Legendary prog-rock keyboardist and composer Keith Emerson dies age 71

Keith Emerson unveiling the Emerson Moog Modular.
Keith Emerson unveiling the Emerson Moog Modular. (Image credit: Moog Music)

Emerson, Lake and Palmer founder member Keith Emerson has died at the age of 71.

The news was announced on the band's Facebook page, which reported "We regret to announce that Keith Emerson died last night at his home in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, aged 71. We ask that the family's privacy and grief be respected."

Keith's early career started out with the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, Gary Farr and the T-Bones, the V.I.P. and the Nice. Despite commercial success with the Nice in the late 1960s, he split from the band to form one of the early supergroups: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) in 1970.

The band broke up at the end of the '70s, which sparked a lengthy solo career for Emerson, who was famed for his theatrical style as well as his technical prowess, often using knives to wedge down keys of his Hammond organ. His status as one of the finest keyboardists ever earnt him a place on the 27 greatest keyboard players of all time poll, as voted by MusicRadar users.


The prog keyboard player is also well-known for his long-standing relationship with Moog. Emerson was the first person to tour with a Moog Modular setup, whilst others were still using theirs solely in the studio. More recently, he announced the recreation of the Emerson Moog Modular System, which is a faithful recreation of the original.

Many tributes have already been pouring in on social media from those who knew him best, with former bandmate Carl Palmer saying: "Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come."

Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.