(Quick note about this song: one of the lyrics after the guitar solo is “soon the Gypsy queen in a glaze of vaseline…”. “Gypsy” is, of course, a racial slur. And that’s not up for debate in this post, either, so don’t bother. Just do some research [like reading the link I just posted, and maybe also this one and this one] to understand the history and context for why, and leave it at that. Thanks!)
So this is actually part of a full 30 minute suite by ELP called “Karn Evil 9“, released on their album “Brain Salad Surgery”. This part is the most famous because they often played just this cut live, and it was played on the radio all the time. The opening line (“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.”) is somewhat known, as well, often separate from the song (I actually know people who have no clue who ELP are but recognize that line instantly when I say it).
Honestly, if I were to do a “Great Keyboard Solos” series, this would be the first song highlighted, because Keith Emerson was a god of the keys, in my humble opinion. But the guitar solo is amazing, too, which is why I’m highlighting it here. It’s such an amazing solo, another one that’s simple yet powerful. Greg Lake was an underrated guitarist, partly because of how rarely he played it (sticking more to the bass guitar).
This is the studio recording, so no need to actually watch anything… just listen… the guitar solo, BTW, starts at 2:01 and ends at 2:57: