Lucky Man (4:39)

Cover of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

From Emerson, Lake & Palmer and 72 other releases

“Lucky Man” is a song by the English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, from the group’s 1970 self-titled debut album. Written by Greg Lake when he was 12 years old and recorded by the trio using improvised arrangements,[1] the song contains one of rock music’s earliest instances of a Moog synthesizer solo. “Lucky Man” was released as a single in 1970 and reached the top 20 in the Netherlands. The song also charted in the United States and Canada. The single was re-released in 1973 and charted again in the U.S. and Canada.

Background and composition

The urban legend surrounding the song states that on the last day of recording their debut album in September 1970, the group discovered they were short of satisfying the label’s contract requirement of 21 minutes of music per album side, and therefore needed one more song,[1] so Greg Lake began playing a song he had written when he was 12 years old. It was reported that producers raved about it and insisted it was going to be the lead single off the album.[1] In truth however, according to session notes, recording for the album took place between July and September 1970, with Lucky Man actually being recorded early in the period.

Unlike many songs on the album, which use a distorted fuzz bass to sound like a guitar, “Lucky Man” is an acoustic ballad.[2] The lyrics tell the ironic[3] story of a man who had everything, went to war, and died.

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