Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Tarkus (1972)

frontcover1Tarkus is the second studio album by the English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in June 1971 on Island Records. Following their 1970 European tour, the group returned to Advision Studios in January 1971 to prepare material for a new album. The first side is the seven-part song “Tarkus”, with a collection of shorter tracks on side two.

Tarkus went to number one in the UK Albums Chart and peaked at number 9 in the US.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer began to work on their second studio album in January 1971.[2]

The cover artwork was commissioned from the painter and graphic designer William Neal.

“…The armadillo was simply a doodle created from a fusion of ideas while working on the Rare Bird album As Your Mind Flies By. I had produced a gun belt made up of piano keys, which somehow led to WW1 armoury; nobody liked the idea, but the little armadillo remained on the layout pad. Later on we were asked to submit ideas to E.L.P. for their second album. David Herbet and I put tank tracks on the little fellow… yet it was still basically a doodle. However, Keith Emerson spotted it and loved the idea, so we developed him further… After hearing the substance of Tarkus on the acetate I developed the ideas along with Keith and Greg, and painted all the other creatures too.”

Keith Emerson said, “To everyone, it represented what we were doing in that studio. The next day on my drive up from Sussex the imagery of the armadillo kept hitting me. It had to have a name. Something guttural. It had to begin with the letter ‘T’ and end with a flourish. “Tarka the Otter” may have come into it, but this armadillo needed a science fiction kind of name that represented Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in reverse. Some mutilation of the species caused by radiation…”Tarkus”!”

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Tarkus was released on 14 June 1971 in the UK on Island Records, appearing two months later in the US by Atlantic Records’ subsidiary label Cotillion Records. It is one of only two ELP records to reach the Top 10 in the States, making it to #9 (Trilogy, the following year, got to #5), while in Britain it is their only number-one album. Additionally, Tarkus spent a total of 17 weeks in the UK Albums Chart. In Japan the album was released on Atlantic Records. Later vinyl reissues were on the Manticore label.

Tarkus was certified gold in the United States shortly after its release on 26 August 1971.[8]

Tarkus received generally favorable reviews from critics.

Emerson admitted that Tarkus was one of his favourite albums, “not least because the title track has taken on a life of its own.” (by wikipedia)

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1970 eponymous LP was only a rehearsal. It hit hard because of the novelty of the act (allegedly the first supergroup in rock history), but felt more like a collection of individual efforts and ideas than a collective work. All doubts were dissipated by the release of Tarkus in 1971. Side one of the original LP is occupied by the 21-minute title epic track, beating both Genesis’ “Supper’s Ready” and Yes’ “Close to the Edge” by a year. Unlike the latter group’s cut-and-paste technique to obtain long suites, “Tarkus” is a thoroughly written, focused piece of music. It remains among the Top Ten classic tracks in progressive rock history. Because of the strength of side one, the material on the album’s second half has been quickly forgotten — with one good reason: it doesn’t match the strength of its counterpart — but “Bitches Crystal” and “A Time and a Place” make two good prog rock tracks, the latter being particularly rocking. “Jeremy Bender” is the first in a series of honky tonk-spiced, Far-West-related songs. This one and the rock & roll closer “Are You Ready Eddy?” are the only two tracks worth throwing away. Otherwise Tarkus makes a very solid album, especially to the ears of prog rock fans — no Greg Lake acoustic ballads, no lengthy jazz interludes. More accomplished than the trio’s first album, but not quite as polished as Brain Salad Surgery, Tarkus is nevertheless a must-have. (by François Couture)

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The original Island labels

Personnel:
Keith Emerson (keyboards, synthesizer)
Greg Lake (vocals, bass, guitar)
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Tarkus (20.52)
01.1.Eruption (Emerson) 2.43
01.2. Stones Of Years (Emerson/Lake) 3.43
01.3. Iconoclast (Emerson) 1.16
01.4. Mass (Emerson/Lake) 3.09
01.5. Manticore (Emerson) 1.49
01.6. Battlefield (Lake) 3.57
01.7. Aquatarkus (Emerson) 3.54
02. Jeremy Bender (Emerson/Lake) 1.41
03. Bitches Crystal (Emerson/Lake) 3.54
04. The Only Way (Hymn) (Emerson/Lake) 3.50
05. Infinite Space (Conclusion) (Emerson/Palmer) 3.18
06. A Time And A Place (Emerson/Lake/Palmer) 3.00
07. Are You Ready Eddy? (Emerson/Lake/Palmer) 2.09

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Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Same (1970)

FrontCover1Keith Emerson and Greg Lake met in December 1969 when The Nice and King Crimson, two rock bands that Emerson and Lake each were a respective member of, co-headlined a series of concerts at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, California. Emerson looked to form a new band, and Lake wished to leave King Crimson. During a soundcheck before one of the shows, Emerson described the first time he and Lake played together: “Greg was moving a bass line and I played the piano in back and Zap! It was there.” The pair had met twice before in England in 1969 when The Nice and King Crimson performed at the Jazz and Blues Pop Festival in Plumpton and Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

