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Happy Birthday, Greg Lake!

The bassist, guitarist, and singer-songwriter Greg Lake was born 73 years ago today, on November 10, 1947. He is linked very closely with progressive rock since he was a founding member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, both of which were the pioneers of the genre at the time. Though he stayed with King Crimson for only one album, he gained ELP number of hit singles throughout the years and helped the genre to become more known among the public.

Lake was born and raised in the Parkstone area of Dorset, England to an engineer father and a housewife mother. About his childhood, he later said that he was “born in an asbestos prefab housing unit” into a “very poor” family, but still, he credits his parents for sending him money and food while he was still a struggling musician.

His first encounter with rock and roll music was when he bought “Lucille” by Little Richards. At the age of 12, he got his first guitar as a birthday gift from his mother. He began taking lessons from a local teacher and multi-instrumentalist Don Strike. Another one of his students was a young Dorset boy named Robert Fripp. The two quickly hit it off and became good friends. It is believed to be around this time that Lake wrote the acoustic ballad “Lucky Man”, which would go on to be a commercial breakthrough for ELP in their debut album.

After roughly one year with Don Strike, Lake decided to leave because he wanted to learn songs by The Shadows, a favorite band of his; but Strike didn’t have any. His second guitar was a pink Fender Strat. For his education, he attended Oakdale Junior School followed by Henry Harbin Secondary Modern School which he also left. Until the age of 17, when he decided to be a full-time musician, he took up work loading and unloading cargo and as a designer for a short period.

From soft, acoustic hit singles to complex prog suites, Greg Lake’s music and lyrics have a timeless expression that cannot be denied as an influence on the generations to come. Therefore, we remember him on this important date and wish him a happy birthday.

Written By

I like writing, I like music. So next thing I know, I was writing a full-fledged essay on the influence of the Beatles upon the capitalization of the music industry and the taxation of the rich.

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