Old heroes don’t live forever a friend reminded me today. News of the passing of Grand Prog Rock Master Extraordinaire Keith Emerson spread quickly across the interweb and social media.
Sadly, while the circumstances around his death remained unknown at first, during the afternoon (CET) of Saturday 12th Billboard updated their article stating that, according to the Santa Monica police, his death came as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In other words, a suicide.
So what was already a day of sadness devolved further. It had me ponder over the fragile aspects of life, whether perceived or seen from a physical or mental point of view.
Old heroes & Keith Emerson
Of late I’d lost the touch with Keith Emerson and his music. He, his band & companions ruled the late 60s with The Nice, and 70s with Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP. I’ve always bee a prog-rocker but musical interest had turned more in the direction of jazz fusion and jazz.
Still, thinking back, also on my own interest in music, whether as listener or amateur keyboard and wind player, there’s no way of denying that I, along with am sure thousands upon thousands of others during those year, played air-keyboard together with Keith while air-scorching, heavy organ prog rock cascaded out from the speakers.
To say I was influenced by him would not be wrong.
Keith Emerson was a giant. He did not have to rape his organs onstage to become one. Although I will admit that some of the sounds created from those instruments might never have come without his somewhat destructive appearance and motions.
I am sure we’re many who’ve been playing old ELP or The Nice songs today. And I’ll keep on doing it, many treasures are to be found on those albums, music that reminds us of an era of quality, originality and tonal substance.
Ending this blog with Trilogy, one of the ELP Albums which since it’s release have remained among my favorite progressive rock albums.
Rest In Peace Keith Emerson. My thoughts and condolences to family and friends.