Goodbye Keith Emerson

It hasn’t been a good week for the musical world of the 60 and early 70s. I’m still writing my tribute to George Martin, the Beatles’ producer, and now word comes that Keith Emerson, another one of my early favorites, has passed away.

Keith, along with his group Emerson Lake and Palmer, could do everything. Jimi Hendrix-inspired rock? No problem! Adaptations of Mussorgsky and other classical composers? Easy as pie! Pop hits featuring the Moog synthesizer? Yep! Compose a piano concerto? With pleasure! ELP introduced me to classics such as Fanfare For The Common Man and gave me the sense that “anything is possible.”

In this respect, Keith was perhaps my biggest role model as a teen. I set out to learn how to play everything because I thought everyone did! A lot of the recent obits mentioned Emerson’s “innovative” or extended works, but I’d like you to listen to something that always make me smile.

Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff is just a simple rock/pop song of the time, but listen to the fun keyboard part Keith came up with. This type of playing, as much as anything else, is what I hear in my head when I think of Keith Emerson.

Long live Keith Emerson!
Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff

Keith Emerson inspired me to learn many of the musical styles I teach in my piano improv video course. Whatever your particular focus, you’ll have access to all of my 300+ lessons in genres ranging from rock and jazz to pop and classical.

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