the record producer (always a sure sign that the band is on the top of its game). And only so much blame can be put on Keith's recent arm surgery; fancy diddly-doo solos wouldn't have been enough to save Phil Collins rejects like "Take My Heart Put It On Ice," "Thin Line" and "Give Me A Reason To Stay." Plus, how messed up could his arm have been if he was able to essentially recreate his entire "From The Beginning...." solo in the middle of the bouncy and dumb yet FUN and even CATCHY "Gone Too Soon"?

Which brings us to the record's positives. If you love uptempo 80s pop rock, you'll shit your pants when you hear "Gone Too Soon," the majestically stupid Ramones-speed "Street War" and the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe dead ringer "Hand Of Truth," even if your pants are hanging on the clothesline outside (remove the screens from your windows before playing these tracks).

In summated conclusion, a wise, wise genius once said, "Emerson Lake and Palmer are talented blokes/Keith tickles those ivories and cracks his jokes/You can count on Carl to keep the beat/And Greg keeps the ladies on the edge of their seat," but -- this time out, at least -- they have failed to tickle any cracks or beat any ladies.

As such, I won't be casting them in my new children's musical, "Salo: The 120 Days Of Sodom (Starring Children)."

Reader Comments

nick@bennettandbloom.com (Nick Awde)
i haven't heard this album either, but i'll give it a 3 (1 point docked for the cover).

I bought this album and listened to it once. It's horrible. Don't get me wrong, I love ELP's first five albums, and I also like their Works stuff (Works Volume II is a damn fine album). But Jesus, this album is even worse than the crap Genesis put out in the 90's. And the fact that these adult contemporary soft rock shit songs failed to be commercially successful at all makes it even more embarassing. What happened to these guys?

Anyway, the one good thing about this album was the studio version of Pictures at an Exhibition. But even that isn't too great. The live versions are better. I saw them live with Jethro Tull the year after this album came out and they didn't play a single song from it (except for parts of Pictures), thank god. They still kicked ass live though.

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The Best Of ELP - Victory 1994.
Rating = 8

I fancy there's a bunch of ELP compilations, but this is the only one I can speak of. Plusses include the inclusion of "From The Beginning," "Still...You Turn Me On," "Fanfare For The Common Man," "Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression, Part 2," "C'est LaVie" (from Works Volume 1), "Trilogy," "Lucky Man," and "I Believe In Father Christmas." Minusses include the minususion of "The Only Way/Infinite Space" (for some reason, they've included "Tarkus" in its entirety instead!!! WHY????), "Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression, Part 1" (which is every bit as great as "Part 2," dammit!!!), "Touch And Go" (come on! What? Was Palmer too pissy to let some great Powell drumwork on his compilation?), and ANYTHING AT ALL from Pictures At An Exhibition or Love Beach, both of which are completely ignored on this release.

No, hang on. I think I meant to put that under the plusses. Anyway, my chief point has something to do with ELP having some cool tunes, but not really being, as a whole, the greatest single songwriting force that the world has ever known.

No sir, that would be Dan Fogelberg.

Reader Comments

robertk@jove.acs.unt.edu (Robert Linus Koehl)
I can't believe you reviewed this one and didn't review Black Moon, Live at the Royal Albert, Return of the Manticore, or In The Hot Seat. Black Moon is probably the best album the band ever did. The version of the title track that you heard is an edited down radio version. The original was better. It had an incredible intro. Live at the Royal Albert was also great. It's from the 92 Black Moon tour. They opened the show with "Karn Evil 9", and they did a shortened "Tarkus" as well. The disc has three songs from Black Moon, as well as "Lucky Man", "Knife Edge", and "Still You Turn Me On". There's nothing from Pictures, Trilogy, Powell, Love Beach or Works II. They did "Pirates" and "Fanfare" from Works I. The 93 Return of the Manticore box set sucked. The 94 Hot Seat album was cool, and it included a remake of "Pictures". It's a miracle that album ever came out. In 93, Emerson had surgery on his right hand and it seemed like he might never play again. Well, he's since recovered, but it did give an aire of doom to the Hot Seat album, which had virtually no interesting keyboard work. The highlights were the third track, and the "Pictures" bit.

akdxmy@hotmail.com (Andrew Davis)
Wow, great! "Tarkus" is impressive, "C'est La Vie" is wonderful! "Still... You Turn Me On" is fantastic. So are "Black Moon," "Jerusalem," and "Lucky Man."

