|The Best of Emerson Lake & Palmer|
|Produced by Greg Lake|
|Released on November 1980|
|US CHART POSITION #108|
|Find it at GEMM|
|SD 19283 cover
[high resolution scan]
K ronomyth 11.0: THE BEST AND WORST OF ELP. In a move that still rankles me, Blender voted ELP the second-worst band of all time (Insane Clown Posse was the worst, in case you’re wondering). Now, you’d have to be a rarefied kind of stupid to make such a claim... or, you’d have to believe that an album like The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer really is what it says it is. For the record, it’s not. I could have picked better songs from their catalog blindfolded with oven mittens on my hands. The problem lies with the record companies and the radio-listening public. Every time ELP released an album, it was invariably the noisy novelty or acoustic trifle that got the nod as the single. They even managed to make “Karn Evil 9” sound like a circus sideshow. The only tracks from this compilation that stand on their own are “Jerusalem” and “Trilogy.” I also happen to think “Lucky Man” is a great song, but it shines best in its original setting surrounded by more intricate designs, as do most of Lake’s ballads (“C’est La Vie,” “Watching Over You”). By focusing on the quote/unquote hits, The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer trivializes the trio’s accomplishments. Not that the band didn’t deserve its comeuppance. Their idiomatic interpretations of the classics courted the contempt of listeners who already felt that prog rock was the preening peacock in the musical bestiary, but on ELP’s albums these classical concoctions were usually balanced by breathtaking originals and ameliorative infusions of humor. The Best of ELP bypasses much of that genius and humor, leaving pomp and presumption to speak for the band’s accomplishments. All in all, a baffling postscript to a noteworthy career. Both the 1994 Victory compilation (which bears the same name as this) and the 2000 Rhino release (The Very Best of…) slight fewer masterworks, and thus can be recommended over Atlantic’s first draft, which went out of print in the ‘80s but appears to have been resurrected by Camden in the new millenium.
|SD 19283 back cover||SD 19283 picture sleeve|
Richard Evans -- sleeve design and illustration
return to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER discography
|REGION||RELEASE DATE||LABEL||MEDIA||ID NUMBER||FEATURES|
|UK||November 1980||Atlantic||LP/CS||K 50757||picture sleeve|
|US||November 1980||Atlantic||LP/CS||SD 19283||picture sleeve|
|GER||1980||Ariola||LP||202 933 320|
|UK||May 24, 2011||Camden Int'l||CD||90228-2|
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