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Emerson, Lake and Palmer

The band the critics loved to hate

"...feebly flashy musical laboratory of clinical cynicism serving up a soggy stew of ragged rock n' roll remnants boiled with a crass classical flavouring. An unbelievably shoddy mish-mash of incidental music and wiggly wobbly electronic frequencies" Gavin Martin

"Pretentious ego trippers wasting time and electricity producing their electronic sounds". Uncredited remarks from Music Paper review in 1970

"Every effect is exaggerated; at all times they seem anxious to prove they can play with incredible speed and technique". J.Johnson, NME

"Listen all you heavy duty connoisseurs of DUMBNESS in rock, these dudes make the Ramones come on like PHD's by comparison. It's like watching chimps typing out Shakespeare: It's very difficult and I wish it had been impossible. To acquire so much technical skill (without developing any feel) and then expend it on producing such collosally stupid music is virtually tragic". S.Murray, NME 1977

"A shame to see such talent wasted on pompous, self-gratifying trivia". Watford Evening Echo

"An ELP concert is plainly a serious pilgrimage. I think few concerts in recent times have attracted a bunch of people less disposed towards frivolousness.........At present the show is all rather humourless. One may be left open-mouthed at the size of it all, reeling at the sound and the complexity, revelling in the splendour, but it's so intense I wonder whether anybody, on either side of the stage, really has very much fun." J.Johnson, NME 1974

"From the beginning ELP established a reputation as a furiously active trio of unsurpassed technical ability although some critics felt such expertise didn't compensate for a certain lack of feeling in ELP's music". NME Book of Rock

"They have produced some of the most exciting instrumental rock of the seventies that has struck a responsive chord in audiences across the world". Chris Welch in 1973

"They've proved their point that the classical approach to modern music can provide the exhilaration and suspense to make it a vastly popular commodity." R.Sanders, Music Scene

"ELP look exciting and their music combines confused images of the raucous, incoherent noises of contemporary street life with a fastidiously preserved classical base." Financial Times

"It's very difficult to keep three people, each one exceptional in his own right, working together on a single harmonious career". Music Scene

"The ultimate vindication of ELP comes in their live performance, which vigorously rebuts most of the accusations made against them. ELP are said to be sterile, clinical, lacking in emotional commitment. Alternatively, the musicians allegedly lack humour or warmth. Strangely, this sort of description appears totally at odds with the evidence of the band's act". Bob Edmands, NME

"The premise of ELP is the fusion of three highly individual personalities, each possessing an outstanding technique. Invariably, when three soloists are co-opted into the same band there's always a battle for individual supremacy which either resolves itself with one member coming out on top and dominating his colleagues, or with the band fracturing in a clash of artistic temperaments. I suppose it's to their credit that ELP have survived so long". Roy Carr, NME

"Roaring keyboards, thundering drums, flashing knives, cracking whips, full blooded vocals and soul stirring anthems. The sight of Emerson, Lake and Palmer in full cry was entertaining and awe-inspiring.......they played anything they liked with astonishing power and usually at breakneck speed. An ELP concert at its best was a thrilling experience". Chris Welch, Rock World

"ELP were the band who had everything. Great style, a fountain of ideas and a fanatical following. They achieved so much but could have done so much more. Never was a band so praised and so vilified. But whatever the negative aspects of the trio, they left behind a legacy of great music and the memory of an exciting stage act". Chris Welch

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