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Greg Lake (born Gregory Stuart Lake, 10 November 1947, Poolemarker, Dorsetmarker, Englandmarker) is an Englishmarker bass guitarist, guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer, best known as a founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.


1960s: Early life, The Gods and King Crimson

Born in Poolemarker, Dorsetmarker, Englandmarker, Lake was interested in music at a young age, and wrote what would become one of Emerson, Lake & Palmer's biggest hits, "Lucky Man", while he was still at school. Greg joined a band called Teak And The Smokey who were all from Poole and had some success as a popular group in and around Dorset, also spending 6 months in Europe and Spain touring. In 1968, Lake was a member of a band called The Gods along with future members of Uriah Heep. Lake left the band in the summer of 1968 before they released their debut album.

Lake had an old school friend, Robert Fripp, who had recently moved to London. His group Giles, Giles, and Fripp were looking for a new direction after their debut album failed to garner sufficient critical attention. Fripp invited Lake to join the new group, to be named King Crimson, in November, 1968. Although both Fripp and Lake were primarily guitarists, Fripp said to Lake (concerning King Crimson) something to the effect of "If you don't play bass, it'll never get off the ground," so Lake switched to playing bass guitar.

For King Crimson's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, Lake also contributed as songwriter and singer. The album was originally to be produced by Tony Clarke who was then the producer for the Moody Blues. However, after the first day, Clarke walked out, as he had difficulty understanding what the band were trying to create. Lake assumed the role of producer. Although the album credits the whole band as producers, it was primarily Lake who produced it.

King Crimson went on a North American tour with The Nice, who were on their farewell tour. It was after this tour in April 1970 that Lake left the band to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer along with Keith Emerson from The Nice on keyboards and Carl Palmer from Atomic Rooster and Crazy World of Arthur Brown on drums and percussion. Despite his official departure from King Crimson, Lake agreed to help with the completion of King Crimson's second album In the Wake of Poseidon.

1970s: Emerson, Lake & Palmer

ELP were hugely successful in the 1970s (with album sales totalling over thirty million), and significantly contributed to the evolution of progressive rock. Lake contributed to many of ELP's songs but was particularly noticeable for his guitar-oriented and soulful tunes such as "Lucky Man" (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), "The Sage" (Pictures at an Exhibition), "From the Beginning" (Trilogy), "Still... You Turn Me On" (Brain Salad Surgery) and "C'est la vie" (Works Volume I). Lake became popularly known for his UK Christmas number two single, "I Believe in Father Christmas" in 1975 which was later included on the ELP album Works Volume II.

In 1973, Lake founded Manticore Records and signed several very talented musicians such as Italy's PFM and Banco, and King Crimson / Emerson, Lake & Palmer lyricist Pete Sinfield. Having produced albums, on which he also played, for both King Crimson and ELP, Lake briefly produced albums for other artists, including Spontaneous Combustion (1972), Stray Dog (1973) and Keith Christmas (1974). His only other foray into production appears to be The Kings Singers (1987) & (2005).

1980s: Asia and solo career

After the break-up of ELP, Lake toured briefly with the group Asia in 1983 as a temporary replacement for John Wetton, as well as releasing two solo albums and conducting a tour in the early 1980s. The albums were Greg Lake (1981) and Manoeuvres (1983), both of which featured ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore In 1986 he, Emerson and Cozy Powell released the album "Emerson, Lake and Powell" -- basically an ELP reunion with Powell replacing Palmer who was then drumming in the band Asia.

1990s: Emerson, Lake & Palmer again

Emerson, Lake & Palmer subsequently reunited in the early 1990s and played the progressive rock circuit, especially in outdoor summer concerts, and released two new studio albums. In 1998, the members of ELP had a rather acrimonious falling-out and Lake left the band.

2000s: Recent work and Greg Lake band

Lake in concert, 2005
Keith Emerson's 2004 memoirs "Pictures of an Exhibitionist" give an unflattering portrait of Lake, and not surprisingly Lake has said that he will never reunite with ELP in the future . He has not been especially visible on the music scene since then, though he did tour as a member of Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in 2001. In late 2003 he played bass on The Who's "Real Good Looking Boy".

On 22 October 2005 Lake began touring the UKmarker with a brand new "Greg Lake Band", to positive reviews. The band comprised David Arch on keyboards, Florian Opahle on guitar, Trevor Barry on bass, and Brett Morgan on drums. A double DVD was released by Warner Bros/Classic Pictures early 2006. The Greg Lake Band was ready for a new tour on September 2006 with rumours of a new album in the pipeline, although this tour was cancelled at the last minute due to "management troubles" .

Lake performed "Karn Evil 9" with the Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Nassau Coliseummarker in Uniondale, Long Islandmarker, New York on December 20, 2006, at the Continental Airlines Arenamarker in East Rutherford, New Jerseymarker on December 21, 2006 and at the Quicken Loans Arenamarker, aka the Q in Cleveland, Ohiomarker, on December 30, 2007 at the end of both the 3:00pm and 7:30pm shows.

Lake played "Lucky Man" with Jethro Tull at their show at the Royal Festival Hallmarker in London on 28 May, 2008. In November 2008, U2 recorded Greg Lake's 'I Believe in Father Christmas' to mark the launch of Wire [64709].

In 2009, Lake performed on the song "Nutrocker" on Trans-Siberian Orchestra's album Night Castle.


The Shame Singles

  • Don't Go Away Little Girl/Dreams Don't Bother Me (1967)

Shy Limbs Singles

  • Reputation / Love (1968)

King Crimson Studio Albums

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Studio Albums

Year Title Billboard album 200 UK Top 100 RIAA BPI
1970 Emerson, Lake & Palmer 18 4 Gold -
1971 Tarkus 9 1 Gold -
1972 Trilogy 5 2 Gold -
1973 Brain Salad Surgery 11 2 Gold Gold
1977 Works, Vol. 1 12 9 Gold Gold
1977 Works, Vol. 2 37 20 Gold -
1978 Love Beach 55 48 Gold Silver
1992 Black Moon 78 - - -
1994 In the Hot Seat - - - -

Emerson, Lake & Palmer Live albums

Year Title Billboard album 200 UK Top 100 RIAA BPI
1971 Pictures at an Exhibition 10 3 Gold Silver
1974 Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer 4 5 Gold -
1979 In Concert 73 - - -
1993 Live at the Royal Albert Hall - - - -
1993 Works Live - - - -
1997 Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 - - - -
1997 Live in Poland - - - -
1997 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Greatest Hits Live - - - -
1998 Then & Now - - - -
2001 The Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults: Volume One - - - -
2001 The Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults: Volume Two - - - -
2002 The Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults: Volume Three - - - -
2006 The Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults: Volume Four - - - -

Solo discography


  • 1981 Greg Lake US #62; UK #62
  • 1983 Manoeuvres
  • 1995 King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Greg Lake In Concert
  • 1997 The Greg Lake Retrospective: From The Beginning
  • 1998 From The Underground: The Official Bootleg
  • 2000 Live
  • 2002 Nuclear Attack
  • 2007 Greg Lake (Compilation)


  1. Article from
  2. Allmusic credits for Greg Lake retrieved 03 December 2008
  3. allmusic ((( Emerson, Lake & Palmer > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))
  4. search results
  5. RIAA - Gold & Platinum - August 14, 2008
  6. The Bpi
  • Forrester, George, Martyn Hanson and Frank Askew. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, The Show That Never Ends, A Musical Biography. (2001) Helter Skelter Publishing ISBN 1-900924-17-X.

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