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flag England - Full Moon 240 - 03/23/16

Keith Noel Emerson
2 November 1944 - 10 March 2016

pic A lot has been said about the musical career and tragic death of Keith Emerson in recent days. I wasn't a devoted fan, he was often too pompous and too eager to expose his undeniable great keyboard skills for my liking. But in the early 1970s he made a profound impression on a young innocent and inexperienced mind. National TV in Norway (we only had one channel at the time) broadcasted a live show of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) performing Pictures At An Exhibition, their interpretation of Modest Mussorgsky's classical suite. It included a sequence where Keith mistreated his Hammond organ, bended it over, laid down on the floor with the organ on top of him, kicked it and stabbed knives into it. When Keith started his destructive tendencies in his former band The Nice, the band's road manager lent him big nazi knives to enhance this part of the show. He was a wild man called Lemmy who earlier had been the roadie for The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Lemmy was an eager collector of paraphernalia from the Second World War. Keith stabbed the knives in the side of the organ and between the keys to make it howl. I had never witnessed anything like it before. At the time I had no idea of Jerry Lee Lewis setting his piano on fire, Jimi Hendrix doing the same with his guitar or him and Pete Townshend smashing their guitars to pieces. This was my first experience with real rock'n'roll destruction! Watching the clip again today, on YouTube of course, it seems quite harmless compared to other episodes in rock'n'roll history, both before and after. For an unprepared 12 or13 year old lad, however, it was kind of losing my virginity much too early. I'll never forget it!

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