I love so many songs by the great Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They were my first introduction to the Progressive Rock music of the 70’s and while I wouldn’t actually hear them until many years after their debut, my first album was “Brain Salad Surgery” which belonged to my Dad. Its cover was wild as hell and spoke to the weird horror movie and comic book loving kid. To this day its remained a favorite. The other day it was announced that some classic albums are getting a remastered treatment and I’ve got the whole press release down below for you to absorb. I’ll return at the close with some additional thoughts.
The Press Release:
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER: A TREASURE CHEST OF CLASSIC ALBUMS
Emerson, Lake & Palmer were one of the most successful, innovative and ground breaking British groups of the golden age of Progressive Rock. As well as creating spectacular ‘live’ shows that incorporated advanced technology and showmanship, they also recorded a cascade of powerful albums that sold in millions around the world. During 2016 and 2017 the band’s musical legacy will be celebrated by BMG with an important and comprehensive re-issue programme that will put the spotlight on ELP’s nine studio albums as well as their ‘live’ recordings and compilations. The trio’s remarkable style, combining original compositions with rock, jazz, folk and classical influences, was performed with passion and integrity by the founder members:
Keyboard maestro – the late great, Keith Emerson
Singer, guitarist and bass player – Greg Lake
Drummer and percussionist – Carl Palmer
Their phenomenal mix of melodic songs, dynamic arrangements, brilliant musicianship and electrifying sound broadened the audience for progressive rock and guaranteed ELP massive international appeal, as they headlined stadium tours throughout the 1970s and 1990s and achieved sales of over 40 million albums. ELP also enjoyed two major hit singles with ‘Lucky Man’ and ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’, and their 21 minute epic track ‘Tarkus’ is hailed as a milestone in Prog Rock history.
New and old generations of fans will now be able to enjoy ELP’s music afresh, as their albums are released in a range of different formats, from CD and freshly cut vinyl LP to digital download, high definition digital and mastered for iTunes. Vinyl connoisseurs will be pleased that following a special request from Greg Lake, the LPs will be presented on 140 gsm vinyl to ensure a superior high quality sound. LP inner bag features an explanation of this by Greg.
THE ALBUMS: The group’s first three albums are scheduled for re-release on Friday,July, 29th 2016.
All the CD version booklets will feature authorative liner notes and interviews conducted in 2016 with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, by legendary rock journalist Chris Welch.
The band’s debut album ‘Emerson, Lake & Palmer’ (1970) will be available as a 2 CD set with CD 1 comprising the original album in its 2012 remastered edition. CD 2 offers an Alternate Album in a 2012 Steven Wilson stereo mix, with bonus tracks. The LP version will be the original album, newly cut for the first time from 24 Bit/HD 2012 remasters. The Standard Digital Download will comprise the remastered 1970 album and an Alternate Album (2012 Stereo remix) with bonus tracks. The same contents will be available on MFiT and HD digital formats, all taken from the 2012 remasters.
‘Emerson, Lake & Palmer’ was first released after the group’s critically acclaimed debut show at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, when they performed to 600,000 people. Its dynamic original compositions and classical adaptations are brimful of Keith Emerson’s superb piano and Moog synthesizer work, Greg Lake’s magnificent vocals, bass and acoustic guitar playing and Carl Palmer’s lightning fast drumming.
Bartok’s ‘The Barbarian,’ together with originals ‘Take A Pebble,’ ‘Knife Edge,’ and the three part suite ‘The Three Fates’ are followed by ‘Tank’ and Greg Lake’s ballad ‘Lucky Man’ which was the band’s debut single and a huge U.K. and U.S. hit. The Alternate album has 12 tracks peppered with bonus items notable an informal ‘Rave Up,’ a Carl Palmer ‘Drum Solo,’ and alternate versions of ‘Take A Pebble,’ ‘Knife Edge’ and ‘Lucky Man.’
The band’s second album ‘Tarkus’ (1971) saw ELP take a new direction with yet more complex keyboard sounds. The title track took up the whole of side one of the original LP, and defined the band’s exultant, bombastic approach. ‘Jeremy Bender’ ‘Bitches Crystal,’ The Only Way (Hymn)’, ‘Infinite Space (Conclusion)’, ‘A Time And A Place,’ and the rocking ‘Are You Ready Eddy?’ complete this Number One U.K. album that also shot to Number 9 in the U.S. charts.
