Greg Lake dead at 69

bassist Greg LakeGreg Lake dead at 69

Beloved bassist was a member of ELP, King Crimson and Asia

By David Sands
December 8, 2016

Progressive rock giant Greg Lake has left us.

The singer, bassist, lyricist and producer, known for his groundbreaking efforts with King Crimson with Emerson Lake and Palmer, passed away yesterday (Dec. 7). In a post to ELP’s Facebook page, the musician’s manager, Stewart Young, said his death came after a “long and stubborn battle with cancer.” Lake was 69.

His death comes less than a year after the passing of his keyboard-playing bandmate, Keith Emerson, who committed suicide in March after struggling with depression. In a statement released today (Dec. 8), Carl Palmer, the remaining member of their trio, shared his thoughts on the great bassist’s passing:

“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 he 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.”

A native of Dorset, England, Lake picked up the guitar at the age of 12. He met guitarist Robert Fripp during his years at Bournemouth College in Poole, England and they later formed the innovative prog-rock group King Crimson in 1968 with drummer Michael Giles, keyboardist Peter Sinfield and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald.

Lake stayed with King Crimson as a bassist and lead vocalist for their first two albums, but left in 1970 to create the supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer, which would become one of the most popular progressive rock acts of the 1970s.

The bassist briefly joined Asia in the early 1980s, replacing John Wetton (another King Crimson alumnus), and also made guest appearances with Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Lake released three solo albums during his career and found success with the solo single “I Believe In Father Christmas” in 1975. Emerson, Lake and Palmer performed a final reunion concert in 2010 at the High Voltage festival in England.

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