It is with great sadness that we learned of Keith Emerson’s passing at the age of 71, just as this issue was going to press. Not only was Keith one of the greatest and most influential keyboardists in rock music, but he was also a friend to the staff and writers of this magazine for decades.
A creative composer and flamboyant performer, Keith turned on a generation of rock fans to classical, ragtime, and other musical styles, while his solo in Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s 1970 hit “Lucky Man” introduced the Moog synthesizer to a wider audience. One highlight of his stage rig was his “monster Moog,” a massive, highly customized modular system that Moog Music reverse engineered and offered as a limited edition in 2014.
Of course, Emerson’s virtuosity extended to the Hammond organ, acoustic piano, and the Yamaha GX-1, among other instruments, and his unique and powerful playing style was instantly recognizable.
We will pay tribute to the legacy of Keith Emerson in the June issue of Keyboard and celebrate the musical gifts he left with us. But in the meantime, all of us here at the magazine send our sincerest condolences to Keith’s family and loved ones.