May 19, 2016

Featured 45: Emerson, Lake & Palmer "Brain Salad Surgery"

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ELP Brain Salad Surgery 45 cover ELP Brain Salad Surgery 45 cover

Every week or so we will be dusting off an old 45 and putting them on display. Along with the picture of these old gems, we will have a story about each of them. Once a 45 has been featured and replaced with a new one, it will be moved into The Archives. Here’s the latest entry:

The recent death of Keith Emerson prompted me to write a story about him on my website. It also got me to look into the 45s that I have by the group.

As I talk about in great length in my book “Confessions of a Teenage Disc Jockey,” I was scheduled to do an interview with ELP when they first formed. We were to meet at their first real public appearance, the concert at the Isle of Wight in the summer of 1970. Some way to start a career, but the group were all seasoned veterans by the time they formed. We didn’t meet at the time (again refer to the book), but did meet some years later.

The classically oriented band really wasn’t built for singles. In fact they only had one 45 ever make it to the top 40. It was “From the Beginning” that hit the charts in October of 1972 and it was only on the charts for two weeks.

In 1973 they released the single pictured. There were two very strange things about it. The A side was “Brain Salad Surgery”. In fact there was no mention on the sleeve of the B side “Still You Turn Me On” which was a much better choice for a single. The other odd thing was that, despite it being the title of the album, the single was NOT even on the album. One would certainly think since it was called “Brain Salad Surgery" that it should be somewhere in the album of the same name! But it was not.

Not that it mattered. As mentioned, ELP was an album group. And they did sell lots of albums. In fact, they had eight gold albums to their credit before breaking up. Of those, the two biggest were TRIOLGY and BRAIN SALAD SURGERY. The albums often were hard to play on the radio because they were too long, but their exciting live shows prompted people to flock to the record stores to by the LPs.

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