Emerson, Lake & Palmer released their fifth studio album “Works Volume 1” on Mar…

Written by on March 17, 2018


Emerson, Lake & Palmer released their fifth studio album “Works Volume 1” on March 17, 1977. It was a double album divided into four major sections: three highlighting each band member and one for combined works.

The album was highly anticipated, as it had been almost three-and-a-half years since the release of ELP’s last studio album, “Brain Salad Surgery.” However, it was different from the synthesizer-driven music that most fans had expected and received a mixed reaction from fans and press.

Side 1 is the Keith Emerson side, a concerto for piano and orchestra. On the documentary DVD Beyond the Beginning, Greg Lake says that Leonard Bernstein walked into the studio in Paris where this piece was being mixed because Keith wanted Bernstein to listen to it. Bernstein´s reaction was: “It reminds me of Grandma Moses”.

Side 2 is the Greg Lake side, and consists of acoustic ballads, all of which were written by Lake and Peter Sinfield.

Side 3, the Carl Palmer side, includes a remake of “Tank” (from ELP’s eponymous first album), with orchestral accompaniment and without the drum solo. Another track on Palmer’s side is the rocker “L.A. Nights”, featuring Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh on lead and slide guitar and scat vocal. Also, two arrangements of outside composers’ pieces figure on the Palmer side: one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s baroque D Minor Invention No. 4, BWV 775, and a piece titled ‘The Enemy God Dances With the Black Spirits’, an excerpt of the 2nd movement of “The Scythian Suite” by Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953), written in 1915.

Side 4 features the entire band, and consists of a modern piece re-arranged for rock band, Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”, and the long-form song “Pirates”, which features lyrics added to music Emerson had written, based on the opening minutes of the Samuel Kaylin and R.H. Bassett soundtrack for the Think Fast, Mr. Moto soundtrack, for his soundtrack for a cancelled film version of Frederick Forsyth’s book The Dogs of War. Aaron Copland found ELP’s version of his piece appealing although he was puzzled at the inclusion of a modal solo between two fairly straight renditions of his piece. Both “Fanfare For The Common Man” and “Pirates” feature Keith Emerson’s extensive use of the Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer.

In the last year, we have lost Keith Emerson and Greg Lake. Over the year, many people have posted “Fanfare For The Common Man” as a tribute to them. It was an incredible piece of work. how many of you have listened to this LP, or for that matter any ELP in the past few days?

Happy 41st@ Birthday to “Works Volume 1”. We wish Keith and Greg could celebrate the release with us.




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