Keith Emerson died today in California. He was 71.
He began his career as a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown’s Bodies, Gary Farr and the T-Bones, The V.I.P.’s and P. P. Arnold’s backing band The Nice. Emerson first found success with The Nice in the late 1960s, before becoming a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early supergroups, in 1970. Emerson, Lake & Palmer were critically and commercially successful through much of the 1970s, becoming one of the best-known progressive rock groups of the era. Following the break-up of ELP at the end of the decade, Emerson had modest success in his solo career and with ELP again in the 1980s, as well as with the short-lived progressive rock band 3, with the album To the Power of Three. ELP reunited during the early 1990s, releasing the album Black Moon. Emerson also reunited The Nice in 2002 for a tour. His last album, The Three Fates Project, was released in 2012.
Along with contemporaries Rick Wright of Pink Floyd, Tony Banks of Genesis, Billy Ritchie of Clouds, Rick Wakeman of Yes, and Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Emerson is widely regarded as one of the top keyboard players of the prog rock era. AllMusic describes Emerson as “perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history”.