Farewell, Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

Greg Lake, frontman of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and widely considered a founding father of progressive rock, died this week at age 69. 

His manager wrote on Facebook, "Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer. Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been."

Other artists paid tribute to Lake's legacy, including Genesis's Steve Hacket and Yes's Rick Wakeman.

His former bandmate, Carl Palmer wrote this on his website:

“Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings made with ELP and King Crimson. I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together. Having lost Keith this year as well, has made this particularly hard for all of us. As Greg sang at the end of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’: ‘death is life.’ His music can now live forever in the hearts of all who loved him.”

King Crimson and Kanye

Greg Lake formed his first well-known band, King Crimson, with Robert Fripp in 1969. The Who's Pete Townshend called their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King "an uncanny masterpiece." Their influence would even extend to 2000's hip-hop: Kanye West sampled "21st Century Schizoid Man" for his 2010 hit "Power." King Crimson was short-lived, but Lake linked up with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, and formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The group combined heavy rock riffs with a classical influence and scored hit albums with "Pictures at an Exhibition," "Trilogy" and "Brain Salad Surgery."  The band has since sold over 48 million records.

I Believe in Father Christmas

In 1975, Greg Lake released "I Believe in Father Christmas" a song intended to be a criticism of the commercialization of Christmas. It reached #2 on the UK charts and was topped only by Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Farewell, Greg Lake

Mr. Lake is survived by his wife, Regina, a daughter, Natasha Atkins, and a grandson. His upcoming biography, “Lucky Man,” is to be published in Britain next year.

If you're unfamiliar with ELP's music, or would like to listen in Greg's memory, here's a Spotify playlist.

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