RLK was right! Black Moon is a very impressive cd! Of course, the vocals by Greg Lake now bear an uncanny resemblance to those of 'Steve Winwood.' The album, well the song, "Black Moon" sounds more similar to the songs off of Rush's Signals with a little bit of "Distant Early Warning" from Grace Under Pressure. The song "Paper Blood" is also quite excellent! So is their version of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet". Overall, a very impressive cd worthy of a 9/10! Additionally, I have been told by my friend that he will send The Atlantic Years to me sometime tomorrow, I should receive it Wednesday or Thursday of next week. My anticipation, it includes most of the best material ever done by EL&P. The tracks have been digitally remastered, Let me give you a sampling of some of the tracks.

From what I know of it, it includes: 'Lucky Man,' 'From The Beginning,' 'Karn Evil 9( in its entirety),' 'Knife Edge,' 'Canario,' 'The Endless Enigma suite,' 'Trilogy,' 'Toccata,' 'Tarkus (in its entirety),' 'Fanfare For The Common Man,' 'Still... You Turn Me on,' 'Honky Tonk Blues,' 'I Believe In Father Christmas,' 'Pirates,' 'Jerusalem,' 'Tank,' 'Take A Pebble,' and your favorite, excerpts from Pictures At An Exhibition. Overall, it looks like the most impressive compilation. I am guessing that it will rate at a 9/10 or so! I would have preferred the inclusion of "C'est La Vie" and 'Touch And Go,' also!!!

(a few days later)

I finally received that 2-cd compilation that I have been waiting for, The Atlantic Years. In a word,'magnificent,' somehow the compiler has been able to avoid the subterfuge and create a superb compilation. I was mistaken, when I wrote that I believed "Trilogy" was included; sorry, no such luck.

Pluses include:
(1) the artwork on the cover, extremely reminiscent of some of the surrealistic images found in Salvador Dali's paintings. A classical greek bust which has no face, but the symbol "ELP" emblazoned where the face should be. The whole picture (photograph) is done in a muted burnt sienna tone, the necklace is made of bird feathers and there are several sharp metallic spikes pointing towards the center, not touching the figure. The reverse side of the bust has a gigantic ear, below which are photographs of Emerson,Lake and Palmer.
(2) The inclusion of: "Knife Edge," "Take A Pebble," "Lucky Man," "Tarkus suite"(in its entirety), an abbreviated version of "Pictures At An Exhibition," "The Endless Enigma suite," "From The Beginning," "Karn Evil 9"(in its entirety,also), "Jerusalem," "Still... You Turn Me On," "Fanfare For The Common Man," "Pirates," "I Believe In Father Christmas," "Honky Tonk Train Blues" and "Canario"(although this piece is cut off too prematurely!).
(3) Believe it, or not the abbreviated version of "PAAE," actually rocks!!!!

Minuses, include:
(1) Exclusion of "C'est La Vie" and "Trilogy."
(2) Inclusion of the live version of "Toccata." (OK, I haven't listened to it enough times to really appreciate it, I will get the digitally remastered version of Brain Salad Surgery.).

Overall impression, if you own no other "EL&P" compilations, let it be this one. True, some material has been left out, however the left out material can be found on the cd, The Best Of Emerson, Lake and Palmer by Rhino records. Owning both is an extra plus!!!

I would rate this 2-cd compilation at a 10/10, on par with "EL&P's best work!!"

Overall, extremely impressive and well-worth purchasing, but may be difficult to locate. I located my copy through blind luck, choosing a possible large city, where a copy might exist (unfortunately, for reasons only known to Atlantic records executives, this compilation is now 'no longer made.').

thutley@e-z.net (Thomas Hutley)
You Know why I never bought an ELP album before? Because I knew that someday, somehow, an album just like this very one would come out and I could get all the good stuff filtered out of all the crap they've created over the last 25+ years. Even at that, I could do without some of the stuff on this thing. I mean seriously, some of this is just the type of regurgitated prog-rock poop I won't even tollerate out of Yes! "Father Christmas" is groovin' in a very anti-christmas way, but Jethro Tull already did "A Christmas Song" so how impressed can I really be? I liked "C'est La Vie" better when it was "From the Beginning", and I kept on enjoying it when it was called "Still... You Turn me on". At least on "Fanfare" and "Hoedown" they had the decency to keep the original title. That way you know up front that they're pre-chewed rip-offs. "Honkey Tonk Train" Blows. An EDITED edited version of "Black Moon" would still suck. You just can't get that kind of stench out of your best pair of cover-alls no matter how many times you wash it. "Trilogy" has a few moments, but it's still fat and ugly like your sister. Almost done here... uh... let's see... "Tarkus" makes me long for someone to bash my head in with an Acme anvil or some other hard, blunt, cartoon object. And I can give you a list of several good places to stick that "Knife Edge".

