Sunday, March 13, 2016

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare For the Common Man

Sunday, time for a classic.

"Fanfare for the Common Man" is a song by the English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), from the group's 1977 Works Volume I album. Adapted by Keith Emerson from Aaron Copland's 1942 piece of the same name, it is one of their most popular and enduring pieces.

ELP had previously adapted Copland's "Hoedown" for the band's Trilogy album in 1972. Although ELP did not always initially attribute the classical source for some of their pieces (only attributed in later releases of the albums), Copland was attributed as the source for both Hoedown and Fanfare. Unlike Bartók and Janáček, Copland was still alive at the time of the recording.

According to Emerson, needed transposing, so I did that first. I wanted to improvise in a key that was sort of bluesy. It ended up in E. The rest of it was straightforward, really. You know, in order to get the shuffle sound, the timing had to be changed, but it was common sense.

Greg Lake remembers the first time ELP played the adaptation:

It was just wonderful how it came about: We were recording in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1976, and Keith was playing it as a piece of classical music. I played this shuffle bass line behind him and all of a sudden it started to connect. Then Carl came in and we three started to play it. Luckily, the engineer had a two-track running, and that is what’s on the record - the first time we played through the piece.

Stewart Young, ELP's manager from 1972–present, made this comment on the documentary Beyond the Beginning:

The interesting thing... was that we had to get the permission of Aaron Copland, the composer. The publishing house said forget it. So I got Mr Copland's home number, called him up and he was very friendly on the phone. And he says "Send it to me, let me listen." And he loved it. He called me and said "This is brilliant, this is fantastic. This is doing something to my music. 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were an English progressive rock supergroup formed in London in 1970. The group consisted of keyboardist Keith Emerson, singer, bassist, and producer Greg Lake, and drummer and percussionist Carl Palmer. They were one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s.

Emerson died on 10 March 2016 in Santa Monica, California, of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His body was found at his Santa Monica home. It was later reported that Emerson had 'recently' been suffering from depression and a degenerative nerve issue that hampered his keyboard playing capabilities".

Former ELP bandmate Carl Palmer said, "Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come."

On March 12, former ELP bandmate Greg Lake released a statement which said in part, ″As sad and tragic as Keith’s death is, I would not want this to be the lasting memory people take away with them. What I will always remember about Keith Emerson was his remarkable talent as a musician and composer and his gift and passion to entertain. Music was his life and despite some of the difficulties he encountered I am sure that the music he created will live on forever″

Keith Noel Emerson (2 November 1944 – 10 March 2016) was an English keyboardist and composer. Early in his career he played in the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, Gary Farr and the T-Bones, the V.I.P.s and P. P. Arnold's backing band the Nice. Emerson found his first commercial success with the Nice in the late 1960s, before becoming a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early supergroups, in 1970. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were critically and commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era.

Today's tune "Fanfare For the Common Man" is for Keith Emerson. R.I.P.

More info @

Official Emerson, Lake & Palmer Web

Official Keith Emerson Web

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