Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Touch and Go" by Emerson, Lake & Powell

Song#:  2768
Date:  06/21/1986
Debut:  93
Peak:  60
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Prog Rock

Pop Bits:  Between 1970 and 1978, the classic UK prog rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer pushed out nine gold albums. The band's melding of rock with classical music using the latest technology of the day quickly gained favor. They had a rabid fan base and sold all those albums without any major hit singles. Their best Pop chart effort was the #39 "From the Beginning" in 1972. As 1978 approached, the trio was fracturing. After they delivered one last contractual album, the reviled Love Beach, the band split. After a few years of doing other projects, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake wanted to revive ELP. Unfortunately, they were going to have to do it without drummer Carl Palmer who had contractual obligations with his other band Asia. Emerson and Lake set out to replace Palmer and finally brought on board former Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell. The new trio then recorded a self-titled debut album and released this first single. Rock fans seemed happy with the results and took the track to #2 at Rock. The tune was able to crossover to the Pop chart, but it didn't get very far. The album made it to #23 yet couldn't hit the gold mark. A tour followed, but for this iteration of the trio, it was a one-n-done deal.

ReduxReview:  Man, that is one giant, loud fart synth! I remember it sounding very regal back in the day - like it could be the theme music to some epic medieval TV show or film. If Game of Thrones had been a mini-series in the 80s, this might have been the opening song. Despite that synth sounding very dated now, I still like this tune. I had forgotten about it. I know I used to hear it on our local rock radio station and thought it was cool. Not sure why I didn't buy the single. While it had hooks and sounded cool on the radio, it didn't quite have the mainstream appeal needed to make it at pop radio in the way songs from other prog rock band like Yes and Asia were able to do. Still, it's a fun relic from the era. Near the end of '86 a song would come out with a big farting synth line that had more commercial appeal - Europe's "The Final Countdown" (#8 Pop).

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Emerson assembled a third version of ELP later in the decade. This time Palmer came back, but Lake did not. Emerson and Palmer then hired on guitarist/singer Richard Berry. They decided to keep the band name very simple - 3.  Yup. As in the third version of ELP. The band released an album in 1988 titled To the Power of Three. A track from the album, "Talkin' Bout," got to #9 on the Rock chart while the album topped out at #97. Again, that trio would only record one album. The original ELP lineup would finally reunite in 1991. They would issue out two albums before splitting again.


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