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