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Emerson Lake and Palmer

Entry updated 9 October 2020. Tagged: Music.

Also known as ELP. British prog-rock band, formed by Keith Emerson (1944-2016), Greg Lake (1947-2016) and Carl Palmer (1950-    ). The group's second album Tarkus (1971) includes in its 20-minute title-track a multi-part narrative of a monstrous "Tarkus" fighting a Future War in a future (or perhaps Alternate-History) Earth. The evidence of the album cover-art, although not the song's lyrics themselves, presents this Alien as, improbably enough, a hybrid giant armadillo and World War One battle tank. The song, though daft, is full of memorable musical flourishes and has proved enduring. Even longer and more bombastic is the half-hour-long "Karn Evil 9" (in Brain Salad Surgery, 1973), a potted history of Earth from the ice-age through to a future war between humanity and Computers. The title puns on "carnival", the hedonistic lifestyle of future humanity that is their undoing. "Black Moon" (in Black Moon, 1992) concerns an environmental and apparently nuclear apocalypse (see Ecology; World War Three). [AR]

works (selected)

  • Tarkus (UK Island Records; US Cotillon; re-released by Rhino Records, 1971)
  • Trilogy (Island Records, 1972)
  • Brain Salad Surgery (Manticore, 1973)
  • Black Moon (Victory Music, 1992)


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