Keith don’t go

By Dennis Hartley

A wizard, a true star: R.I.P. Keith Emerson 1944-2016

Goddammit. What is the deal with 2016? We’re just over two months in, and I’m feeling like Dave Lister coming out of stasis in Episode 1:

I know its (still) reflexive in some snooty muso quarters to use Emerson, Lake, & Palmer as the whipping boys for 70s excess, but I don’t care…I was an ELP fan then, I am an ELP fan now, and I will be an ELP fan forever. There, I said it. Out, loud and proud. Prog rock rules!

With that said, a shout out now to the memory of one of the gods of the Moog. Keith, wherever you are, know this: Still…you turn me on.

UPDATE: I’m sad to learn that Keith apparently battled depression for several decades, according to friend and band mate Greg Lake:

(from The Sunday Express)

“I have to be honest and say that his [apparent suicide] didn’t come as a shock to me,” [Lake] said.

“The situation with Keith didn’t happen suddenly, it had been developing from as far back as the Works Vol 1 album (1977). 

At that point, I began to see things happening with Keith which didn’t look or feel right.” 

Lake did his best to help his friend – “when you’re close you always hope tomorrow will be better” – but eventually he became “impossible” to work with. 

“I think its a very difficult thing to actually describe what depression is,” [Lake] said. 


“Part of Keith’s problem was that, especially in later years, he’d begun to develop a degenerative disease that affected his hands. 

He lost control of some of his fingers.” Lake is reluctant to link this illness too firmly to his death. 


“All I would say is that if anyone does have feelings like that, of being so desperate that they think it’s better off not to wake up tomorrow, then please, go and talk to somebody – the doctor, your friend, anybody.”

Wise counsel. Chronic depression is nothing to be taken lightly; whether it’s yourself or a loved one.  Here are some resources:

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Institute of Mental Health

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255  (24/7)

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