Thank You Keith Emerson - May You Rest in Peace

Another musical hero has departed. 


Thank you Keith Emerson for the hours and hours of enjoyment your music provided.
Thank you especially for opening my eyes to the universality of music -



I have an older brother - Les got to the planet 9 years ahead of me. After our parents divorce, we didn't see much of each other as I lived in Arizona and he remained in Michigan
.
However, Les managed to introduce me to great music - music that my contemporaries were NOT listening to. In the late 60's and early 70's Les had a couple vans. He ALWAYS had great stereos in them. Lucky me (ooooo, what a lucky kid I was...) I got to hear really cool music in his van.

One of my favorites was the first Emerson, Lake and Palmer album.
I returned home to my mom in Tucson with songs from this album firmly embedded in my noodle, 
so I saved my lunch money and bought ELP.

 I was excitedly telling my mom about this great ROCK music from
these three British guys before I put needle to the vinyl in our living room.

Would that I had a smart phone to capture my total chagrin when halfway though the first song, "The Barbarian", my mom, who was a piano and music teacher, told me - "Oh, this isn't new." And she promptly sat down and played the song on her piano.

WHAT THE? 
HOW THE? 
Holy Hammond B-3!
By the blessed genius of Robert Moog and all things wonderful -
how on Earth did my MOM know this song?


Well, it seems my mom was not the only classically trained keyboard player 
in the room (so to speak). Close examination of the album confirmed what mom knew:
this heavy prog rocking song I loved so much in 1970-71 was in fact based on "Allegro Barbaro" written by Bela Bartok in 1911.

I am ashamed to admit that I was a bit put off by this development.
For a couple of days I avoided my new record - who wants to rock out to some
song by a classical music dude that his MOM KNOWS how to play, after all?

Then I realized that two years earlier I had gone NUTS for Switched on Bach in which
Walter (now Wendy) Carlos adapted even OLDER music for the Moog synthesizer.

Anyway - I owe a debt of gratitude to Keith and my mom for letting me know that music is music. Great music can be found in all kinds of genres and musicians and other artists borrow and are inspired (some more directly than others) by other artists all the time.


My mom may have known Bartok, but she never flew her piano like Keith did!
I bought every album from Keith and his crew - even the much abused "Love Beach", made right before they disbanded. I remember seeing Keith and his Flying Piano on some late night concert show (King Biscuit Flower Hour or Don Kirschner's Rock Concert, maybe?).

The two Works albums were favorites - and this picture made me think Carl Palmer was just about the coolest dude in the whole universe. 

I could not possibly calculate how many hours of my life were made better by
the music of Keith Emerson and his friends. On vinyl, 8 track, cassette and in digital formats, ELP was a big part of my musical life.

Fast forward decades and we find Cliff with a couple synthesizers, a drum machine, and some recording equipment at which he sat down and recorded this homage to Keith Emerson sometime in the late 80's(???). My intention when I first started fooling around with the song had nothing to do with Keith, but as it near completion I could not deny that the song was heavily influenced by Mr. Emerson. I was a partner in a jingle studio at the time, so most of my musical musings were in :30 and :60 second bursts. Move Over Keith is a 1:00 classic!

(NOTE: Do not interpret this to mean that I consider my dawdling with keys and digital recording to be anything approaching Keith's talent - I just thought it sounded Keith-esque. For the record, I did use a monophonic Micro-Moog for the lead line and some of the other parts.)



. Thank you very much Keith Emerson - your talent enriched my life.







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