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Brain Salad Surgery, ELP

Updated: Jul 22, 2023




ELP has always been one of my favorite bands, I share that with Homer Simpson (if you want to know why read till the end). Last night, I witnessed a remarkable show, "The Return of Emerson Lake and Palmer." Alongside Yes, ELP stands as the crème de la crème of the Progressive Rock genre. Their music, was delivered by just three extraordinary musicians, each song testament to their talent.


While both Emerson and Lake have passed, their presence was palpable at the concert, thanks to Carl Palmer's ingenious integration of videos capturing their finest moments. You can catch a glimpse of Carl's awe-inspiring drum solo from last night in the link below:






Keith Emerson, a titan among keyboard players in rock history, delved into the works of Copland, Sibelius, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky intertwining their masterpieces with rock music. His interpretations of these classics served as a gateway, introducing many of us to the wonders of the classical world. While Greg Lake may not have possessed virtuosic, his versatility and soulful voice, combined with Keith's brilliance, gave us many ELP classics that have stood the test of time. And let's not forget Carl Palmer, a drumming legend who rightfully shares his throne with luminaries like Keith Moon, Jason Bonham, and Neil Peart.


Narrowing down an ELP album to review was challenging, but I settled on "Brain Salad Surgery," for it is the quintessential ELP experience. The album features the iconic cover art and the unforgettable lyrics of "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends" from Karn Evil 9 Part 2. And, interestingly enough, this masterpiece marks their fourth album - a phenomenon I've noticed before, where legendary bands often reach their creative pinnacle on their fourth recording.


ELP's albums often follow a distinctive structure - a classical music interpretation, a heartfelt ballad sung by Gregg Lake, an experimental piece, and a composition that showcases the band's virtuosity. In "Brain Salad Surgery," Keith Emerson displays his mastery in the classical piece “Toccata” by Ginastera. "Still…you turn me on" is the ballad, undoubtedly one of ELP's finest creations. The audacious experiment comes as "Benny the Boncer," while the longer piece is the awe-inspiring "Karn Evil 9."


While this, in my opinion, is the best album overall, I prefer many other songs from ELP. Here are some of my favorites:


Howdown, by Copland. A special invitation to my drummer friends to listen paying attention to the drums


Maple Leaf Rag, by Copland


Fanfare for the Common Man, by Copland, a song many of us remember as the intro of "Depor TV" the Sunday recap of sports news in Mexico during the 80s.


Lucky Man, by Greg Lake


Which happens to be one of Homer Simpson's favorite songs:


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