- Number of Discs: 5
- Released: March 12, 2012
- Label: Sony Import
It's rather impossible to oversaturate the truly devoted Emerson, Lake & Palmer fan. For the better part of a decade now, ELP's Manticore label has issued multi-disc box sets of "bootleg" recordings from live dates, remastered CDs with bonus material -- virtually anything shy of dishing out a box with absolutely everything. That may or may not be in the works. For the present day, however, in 2007 fans indeed have something to sing about as Castle/Sanctuary have issued this beautiful box set that includes five CDs presenting a historical perspective. It begins with a cut from each of the member's previous bands: "Epitaph" from King Crimson (Greg Lake), "Decline and Fall" from Atomic Rooster (Carl Palmer), and "Fantasia: Intermezzo Karelia Suite" from the Nice (Keith Emerson). It launches from there into 51 more cuts from studio albums, live cuts (many previously unreleased), and rarities like B-sides, single versions, etc. There are reunion concert tracks and things available only on previous box sets. Disc five features an entire concert from Puerto Rico in January of 1972, and even here there are four cuts that have never before seen official release. Some of the great moments are the first mixes of "Still You Turn Me On" and "Jerusalem," and the unreleased gem "Oh, My Father." Also included are early versions of "I Believe in Father Christmas" and "C'Est la Vie," getting their debut releases here. (Yes, of course, the entire "Karn Evil 9" is included!) There is one truly weird selection here in the inclusion of "Mars -- Bringer of War" by Emerson, Lake & (Cozy) Powell! What the ????? In any case, From the Beginning is truly a monster of a thing in its packaging alone (gorgeously illustrated in long-box, fold-in form), and it's the ultimate indulgence for fanatics. Indeed, who thought there were any box sets like this one left undone? ELP are as big in legend as they were in life: blown out of all proportion. ELP were, for their faults and grandiosity, a truly original act that either furthered the integration of rock in other music forms, or wrecked it -- along with Yes. For the faithful, this is indisputably the Grail. For everyone else, it's a grand piece of curiosa from rock's most decadent era. ~ Thom Jurek
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- UPC: 886979466227
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