Sunday, December 11, 2016

Greg Lake

           When I heard that Greg Lake had passed away earlier this week, I was just as upset, maybe even a bit more, than when Keith Emerson passed. I like lyrics, I like singers, and I loved Greg’s songs, all of them. Don’t misunderstand me, Emerson was an amazing keyboard player, I love Carl Palmer’s drumming, but the words were always foremost for me.
            “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends.” An invitation to what? A good time, a wild time, a fun time, or something darker? That’s the wonderful mystery. I still haven’t solved it for myself, but I wonder every time I hear the song.
            “Oh, what a lucky man he was.” Greg wrote this when he was twelve. He was that sharp and pointed even then. When this song was first released, it was naturally taken as anti-war – Vietnam, that is. When I heard it, I thought it was about WWII, but in interviews I read later, he said it was a Medieval fantasy. That's the beauty of this song, that it can mean different things for different people, yet the message remains the same.  When I saw Greg play this song live acoustic in 2010, while his voice was deeper than when he was young. That was the only change. He still sounded great. And, of course, Keith’s marvelous Moog solo, still a favorite of mine.
            “Every day a little sadder, a little madder, someone get me a ladder.” I think everyone feels like this at times. But for all of those times, there are also those like Hoedown, happy ones.
            There are so many others, and everyone will have their own. But I’ll conclude with “I Believe In Father Christmas” and "21st Century Schizoid Man.”
            The former has always been one my favorite Xmas songs, especially as its message is that Xmas shouldn’t be commercialized, something I agree with.
            The latter is, of course, King Crimson, and another favorite of mine, especially since it is the 21st Century.
            Long live Greg, ELP, his solo projects, and his songs. I am so glad I got to see him and Keith on their duo tour. I met him after the show, too. He was a real sweetheart who put me at ease. People were taking pictures of us, and Greg clamped his huge arm around my shoulders, said “relax,” and didn’t let go until everyone had their shot. And that one bit of kindness was I think what Greg was all about. That, and, of course, his music.

Andrea Weiss

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