Emerson, Lake, and Palmer


  1. Fanfare for the Common Man
  2. Hoedown
  3. Karn Evil 9
  4. Tarkus
  5. Knife Edge

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (1970)


The first studio album, and the first studio album I ever listened to.

The Barbarian: This song has a very raw sound, much less refined than much of the ELP catalog. It's the auditory equivalent of a barbarian I guess. Note the heavy use of brushes (special drumsticks) in the middle of the song. The end is the sound of the barbarian going nuts on his enemies.

Take a Pebble: This track is much more subdued than the Barbarian, with lots of call/response between the lyrics and the piano. It's a long song, and literally goes silent for a portion of the middle, but the jazz trio improv towards the end is worth the wait. Pretty sure he's playing the timpani for parts of the song.

Knife Edge: I really like the heavy rock sound of this song. It's also interesting how the lyrics are a sort of run-on musical sentence, not really pausing where you'd expect them to. I think it adds an element of apprehension, emphasized by the bass and drums. Then there's the amazing instrumental break in the middle which carries the basic riff of the song but with piano improv over the top.

Tank: Similar to "The Barbarian," I think the song carries an aggressive sound but is less raw with more keyboard sound. This track contains the first epic Carl Palmer ELP drum solo. The song finishes out with a solo from Emerson on the keyboards.

Lucky Man: One of ELP's most famous songs. It's a pretty laid back song with great lyrics. However, my favorite part requires waiting for the end, for the keyboard riff that I can only describe as a "wailing" sound, to finish out the song. Gives me chills.

Tarkus (1971)


This album, and especially "Tarkus" itself helped define the band as a prog-rock giant. My favorite song, of course, is "Tarkus."

Tarkus: "ITSACREATURETHATLOOKSABITLIKEANARMADILLO...BY THE NAME OF TARKUS!" At least that's what he shouts prior to the live versions. This monster of a song follows Tarkus, half-tank, half-armadillo, as he fights a manticore (and loses) and becomes an Aqua-Tarkus. The song has 7 movements, alternating between instrumental and vocal portions. I don't even know how to describe the different movements, each is so different and fascinating in its own right. The seventh section connects back to the first, bringing the song full circle. The live versions on any album are even better.

Jeremy Bender: A nice honky-tonk song, like the kind you'd hear in a old western saloon. There's a more up-tempo version on WBMFTTSTNELAG.

Bitches Crystal: I don't exactly know what's going on with this song, but it has a great fast pace to it.

Pictures at an Exhibition (1971)


An adaptation of Mussorgsky's piece of the same name. I've heard the original live, and it doesn't pack the same punch as ELP's version. It's supposed to evoke a walk through an art gallery, with the different motifs reflecting different paintings. My favorite songs are "Promenade" and "The Great Gate of Kiev."

Promenade: I love how it opens with "WE'RE GONNA GIVE YA PICTURS AT N' EXHIBITIONNNN." And then you get something delightful to stroll around an art gallery to.

The Hut & Curse of Baba Yaga: You can feel the fear of Baba Yaga coming for you, the excitement and anticipation. Terrifying!

The Great Gate of Kiev: This song depicts the most majestic gate you have ever seen. Pretty sure the phrase "no pain, no gain" originated from this song. I love how you think you've reached the climax, but it just keeps building and building as if it'd go on forever.

Nutrocker: Such a good update on the nutcracker! One of my favorite parts is the "YEAAHAAHHH!" towards the end that puts Lil John to shame.

Trilogy (1972)


Not one of my favorite ELP albums, but having "Hoedown" bumps it way up on my list.

From the Beginning: This is a great relaxing song, I like how it has minimal instruments but still maintains the beat of the song.

The Sheriff: A drum solo is a great way to start a song. This is almost like "Jeremy Bender" pt 2. There's actually a medley on WBMFTTSTNELAG.

Hoedown: The first ELP song I ever remember hearing. This song is everything wonderful about the band. They take a song from some other genre, give it a prog-rock spin, and spit it back revved up on caffeine and who knows what else. I think it's the heavy synth usage that makes this song so amazing. How do his fingers move so fast? Any live version is amazing.

Brain Salad Surgery (1973)




Still...You Turn Me On:

Benny the Bouncer:

Karn Evil 9:

Works, Volume 1 (1977)


C'est La Vie:


Fanfare for the Common Man:


Works, Volume 2 (1977)


Tiger in a Spotlight:

Show Me the Way to Go Home:

Love Beach (1978), Black Moon (1992),
In the Hot Seat (1994)


Paper Blood:

Affairs of the Heart: