The English Keyboardist and Composer best known for his work with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson, has died by a self-inflicted gunshot suicide wound at the age of 71.  The band’s manager has officially confirmed his death as has the Santa Monica Police Department which also is still investigating the official cause of death as being a suicide.

Emerson is of the Baby boomer generation of 60’s-70’s artists, he was born at the end of World War 2 in 1944.  He played in numerous bands before forming the trio band The Nice in the late 1960’s before going on to eventual fame and success with Emerson, Lake and Palmer after becoming a distinct fully skilled player of the Hammond organ.  Emerson was a self-taught musician who drew from classical music and jazz who initially developed his talents on the Moog synthesizer, an instrument the artist used frequently while on tour.

Emerson was a co-founder of Emerson, Lake and Palmer which gained popularity and prominence with their breakthrough performance at the now legendary 1970 Isle of Wight Festival alongside other well-known acts of the day such as Jimi Hendrix and The Doors.  The 1970’s was the most successful period for Emerson and the band before the group disbanded after 6 platinum albums in 1979. 

Police have reported to have found Emerson with a single gunshot wound to the head which has been ruled a suicide by Santa Monica officials.

Emerson mastered the Moog and Hammond organ in his teenage years before becoming one of the best keyboardists of his generation, his talents were a central force in the band The Nice and also in his contributing efforts in Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Emerson, Lake and Palmer opened for Led Zeppelin’s reunion concert at the London O2 arena which was attended by thousands of fans and viewed by many more on television and internet and received high praise as the show was one that was long awaited as well as long anticipated by rock and classic fans who had been waiting and hoping many years that the concert would eventually take place.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s title debut was released in 1970 and served as the first of four albums the band would release in a four year span.  Soon after the band went on a brief hiatus to work on individual solo projects before reuniting again in 1977 for Works Volumes 1 and 2, after which the band would release the 1978 album Love Beach.  In 1979 the band disbanded but soon became, after reforming, Emerson, Lake, and Powell with Rainbow.

In 1988 Emerson would reunite with Palmer on a 1988 project before the original band got back together in 1991 to record a comeback album which was entitled “Black Moon; In the Hot Seat” and served as the last studio album that the band would record together.  ELP no longer toured as a band after disbanding in the late 1990’s but would reunite again on one final tour in 2010.  ELP’s last show took place at the High Voltage Festival in July 2010 in London. 

Emerson had a long career outside of his role in ELP, he released solo albums and contributed to films such as the 1981 thriller film “Nighthawks” and the 1980 horror flick entitled “Inferno.”  Emerson is said to have suffered from depression and heart disease before his recent passing. 

Published by Ville Iso-Ahola