Greg Lake, the English musician known for co-founding progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, as well as his own solo career, has died. He was 69.
His manager told the BBC that he died on Wednesday following “a long and stubborn battle with cancer.” His death comes almost exactly nine months after the death of his Emerson Lake & Palmer bandmate, Keith Emerson.
Lake co-founded King Crimson and became its singer and bassist in 1968 after meeting guitarist Robert Fripp while taking guitar lessons in his native Dorset. He first played with local bands The Shame and The Gods during the late 1960s. King Crimson’s first album, 1969’s “In the Court of the Crimson King,” launched the progressive rock genre, a post-psychedelic sound that departed from blues rock and combined elements of rock and classical music.
King Crimson toured with rock band The Nice, featuring Keith Emerson, and after singing on King Crimson’s second album, Lake left the band to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer with drummer Carl Palmer.
Palmer released a statement on Facebook, saying: “It is with great sadness that I must now say goodbye to my friend and fellow band-mate, Greg Lake. Greg’s soaring voice and skill as a musician will be remembered by all who knew his music and recordings made with ELP and King Crimson. I have fond memories of those great years we had in the 1970s and many memorable shows we performed together.
“Having lost Keith this year as well, has made this particularly hard for all of us. As Greg sang at the end of Pictures At An Exhibition, “death is life.” His music can now live forever in the hearts of all who loved him.”
ELP, for which Lake sang and played bass, acoustic and electric guitar, became one of the most influential progressive acts, releasing albums throughout the 1970s including “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” “Trilogy,” “Tarkus,” “Brain Salad Surgery,” and live album “Pictures at an Exhibition.” While many of the albums emphasized long orchestral tracks, the group saw radio play for songs including “Lucky Man,” “Still You Turn Me On,” and “From the Beginning.”
Kanye West sampled King Crimson’s song “21st Century Schizoid Man” when he sampled it in his 2010 song “Power.”
Lake released a solo single in 1975, “I Believe in Father Christmas,” that became a holiday staple. ELP split in 1979 and Lake went on to record and tour with The Greg Lake Band. ELP reunited in London in 2010 for a concert at the High Voltage rock festival, which was released as the live album “High Voltage.”