There we go! Now we really got all the crap out of the way! So whatcha got left here? "Lucky Man" and "Karn Evil"? Good songs but not much of an album. Ok, put "From the Beginning" and "Still... back on". That gives us four. Since I didn't hate "Jerusalem" I suppose it can stay. "Father Christmas" can come back, too. Hell, I'll even throw in "Fanfare" and "Hoedown" so the fans will stop crying. But that's it. This is your best of right here. Anyone who tells you differently is most likely an escapie from the local Shady Acres Institute. Do not try to apprehend these folks as they are considered armed with a copy of Emerson, Lake, and Powell; and are very dangerous. Fans and clowns. They're funny to watch, but I wouldn't want to take one home with me...

cliffnorth@localaccess.com (TAD)
When these guys actually wanted 2 sound like A BAND they were pretty great. But that was only about 10 times in their whole career....

I love "Lucky Man," "From the Beginning," "Still ... You Turn Me On," "Hoedown" (adore Aaron Copland NEway, even with an orchestra), "Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression) (Parts 1 and 2) (except after midnight in the Mountain Time Zone)" ((2 me it's their all-time BEST)), Emerson's "Piano Concerto," "C'est La Vie," the LONG version (ONLY) of "Fanfare for the Common Man," & "I Believe in Father Christmas" ... but after that I start runnin out of titles (tho I wouldn't mind Bing set straight if I've missed something....) In search of more great stuff by these pompous geezers, I bought their Atlantic Years best-of -- SHEEZUS, what a waste! Give up a WHOLE SIDE 2 "Tarkus" (who cares?) but only give us the SINGLE version of "Fanfare"? What kind of drugz were the guys at Atlantic smokin? (Probably the same kind that made them leave "From the Beginning" OFF the original Best of ELP album which came out in 1980.... Boy, that's payin attention 2 yr work....

By the way, has NEbody else noticed that the 5-minute single-version of "Fanfare" includes THE WORST MUSIC-EDITING JOB IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE? Sloppy edits! Embarrassing!! Did they do it on purpose?!!! Real fans might note that Emerson did a pretty cool soundtrack 4 that early-80s Sylvester Stallone action film Nighthawks. I don't own a copy of the album myself, but I seem 2 remember that the film included a rather unusual (but catchy) version of the old Spencer Davis Group/Chicago number "I'm a Man" ... which I seem 2 remember was replaced by something else when the film was released on home video.... Or mayB it's the drugs. I could B wrong....

markpb@mcmail.com (Mark Palmer-Burridge)

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(Michael King reviews) Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Atlantic 1980.
Rating = 7

This greatest hits album, which is now out of print, attempted to span ELP's entire career. Let's just say it's hard to span ELP's career and hit all of the hits in 10 tracks...better to pay a tad more and get the Rhino greatest hits album, or whatever the other one is. Bleah.
Reader Comments

penafiel@sep.gob.mx (Rafael Rodriguez Penafiel)
I agree. I think it's a record just for collectors and crazy fans like me.

zampyrone@virgilio.it (Marco Bigliazzi)
Listen carefully, ELP is the the biggest fake annoying trio of all times. If you enjoy the bombast of academy-like exercises - nothing really special in any sense -, or the sleepy little songs like (un)Lucky Man, go and blow your ass about, but be aware that it's simply velleitarism at its best.

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(Michael King reviews) The Return Of The Manticore - Victory/Chronicles 1993.
Rating = 7

We've got gas, we've got giveaways, and we've got 4 hours of the best hardcore in New York!

No, wait a second...

Sorry, I'm getting this boxed set mixed up with the Beastie Boys' Some Old Bullshit.

Anyway, this 4 CD set includes all of the hits according to the Esteemed Mr. Prindle, and according to me. This set also includes a whole bunch of flacid new recordings from a band that sounds like a shell of its former self. In fact, they sound like Survivor, without an edge, to paraphrase a familiar source. Plus, if that weren't enough, there's some crap from the Love Beach and Black Moon albums that's almost as bad. Also mixed in with the hits and misses are 3 unreleased tracks: Bo Diddley, which smokes (at least for ELP); Rondo, which is another pretty good classical/prog rock crossover, recorded live, with a large Palmer drum solo thrown in for good measure; and Prelude and Fugue, which is another Emerson piano wankfest.

