English singer, musician, songwriter, and producer Gregory Stuart “Greg” Lake tragically died on 7 December 2016 after suffering from cancer. He was born 10 November 1947 and grew up in the Parkstone area of Poole in Dorset along with Robert Fripp, who founded Progressive Rock Band King Crimson. He grew up in the residential suburb of Oakdale. At age 12, Lake first learned to play the guitar and wrote his first song, “Lucky Man”. Lake then took guitar lessons from Don Strike. Lake attended Oakdale Juniour School followed by Henry Harbin Secondary Modern School, leaving in 1963/64. He then took up work loading and unloading cargo at the Poole docks, and worked as a draughtsman before deciding to become a full time musician at age 17.
Lake joined his first band, Unit Four, playing cover songs as their singer and guitarist, through 1965. When they split, Lake and Unit Four bassist Dave Genes formed another covers group, the Time Checks, until 1966. He then became a member of The Shame. Unfortunately Lake contracted pneumonia and continued to perform on stage. His band mates refused to drive back home that night, leaving Lake to sleep in the van where he “woke up blue. Following a brief stint in the Shy Limbs, by 1968 Lake was involved with The Gods, but left the group in 1968 over creative differences as the band. Robert Fripp saw Lake perform in Unit Four in Poole and When Fripp formed King Crimson, he chose Lake to be the singer and bassist and King Crimson’s very successful debut album In the Court of the Crimson King was released 1969.
However During the subsequent tour, Lake met The Nice’s keyboardist Keith Emerson and left King Crimson and the pair decided to form Emerson Lake and Palmer recruiting drummer Carl Palmer of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster to form a progressive rock supergroup, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.As well as bass, Lake contributed acoustic and electric guitar work to Emerson Lake & Palmer, and his voice had a wider and more diverse range than anything The Nice had recorded. Emerson, Lake & Palmer combined Emerson’s interest in complex, classically-influenced music and Lake’s more straightforward rock tastes. The band’s second album was entitled Tarkus, and featured the songs “Battlefield” and “From the Beginning”. Emerson, Lake & Palmer became one of the most successful groups in the 1970s. Lake picked Works Volume 1 as the “beginning of the end” of the band, as Lake did not produce their future albums, neither of which were “really innovative record”. They split in 1979 following the unsuccessful album Love Beach, an album the group were contractually obliged to record. The group reformed for a number of years in the mid-1990s before permanently disbanding barring a one-off gig in 2010.
In 1975, while still a member of ELP, Greg Lake achieved solo chart success when his single, “I Believe in Father Christmas”, which has since become a Yuletide perennial. In 1981 Lake played with Gary Moore at the Reading Rock festival. The band opened with Fanfare for the Common Man, Lake playing a Kramer 8 string Bass. Moore also played his signature track Parisian Walkways. Lake briefly joined Asia in 1983, replacing fellow King Crimson member John Wetton, and then co-formed Emerson, Lake & Powell. In 2001, Lake toured as a member of the seventh incarnation of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. In 2003, Lake played the bass on The Who song “Real Good Looking Boy”.
In 2005, Lake toured Germany and the UK with his assembled group, the Greg Lake Ban, which included David Arch on keyboards, Florian Opahle on guitar, Trevor Barry on bass, and Brett Morgan on drums. In 2006, Lake played as a member of the supergroup The RD Crusaders in aid for charity. Lake performed “Karn Evil 9” with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at several shows and he was a special guest on their album Night Castle (2009). In 2010, Lake and Emerson completed an acoustic world tour, performing ELP songs. In July 2010, Lake joined Emerson and Palmer for a one-off gig from Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London, to commemorate the band’s fortieth anniversary.