It’s been one of those weeks…
Work has been all consuming, both energetically and time-wise…
I’ve missed several (to me) important birthdays, including John Milton’s.
I’ve missed a ton of political things happening, all just ripe for satire, sarcasm and spite.
Or the “three esses”, as they’re known in the parlance.
I realize that ‘the parlance’ normally assigns other words to those esses… but work with me on this one, if you can.
We’re a bit out of it…
And then I read the Times, for the first time (see what I did there?) in a week.
Nine months or so ago, I wrote of the passing of Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
And now one more member of the band has passed.
Greg Lake, who had one of the more beautiful vocal instruments in modern rock, died this past Wednesday in London.
I realize that many people would also revere his guitar and bass work.
But for me, it’s always been about the ‘front man’…
That’s why I continued to be a Genesis fan, long after they moved away from the progressive and into the more popular vein.
It was a lesson in the evolution of a singer that fascinated me. The further in time Phil Collins got from his progressive roots, the more powerful a singer he became.
One can only imagine what that singer could have done on Foxtrot…
If the vocals can’t draw my attention, then I look deeper; to see if I can excuse the vocals, because the rest of it is so good.
With ELP , the vocals caught me immediately, and it was the further inspection that led to further delights.
Even the New York Times, in its obituary, called Lake “a seminal figure” in the movement towards what would be called Progressive Rock.
King Crimson is credited as the first album in the genre… and Lake was a founding member of that ensemble, as well as ELP.
ELP’s entire career seemed to be one of fortuitous circumstance.
They played The Isle of Wight festival in 1970, appearing on the same bill as Jimi Hendrix and The Who.
Immediately signed to a record contract, their next four albums went platinum.
They managed to appear on the same bill as The Rolling Stones, in a free concert seen by 400,000 people.
And now we’ve lost another member of a band which meant so much to me as a wee little musician; combining as it did the aspects of Rock with a soaring, symphonic style and a heroic aspect of the “Sturm und Drang” school of thought – that I think even Beethoven would have approved.
Lakes vocals kept improving, in power and in presentation, right up to what I consider his best work, which was the album Works, Vol. I.
A selection from that album:
And now I again need to go and listen to some music.
To try and regain a bit of my earlier love for their work.
To try and keep the merely cosmic, temporal darkness from infecting my soul…
Image found here.