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Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer dead at 69

Del Cowie

Greg Lake, bassist and lead vocalist of 1970's prog-rock band Emerson Lake and Palmer has died at the age of 69. The news was confirmed on Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Facebook page and Lake's official website by Lake's manager Stewart Young.

"Yesterday, December 7th, I lost my best friend to a long and stubborn battle with cancer," Young wrote on the post. "Greg Lake will stay in my heart forever, as he has always been. His family would be grateful for privacy during this time of their grief."

Lake's death marks the second time this year a member of the '70s prog rock band has passed away. Earlier in the year in March, Emerson, Lake and Palmer keyboardist Keith Emerson died at 71 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the time of Emerson's death, Lake released a statement expressing his "deep sadness," lauding Emerson's "remarkable talent as a musician and a composer."

Tributes to Lake, who was born in Bournemouth, England, poured in on social media as his death was confirmed. Rick Wakeman of another '70s prog-rock band Yes paid tribute to Lake. "Another sad loss with the passing of Greg Lake....You left some great music with us my friend & so like Keith, you will live on," Wakeman wrote on his Twitter account.

Lake formed Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1970 after a stint as the vocalist for King Crimson. Emerson, Lake and Palmer were known for incorporating jazz and classical music tendencies into their rock music often producing long and ambitious songs that often drew on mythical concepts. The title track of their 1971 album Tarkus was one example of this. The seven-part song spanned 20 minutes and was sparked by Emerson leafing through Greek mythology books and was co-written with Lake.

The group would create a fictional character around the name, attributing it to 'a half-tank, half-armadillo creature that would appear on stage at gigs'. "Lucky Man," a song Lake began to write as a child would prove to be Emerson, Lake and Palmer's biggest U.S. hit.

The group was also known for albums like Brain Salad Surgery and Trilogy, primarily produced by Lake and while the group broke up in 1979, Lake would work with Emerson on various musical projects in the '80s and '90s before all three reformed again in 1992 to intermittently record and perform together again.