I can’t recalled an occasion when two members of a trio both died in the same year. In March this year Keith Emerson died after battling depression and a degenerative nerve issue and just nine months later his band mate, guitarist, bass player and vocalist with the prog-rock trio Emerson Lake and Palmer, Greg Lake has died from cancer.
He was born in Poole, Dorset in 1947 and was at school with guitarist Robert Fripp who went on to become founding member of King Crimson. Fripp invited him to join Crimson originally as guitarist but then Fripp requested Lake to take over on bass which he duly agreed. Pete Sinfield was Crimson’s primary songwriter, but Lake did contribute some songs to their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.
In 1970 he left and got together with former Nice keyboard player Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer who had been the drummer with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster and formed Emerson Lake and Palmer. They remained together until 1979 although there was gaps when each did their own thing. Emerson charted one solo hit – Honky Tonk Train Blues which reached number 21 in April 1976 just four months after Greg Lake’s only solo hit, I Believe in Father Christmas, reached number two – one of four songs that were unable to unseat Bohemian Rhapsody.
In 1986 he then was reacquainted with Keith Emerson and then brought in Cozy Powell to formed Emerson, Lake and Powell who stuck it out for just a year.
Since then he has periodically toured on his own and, on occasions, getting together with Keith Emerson but in July 2010 the original trio reformed for a one-off concert at the High Voltage rock festival in London.
He had been battling what the ELP Facebook page called “a long and stubborn battle with cancer” and died on 7th December aged 69.