CD 1 comprises the 1971 album remastered in 2012 by renowned rock remastering engineer Andy Pearce. CD 2 is the Steven Wilson Stereo Mix of the 2012 remaster, with bonus tracks taken from the original recording sessions. They are ‘Oh My Father,’ ‘Unknown Ballad’ and an alternate take of ‘Mass’ from the extended piece ‘Tarkus.’ The LP version is newly cut from the 2012 remaster, with original gatefold sleeve and artwork faithfully reproduced. The three Digital versions are also taken from the 2012 remasters.
ELP’S third album ‘Pictures At An Exhibition’ (1971) has been credited with inspiring many young musicians to embrace and study classical music. Based on the group’s enthusiastic interpretation of the famous work by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, it was a major hit and reached Number 3 in the U.K. and Number 10 in the U.S. album charts. ‘Pictures’ was recorded on March 21st, 1971 at Newcastle City Hall, where Emerson made use of the hall’s thunderous pipe organ.
The LP and disc 1 of the CD comprises an excellent new remaster of the ‘Pictures’ album from the original master tapes. On the 2 CD set, tracks on CD 1 include ‘Promenade,’ ‘The Gnome,’ ‘Promenade,’ ‘The Sage,’ ‘The Old Castle, ‘ ‘Blues Variations,’ another reprise of ‘Promenade’, ‘The Hut of Baba Yaga, ‘ The Curse of Baba Yaga,’ ‘The Hut of Baba Yaga,’ ‘The Great Gates of Kiev’ and encore number ‘Nut Rocker’ a hit by B.Bumble & The Stingers. Bonus tracks are a medley of ‘Pictures’ recorded ‘live’ at the Mar Y Sol Festival, Puerto Rico, on December 4th, 1972.
Disc 2 has another live performance of the extended work, recorded at the Lyceum Ballroom, London, on December 9th, 1970, complemented by live performances of ELP favourites ‘The Barbarian,’ ‘Knife Edge,’ ‘Rondo’ and ‘Nut Rocker.’
Accompanying these three albums is a special 3 CD and Download release ‘Emerson, Lake & Palmer – The Anthology.’ Produced by Greg Lake, this superb, career-spanning set has 39 tracks from the years 1970 to 1998, the choice of material approved by all three band members. It is presented in special ‘casebound’ book packaging with detailed, informative sleeve notes by Chris Welch, illustrated with rare band photographs.
The songs are selected from the albums ‘Emerson, Lake & Palmer,’ ‘Tarkus’, ‘Pictures At An Exhibition,’ ‘Trilogy’, ‘Brain Salad Surgery,’ ‘Welcome Back My Friends To the Show That Never Ends,’ ‘Works Volume 1,’ ‘Works Volume 2,’ ‘Works Live’, ‘Love Beach,’ ‘Live At Nassau Coliseum ‘ 78’. ‘Black Moon’. ‘In The Hot Seat,’ ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall 1993’ and ‘Then & Now.’
Among the highlights are the band’s performance of Copland’s ‘Hoedown’, and their version of ‘Jerusalem’ by William Blake and Hubert Parry. CD 3 includes the stirring ‘Fanfare For The Common Man,’ Keith Emerson’s hit rendition of the famed ‘Honky Tonk Train Blues,’ Greg Lake’s 1975 solo hit ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ and the group’s menacing interpretation of the TV theme ‘Peter Gunn.’ ‘Tiger In A Spotlight’ is another live track, recorded at the group’s comeback show at the Royal Albert Hall.
Subsequent batches of important original ELP albums will be released by BMG later in 2016. They are ‘Trilogy,’ (1972), ‘Brain Salad Surgery’ (1973) and the unique triple live album ‘Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends’ (1974).
FOOTNOTE: All these albums now serve as a fitting memorial to Keith Emerson, who died aged 71 on March 10th 2016. When speaking about ELP’s career and achievements for the re-issue project he said: “Emerson, Lake and Palmer are very proud to have brought this great music to a new generation of musicians and fans.”
PiercingMetal Thoughts: While I’ve been a fan for a few decades now of the bands most classic material, I don’t have a whole lot of their back catalog in my collection. For me they were one of those bands that your friends owned the vinyl of and you all listened to it together back in my bygone days. I do have a few but not all of them so it will be awesome to have these on remastered editions. I’m sad that I never got to witness a live performance or that they didn’t try to do some kind of Farewell Tour over the last few years and now with Keith Emerson gone it just feels weird to be celebrating these re-issues. Of course, music like this should always be celebrated and fortunately both Carl and Greg perform many of their hits during their solo concerts. What do you readers think of these re-releases? Let me know in the comments below.
Official Website: http://www.emersonlakepalmer.com