The music world suffered yet another loss last week with the very sad suicide of Keith Emerson.
Tony Banks and I were both big fans of Keith’s first successful group, The Nice. It was sometimes a four piece with Davey O’List, Lee Jackson on bass and Ian Hague on drums. With ‘Rondo’ and ‘America’ and Keith’s theatrics, it was without doubt one of the most exciting live groups in the UK. The group was initially produced and managed by Andrew Loog Oldham, but brought in sports journalist Tony Stratton Smith when they fell out with Oldham. It was because of The Nice that Genesis ended up with Tony Stratton Smith.
Many more people were aware of ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), which played to much bigger audiences, but for me it was the intensity, excitement and musicality of The Nice’s music that was particularly inspiring. Not many people know that Jimi Hendrix was so impressed that he asked to join the band, and I was always sad I never saw them play together.
Keith’s passion for good music, whether it was classical, jazz or rock, was in itself one of the things that led the progressive rock movement.
It is sad to say goodbye to him.