"The Barbarian" (1970)
Like most prog ensembles of the era, ELP was never much of a singles band. Apart from early hit "Lucky Man," "The Barbarian," was the true introduction to the public at large of ELP's staggering scope. In a mere four and a half minutes, the song segues from proto-metal heaviness to jaunty jazziness to a frenetic, piano-driven passage by Emerson that feels like an homage to Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance." Speaking to Sounds in 1970, Emerson remarked, "On the new album, the first side is Emerson, Lake and Palmer as a group – three ideas which have grown from three separate backgrounds to produce a sound … The nice thing about ELP is that we all bend to each other." J.H.