Rock-and-roll lost another one in this terrible year. Via the Beeb:
Greg Lake, who fronted both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died aged 69.
One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, the British musician is known for songs including In the Court of the Crimson King and his solo hit I Believe in Father Christmas.
He died on Wednesday after “a long and stubborn battle with cancer”, said his manager.
The news comes nine months after Lake’s band-mate Keith Emerson died.
Keyboardist Emerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, coroners in the US said.
Here’s a view of the audience attending Thanksgiving concert featuring King Crimson in 1969:
At the risk of triggering flashbacks for a certain attendee, here’s a soundtrack to go along with that photo:
Circle of life and all that, but 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year in Suck for all kinds of reasons.
Hate this year so much. R.I.P. Greg, and thanks.
And my neighbor Joe – a.k.a. the Mayor of Hearst street – died yesterday too, after a short battle with lung cancer – 8 weeks from diagnosis to death.
I also saw him with Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, Humble Pie and headliner Johnny Winter at Wabash College in 1971.
Dear God, check on Palmer!!!
21st Century Schizoid Man is what I remember from the Palm Beach Festival.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
Someone please wrap Stevie Wonder in bubblewrap, stat.
Damn, I didn’t realive Keith Emerson shot himself. THat’s horrible. I’d also somehow managed to forget that Greg Palmer was part of the original King Crimson line-up. I think I wore out my copy of “Court of the Crimson King” – both vinyl *and* cassette – while I swas still in high school. RIP.
here he is in ’67, back in his “Shame” days
@PaulWartenberg2016: I shouldn’t but I lol’ed at that comment.
FROM THE BEGINNING
“The intel wasn’t 100%,” admitted the guy who shot up the pizza joint in D.C. that turned out not to be running a child sex-slave ring out of the basement.
That might be the quote of the year, right there. For the foreseeable future it’s going to be my response whenever I’m shown to have been wrong about anything: “The intel wasn’t 100%.”
My parents are boomers, and my daughter is a millennial, so I’ve always felt sort of overshadowed by two massive demographic groups that got all the attention. But the boomers have the better music by far, IMO, probably because I’m an old fart myself now! :)
@Betty Cracker: While this prog rock was not my thing the organ at the end of From the Beginning inspired me to learn how to whistle while inhaling and I make that kind of sound for dogs. They love it.
Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class
I always feel real ambivalent about ELP. I had every album on both vinyl and cassette, and listened to them until I wore them out.
On relisten, not only did the music not age well, the 50-something me has decided that aside from Keith Emerson, they just weren’t a very good combination and resorted to a lot of pretensions that made them sound pseudo artsy (I tend to feel that way about The Moody Blues, too). Some from that era did well, and I still enjoy (Tull, in particular).
@raven: I am a pretty good whistler — I usually do Gandalf’s “Shadowfax” whistle to call my dogs! But I’ve never mastered the trick of inhaling while whistling!
Saw him with Crimson and ELP. Those were the days, my friend, those were the days. This fucking horrorshow of a year can’t end fast enough.
@Hungry Joe: Yep. It’s the 21st century version of “mistakes were made.”
“I Believe in Father Christmas“, with Ian Anderson, from 2006.
RIP, Mr. Lake
My recollection was that Emerson was suffering from a neurological condition and could no longer play an instrument.
And a minor update to “with notably rare exceptions”.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: I tell the young’uns they’ll never truly appreciate the importance of punk until they’ve listened to some early ’70s prog rock.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: It’s funny. I feel the same way sometimes about certain bands. I listen to the LP’s, (always the LP’s) and you find youself listening not so much to the music, but to who you were and what you were doing at that time in your life. Even when the music doesn’t age well, it’s still a door to a part of your life, even though it takes a few gentle tugs to close it and the paint is peeling a bit.
@Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: Tend to agree with this assessment as a whole, though I really like their Christmas song: “Hallelujah Noel, be it heaven or hell, the Christmas we get we deserve.”
ETA: Also agree re Jethro Tull. I don’t remember loving what they did that much back in the day but I am always surprised when I hear it now how good it is.
Ian Anderson can still bring it – saw him a couple of years ago, and he’s still good. My youngest daughter has gone to see him 3 times total, now.
I just keep going back to the deep disappointment that was “Love Beach”, the album that was everything an album shouldn’t be, and which broke them up…
One of my few talents is being able to whistle and hum simultaneously, in harmony and/or counterpoint. Sounds a bit like a theremin :-)
This damned year.
This goddess-damned year.
I will be SO FUCKING GLAD to see the back of 2016.
In the hopes of triggering a flashback amongst attendees, and those would have, could have and should have had they been born.
Before we all croak, Com’on, people, work together.
Anderson is weird as shit creatively, but incredibly bright with a great business sense. As I understand it, he owns a sizable chunk of northern England, based on little more than applying revenue derived from his devoted cult following to investments.
@Botsplainer: The name rings a very faint bell. Could you fill us in? Appreciate it!
The timelessness of Ian Anderson, addressing American evangelicals.
Crank it up…
Rehearsing EL&P’s homage to Fanfare for the Common Man on a cold winter’s day.
Memorable concert at the Spectrum in Philadelphia (1971?) – EL&P, along with a then unknown opening band, Yes.
@EZSmirkzz: Funny you should mention Canned Heat. I pulled out my copy of Endless Bookie the other day. Haven’t played it yet. We’ll see how it holds up.
@Haydnseek: Hooker n Heat is badass.
@NotMax: A lot of us here are in the right age range. An “opening band” thread could be a lot of fun. Mine? Golden West Ballroom, a club in Norwalk. SE LA County. Headliner was UFO, who we and everyone else came to see. Opening band was a totally unknown local SoCal outfit. Van Halen.
