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In memory of Keith Emerson

March 11, 2016

JL KeithEmerson

Keith Emerson has passed away. Here he is pictured with Jon Lord in Japan, 1993.

Together with Rick Wakeman of Yes, Keith Emerson and Jon Lord formed a musical triumvirate of inspirational keyboard maestros that shot to prominence in the early 1970s.

Emerson broke new ground with Emerson Lake & Palmer where he would alternate between piano, Hammond organ and his pioneering work on the Moog synthesizer, the early and very large versions of which often dominated his side of the stage with their tangled cables and numerous controls.

Like Jon, Emerson found much inspiration in classical music and composed several works for piano and orchestra. With Emerson Lake & Palmer he reinterpreted classical works like Mussorgsky‘s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Keith Emerson Falconer 1972

With flying pianos, knives stuck between the keys and manhandling the Hammond, Emerson’s stage show often pushed the boundaries of how keyboard players were conceived. 
Photo: Copenhagen 1972 by Jørgen Angel (with permission)

In the 1970s, Lord, Emerson and Wakeman would switch top positions when music magazines asked their readers to vote for their favourite keyboard player.

Onstage with Deep Purple in 1974, Jon paid a passing tribute to his two keyboard colleagues when he responded to audience requests for him to introduce himself by replying that his name was in fact Rick Emerson.

Listen to Jon’s introduction here:

Deep Purple and Emerson Lake & Palmer shared top billing at 1974’s massive California Jam in front of 300.000 people, and in 1998 the two bands toured the States together on a tripple bill with Dream Theater. Backstage, Jon and Keith were seen hanging out and sharing stories.

Musical inspiration also flow between the two. The recreation of Jon’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in 1999 inspired Emerson to ask conductor Paul Mann to conduct a studio recording of his Second Piano Concerto. Sadly, the idea was never carried through.

After Jon’s passing, Keith Emerson wrote:

Farewell to a Gentleman
Jon has left us now but his music and inspiration will live forever.
I am deeply saddened by his departure.
Keith Emerson’

Condolences to Keith Emerson’s family, friends and musical partners.

Keith Emerson website
Keith Emerson Facebook
Emerson Lake & Palmer website
Emerson Lake & Palmer Facebook

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12 comments

  1. Another of the all time greats has departed. I had the honour to meet Keith, such a great guy, more than just one of the greatest showmen his playing skills were phenomenal always pushing the boundaries. RIP Keith, you will never be forgotten


  2. Jon died at 71 y old . Keith died at 71 years old !


  3. We are all getting older…
    and our musical heros seem to be getting assembled in the life beyond death….
    the music will be great…
    the craic wondrous.
    Rest well before the gig, Keith!


  4. Damn! We lost another legend. In the past couple of years, we have lost Jon, George, Ian, and now Keith. i”m approaching 61, & I’m starting to think differently about life in general…as in terms of how much time we have left.

    I am looking forward to jamming with all of these wonderful musicians in the next life. By the way, what was the cause of his passing?


  5. Damn! Another legend has passed, along with Jon, George, Ian, Joe Z., & Joe S.

    I hope to be able to jam with these guys in the next life.


  6. Damn! Another legend has left us. Jon, George, Ian, Joe Z.,, & Joe S. I hope that I can get to jam with these guys in the next life.


  7. Уходят достойные… Эх!!! Второй фантастический клавишник… рок- Музыки… Соболезнования близким! Светлая Память!


  8. Эх!!! Уходят, вновь, достойные… Второй фантастический клавишник… рок- Музыки… Искренние
    Соболезнования близким! Светлая Память!


  9. Jon four years ago, Now Keith….their music will keep them alive forever!


  10. Jon and Kate were my idols when I was a child


  11. The music lives on like mozart timeless


  12. Who could not love him the Greatest I only wish is that he and Tommy Bolin will not still play together …… till they both look at us from the stars I Have listened very hard he is the best there has only been a few But he is THE BEST !!!!!!! For instance Mr.David Givens from Tommy”s band Zephyr from Denver, Colorado . He left Sioux City ,Iowa when he was 15 yrs. old And died at 26yrs.old .Made two I say 2 records on his own before timely death in scuzzyMiami,Florida.



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