Greg Lake Biography

10 November 1947, Poole, Dorset, England. Lake is a vocalist and bass guitarist of great ability. He started to play the guitar at the age of 12, earning small amounts of money by entertaining customers at his local bingo hall. At 15, he left school to pursue a career as a draughtsman, but by the age of 17 had played as a full-time musician with both Shame and the Gods. In 1968, he was contacted by Robert Fripp and Michael Giles, who had heard of his musical abilities and peculiar choir-like tone of his voice, and was invited to form King Crimson with them. With King Crimson, Lake played at the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park free concert on 5 July 1969, and the high profile of this occasion guaranteed the band almost overnight fame. However, during the recording of In The Wake Of Poseidon, he left to join Emerson, Lake And Palmer. This trio quickly gained a reputation for being one of the most technically skilled bands of the 70s. Keith Emerson (keyboards) and Carl Palmer (drums/percussion) made up the outfit that first played at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970. The band set up their own record label, Manticore, but despite considerable commercial success, they temporarily disbanded in 1974.

Lake resurfaced around Christmas time 1975 when he released what was to become one of the most perennially popular Christmas singles with ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ (co-written with King Crimson/ELP lyricist Pete Sinfield) - the song carried on the ELP tradition of including a passage of popular classical music with Prokofiev’s ‘Sleigh Bell Ride’. This single, which reached number 2 in the UK, was so successful that it was re-released in both 1982 and 1983. In 1977 Lake collaborated with Sinfield again to write blues-orientated songs such as ‘Closer To Believing’ on Works, Volumes 1 And 2 by the re-formed Emerson, Lake And Palmer. A huge tour followed this project, during the course of which a full symphony orchestra joined the trio. They disbanded for a second time in 1980, and Lake released the solo Greg Lake the following year. The album peaked at number 62 in both UK and US charts. The Greg Lake Band, which lasted from June 1981 to April 1982 included Gary Moore (guitar), Tommy Eyre (keyboards), Tristram Margetts (bass) and Ted McKenna (drums, former Rory Gallagher group and later MSG). Another solo album was released in 1983 for Chrysalis Records, but this time failed completely. In September 1983, Lake briefly replaced John Wetton in Asia. In 1984, he renewed his relationship with Emerson, and in 1985 Emerson, Lake And Powell was released, the latter name belonging to experienced drummer Cozy Powell. A new drummer, Richard Berry, was recruited for the release of the unsuccessful 1988 To The Power Of Three. By 1992, the original trio was performing and recording together again.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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