Belfast Telegraph

Rock star Carl Palmer's 'sadness' as ELP bandmate Greg Lake dies at 69

Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer has paid tribute to his former bandmate Greg Lake, who has died aged 69.

Lake, a guitarist and singer, pioneered the progressive rock scene of the 1970s with ELP and his first band, King Crimson.

Writing on his website, Palmer said it was "with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow bandmate, Greg Lake."

The musician died on December 7 after suffering from cancer, his manager confirmed.

Palmer said the death of ELP keyboardist Keith Emerson earlier this year made Lake's death "particularly hard for all of us".

He said: "As Greg sang at the end of Pictures At An Exhibition, 'death is life'.

"His music can now live forever in the hearts of all who loved him."

Palmer added: "Greg's soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings made with ELP and King Crimson.

"I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together."

Emerson died in March and was found to have shot himself in the head, a Los Angeles coroner said.

Lake's manager, Stewart Young, said he had lost his "best friend t o a long and stubborn battle with cancer".

He added: "Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been.

"His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief." .

A statement from King Crimson's record label, DGM Live, said it sent "condolences and respects to Greg's family".

Lake, who was born in Poole, Dorset, in November 1947, was deemed a giant of progressive rock for his work with King Crimson and ELP.

Formed in 1967, King Crimson were seminal in the genre, with 1969's In The Court Of The Crimson King deemed their most successful and influential album.

After Lake struck up a friendship with Emerson - at the time a keyboardist for The Nice - the pair teamed up and recruited Palmer to form the prog supergroup in 1970.

ELP went on to sell more than 48 million records, with Lake producing a number of their studio albums.

To non-prog rock fans, Lake was widely known for his hit I Believe In Father Christmas, which reached number two in the charts in 1975.

In an interview with the Guardian last month, which was published after his death, Lake said the track was about Christmas becoming commercialised.

He said: "When Pete Sinfield and I wrote I Believe In Father Christmas, it was about how Christmas had deteriorated and was in danger of becoming yet another victim of crass corporate financial exploitation.

"As much as I love everyone having a good time, it's about more than 12 pints of lager and a crate of Baileys.

"It's more important to make some spiritual human contact, or visit someone lonely."

According to his website, Lake last performed in 2013 during his Songs Of A Lifetime tour.

Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett paid tribute to Lake, posting on Twitter: "Music bows its head to acknowledge the passing of a great musician and singer, Greg Lake."

Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman posted: "Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake ... You left some great music with us my friend & so like Keith, you will live on."

John Wetton, who was lead singer in King Crimson after Lake left for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, said: "And now, I'm so sad to hear of the passing of a musical giant in my genre. Yesterday, my dear friend Greg Lake died from cancer. RIP."

Radio DJ Lauren Laverne wrote: "Oh, man. Greg Lake. Awful news."

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