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Greg Lake Says ELP Were Never The Same After ‘Works’

Emerson Lake and Palmer
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Funny thing about the Emerson Lake and Palmer album ‘Works,’ issued in 1977. Greg Lake now says that ELP has never quite worked right again since then.

‘Works,’ ELP’s fifth studio album, famously featured three separate sections devoted to each of the members in Lake’s supergroup collaboration with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer. “There were some great tracks on the record,” Lake tells Rolling Stone. “But it wasn’t a record that reflected the chemistry of ELP. It reflected the individuals apart from each other…[I]t was the beginning of the end. After that, ELP never made another really innovative record.”

The trio’s most recent attempt at rekindling the creative fires came in 2010, with ELP’s 40th anniversary reunion at the High Voltage Festival in London. But, Lake laments, nothing more than that one-off performance came of it.

“I really wanted to go out and play a world tour,” says Lake, whose on-going subsequent solo dates led to the recent release of a concert souvenir called ‘Songs of a Lifetime.’ Unfortunately, he says Emerson and Palmer “didn’t want to do it. I don’t know why. It’s very strange, but there’s something about ELP that doesn’t work. It used to work, but it doesn’t work now.”

Like Lake, whose setlist features several classic ELP songs, the other members continue to revisit their time together: Emerson has issued a solo album called ‘The Three Fates Project’ that features some orchestral remakes of their 1970s-era compositions, while Palmer will appear on this month’s Cruise to the Edge with his group ELP Legacy.

Lake says he hasn’t given up hope that one day, they might reform. After all, nobody thought ELP would get back together in the early 1990s to record, having gone nearly 15 years between albums. It’s now been 19 more since the trio’s most recent studio effort, 1994’s ‘In the Hot Seat.’

“That might change,” Lake says of ELP’s current impasse. “People do change, of course.”

Next: 40 Years Ago - Keith Emerson Injures Hands in Concert

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