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Published on Sep 6, 2011

Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup. They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Carl Palmer (drums, percussion). They are one of the most commercially successful progressive rock bands and from the outset focused on combining classical pieces with rock music.

1975--1977: Hiatus, Works Albums

ELP then took a three-year break to re-invent their music, but lost contact with the changing musical scene. They eventually released the double album, Works (later renamed Works, Volume I), in which each member had a 'side' to himself. Side 4 contained 'full band' pieces, including their most enduring legacy: a highly synthesised cover of Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. A great deal of the Works album was recorded with an orchestral accompaniment -- in fact, Keith Emerson's side consisted solely of a 20 minute piano concerto which he had composed himself. This album was soon followed by Works Volume II, which consisted entirely of 3--4 minute songs including ballads, pop songs, jazzy instrumentals and a Christmas single. It was seen as a collection of leftovers (not helped by the fact that one of the songs was actually called Brain Salad Surgery, and another had previously been released as a solo single by Lake) and was ELP's first commercial failure. The band toured the US and Canada in 1977 and 1978 with a schedule of night-after-night performances -- some with a full orchestra, which was a heavy burden on tour revenues. These late-1970s tours found ELP working harder than ever to stay in touch with their audience. But as disco, punk rock, corporate rock and New Wave styles began to alter the musical landscape, ELP could no longer generate the excitement of being forerunners in musical innovation. Eventually, they drifted apart due to personality conflicts and irreconcilable differences concerning musical direction. Greg Lake commented on the DVD Beyond the Beginning documentary, about the Works tour that they had lost about 3 million dollars from their pockets. On the same documentary, Keith Emerson said, they (Lake and Palmer) still blame him for it, "you and your bloody orchestra".

2000s: re-releases, 2010 tour and one-off 40th anniversary concert

In 2003, UK independent label Invisible Hands Music released the 3CD box set Reworks: Brain Salad Perjury, a new work created by Keith Emerson in collaboration with Mike Bennett, using sampling technology with an eye on club and ambient music styles. Emerson and Bennett sampled musical elements from the entire ELP oeuvre, creating new electronica music opening with a reinterpretation of Fanfare For The Common Man. The musical complexity of the source material provided rich pickings for sampling: the album found favour with critics and the dance music community.[citation needed] Cuts from the album were widely played in clubs and, fleetingly at least, the band's music found a new audience who had never heard (or heard of) ELP. In March 2009, Palmer said on his website that there is "talk of an ELP reunion in the fall". Emerson, Lake, and Palmer made plans to tour at the end of that year; however, due to Keith Emerson's hand injury, further tour plans were cancelled. In November 2009, Greg Lake confirmed on a live chat via his website that he and Keith Emerson had been writing new songs for a new album. In order to satisfy American fans, Emerson and Lake embarked in April 2010 on a North American tour, presenting an acoustic repertoire of their work. On 14 May 2010, Shout! Factory released a 4-CD collection of Emerson, Lake and Palmer live tracks called A Time And A Place. On 25 July 2010, Emerson, Lake and Palmer played a one-off 40th anniversary concert, headlining the High Voltage Festival event in Victoria Park, London. The entire concert was later released as the double-CD live album High Voltage. On 22 February 2011, Shout! Factory released a 2-CD set of Emerson, Lake and Palmer recorded live in 9 February 1978 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York called Live at Nassau Coliseum 78. ELP have signed a worldwide licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment. A Blu Ray and SD DVD of the concert was produced by Concert One Ltd, together with a definitive documentary of the band's 40 year history.


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