‘It was an unbelievable moment’: Greg Lake on how Emerson Lake and Palmer gave comfort to a dying girl

Greg Lake’s worldwide Song of a Lifetime tour found him sharing stories as much as his discography, then inviting members of the audience to talk about the connective qualities of music. One such tale still stands out.

“One night a gentleman stood up,” Lake tells Rich Lynch in this clip, “and he said to me: ‘Greg, I used to be a DJ. I did the nightshift on the radio.’ He said: ‘One night, it was around midnight and the phone rang. I picked it up and the man on the other end said: “I wonder if you can do me a favor?” He said: ‘Sure, what can I do?’ ‘Could you please play a Greg Lake song, it’s called “Watching Over You”?’ He said: ‘The thing is, my daughter is dying, and she asked if you would play it.’ So, the DJ said: ‘Of course, I will. Yeah, no problem.’ And he put the phone down, and that was it.”

A lovely lullaby, “Watching Over You” was co-written by longtime Emerson Lake and Palmer/King Crimson collaborator Peter Sinfield for ELP’s 1977 project Works Volume 2.

The disc jockey “went and got the record, and he played it,” Lake adds. “He didn’t say anything on air about the incident, but he played the record. And after an hour or two passed, the phone rang again — and it was this same man. And he said: ‘I’ve just called up to say thank you. She died when you played the record.’ It was an unbelievable moment. The air just got sucked out of the room. People started crying, and I’m crying. It was just an incredibly sad story, and an amazing thing.”

Lake has said he wrote “Watching Over You” for his own daughter Natasha, but only in retrospect after she was grown.

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