Just Take a Pebble: a fanfare for a Trilogy of amazing musicians

THE death of Greg Lake has left me numb.

Kids from my generation all grew up with at least one Prog Rock band as a personal backdrop to adolescence… and for me the choice was simple: it was always Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Keyboard player Keith Emerson was a local lad from my home area of Worthing and at once drew me and many school friends to his experimental classical, jazz, rock band.

We loved them, and I still treasure one abiding memory of four of us sixth formers cramming into the back row of the Worthing Odeon to watch the movie of their live Pictures at an Exhibition – a glorious pastiche of Mussorgsky’s symphony.

So, Keith Emerson’s untimely death in March this year, hit hard, as part of my youth was lost forever.

Now his band mate Greg Lake has also gone, before his time, after a long and stubborn battle with cancer.

One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, he is known for songs including In the Court of the Crimson King and I Believe in Father Christmas.

But I will remember him and Keith Emerson for much more than that.

Lake’s manager Stewart Young said this morning: “Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been.”

Born in Bournemouth – just along the south coast from Worthing – Lake was given his first guitar at the age of 12 and took lessons from a local tutor.

He formed a close friendship with fellow student Robert Fripp, with whom he formed King Crimson in 1969.

Their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King featured such songs as 21st Century Schizoid Man.

It set a standard for progressive rock and received a glowing, well-publicised testimonial from The Who’s Pete Townshend.

But their success was short-lived. Within a year, founding member Mike Giles quit and Lake refused to work with the band.

He was then approached by Emerson, who had supported King Crimson on a North American tour and needed a singer for his new band.

Joined by Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, ELP made their live debut at the Guildhall in Plymouth in 1970 before giving a career-making performance at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Unusually, the band combined heavy rock riffs with a jazz and classical influence. They scored hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery – many of them produced by Lake.

The band went on to enjoy chart success in 1977 with their version of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

They sold more than 48 million records, and Lake continued to be an influential and popular touring musician even after the band wound down in the late 1970s.

“The greatest music is made for love, not for money,” Lake said on his official website.

“The early ELP albums were pioneering because there is no standing still; time is always moving forward.”

Although this year has just 23 days left to run, it has been a tragedy for the shocking loss of so many wonderful musicians.

When a musician dies it’s always sad.

No matter what they were like in their personal lives, their music probably helped at least one person get through a hard time.

Music has saved my life more than once.

So I tip my hat to remember some of the horrid losses of some of my favourite musicians from 2016:

7 Dec 2016  Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), 69

22 Nov 2016  Craig Gill (Inspiral Carpets), 44

13 Nov 2016  Leon Russell, 74

07 Nov 2016  Leonard Cohen, 82

21 Apr 2016  Prince, 57,

19 Apr 2016  Pete Zorn, 65

06 Apr 2016  Merle Haggard, 79

05 Apr 2016  Dave Swarbrick, 75

29 Mar 2016  Andy Newman (Thunderclap Newman), 73

10 Mar 2016  Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), 71

25 Feb 2016  John Chilton (The Feetwarmers), 83

18 Jan 2016  Glenn Frey (Eagles), 67

17 Jan 2016  Dale Griffin (Mott the Hoople), 67

10 Jan 2016  David Bowie, 69


Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

One thought on “Just Take a Pebble: a fanfare for a Trilogy of amazing musicians”

  1. Wonderful article, it brought back some memories. the creative world has lost a lot of great/funny and talented souls this year…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The Godly Chic Diaries




See Behind The Veil

A quest to find the hidden pieces of truth


Odd... Unusual?.... a little too usual!

Fissured Reveries

An attempt to bring together my scrambled thoughts.

In parallel lines

Memories from more than 50 years following Brighton & Hove Albion

A Bargain for the Moon

Lifestyle Music Feminism Study


Just another WordPress.com site


Post Modern Cinderella - An Autobiographical Narrative

Lucy Kaufman

Tales From the Horse's Ass

Lou Write Travel

Travel tales and thoughts about life.

The Fruit of Curiosity

... an occasional - very occasional! Blog ...


Parents and community against the planned takeover of our school by ARK Academies


News, politics, insights, inside information from the left


Polemics, Notes and Essays from a Concerned Citizen

Words and Fictions

Jessica Norrie on writing, books and language - in her own words.

Declaration Of Opinion

{Mark Catlin's Blog} Agitate, Educate and Organise

words that click

Just another WordPress.com site

My Blog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Brandscapes's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

Thoughts of a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Musings from someone who is NOT a Sheeple...


Just another WordPress.com site


Rambling on about life, kindness, politics, education, permaculture and anything else that seems important.


A view from the Dales

stewilko's Blog

A place for my thoughts


Notes from Belfast

%d bloggers like this: