Dec 7, 2016: Greg Lake, ELP Singer, Bassist—Obituary

Share This:

Greg Lake (photo from his website)

Greg Lake—the vocalist and bassist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and before that, King Crimson—succumbed to cancer on December 7, 2016. He was 69. Lake was the second member of ELP to pass in 2016: Keith Emerson, the trio’s keyboardist, died in March.

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

In announcing the death, Carl Palmer, ELP’s drummer said: “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

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.

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.

In 2020, a new 4K, high-resolution version of the original promo video for the holiday classic was released. The clip was “painstakingly and expertly restored to a very high standard from a recently discovered rare copy of the original film.”

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. In his later years, Lake led the Greg Lake Band.

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

In 2020, Lake was celebrated with a career-spanning retrospective with the release of The Anthology: A Musical Journey, a collection of his songs and iconic performances. Another collection, Magical, spanning his solo and live material, was released in 2023.

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.