Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s creative peak may have been the Trilogy album a year earlier, but the Progressive Rock juggernaut’s best seller and biggest supporting tour was for Brain Salad Surgery in November 1973. It is the golden anniversary of that album which came out at the apex of the Progressive Rock era, and here In the Studio we have my archival interviews with the late keyboard whiz Keith Emerson, the choirboy-voiced late Greg Lake, and the bombastic drummer Carl Palmer.It certainly was no accident that Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer each had a hand in actually defining the Prog Rock sound, albeit individually in separate bands, Emerson as a keyboard innovator with The Nice; Greg Lake writing and singing on the 1969 King Crimson groundbreaker In the Court of the Crimson King ; and Carl Palmer exhibiting power and space-filling percussion in the trio Atomic Rooster. On Brain Salad Surgery, no one can deny that the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer repertoire was undeniably eclectic and adventurous. The album opener ” Jerusalem” featured lyrics by English poet William Blake; the over-the-top synthesizer and electronic percussion in “Toccata” occurs while re-interpreting Argentinian composer Alberto Ginestera’s “First Piano Concerto, 4th Movement”;” Still You Turn Me On” continued the gorgeous Greg Lake ballads in the tradition of his “Lucky Man” and “From the Beginning”; and the album centerpiece “Karn Evil 9” was uncannily prescient by predicting the Computer Age five decades ago. Do not let revisionists try to convince you otherwise: Emerson, Lake, and Palmer were HUGE arena fillers and sales monsters (UK #2 sales, Top 10 US) and quite innovative progressive rockers when Brain Salad Surgery came out in November 1973. Any accounting of Progressive Rock’s defining albums from the genre’s golden age must include this fourth ELP studio album. And you must hear Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer tell the story of visiting Swiss cover artist the late H.R.Giger!
With Keith Emerson and Greg Lake now gone, their recollections from In the Studio archives are precious indeed, along with recent updates here from Carl Palmer. – Redbeard