Emerson, Lake & Palmer, also known as ELP, are an English progressive rock supergroup.They found success in the 1970s and sold over forty million albums and headlined large stadium concerts. The band consists of Keith Emerson (keyboards), Greg Lake (bass guitar, vocals, guitar) and Carl Palmer (drums, percussion). They are one of the most commercially successful progressive rock bands and from the outset focused on combining classical pieces with rock music.
Debut album and Pictures at an Exhibition
Their debut album was simply titled Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and was released in late 1970. It was mostly a collection of solo pieces, highlighting the virtuosity of each member of the band. Keith Emerson contributed a series of treatments of classical pieces (such as Bach's BWV 812), Carl Palmer provides a driving drum solo (called Tank) and Greg Lake provides two ballads, beginning with folky, extended work Take A Pebble. It was the ballad "Lucky Man", which was based on a poem Lake had written at the age of 12, that brought the band to prominence. A soulful acoustic ballad, it received heavy radio play not only in the UK and Europe, but it also became a surprise hit in America. The commercial success of "Lucky Man" combined with their strong performance at the Isle of Wight festival to bring ELP rapidly to prominence.
The band's March 1971 live recording, Pictures at an Exhibition, an interpretation of Modest Mussorgsky's work of the same name, was issued as a low-priced record, the success of which contributed to the band's overall popularity. Due to management conflicts, the recording was not released until after Tarkus.The record company was reluctant to release a classical suite as an album, and insisted it be released on their classical music label instead. Fearing that this would lead to poor sales, ELP instead decided to shelve the work. After the success of their second album, however, the label agreed to release Pictures as a budget live album..