Keith Emerson PhotoThroughout his career with the Nice, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and as a solo artist, Keith Emerson has proven himself perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history. For all his reputation as an innovator and master of classically influenced rock, Emerson (b. November 1, 1944 in the English town of Todmorden) began his career playing R&B; the Nice got their first big break backing soul singer P.P. Arnold in 1967. Independently of Arnold, the Nice carved out a niche in the fledgling prog-rock movement, with Emerson's classical flourishes and flamboyant showmanship (flinging knives at his keyboard, etc.) leading the way. After the Nice's dissolution, Emerson fleshed out his musical ideas to their fullest with Emerson, Lake & Palmer, which debuted in 1970 and had a series of highly successful albums throughout the decade.

Emerson made his solo debut in 1976 with the single "Honky Tonk Train Blues," which hit the U.K. Top 30, but did not pursue a solo career in earnest until after ELP's 1980 breakup. Emerson first scored the films The Inferno (1980) and Nighthawks (1981), but did not return until 1985, when he released Honky. 1986 found Emerson participating in a revamped ELP this time with drummer Cozy Powell but still finding time to record the solo LP Murderrock. In 1987, Emerson released Harmageddon/China Free Fall, and the following year, he undertook a project with Carl Palmer and songwriter Robert Berry. Emerson, Lake and Palmer reunited in 1992 to record new material and tour, but when this venture proved less successful than hoped, Emerson announced his retirement from the music business in 1994. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide