Little, Brown has acquired the memoir of the late Greg Lake, the former frontman of progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
The memoir, called Lucky Man, is written in Lake's own words and was completed just before the rock star died from cancer last month, according to Andreas Campomar, publishing director at Constable. Campomar bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the title from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander Associates. Publishing this spring with Little, Brown imprint Constable, it will chart both the highs and lows of a career in rock music.
Lake first won acclaim as lead vocalist, bass guitarist and producer when he formed King Crimson together with Robert Fripp. Their debut album "In the Court of the Crimson King" co-produced by Greg, featured the track "21st Century Schizoid Man". In 1970 Lake met Keith Emerson during a North American tour, with whom he would go on to co-found the first progressive "supergroup", Emerson, Lake and Palmer, with drummer Carl Palmer.
To date ELP has sold over 50m records, and the group dominated the charts and the field of progressive rock right up until 1977 when a US tour with a full 100-piece orchestra nearly bankrupted the band. The band split in 1979 but reunited in the 1990s until a final performance headlining 2010's High Voltage festival in London. In the decade in between, Lake worked with musicians including Sheila E, Ringo Starr, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey and Ian Anderson.
Campomar said: "Greg finished writing his poignant memoir, Lucky Man, just before he died last month, and I’m very sorry he won’t be here to see it published. Probably the voice of his generation, Greg fronted the greatest rock supergroup of the 1970s but never held with the 'progressive' tag that attached itself to both the music and the excess. The memoir not only charts the highs and lows of a career in rock music but also reflects on the death of Keith Emerson last year and living with terminal cancer and the end of life. I think Greg can best be summed up by his now-famous line: 'Material wealth is a very fleeting pleasure … when you can buy anything you want and do anything you want, you soon discover that you actually don’t want any of it.'"
Stewart Young, Lake's manager, said: "I have been Greg’s manager and close friend since 1972. In 2014 Greg was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He told me he was going to write his autobiography and it had to be in his own words. He had no regrets. In his wildest dreams he could never imagine having such a wonderful life; how extraordinary to have such a career in music – to do what you want, simply to expand, experiment! To love a woman, be married to her for 43 years, have a daughter he would be so proud of and then to cap it all a grandson who is now four years old and became the centre of his life. He then said, with a twinkle in his eye, I truly am a Lucky Man."