Emerson, Lake and Palmer: 10 Essential Songs

The greatest from the audacious, virtuosic progressive rock icons

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"Karn Evil 9" (1973)

One of the most iconic progressive rock epics ever recorded, "Karn Evil 9" embodied everything that prog was both loved and reviled for. A staggeringly complex and ambitious work in three "impressions," the centerpiece of 1973's Brain Salad Surgery explored the weighty theme of man versus technology, while also giving the band members ample space in which to showcase their instrumental virtuosity. Though truly "the show that never ends" to the band's detractors, the half-hour-long dystopian fantasy sounds prescient today. "It was the start of computer technology, and already we were being accused of using computer technology in our instrumentation to the point that some people actually believed that when we played onstage it wasn't us!" Keith Emerson recalled in 2000. "When we did it live I had the Moog turn around, face the audience and blow up while we left the stage. It was like saying, 'This is computer technology and it's taking over.'" D.E.

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