March 12, 2016

By Blair Blake

“Keith Emerson was a huge influence on me. Listening to ELP’s first five albums literally changed my life and brought me to a new level of musical awareness, so much so that I pursued a career in music. His pioneering work in synthesis with Bob Moog impacted the face of music and changed it forever. We have lost one of the greatest keyboardist ever to exist on our planet.”   – DANNY CAREY

“Like many of you, we are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of keyboard legend Keith Emerson. Although I (BMB) am personally not comfortable using words like “hero” or “idol” to describe someone that I greatly admire, growing up listening to prog-rock music in the early 1970s, Keith Emerson came the closest to such lofty expressions of respect and admiration. As someone born with very limited musical talent (as opposed to Emerson’s incredible gift), I have spent countless hours of my life attempting to learn how to play some of his complex and innovative musical compositions – pieces like “Tarkus”, “The Endless Enigma”, and “Trilogy.” And no matter how much time that I spent working on these arrangements – the works of a true musical genius that are comparable, in my opinion, to those of any of history’s greatest composers – any shortcomings on my part didn’t really matter. There was still such a thrill that I felt just to come close to hearing myself piecing the chords and riffs together. When not struggling to play these iconic arrangements with the precision of the man, himself, I vividly remember those early (and later) ELP concerts, and how blown away I was by the sheer musicianship and performance theatrics of Keith Emerson. Once, back in the 1980s, when I had the good fortune to sit down and speak with him (albeit, briefly), I learned something else about Keith Emerson: How humble he was, a quality, perhaps, that deserves equal praise as to his famous keyboard skills. Yes, the man was truly a great inspiration (and always will be), who has provided me with immeasurable enjoyment over the past 40 years. Come to think about it, he really was my hero. “ – BMB

Photo by Duncan Blake