Greg Lake—ELP, King Crimson Singer/Bassist—Dies

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Greg Lake (photo from his website)

Greg Lake—the vocalist and bassist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and before that, King Crimson—has died. According to multiple news reports, Lake succumbed to cancer yesterday, Dec. 7. He was 69.

In addition to his work with those two major prog-rock bands, Greg Lake, who also played guitar, was a member of Asia and recorded as a solo artist.

Lake is the second member of ELP to pass in 2016—Keith Emerson, the trio’s keyboardist, died in March.

Said Carl Palmer, ELP’s drummer: “It is with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow band-mate, Greg Lake. Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings he 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.”

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Related: Keith Emerson dies at 71

Lake’s manager, Stewart Young, said: “Yesterday, 7 December, 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. His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief.”

Gregory Stuart Lake was born on Nov. 10, 1947, in Poole, Dorset, England, and began playing guitar at age 12. He became friendly with guitarist Robert Fripp in school. They formed King Crimson in 1968, with Fripp playing guitar and Lake moving over to the bass, and recorded the album In the Court of the Crimson King the following year. Lake contributed vocals to that release and to 1970’s In the Wake of Poseidon, but he had already teamed with former Nice keyboardist Emerson and Atomic Rooster drummer Carl Palmer by the time that second King Crimson album was made. In addition to bass and vocals, Lake also contributed guitar to ELP’s recordings and live shows.

Related: More Greg Lake tributes from fellow rockers

Greg Lake (photo from his Facebook page)

With ELP, Lake recorded the studio prog classics Tarkus (1971), Trilogy (1972), Brain Salad Surgery (1973), two volumes of Works (1977) and Love Beach (1978). The trio also recorded the live albums Pictures at An Exhibition (1971), Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends ~ Ladies and Gentlemen (1974) and Emerson, Lake and Palmer In Concert (1979).

ELP split in the late 1970s, then reunited in the early ’90s for Black Moon and The Hot Seat.

Related: The Emerson, Lake and Palmer album catalog has recently been reissued.

In 1975, Lake released his first solo single “I Believe in Father Christmas,” which reached #2 on the U.K. singles chart. He released his first solo album, self-titled, in 1981.

Watch Lake’s solo video “I Believe in Father Christmas”

In 1983, Lake joined the already-in-progress prog supergroup Asia. He left the following year.

In the mid-’80s, Lake reunited with Keith Emerson and, with drummer Cozy Powell replacing Palmer,  attempted to reignite the ELP flame as Emerson, Lake and Powell.

Inhis later years, Lake the the Greg Lake Band.

Watch Emerson, Lake and Palmer perform “Lucky Man” at the Royal Albert Hall

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Best Classic Bands Staff

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