When Emerson and Lake decided to form a new group, they initially approached drummer Mitch Mitchell who was at a loose end following the break-up of The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell suggested a jam session take place with himself, Lake, Emerson and Hendrix; though the session never took place, it caused the press to report rumours of a planned-but-abandoned supergroup named HELP (an acronym for Hendrix Emerson Lake Palmer), rumours which survived for over forty years until Lake formally debunked them in 2012. Soon after, Robert Stigwood, manager of Cream, suggested Carl Palmer of Atomic Rooster and formerly of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Initially Palmer was reluctant to leave Atomic Rooster as the group were in its infancy, but he was persuaded by the “magic” he felt after a try out session with Emerson and Lake. Palmer recalled: “We hit it off really well, but I didn’t join right away. I told them I wanted to come back the next day and see if the magic would be there again. It was, and that was it. I was on board from that day forward”. Lake added, “We knew we had found the right guy. The chemistry was all there and ELP was born”. The group’s name was settled upon to remove the focus on Emerson as the most famous of the three, and to ensure that they were not called the “new Nice”.

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“It was the biggest show any of us had ever done. The next day, we were world-famous.”
—Greg Lake about the band’s show at the Isle of Wight Festival.

The three performed their first gig as Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the Guildhall in Plymouth on 23 August 1970. Their performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on 29 August that drew the most attention. A DVD of the performance was released in 2006 as The Birth of a Band. Following their show, the group secured a recording contract with Ahmet Ertegun, the president of Atlantic Records. Emerson believed that Ertegun signed the band “because we could sell out 20,000-seaters before we even had a record out. That was enough for him to think that a lot of people would go out and buy the record when it did come out.”

From July to September 1970, the band recorded their debut album, Emerson Lake & Palmer, at Advision Studios in London. Lake produced the album himself with Eddy Offord as their engineer. Three of its six tracks are instrumentals, including “The Barbarian”, an arrangement of the 1911 piano suite Allegro barbaro by Béla Bartók. “Knife-Edge” is based on the first movement of Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček that features a passage from the Allemande of French Suite No. 1 in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. Palmer recorded a drum solo, “Tank”. Lake contributed “Take a Pebble” and “Lucky Man”, an acoustic ballad he wrote with his first guitar at the age of twelve. Released in November 1970, Emerson, Lake & Palmer reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 18 in the US. “Lucky Man” was released as a single in 1970 and reached No. 48 in the US, No. 25 in Canada, and No. 14 in the Netherlands. From September 1970 to March 1971, the band toured the UK extensively with shows in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The band’s performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London was filmed and released in UK theatres in 1972 with added psychedelic effects including characters from Marvel Comics (by wikipedia)

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Lively, ambitious, almost entirely successful debut album, made up of keyboard-dominated instrumentals (“The Barbarian,” “Three Fates”) and romantic ballads (“Lucky Man”) showcasing all three members’ very daunting talents. This album, which reached the Top 20 in America and got to number four in England, showcased the group at its least pretentious and most musicianly — with the exception of a few moments on “Three Fates” and perhaps “Take a Pebble,” there isn’t much excess, and there is a lot of KeithEmerson01impressive musicianship here. “Take a Pebble” might have passed for a Moody Blues track of the era but for the fact that none of the Moody Blues’ keyboard men could solo like Keith Emerson. Even here, in a relatively balanced collection of material, the album shows the beginnings of a dark, savage, imposingly gothic edge that had scarcely been seen before in so-called “art rock,” mostly courtesy of Emerson’s larger-than-life organ and synthesizer attacks. Greg Lake’s beautifully sung, deliberately archaic “Lucky Man” had a brush with success on FM radio, and Carl Palmer became the idol of many thousands of would-be drummers based on this one album (especially for “Three Fates” and “Tank”), but Emerson emerged as the overpowering talent here for much of the public. (by Bruce Eder)

Keith Emerson, one of the founding members of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer, has died in what police are treating as a suspected suicide.

The keyboardist died at the age of 71 at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles on Thursday night.

No official cause of death was listed for Emerson, but police sources told Billboard the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head. Apparently, Emerson was depressed over a worsening — and irreversible — neurological condition that was costing him the use of his hands. (by cleveland.com)

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Personnel:
Keith Emerson (keyboards)
Greg Lake (bass, vocals, guitar)
Carl Palmer (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. The Barbarian (Palmer/Lake/Emerson/Janáček) 4.32
02. Take A Pebble (Lake) 12.32
03. Knife-Edge (Fraser/Lake/Emerson) 5.09
04. The Three Fates (Emerson) 7.43
04.1. Clotho
04.2. Lachesis
04.3. Atropos
05. Tank (Palmer/Emerson) 6.52
06. Lucky Man (Lake) 4.38

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He was one of the most important musicians for me
Keith Emerson:
2 November 1944 – 10 March 2016