So Long, Keith Emerson

Roland Dodds

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular inactive at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

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13 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    I loved his stuff.

    Jerusalem (off of Brain Salad Surgery) is a wonderful modern revamping of a lovely hymn and reading about how it got banned when they wanted to release it as a single is just really funny/sad. It’s pretty much the go-to version of the song for me now… primarily because of Emerson’s keyboards.

    Hoedown is another traditional(ish) song that they turned around and flipped on its head and he did an absolutely brilliant job with it.

    Ah, poor Keith. Sigh.Report

  2. Roland Dodds says:

    @jaybird Agreed. If you are interested in British prog, there was an awesome documentary on BBC about the movement (lots on Emerson and ELP in fact) that is now available on Youtube. I think I have watched this thing a dozen times.


  3. RANDY BORK says:

    from “Pictures at an Exhibition:”
    Lead me from tortured dreams
    Childhood themes of nights alone,
    Wipe away endless years,
    childhood tears as dry as stone.

    From seeds of confusion,
    illusions darks blossoms have grown.
    Even now in furrows of sorrow
    the doubt still is sown.
    I carry the dust of a journey
    that cannot be shaken away
    It lives deep within me
    For I breathe it every day.

    You and I are yesterday’s answers;
    The earth of the past come to flesh,
    Eroded by Time’s rivers
    To the shapes we now possess.

    Come share of my breath and my substance,
    and mingle our stream and our times.
    In bright, infinite moments,
    Our reasons are lost in our rhymes.

    My life’s course is guided
    decided by limits drawn
    on charts of my past days
    and pathways since I was born.Report

  4. greginak says:

    Always liked ELP although Yes and King Crimson were my favorite prog rock bands.

    This version of a classical piece, Tocatta, has really held up well for me. Emerson had to go ask the composer for permission to use it and was afraid of being denied as just some rock star. But he impressed the composer and got the permission which meant a lot to him.

  5. Jon Rowe says:

    Although I like “classical” music (encompassing all of the eras from pre-Baroque to post-modern) I tend not to like musical theater because I’m not into camp. Though I can respect the great works of artistic accomplishment there (it’s more a style than a substance thing for me). No one can deny the genius of Porter, Coward, Bernstein, & Sondheim. I’d rather listen to Bernstein conduct some intense classical stuff than West Side Story.

    Though I don’t think I appreciated just how great “America” is from West Side Story until I heard Keith rock it out and “de-camp” it. Love the hemiola.

  6. Michael Drew says:

    I don’t know much about prog rock or ELP at all, but I like what I’m hearing here, and I’m very sorry to hear of Emerson’s troubles. In a way it’s inspiring, though, that they’re related to his music, still, this long after the apparent height of his musical success. That’s living out your passion.Report

  7. Jon Rowe says:

    The obsessive compulsive perfectionist mindset, in talented folks, can be a scary thing. It can drive greatness. But also break people in Black Swan moments.

    I haven’t seen the movie with the drill Instructor like drum teacher. But Buddy Rich seems to have been the real deal. Keith came off as a gentle soul. But Greg Lake intimated that since the late 70s, Keith’s dark side that made him hard to work with caused issues with the band.

    Listen to the Buddy Rich video (if you haven’t already) to understand what goes through minds of folks like this. It’s funny and tragic at the same time.