On This Day (November 1)…Works The Second

Emerson, Lake & Palmer released Works, Volume 2 on this day in 1977.

File:ELP Works Volume 2.jpg
Album cover. Retrieved from here.

When this album came out, the group were on their Works Tour. They had begun it the previous spring, then to back this album’s immediate predecessor Works, Volume 1. While the first leg of the tour featured a great deal of music from Works 1, the second and third legs of the tour drew fairly heavily from Works 2.

This album was a grab bag of ELP’s left-over studio work, some reaching as far back as the Brain Salad Surgery sessions. One track, “Brain Salad Surgery”, was reportedly even written for the album in case Keith Emerson could not get permission from Alberto Ginastera to cover his work for “Toccata”. The song “When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind I’ll Be Your Valentine”, meanwhile, served as the B-Side to “Jerusalem” from the aforementioned album when it was released as a single.

The album also featured covers of several notable artists’ work, including Meade Lux Lewis’ “Honky Tonk Train Blues”, Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” and the full ELP treatment for Greg Lake’s own high-charting single “I Believe in Father Christmas”.

As usual, upon its release, Robert Christgau had less-than-kind things to say. However, retrospective reviews have praised the album, noting its energy and strong lyrics put in by Peter Sinfield. Fans responded reasonably well upon its release, and the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America about two months after it first hit the shelves. While this was the slowest album to earn gold certification since Trilogy and lagged far behind the mere twelve-day gap between Works 1‘s release and RIAA certification, the endorsement still came fairly quickly. In Germany, the album only spent one week on the charts at #50.

If you’re not familiar with the album, it’s available on YouTube here.

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  • Edit on 2021-01-23: Added German chart information.

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