Aural tributes to Sir George Martin, Keith Emerson on Boris Rock Show

The March 16 edition of The Boris Rock Show will feature tributes to Sir George Martin and keyboardist Keith Emerson. The program airs 9 a.m.-noon.

Creative Minds: John Lennon (left) and George Martin at the mixing desk.

Creative Minds: John Lennon (left) and George Martin at the mixing desk.

Martin, who passed away at the age of 90 on March 8, was known as the “Fifth Beatle.” He produced all of the Fab Four’s albums, with the only exception being Let It Be which was produced by Phil Spector.

A classically trained musician, Martin was adept on piano and oboe, he gained extensive studio experience before beginning to work with The Beatles in 1963. He produced a number of big bands, singers and comedians with work running the gamut from classical to novelty records. Some of the artists during this period of time he produced included Peter Ustinov, Anthony Hopkins, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Dudley Moore among others.

In The Studio: John Lennon (left) and Paul McCartney (right) along with George Harrison during recording sessions for what would become Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. (Frank Hermann photo)

In The Studio: John Lennon (left) and Paul McCartney (right) along with George Harrison during recording sessions for what would become Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (Frank Hermann photo)

He worked with other pop artists, including Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, saxophonist Stan Getz and Welsh singer Shirley Bassey who’s best-known works were the theme songs, produced by Martin, for a handful of James Bond films. Post-Beatles work included producing Jeff Beck, America, Jimmy Webb, Neil Sedaka, Cheap Trick, UFO, Little River Band and Celine Dion.

Martin would ultimately produce  23 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. and 30 in the U.K.

Father Figure: George Martin (foreground) with George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

Father Figure: George Martin (foreground) with George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

The final hour of The Boris Rock Show will include work by Emerson who died at the age of 71 on March 10.

Blending jazz and rock, Emerson’s groundbreaking keyboard work, especially on the Moog synthesizer, was a focal point of the progressive rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Along with such contemporaries as Rod Argent (Zombies) Rick Wright (Pink Floyd), Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Tony Banks (Genesis), David Sinclair (Caravan) , Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum), Tony Kaye (Yes), Mike Pinder (Moody Blues) and Mike Ratledge (Soft Machine), Emerson’s work helped bring attention to the important role of the keyboard in rock bands.

The Jimi Hendrix of keyboards: Keith Emerson in action with a Moog synthesizer.

The Jimi Hendrix of keyboards: Keith Emerson in action with a Moog synthesizer.

Emerson’s initial success in music came with The Nice which first gained notice as a backing band for American soul singer P.P. Arnold before they signed their own recording contract. Emerson was with The Nice from their founding in 1967 until they disbanded in 1970. In 1967, they were part of a tour which included Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd and one of their roadies at the time was Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister who would later join Hawkwind before forming Motorhead. It was during the later part of his time with The Nice that Emerson first played a Moog.

An oft-overlooked and under-the-radar release that Emerson took part in was Music from Free Creek. Recorded during the summer of 1969 in New York City, Emerson collaborated with the likes of Mitch Mitchell, Chuck Rainey, Buzz Feiten, Moogy Klingman and Carol Hunter to record a trio of tracks: a version of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” Floyd Cramer’s “On The Rebound” and the Lennon-McCartney chestnut “Mother Nature’s Son.” A number of other “big name” players were on the album, including Jeff Beck who went by the name “A.N. Other,” Eric Clapton who

Under the radar: Keith Emerson played on three tracks in 1969 for what would be Music From Free Creek. The series of jam sessions would be released as a double album by Charisma Records in 1973.

Under the radar: Keith Emerson played on three tracks in 1969 for what would be Music From Free Creek. The series of jam sessions would be released as a double album by Charisma Records in 1973.

went by “King Cool,” Todd Rundgren, Dr. John, Linda Ronstadt, Delaney Bramlett, Chris Wood, Bernie Leadon, Joe Farrell, and Canned Heat’s Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor and Fito de la Parra.

Emerson’s work with guitarist/bassist/vocalist Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer gained him the greatest renown. EL&P was together 1970-79 and albums such as their self-titled debut in 1970 and follow-up Tarkus (1971) each went to the Top 5 in the U.K. Their live Pictures at an Exhibition (1971) followed by Brain Salad Surgery and the live triple-LP Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends…Ladies and Gentlemen Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1974) proved to mark the end of their chart success period.

A number of EL&P tracks became FM radio staples, including “Lucky Man,” “Knife Edge,” “Nutrocker” “From The Beginning,” “Fanfare For The Common Man,” “The Sheriff” “Still…You Turn Me On,” “Karn Evil 9” and “Hoedown.”

The band reunited in 1991-98 and then again in 2010 for a brief tour.

In The Works: Keith Emerson practices at a snow-covered Olympic Stadium in Montreal. (Michael Putland photo)

In The Works: Keith Emerson practices at a snow-covered Olympic Stadium in Montreal. (Michael Putland photo)

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