The drum kit Carl Palmer played in concert cost $25,000 to make. It had a xylophone, tympani, and gong.
The kit was a one of a kind custom set made out of the best quality stainless steel. Palmer innovated rock drumming when he hired synth inventor Robert Moog to create and install a custom synthesizer module for each one of his drums. Each drum also was hand engraved by a highly skilled artisan with custom designs and set with real gem stones. Always a perfectionist, Palmer furthered his classical training in percussion studies at the London Conservatory after joining ELP. His goal was to always continue to improve his proven technical skills of speed, precision, range and expression. Palmer drove himself relentlessly to keep pace with the nearly impossible demands of the group's endless quest to fuse rock music spectacle with classical music's timeless chic. (thanks, Shar - Hilliard, OH)
They recorded an album per year for their first four years, then took a two-year break. When they returned to action, they released the albums Works Volume 1 and Works Volume 2, which were more eclectic and less commercial than their previous albums.
The band is often described as "prog rock," but Carl Palmer feels that's too simplistic. "We were a band that played lots of different genres of music, from jazz to classical adaptations to folk music to rock, and even some blues here and there," he said in his Songfacts interview
. "We were quite varied in what we did, so it's really hard to pick out one particular area, because it all made up ELP. There wasn't a blueprint before: We were one of a kind. We were keyboard driven, the singer had a choirboy voice, didn't really use a lot of guitar. We played classical adaptations. There wasn't a lot of jazz in it or blues. A little bit of rock in a sort of symphonic way."
There were 63 roadies on their 1977 tour, including a karate instructor for Palmer and their own doctor. It was also rumored they had a "carpet roadie," whose job was to transport and sweep the Persian rug Lake stood on during the concerts. They also used a 70 piece orchestra.
Lake was previously in King Crimson, Emerson was in The Nice. They met in 1969 when both bands played a show at The Fillmore West in San Francisco.
In 1986, Emerson and Lake reformed the group with Cozy Powell on drums. Since Powell's last name starts with P, they kept the name ELP.
The artwork for the 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery was done by HR Geiger, who created the sets for the movie Alien.
Their 1974 album, Welcome Back My Friends... was the first triple-LP to sell one million copies.
Several years in a row, ELP won top honors from the rock magazine Melody Maker. In 1972, they won for Top Group, British and International; Emerson as the top keyboard man; Palmer's trophy as top drummer; Lake's as the world's most accomplished producer; ELP as the top pop arrangers; and finally the shared award, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake taking honors as the world's top composers. (thanks, Linda - NYC, NY)
Before forming Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake were considering Mitch Mitchell as their drummer, and with the suggestion of Mitchell adding Jimi Hendrix to their lineup. But they later settled on drummer Carl Palmer to form ELP. Shortly afterwards, British tabloids began publishing rumors that Hendrix, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer had formed to become HELP But before the band was able to collaborate with Hendrix, he had passed away. (thanks, Randy - Colerain Twp., OH)
Palmer formed another supergroup in 1981: Asia. This one had four members, but was also very keyboard oriented with Geoff Downes of Yes.