In summation, your $60 would be better spent buying an ELP greatest hits album, Minor Threat's Complete Discography, Black Flag's Damaged, a Mountain Dew, and a doughnut. Make it a cinnamon one.

"Hey," you're probably saying right now, "didn't this guy say that it was a 7? Why's he coming down on it so hard?!?" Well, you see, i've rated it a 7 because I didn't pay $60 for it! I paid a grand total of $12.75, including tax! If you can find this set for that cheap, grab it in a hurry! It's worth $12.75, easily...cheaper than the greatest hits albums at that price, anyway.

Reader Comments

Yes, it is sad how many people pout there think they know music. No ,I'm not an expert like I wish I were,but I do know good music from bad (false) music.We ALL know BRAIN SALAD SURGERY was excellent.Then~ it seems to me~ except for a couple of songs ,our boys were in a slump.Then, joy to the world~WORKS 1 &2 arrived.

There are a few sonds thats a lil questionable, but really people, this album has some GREAT music.Some of it not appreciated.Mostly because it's over alot of peoples heads.The reason we have so wide of comments is,ELP attracts a wide range of people,because there music is a wide range.THERE GOOD! That's how.As far as I'm concerned, BLACKMOON has about 3 good songs.It's plain to see they were just trying to get in the road again and make some money.I seen that one in Dallas.It's hard to follow a show likeWORKS.BLACKMOON tour was a lil let down. They can still play,cause all the old songs they played was really good.But they did get worn out before the end.These guys were tired.I wish they would go out better than that.Don't get me wrong,I KNOW there not dead.People I have got to say out loud...WORKS was an excellent tour.I went to at least 40 concerts in '76 & '77 ,but not only did Our Boys have some excellent sheets, they had the equipment from hell to put the sound in our ears.The speakers were top of the line.I sat about 35' from the stage.It sounded like my head was inside the accoustic.TOO MUCH !

Call me a freak, but I'm a 15 year old washingtonian who can't get enough ELP. If you don't like elp, you have no soul and you have no mind. and take a pebble is the most beautiful, perfect song ever written. if you don't like it, you can bite your mom.

Dude Mark, I just thought of a hilarious joke that you can feel free to use at parties; Ok, what's the best thing about dating a prog rock fan? You can take her down to Emerson Lake and PALM HER! HAHAHAHAHA! Ok, that was pretty awesome right? Well I just thought of another; What's the best thing about dating a Yes fan? When you ask her what her favorite band is and then ask really quickly under your breath if she'd like to have sex with you she'll always say YES! HAHAHHAHAHAHAAAAA! Oh wait hey here's another one; What's the best part about dating a Rush fan? All Rush fans are fucking faggots so if you're gay you can except lots of assramming action! HAHAHAHAA!!!! Ok, see ya bye.

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* Beyond The Beginning DVD - Sanctuary 2005 *
Rating = 10

If you're ever in the mood for a shitty album, consider Emerson, Lake & Palmer your angels in waiting. However, these three fine fellows also managed to record some incredibly impressive and moving material in their day. How did this happen? What were the reasons for their wildly inconsistent catalog? And what on Earth were they trying to achieve? The answers are RIGHT HERE, in one of the finest music-related double-DVDs I've ever had the joy of viewing.

What it is, bro? It's EVERYTHING you could possibly want in an Emerson, Lake and Palmer double-DVD: footage of the three artists in their pre-ELP bands, tons of clips from various TV shows and live appearances dating from 1970 through 1997, a full concert from the band's 1973 heyday, 17 rare minutes of the band in-studio working on Brain Salad Surgery, a great little movie of all three members taking part in a celebrity auto race in the early '70s, a recent interview with Robert Moog of Moog Synthesizer fame, a brief segment explaining the concepts and backgrounds of most of the band's album covers (though they neglected to mention the dick head on Brain Salad Surgery), and best of all an hour-long documentary of the band featuring even more rare footage and priceless insight from the modern-day 21st century Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Buy it, take it all in, and just like me, you'll come out of it with a richer understanding of why they did what they did, as well as a creepy feeling that Keith Emerson was a hyperactive violent weirdo.

