SD 19283 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
SD 19283 back cover SD 19283 picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. HOEDOWN    (Aaron Copland)    3:44
  2. LUCKY MAN    (Greg Lake)    4:36
  3. KARN EVIL 9 (1st IMPRESSION, PART 2)    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)    4:45
  4. JERUSALEM    (Parry/William Blake)    2:42
  5. PETER GUNN    (Henry Mancini)    3:30
  6. FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN    (Aaron Copland)    2:56
  7. STILL....YOU TURN ME ON    (Greg Lake)    2:51
  8. TIGER IN A SPOTLIGHT    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake/Carl Palmer/Peter Sinfield)    4:34
  9. TRILOGY    (Keith Emerson/Greg Lake)    8:54

    All songs arranged by Emerson Lake & Palmer

CREDITS

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
BRA 1980 WEA LP 30148  
GER 1980 Ariola LP 202 933 320  
JPN 1980 Atlantic LP P-10920A  
US   Atlantic CD 19283-2  
GER   Atlantic CD 2-50757  
UK May 24, 2011 Camden Int'l CD 90228-2  

 

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