Brain Salad Surgery, 1973’s entry in the progressive rock hall of fame from England’s Emerson, Lake And Palmer, was a dazzling display of virtuoso musicianship and creativity. The band caught my attention with a headlining appearance at the California Jam, one of those enormous outdoor concerts that was televised as part of the In Concert tv show. Keyboardist Keith Emerson was seated at a grand piano at one point and then raised high above the stage by wires and then commenced to spin end-over-end. Quite a spectacular stage effect, and pre-dating Tommy Lee’s spinning drum set by over a decade. Anyway, the band’s performance captivated my young eyes and ears and led me to this grand album. Featuring the half hour long Karn Evil 9 (changed from its original name because lyricist Pete Sinfield told Emerson it sounded like a carnival…much cooler than the original Ganton 9), a masterpiece of sci fi weirdness, the whole album is full of Greg Lake’s majestic vocals, Carl Palmer’s excellent percussion skills, and Emerson’s collection of Moog synthesisers, pianos, and organs. Progressive rock done right by ELP, Brain Salad Surgery also featured one of the most distinctively disturbing album covers of all time, created by H.R. Giger.
Written By Braddon S. Williams