Very sad to hear that the brilliant Keys man Keith Emerson took his own life yesterday.
How awful that such a life can end in such pain and despair. I only knew him from the point of view of a fan, really, although we did speak a couple of times.
Tim Staffell and I used to go to see The Nice, pretty much every week at the old Marquee Club in Wardour Street, around 1969, it would be, I guess.
The Nice were a truly ‘Progressive’ group, and thrilling to us. They had released an album called ‘The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack’ – a combination of bits of their individual names. Davy O’List was the guitar player, very unorthodox and innovative, Blinky Davidson was a spectacular drummer, but the most dazzling of all was Keith Emerson, a towering virtuoso on the Hammond organ. They had written much of their own material, a fusion of Rock and some classical influences, but the great climax to their show at that time was their own version of ‘America’ from West Side Story. It was a ‘rocked up’ extravaganza … climaxing with soloing of ever-increasing intensity from Emerson. He would be physically wresting with his instrument by now, a performer of huge physical passion. To cap it all, he’d build up continuous drones under his improvisation, sticking knives in the keys to lock them down. They were a great act, and he was a stunning star. The Nice broke up, Keith teamed up with star drummer Carl Palmer, and top bassist Greg Lake, and Emerson Lake and Palmer went on to make history as one of the very first Stadium rock acts.
By that time we were out on the road, so I wasn’t so conscious of what they were doing. But most of the rest of the world was.
Respects. I hope you still felt proud.
Keith Emerson solo
Brian, thought you might appreciate this:
The Nice – America (Live on British TV “How It Is” 1968)
Thanks ! stuArt. I do ! The Nice rockin’ ! Shame you hardly see Davy O’List on guitar. Weird … it’s like they tried to hide him.
StuArt wrote: Info online shows around the time of the footage airing Davy O’List quit the band, poss. before it was aired,so you may be right.
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