Emerson Lake & Palmer Catalog Reissues Coming

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The 3-CD Anthology arrives with the band's first 3 studio albums on July 29

The 3-CD Anthology arrives with the band’s first 3 studio albums on July 29

Progressive rock titans Emerson, Lake & Palmer will see their extensive studio and live album catalog get a well-deserved facelift in 2016 and 2017. BMG will be re-releasing the recordings beginning on July 29 with a comprehensive reissue program of ELP’s nine studio albums as well as their live recordings and compilations.

The trio – keyboardist Keith Emerson, who died on March 10, 2016, singer/guitarist/bassist Greg Lake and drummer/percussionist Carl Palmer – were known for their wildly spectacular concerts that incorporated advanced technology and showmanship. Their music combined original compositions with rock, jazz, folk and classical influences.

ELP – chosen by the alphabetical listing – formed in 1970 and were one of many “supergroups” that were formed in that era. Emerson had spent three years as a co-founder of another British prog rock band, The Nice. Lake had been a member of King Crimson; Palmer had been in several bands, most notably The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

They achieved massive international appeal, as they headlined stadium tours throughout the 1970s and 1990s and achieved sales of over 40 million albums.

Related: Best Classic Bands‘ interview with Carl Palmer about Keith Emerson

Vinyl buyers will be interested in knowing that, following a special request from Greg Lake, the LPs will be presented on 140 gsm vinyl. As he notes:

“The popular perception for some time has been has been that the best sound quality is achieved by using 180gsm weight. The reality, however, is that particularly when using modern decks, the best audio quality is actually achieved using the lighter 140gsm weight. I am honestly not sure why this trend of using heavyweight vinyl came about? Probably because of the ‘more equals better’ in the world we live in. However, in the interests of delivering the best quality audio to our fans we have decided to go for quality rather than quantity.”

The group’s first three albums – 1970’s Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1971’s Tarkus and 1971’s live Pictures at an Exhibition – are scheduled for re-release on July 29.

The self-titled debut will be available as a 2-CD set with CD 1 comprising the original album in its 2012 remastered edition. CD 2 offers an Alternate Album in a 2012 stereo mix, with bonus tracks. The LP version will be the original album, newly cut for the first time from 24 Bit/HD 2012 remasters.

The album was released after the group’s debut performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, when they performed to a reported 600,000 people. The LP features “Lucky Man” which became one of their signature tunes. (Though it was released as a single twice – in 1971 and again in 1973 when the band was becoming more well known to Top 40 radio programmers – it inexplicably failed to score on the pop charts either time.).

Tarkus saw ELP take a new direction with yet more complex keyboard sounds. The title track took up the whole of side one of the original LP, and defined the band’s exultant, bombastic approach.

CD 1 comprises the 1971 album remastered in 2012. CD 2 is the stereo mix of the 2012 remaster, with bonus tracks taken from the original recording sessions including  “Oh My Father,” “Unknown Ballad” and an alternate take of “Mass” from the extended title track. The LP version is newly cut from the 2012 remaster, with original gatefold sleeve and artwork faithfully reproduced.

Pictures at an Exhibition is based on the group’s enthusiastic interpretation of the famous work by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. It was recorded on March 21, 1971 at Newcastle City Hall, where Emerson made use of the hall’s thunderous pipe organ.

The LP and CD 1 comprise a new remaster of the album from the original master tapes. Bonus tracks are a medley of Pictures recorded live at the Mar Y Sol Festival, Puerto Rico, on December 4, 1972. Disc 2 has another live performance of the extended work, recorded at the Lyceum Ballroom, London, on December 9, 1970, complemented by live performances of ELP favorites “The Barbarian,” “Knife Edge,” “Rondo” and “Nut Rocker.”

The CD version booklets will feature authorative liner notes and interviews conducted in 2016 with Emerson and Lake by rock journalist Chris Welch.

Accompanying these three albums is a special 3-CD release Emerson, Lake & Palmer – The Anthology. Produced by Greg Lake, this career-spanning set has 39 tracks from the years 1970 to 1998, with the choice of material approved by the band. It is presented in special casebound book packaging with detailed, informative sleeve notes by Welch, illustrated with rare band photographs.

Among the highlights are “Karn Evil 9,” “Still… You Turn Me On,” the band’s performance of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown,” their version of “Jerusalem,” “Fanfare For The Common Man,” Emerson’s rendition of “Honky Tonk Train Blues,” Lake’s 1975 solo hit “I Believe In Father Christmas” and the group’s interpretation of the TV theme “Peter Gunn.”

Subsequent titles coming later in 2016 are 1972’s Trilogy, 1973’s Brain Salad Surgery and 1974’s triple live album Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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