The musician Gregory Stuart Lake died on this day in 2016 of pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Sadly, he was the second member of the legendary trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer to die in 2016, preceded by Keith Emerson in the spring.
Lake left the world a more beautiful place thanks to his remarkable legacy of music. As a guitarist, singer, bassist and producer he created songs of all different styles and feelings. Whether intimate acoustic ballads, towering prog rock epics or somewhere in between, they were united by his perfectionist approach and his uncanny way to reflect humanity in all its forms.
His most famous song is probably “Lucky Man,” the closing song of ELP’s debut album; it was written when he was just twelve years old and still remains a perennial favorite in popular culture today. That song alone would make him a great musician and writer; that it is only one of many songs he gave the world makes him a legend. Today would be a good day to spin some of your favorite songs Greg wrote or contributed to, or else do yourself a favor and listen to songs of his you may not yet know.
On a personal note, it was his work which got me through some of the worst months of my life. I felt often, then as I do now, that he was reaching out to me past years of separation and vastly different life experiences, and his lyrics made me feel understood. It made me feel a lot less alone that way, and though I never got to thank him for that, I am grateful. I know I’m not the first who has felt deeply touched by his music, nor will I be the last. There is a timeless, truthful quality to it which ensures that it will go on so long as humans seek beauty in this world.
There’s no end to my lifeGreg Lake, closing words of “The Gate”
No beginning to my death
Death is life!
Thank you so much for your music, Greg!