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Greg Lake

Greg Lake, as lead vocalist and bass player was one of the founder members of King Crimson, and appears on both the first album, In Court of the Crimson King, and, the second, In The Wake of Poseidon.

Fripp and Lake met when they shared the same Dorset guitar teacher who taught an expansive range of music including classical pieces by Paganini and post war classics. Lake also listened to early American rock and roll and was inspired by everything he heard, from Elvis to classical.

Greg says: "There is a common thread throughout all the music. The forms may be different, but each one to some degree draws upon inspiration from the past. I am as proud to have been as influenced by people like Elvis and Little Richard as I am by composers like Copeland and Prokofiev and I'm honoured when other musicians regard me as one of their inspirations."

In December 1969, Greg met Keith Emerson during King Crimson’s first North American tour, where Emerson's band, The Nice shared the bill with King Crimson. After returning to England, Greg formally left King Crimson and Greg and Keith were introduced to Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer, by Robert Stigwood. Very soon thereafter they formed Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

One of their very first performances together was at the historic Isle of Wight Festival. That concert propelled them on their path to become one of the world's first "super groups."

The 1971 debut album, Emerson Lake and Palmer went platinum. It was produced by Lake and featured a song Greg had written while still in school: "Lucky Man." "Lucky Man," performed on acoustic guitar, would become an special song for the band and a popular classic on radio. The song has become synonymous with Greg Lake and the title was chosen as the title for Greg Lake’s 2012 autobiography.

"I am both a bass guitarist and guitarist," Greg explains. "A lot of the really good bass players also play guitar. McCartney and Sting for example both play guitar and I certainly grew up on it. But, because King Crimson didn't need two guitarists, I took over playing the bass."

In taking on the instrument, he also pioneered a new way of playing it. "I derived a great deal of enjoyment playing bass partly - I think - because I played it in a different way from most people at the time. The style I developed was a more percussive and more sustained approach, which almost certainly came from all my years on guitar. I was frustrated by the normal dull sound of bass guitars at the time and was searching for a more expressive sound. I discovered the key was to use the wire wound bass strings, which have far more sustain, rather like the low end of a Steinway Grand Piano. I think I was the first bass player to really use them in this way."

However, it was the acoustic guitar that provided the setting for many of his ballads, such as the Christmas song, "I Believe in Father Christmas”.

"I love acoustic guitars. They're delicate and light and yet at the same time are unbelievably powerful. They are really a strange instrument from that point of view, but there is something very special about them," he explains. "You just have to look at some of the truly great songs written on acoustic guitar - "Scarborough Fair," "Forever Young," "Yesterday" - truly iconic songs that all came from a small piece of wood with thin steel strings tied to each end."

To date Emerson Lake and Palmer has sold over 48 million records. Lake produced Tarkus, Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy, Brain Salad Surgery, Works Vol. 1 and 2, and two different live albums. Greg credited their success to his constant search for perfection and his heart.

"The greatest music is made for love, not for money. The early ELP albums were pioneering because there is no standing still; time is always moving forward."

Greg Lake formed partnerships on stage, and off. His collaborations were many and impressive: Sheila E; Ringo Starr (joining Ringo Starr's All-Star Band to great acclaim and with great enjoyment); Led Zepplin's Robert Plant; The Who's Roger Daltrey (which led to a guest recording on a hit Who single); Procol Harum's Gary Booker, and Gary Moore. Greg joined his friend Ian Anderson onstage with Jethro Tull and performed with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

2012 saw an autobiographical tour, Songs of a Lifetime, full of drama, pathos, and humour, a show inspired by Greg’s autobiography, Lucky Man, released the same year.

Greg died on 7th December 2016.

(Edited from a longer form biography at www.greglake.com, and reproduced with kind permission)
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