Emerson, Lake and Palmer: 10 Essential Songs

The greatest from the audacious, virtuosic progressive rock icons

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"Lucky Man" (1970)

Dredged up from memory by Greg Lake, who wrote it at age 12 upon receiving his first guitar, "Lucky Man" is a "simplistic little medieval fantasy" (according to its composer) intended to fill out the trio's first album. It turned out to be the Moog synthesizer's pop breakthrough thanks to Keith Emerson's memorable first-take solo – on a newly delivered instrument – as it ended. Emerson would have preferred a second pass, but no tracks were left to record on, so "that's the solo I've had to live with!" The tune accrued its own mythology when listeners began associating its lyrics with public figures like President John F. Kennedy. R.G.