We worked a hippy place
like many in our land
@raven: Yep. We got baked to it so many times I wrote it H&H on the thermostat of my old O’Keefe and Merritt stove.
@Botsplainer: Thanks for the complete rundown. I kind of lost track after “Tarkus.”
@raven: Oh Hell Yeah!
John Glenn has died.
Goddamn it. RIP.
Age 95, so a fine age, but still. Fuck.
3Jane Tessier-Ashpool (a/k/a Lorinda Pike)
@SiubhanDuinne: RIP, John, my childhood hero – you and Alan Sheppard. Yeah, 95 was a good run. And he got to go back into space on the shuttle.
Still, fuck you, 2016.
@3Jane Tessier-Ashpool (a/k/a Lorinda Pike):
I loved the original seven astronauts. They fascinated me. He was one of my heroes too.
This. I was a true prog-rock fan in the early-mid 70s (probably owing to that being the time when i began smoking dope), but i now find it to be mostly unlistenable (exceptions made for Tull and Gabriel-era Genesis). By the late 70s I was more than ready for punk and the related trends.
In any event, Greg, you brought me many good times and smiles. RIP.
The flashbacks for me really come from “21st Century Schizoid Man” on the King Crimson album. I was a huge fan — saw Fripp do a Frippatronics concert in a record store in Pittsburgh sometime around 1980….
Hopefully, Willie Nelson will make it 23 more days to avoid the disaster that 2016 has been.
I saw them at the 1977 Super Bowl of Rock in Soldier Field.
Jethro Tull put out a great Christmas album a few years back. Half cheery, lots of dark.
@Haydnseek: Re opening acts: Winterland, San Francisco, late ’70 or early ’71. Some guys calling themselves the Allman Brothers Band opened, and ripped the place to shreds. I can’t remember who the main act was, but I’m surprised they had the guts to take the stage.
Godspeed, John Glenn
@Barbara: It’s funny – I was SUCH a Tull freak when I was a kid that I kind of burned out on them. I can still appreciate the artistry – and I still think Martin Barre is a criminally underrated guitarist – but I’m just kind of “oh, that’s nice” when I hear them now, rather than “holy shitsnacks, it’s TULL!”
When I was 7 I wanted to be an astronaut in the worst way. Of course at the time the term existed only in SF. Funny thing is, I haven’t actually done any of the things I wanted to do growing up. Almost 70 years and I’ve finally learned that we get very few of our dreams fulfilled.
Spinoza is my Co-pilot
Never did get the conventional hatred of prog rock. Sure there was shitty prog rock, but that’s true of any genre. And that very much includes punk rock (which was an artistic reaction to such 70s staples as disco and country rock as much as prog rock). To me the best of, say, King Crimson and Yes and Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull is better music than any punk rock by anyone and stands up well to the test of time. But that’s me. You feel otherwise, fine, enjoy what you enjoy, but I’ll take good prog rock over punk rock any day (that includes Black Flag, the Dead Kennedy’s, the Misfits, and the Stooges, all of whom I enjoyed in concert back when).
There’s some pretty good contemporary prog rock, too, by acts like Tool and Mars Volta and Syd Arthur (there are others — I’d include the great Sigur Ros, too, as a modern prog rock act). So the genre’s alive and well if smaller than the 70s heyday.
And contra our esteemed Betty Cracker above, I find the music of today overall to be better than what we boomers grew up with in the 60s and 70s. Millenials win on this front, I’d say. And good music is also far easier to find and listen to today than back then, both recorded and live performances. That’s not even close.
Been listening to In the Court of the Crimson King off and on today — that music most definitely still holds up — ever since I heard about Greg Lake’s death. That man had a strong and beautiful voice, one of my favorite singers of all time and one of the very best I’ve ever heard in a live performance (3 ELP concerts in the 70s).
So RIP Greg Lake. A better musical artist than the Ramones could ever hope to be.
I saw ELP at Boston Garden maybe two years after your show. Their light show had no equal at that time.
@MobiusKlein: Same story for my brother-in-law who passed away on Sunday.
What you said.
@Betty Cracker: We really did have the best music. Led Zep, Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Beatles, etc etc etc. The Millenials have some good stuff though. I love Gnash and 21 Pilots and Meghan Trainor. Old, not yet dead
@SiubhanDuinne: I felt so sad when I read this. It’s like he didn’t want to see a President Trump. Can’t say I’d blame him much
I’ll go against the grain a bit and say ELP at their best (mainly the first four studio albums) stands up very well today. The music is better than the records, though; apparently they’re finally starting to remix that early catalog, much of which could really use a new production perspective, shall we way. (“Alterna-prog” whiz Steven Wilson apparently did remix jobs for two albums, but didn’t carry on because he can’t connect with the music as much as, say, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, or the Cure.)
The thing is, there’s a certain sensibility you have to employ to get the most out of their music, and it may not be the one people think it is. ELP really had a way with humor and what I think classical music writers call “Mahlerian irony” (as opposed to the more po-faced “Stravinskian irony”), and I think there are moments in their music where lots of people think they’re doing things completely in earnest when they’re really taking the piss just a little bit. A willingness to go over the top with them also helps a lot. IF you come to it with the right frame of mind, ELP can be really fun music.
Here’s a Rolling Stone interview from a few years ago:
My brother-in-law (SIL’s) husband and sister-in-law (wife’s sister) both passed away withing last five months. An ass-hole gets “elected” POTUS and fellow Muskingum alum John Glenn passes.
That’s all I have.