The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Considering how much I love guitar solos, it should be no surprise that I have thoughts, here. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is an interesting, and perhaps polarizing, institution in music.

On April 20, 1983, the late Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder and president of Atlantic Records, put together a team that included attorney Suzan Evans, Rolling Stone magazine editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner, attorney Allen Grubman, and record executives Seymour Stein, Bob Krasnow, and Noreen Woods, and founded the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. They started inducting artists in 1986, but they still had no home for the museum. So they put together a search committee, and ultimately chose shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

The very first performing artist inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 was, of course, Chuck Berry, considered by many who think they know to be the founder of Rock and Roll (I, personally, disagree, but I’ll get to that). Others inducted that same year included Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, James Brown, Little Richard, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Jerry Lee Lewis. They all fit the original criteria of the foundation:

Artists—a group encompassing performers, composers and/or musicians—become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Besides demonstrating unquestionable musical excellence and talent, inductees will have had a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of rock & roll.

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Self Care – Emerson, Lake, and Palmer Live in Zurich, Switzerland on December 4, 1970; Aired in Belgium in 1971

Screw it… you’re getting a whole ELP show.

In 1971, Belgium TV, specifically the show Pop Music (AKA Pop Shop), aired a gig from ELP, recorded live in Zurich, Switzerland on December 4, 1970. Now, for some strange, unexplained reason, the show decided to air the gig massively out of order, starting off with the improvisation that ended the original show in Zurich.

Also, Greg Lake screws up the lyrics to Knife Edge, skipping over the first verse entirely and singing the second verse twice… which is sad, because it’s otherwise the best live version I could find of Knife Edge on video… and I want to give that to y’all in the future, as well… but I’m gonna keep looking…

Regardless, though, it’s an amazing performance from this incredible band, made up almost entirely of instrumental improvisations with some full songs and singing sprinkled here and there. Keep in mind that this is a 52 minute and 1 second watch. It’s a mesmerizing watch, though, especially when Keith does his very best to murder one of his keyboards… with knives… (skip to 16:10 to see how that starts)

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Self Care – Emerson, Lake, and Palmer Play Karn Evil 9 (YouTube Video)

Since Mondays are Great Guitar Solos day on this blog, today’s Self Care theme is music.

I’ve already highlighted a bit of this in my GGS series here (1st Impression, Part 2). So now, I want to share the entire suite with you. It’s a masterclass in Progressive Rock, and is just incredible to listen to. Karn Evil 9 is made up of 3 Impressions, and the 1st Impression is split up into two parts.

I was hoping to bring y’all a live performance, but, sadly, I can’t find a full live cut of the song with video; I can only find audio. And the point of posting a live cut would be for y’all to watch the musical mastery of Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer. Since I couldn’t find that, here’s audio of the full studio version, from the album called Brain Salad Surgery. Since there’s no video here, you can just listen.

It’s a full 29 minutes and 39 seconds long.

Great Guitar Solos – Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 2 by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

(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:

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