‘I think he was playing hard to get’: Greg Lake on convincing Carl Palmer to join Emerson Lake and Palmer

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The very nature of their shared histories made Emerson Lake and Palmer’s founding a tricky proposition. Coming together as an all-star amalgam, everyone had other options it seemed.

Greg Lake had been in King Crimson, helping to set a template for progressive rock. Keith Emerson had made his own name with the Nice, while Carl Palmer had been with the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

“We did the audition,” Lake says in the attached clip, “and everybody in the rehearsal room really knew that the band had been formed. Carl went home, and I think he was playing hard to get, you know? He was trying to tell everybody that he was thinking about it.”

With so much success between them, any member of the still-young group could easily have walked away. Lake says he was intent on that not happening.

After auditioning a number of drummers, including Mitch Mitchell, he was certain that the group has found the right formula for success.

“So, I called him up,” Lake adds. “I said: ‘Listen, You saw what happened, and so did I, and I think this is destiny. I think the formation of the band is destiny. If you don’t do it, you’ll be hurting yourself, as well as me. I think the right thing to do is join the band. It’s a great band, with great chemistry — and that’s what he did.”

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