Greg Lake Lucky Man was the founding member of King Crimson and Emerson Lake & Palmer or ELP as they were commonly known. ELP came to recognition in August 1970 at the now infamous Isle of Wight Festival where Jimi Hendrix headlined.
Greg Lake with his folk singing and ear for a melody pushed King Crimson and ELP away from intricate prog rock twiddling into a more balanced tuneful sound which made both bands so popular. The albums of the prog rock era were overblown and bombastic. But Lake gave the bombast a pretty, light folky touch, while riding the prog rock wave to its demise.
One view is that he never sounded comfortable between folk and rock. He could play a mean rock bass rock, which he gets little credit for. But also melodic and tuneful, like the ultimate prog rock bassist Chris Squire from Yes. But unlike modern music making it was common that each member of the band profile their skills on tracks that showed off their virtuoso skills. Lake always produced a folky tune, with a welcome toned down Emerson backing him on synthesizer. The end of one of his best known tunes Lucky Man Emerson comes in with a massive synth sound but the track still remains pretty and folky rather than orchestral.
Carl Palmer a brilliant drummer but no songwriter.
Lake’s sensitivity and tunefulness carried Emerson’s orchestral dominance into the mainstream. ELP couldn’t have done it without him. His voice was amazing. Not a rock voice but something sweeter and more feminine to counter the bombast and maleness of banks of synthesizers. Strong and powerful his voice never wavered but then failed him towards the end of his career. Always indelibly linked to progressive rock you wonder where his huge talent would have fitted in today.
Greg Lake – Lucky Man
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