Keith Emerson, founding member and keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and a prog rock legend, died Friday. He was 71. While the cause of death was not announced, both his bandmate Carl Palmer and the trio’s official Facebook confirmed Emerson’s death. “We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, aged 71. We ask that the family’s privacy and grief be respected,” the band wrote.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson,” Palmer wrote in a statement. “Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come. He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz. I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humor, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft. I am very lucky to have known him and to have made the music we did, together.”
After discovering the Hammond and Moog in his teenage years, Emerson grew into one of the greatest keyboardists of his generation, first as a member of the Nice before founding the prog supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer. With ELP, Emerson recorded nine studio LPs, including their landmark 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery; Emerson served as co-writer on that album’s most enduring track, “Karn Evil 9.”
In addition to his time with ELP, Emerson also enjoyed a solo career that featured both solo LPs and film scores.
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