Greg Lake dead at 69: King Crimson guitarist dies
Greg Lake, who sang and played bass and guitar in the influential prog-rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, died Wednesday. He was 69.
Lake’s manager confirmed the news Thursday, telling the BBC that the musician had succumbed after “a long and stubborn battle with cancer.” His death follows bandmate Keith Emerson’s, who died in March, by less than a year.
Born in Bournemouth, England on Nov. 10, 1947, Lake would join various bands in the ’60s before being recruited by Robert Fripp to join King Crimson, the notable art-rock group. He contributed vocals and bass guitar to King Crimson’s seminal 1969 debut In the Court of the Crimson King and its follow-up, In the Wake of Poseidon, but wouldn’t remain in the group for long.
Lake met Emerson in late 1969 while King Crimson was on tour with the latter’s band, the Nice. Carl Palmer, who drummed for Atomic Rooster, soon signed on, rounding out the group’s roster.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s first five albums, released between 1970 and 1977, all went gold and broke into the Top 20 on Billboard’s albums chart. That included 1973’s Brain Salad Surgery, a prog-rock landmark that many regard as the band’s finest work. Lake produced each of the group’s first four albums.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer also had a colorful light show that included intricate light displays and theatrics; their 1974 live album, Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends — Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, was their highest-charting in the U.S.
While the group disbanded in 1979, Lake enjoyed a fruitful solo career. He released a self-titled album — featuring saxophone work from E Street Band legend Clarence Clemons — in 1981 and a second solo effort, Manoeuvres, in 1983.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer eventually reformed — first in 1985, with former Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell taking Palmer’s place and later, in the early ’90s, with their original lineup. The reformed group released two albums in the early ’90s and toured throughout the decade, before disbanding (again) in 1998. They’d play a final, 40th-anniversary show in 2010 in London’s Victoria Park.