Emerson, Lake & Palmer – better known as ELP – one of the most influential bands of the progressive rock era, have signed their 40-million-album-selling catalogue to new model music company BMG. It is the biggest new catalogue deal to be struck by BMG since it announced this summer that Peter Stack, founder of respected catalogue company Union Square Music acquired by BMG in 2014, would become its worldwide Head of Catalogue.
The ELP deal includes rights to at least 17 albums by the super-group, including the groundbreaking top 5 debut album Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970), UK Number 1 Tarkus (1971) and probably their best known album Brain Salad Surgery, which reached Number 2 in 1973. It brings together rights previously split between North America and Europe, with BMG now holding rights for the World excluding South East Asia. Significantly, it promises a prestigious reissue campaign, with BMG gaining access to the prized ELP archive including original master tapes, demos, alternate versions, radio sessions, videos, rare photos / memorabilia and bootlegs, from artists who helped define ‘album rock’.
ELP were formed in 1970 by flamboyant keyboard player Keith Emerson (formerly of The Nice), singer and guitarist Greg Lake (formerly of King Crimson) and drummer/percussionist Carl Palmer (formerly of Atomic Rooster). Blending jazz and classical music with a wide-screen hard-rock style, ELP were one of the torchbearers of the progressive rock sound and were one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1970s. By 1974 they were as big as Led Zeppelin as a live draw.
Their first seven albums, all now to be re-issued by BMG, reached the UK Top 10 and US Top 20. Their third album, a live interpretation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, recorded at Newcastle City Hall and released in 1971, achieved the unprecedented feat of propelling a complete classical work into the UK Top 10.
Although fundamentally an albums band, ELP scored a UK Number 2 single in 1977 with their version of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’. BMG has also secured rights as part of the deal to Greg Lake’s evergreen ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ which reached Number 2 in the UK in 1975 and so celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.
Peter Stack, BMG Executive Vice-President Global Catalogue Recordings said: “ELP have created an extraordinary body of work which helped to define progressive rock, and we are delighted that they have placed their faith in BMG. We will give this catalogue the respect it truly deserves and can promise some exciting times ahead for both existing and future fans of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.”
ELP manager Stewart Young said: “ELP and myself are looking forward to the opportunity of working with BMG. This agreement brings our catalogue under one roof for the first time for the world outside South East Asia. BMG shares our belief that these works should be treated with the upmost respect, with reissues which offer the kind of quality that our fans deserve.”