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A Very Short Greg Lake Biography

By E.

Greg Lake was born Nov. 10, 1948 in the south of England, the only child of working-class parents. They encouraged his musical abilities, and he began singing in clubs at the age of 12. He also began writing songs and taking guitar lessons; one of his classmates was Robert Fripp, who would figure later in his career. Don Strike was a demanding teacher who was known to "strike" his pupils with a ruler if they screwed up, so the boys learned well.

Lake was an apprentice draftsman at an electrical contracting firm, but left to become a full-time musician and was in a series of bands including the Gods, Shy Limbs and the Shame, the latter two having had a single released. He ran into Fripp, who was putting together a band and needed a bass player/vocalist. Lake gave up his guitar to join the band and King Crimson was born. King Crimson received rave reviews and was an overnight success, opening for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London. They are generally regarded as the "founding fathers" of progressive rock.

Lake appeared on KC's first two albums, but the band began to splinter. They performed on the same bill as The Nice one evening, and Lake and keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson got together to form their own band. They recruited drummer Carl Palmer, who had played with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster, and a supergroup was born - Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). One of their first concert appearances was at the Isle of Wight festival with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Doors and the Who.

In the studio, recording their first album, the band had run out of tunes but still had a gap on the B-side to fill. Lake mentioned that he had a little folk tune they could use, written when he was 12. After Emerson added his Moog solo (kept as is even though it was only a rehearsal), the filler tune, "Lucky Man," was born and became a radio hit, propelling them to stardom.

ELP enjoyed several platinum albums, and filled stadiums worldwide with their rocked-up versions of classical tunes and their own compositions. Lake was the romantic balladeer, his mellow voice the perfect counterpart for the frenetic energies of Emerson and Palmer. He was the group's vocalist, bass, electric and acoustic guitarist, co-songwriter (along with ex-KC lyricist Pete Sinfield), as well as producing the group's albums.

Lake married Regina Boettcher, a German model, in 1974 (they are still married), and they have one daughter, Natasha.

Lake released a solo single in 1975 which reached no. 2 in the English charts. "I Believe in Father Christmas" is still a seasonal radio favorite.

ELP broke up in 1979, and Lake formed his own band with Gary Moore (Thin Lizzy), releasing two albums. In 1983 Lake performed with the supergroup Asia for a brief time, appearing on an MTV satellite broadcast. In 1986 he and Emerson reunited, recruiting drummer Cozy Powell (Palmer was in Asia at the time) to form Emerson, Lake and Powell, recording one album.

ELP reunited a couple of times in the 1990's, releasing "Black Moon" and "In the Hot Seat," and toured the globe.

In 2001, Lake teamed up with Ringo Starr and his All-Starr band for a summer tour. The line-up included Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Sheila E. (worked with Prince and solo), and Howard Jones (80's keyboard pop star). Lake has also performed with members of The Who and played bass on their single, "Really Good Lookin' Boy."

For more info, see the biography on Lake's official site at the link below. A link to his discography appears at the bottom of each of our main pages.

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