ELP, Trilogy and New Studio Technology For The Win!

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s album, TRILOGY.

Back in early 1972 after the rapid-fire release of albums TARKUS and Pictures At an Exhibition, bandmates Emerson, Lake and Palmer again set their sights on Advision Studios in London to take on the production of their next album, Trilogy.

With longtime engineer Eddie Offord again at the console, the band embarked on their newest musical adventure with vocalist Greg Lake playing the role of producer, ultimately making the final production decisions.

The good news is that Advision Studios had recently upgraded their main studio to a whopping 16 tracks of recording, doubling the prior standard of 8 tracks. To best exemplify this, The Beatles Sgt. Pepper was produced at Abbey Road Studios using only 4 track machines! The Advision recording console was a custom desk designed by Dag Fjelner a few years prior.

ELP was a dynamic band whose bandmates fed upon the performance of the others; they had the ability to bring their material to extraordinary heights. What makes the album Trilogy unique is that the band chose to use the ‘overdubbing’ of parts to add depth to the recordings beyond their abilities to perform live with each other. This technique brought ELPs sound to a new level that was becoming quite popular within the progressive rock world.

Trilogy is a deeply involved production that offers something for everyone. The inexperienced listener will likely recognize ELPs interpretation of Aaron Copland’s “Hoedown” or the moody delight, “From the Beginning”. But the song “Trilogy” is certain to put a smile on the face of even the most hardened, prog-loving ELP fan.

Happy anniversary, Trilogy!

We had a blast recording these guys! Keith’s modular Moog synth and customized Goff C3 with twin Leslie cabs are in full glory and Greg Lake’s famous Persian rug, MESA bass cab and Kemper head are in view on stage left. Rob Shepard (keys) has become a regular here at EMEAPP, you can learn more at www.manticoreny.com

Keith Turner and his band, TARKUS- A Tribute to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, was an early fan of what we were doing here at EMEAPP. They have grown along with us and we are always happy when they come by. In this video, Keith (on Emerson’s 1904 Steinway Model B grand piano) and Mike Ian stopped in for a visit and graced us with this performance of the intro to the song, “Trilogy”. Missing from the session was percussionist, John Cassidy. You can learn more about these guys at www.tarkusband.com

KEITH TURNER performs “Fugue” on Keith Emerson’s Steinway here at EMEAPP

We love it when Keith comes to visit because he’s willing to throw down in an instant! Here is Keith performing “Fugue” from Trilogy on Keith Emerson’s 1972 Steinway Model D concert grand piano right after we got it set up. Thanks, Keith!


1.“The Endless Enigma (Part 1)”Lake, Emerson6:41
3.“The Endless Enigma (Part 2)”Lake, Emerson2:02
4.“From the Beginning”Lake4:13
5.“The Sheriff”Lake, Emerson3:22
6.“Hoedown”Copland, Palmer, Lake, Emerson3:45
7.“Trilogy”Lake, Emerson8:52
8.“Living Sin”Palmer, Lake, Emerson3:10
9.“Abaddon’s Bolero”
Song list from Trilogy

If you’d like an opposing viewpoint, or if you’d like a good chuckle, here is Cameron Crowe’s review of Trilogy back in 1972:

Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Trilogy (Cotillion SD 9903)

Trilogy, following suit with the previous three Emerson, Lake and Palmer albums, will be the type of album insecure rock ‘n roll fans break out at a small get-together and pretend to really get into. Just as they did with Tarkus, Pictures at an Exhibition and the first one, they’ll sit around nod their heads, bite their lips, close their eyes and anxiously await the last cut’s end so they can exchange “far-outs” and dash home to purge themselves with Black Oak Arkansas.

I find ELP’s fourth album to be a colorless, mechanical, performance of listlessly complicated material. In short, buddy, it bores the f**k outta me.

For too long ELP has put themselves in an almost “untouchable” position. Critics and record-buyers alike have been afraid to criticize them for fear of losing musical face. For fear of being thought of as less than prestigious. So they veil their ambivalence in phrases like “swirling arrangements”, “dizzying riffs”, “mystical moods” and others.

Trilogy is painfully unsatisfying. Unaccessible at any level . . . it’s a sad fact that although the group has the musical talent to deserve their newly attained superstardom, their musical taste and knowledge is juvenile enough not to recognize that success based on awe is not only unhealthy, but temporary.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  October 23, 1972  – November 2, 1972