7 Interesting Facts You Probably Don’t Know About “Lucky Man” By ELP
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English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer released “Lucky Man” in 1970, and they featured it on their self-titled debut album. Let’s take a look at the most interesting facts about it:
1. Greg Lake wrote it when he was just 12 years old.
“It’s a kids’ song, really,” he said. “And it was a medieval fantasy, really. And I never wrote it on a piece of paper. I just remembered the words.”
2. He wrote it on the first guitar he owned.
“I was round my friend’s house and he had a broken down old guitar,” Lake recalled on his Songs of a Lifetime tour. “In fact, it only had one string on it. Luckily, it was the bottom string. With a matchstick, I picked out this tune. It made me think, you know, perhaps I could play guitar.”
“So it came to Christmas and I said to my mom, ‘Do you think there’s any chance of me having a guitar for Christmas?'” he continued. “And she said, ‘No.’ You know, we were pretty poor. So that was it. I just accepted it. But anyway, Christmas came, and there it was, the guitar. And of course I was thrilled. The first four chords I learned were D, A minor, E minor, and G. With these chords I wrote this little song.”
3. It was a last-minute addition to the album.
Their contract requirements specified 21 minutes per album side.
“Everybody looked round the studio, you know, ‘Has anybody got any more material?’ And there was deadly silence,” Lake said. “So I said, ‘Well, look, you know, I’ve got this little thing I wrote when I was a kid. And if there’s nothing else, maybe that would do.’ You know.”
4. Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer didn’t like it at first listen.
“Keith said, ‘Well, you play it, then, let’s have a listen.’ So I played it, and nobody liked it,” Lake admitted. “So I said, ‘Yeah, but you know, the thing is we’ve got nothing else.’ Keith said, ‘Well, you record it on your own and I’m going to go down the pub.’ So off he went down the pub.”
5. Lake put a lot of work into the song.
“Carl Palmer and I, we recorded the first part together, just drums and acoustic guitar,” he revealed. “And it sounded pretty dreadful. But then I put a bass on it and it sounded a bit better. And then I went and put some more guitars on it, and an electric guitar solo. Then I put these harmonies on, these block harmonies. And in the end it sounded pretty good, it sounded like a record.”
6. It features one of the most iconic Moog synthesizer solos in rock history.
Emerson recently got the device and after hearing the song Palmer and Lake were working on, he decided to play on the track.
7. Emerson was shocked when he first heard the song.
“Keith went out into the next room. And he said, ‘Run the track, then, for an experiment.’ So I flipped it in record and pressed play,” Lake recalled. “And because he was experimenting, we didn’t really listen. In fact, we put the speakers on dim. The track went through and Keith experimented, and when it got to the end I turned to the engineer, Eddie Offord. I said, ‘Was that me or did that sound good?’ And Eddie said, ‘I think it did sound good.'”