So what's the deal with ELP? Here's the deal with ELP: Keith Emerson was a vomitously talented pianist who could play pretty much anything he wanted at about a billion miles per hour. He was also extremely interested in new synthesizer technologies. In his view, ELP should have been instrumentally based to showcase the talents (or "chops") of the three members. Unfortunately, by attempting to challenge himself and his listeners with ever more difficult and strange music, he mainly succeeded in making ELP's music uglier and harder to listen to. Greg Lake, on the other hand - though a very talented guitarist and bassist his own self - liked actual *songs* and feared that Emerson's long-winded avant-classical compositions would result in the band losing most of its audience base. Unfortunately, though he wrote a few essential pieces of melodramatic acoustic splendor ("Lucky Man," "Still...You Turn Me On," "From The Beginning"), Greg also wrote some of the sissiest, least likable 3-minute songs in the history of man. And Carl Palmer didn't really care what they played, as long as he could beat his gongs and ring the little hangy bell with his mouth. That's the deal with ELP - they wanted to break down the barriers between classical and rock music, but didn't realize that in the process they would come across as pretentious assholes. Still, you really should see them in action to get a better indication of what I'm talking about.

Here are just a few "Did you know?"s that I learned from this wonderful double-DVD set:

Did you know?.... that when Emerson first played "Tarkus" on the piano for Lake, Lake responded, "I think if that's the sort of thing you want to play, you should save it for your solo album." Although the record company persuaded him not to quit the band, Lake to this day says, "I still don't think it was a good concept for an album. Unless you think an armadillo with tank treads is a good concept."

Did you know?.... that Emerson was so jealous of guitarists' ability to walk around the stage with their instruments that he made up for it by roughly shoving his organ back and forth as if he were award-winning cocksmith Ron Jeremy, jumping and sliding over the top as if he were spirited thespian Tom Wopat, stabbing it with knives as if he were football great Orenthal Simpson, and doing mid-air somersault tricks with his piano as if he were Keith Emerson? But that's Billy Joel for you, always pushing envelopes!

Did you know?.... that Love Beach was only recorded because the band owed their record label one more album before they were allowed to break up? Emerson actually claims to like the album, but Palmer bemoans the fact that "We look like the Bee Gees!" I'm with Palmer.

Did you know?.... that Emerson thought "Lucky Man" (written by Lake at age 12!) was a trite piece of shit, and his classic synth solo was done as a tossed-off single take? Imagine his chagrin when the record company released it as a single without consulting the band! Imagine his further chagrin when it was a monstrous hit and he became a huge star!

Did you know?.... that Lake and fellow songwriter Pete Sinfield read and watched all the pirate books and films they could find in order to make the godawful song "Pirates" as 'realistic' as possible? Man, is it a hoot watching modern-day Emerson making fun of them for this as Lake continues to show pride in the terrible, terrible track.

Did you know?.... that the band lost 3 million dollars when they foolishly took Emerson's suggestion that they tour with a full orchestra? Somebody warn the Moody Blues!

Did you know?.... that ELP's second live show EVER was the Isle of Wight, where they played to 600,000 people? Luckily, all 600,000 were stoned, napping and legally deaf!

I urge anyone with a passing interest in ELP to purchase this DVD and live it for yourselves. Why survive without (a) Greg's promo video for "I Believe In Father Christmas" (AWESOME song! And the video was filmed in the desert!), (b) The Nice's kickass rendition of West Side Story's "America," (c) ELP's rollicking 4/4 version of Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo a la Turk," (d) a hideous TV appearance featuring a real live tiger (the song? "Tiger In The Spotlight" GET IT??? "TIGER"??? The song is pathetic.), (e) the promo video for "Fanfare For The Common Man," filmed in a snow-covered sports stadium, (f) a live version of Emerson, Lake and Powell's "Touch And Go" with drums by Mr. Carl Palmer!!!!!, (g) Emerson nervously playing a boogie woogie blues song on Oscar Peterson's TV show, or (h) any of the other wonderful moments of genius, mayhem and overkill present and accounted for on Sanctuary Records' brand new DVD Emerson Lake & Palmer: Beyond the Beginning, available for the low, low suggested retail price of $24.98?

If nothing else, you'll totally dig watching Father Time convert Emerson from an evil bearded wizard into an acidic Roger Waters-looking guy, Lake from an adorable cherubic hippy into the widest man in American history, and Palmer from a dopey-countenanced love child into a thin successful homosexual in the prime of his life. And best of all - I saved this for last because it's so fucking amazing I knew you'd pass out if you read it earlier in the review - okay I was all poised to give this DVD a high 8 out of 10, right? Because, although it has everything you could possibly want in an ELPDVD, the band nevertheless has some truly terrible songs, some of which are forced on you through this release. However, nearly 3/4ths of the way through the second disc, something amazing happened. Something so unexpected, surreal and beautiful that I had to rewind the disc and watch it over and over again just to make sure I wasn't dreaming:

They showed a nine-second clip of the Ramones performing "Loudmouth."

I hereby award this release A PERFECT 10.

Reader Comments

Did you know that this trio was planning on having Jimi Hendrix? "HELP" (as it would have been called). Keith and Greg initially called drummer Mitch Mitchell, who was uninterested but passed the word to Jimi Hendrix, who was tired of the Experience, and this agreement was solidified after Hendrix saw them play their first show at the Isle of Wight, but sadly he died.

Hendrix might have been able to temper Keith's keyboard hyperactivity (a guitarist had successfully calmed him in the Nice) or less pleasantly, Keith might have drowned out Hendrix (probably not, though, considering nothing and nobody could drown him out (except sleeping pills)). Since Hendrix was the most famous and successful, he probably would be the most prominent. The H is first in HELP, right?

Thinking further, Hendrix would have added a fourth ego which might have increased artistic differences. While Emerson wanted to rape symphonies, Lake wanted to write dippy pop songs, and Carl wanted to drum as complexively as possible, Hendrix would have wanted to make stoned funk-pop. Remember, Electric Ladyland is far, far away from Tarkus or any of ELP's roots.

But then Hendrix died and we would never find out what HELP would have become. This is just some food for thought.

Anyways, I love ELP. They suck, but I love them.

No, no Roger Waters... Keith Emerson looks now like Gary Busey, but prettier.

Mike Nelson@talktalk.net
I take it you don't have a musical background, otherwise you wouldn't be writing this SHIT. Next you'll be telling us that Led Zeppelin, Genesis and the Eagles are crap. Time for you to go back to High school and learn something about music!

dcollar@new.rr.com (Dave C.)
Where ya at Fag.

Hey Hack,

Clair Brothers Audio was built around Emerson Lake and Palmer. The S-4 cabinet was first debuted with ELP in Montreal in 1977 after the Olympics. My reasoning for e-mailing your sorry ass, after reading your disillusioned views about ELP is this: Either get an education about music or stick to telling me about how great the pistols can play one note on there instruments and be so legendary. You obviously have no clue about mastering your instrument you play. I challenge you to tell me who is the better musician at any of there positions. I await your waaaaaa response. Iíll give you a little respect if you can figure out the Clair Brothers reference.

richast2@yahoo.com (Scott)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your review of this DVD. It inspired me to rent it, and I was not disappointed. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. However, you didn't mention one part of the documentary that I think really encapsulated the whole experience. Near the end, Keith Emerson, the most humble man in show business, says that the reason why the music press didn't like ELP is because they were "too good." That must have been it, Keith. I had to rewind the DVD to make sure he'd really said that.

keep up the good work.

ismaninb@teacher.com (Mark Nieuweboer)
Dear Mr. Prindle,

reading your reviews on ELP makes me sad as you make yourself ridiculous. Obviously you know zilch about classical music. That is not a complaint, not a reproach, not an insult, it's only stating a fact. You are in the company of the vast majority of mankind. But it makes you writing factual nonsense.

Quote: "It's just that when they try to combine classical music and rock, the result is a brutishly ugly heap of pretentious racket." And what happens? All the ELP songs you happen to like or think OK'ish can be directly traced back to classical music.

The Barbarian is directly taken from Bartok's Allegro Barbaro.

The main riff from Knife Edge is Janacek's (1926); Emerson's solo is a Bach paraphrase.

The only Way is another Bach paraphrase.

Hoedown is an adaptation from your compatriot Copland's composition.

Abaddon's Bolero - do I really have to mention it? - is inspired by Ravel's Bolero. The theme is different, the instruments are different, the structure is the same.

Jerusalem has lyrics by Blake and is set on music by some unknown British guy. ELP only rearranged it.

Toccata is an adaptation of a Pianoconcerto of Ginastera. Before recording it ELP send a letter and a demo to him asking permission. Ginastera's answer was: "this is how my music should be played!"

Karn Evil Nine is an attempt to write a rock symphony.

So how do you come to like that "brutishly ugly heap of pretentious racket"?

I agree that Pictures at an Exhibition is a complete failure. Mussorgsky's original piano version is far superior and indeed, if you can lay hands on Ashkenazy playing it you should not hesitate.

So ELP's attempts to fuse classical and rock are what you could expect: a mixed bag.

Anyone who likes this horrific abortion of a band deserves whatever they get.

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