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Emerson vs Wakeman


ELP71

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A slight dust-up on the 'ask Emerson and Wakeman a question' thread got me thinking where everyone stands on the water-cooler pissing match of Emerson v Wakeman. One wore a cape, the other an armadillo suit, so let's stick to the playing (if possible). Haven't seen a thread on it in a while...so here we go.

 

My feeling is, and has always been, that Emerson is the superior player on a visceral, aesthetic level and is clearly the finer composer. I like Wakeman, but have always felt his stuff was decidedly less ballsy although he probably fits better in the confines of a band context, and has really clean technique. Wakeman has always seemed very 'math music' to me (not an insult - just a take), whereas Emerson has always felt much more 'rock' with a strong jazz influence.

 

Aside from the fact that I enjoy Emerson's catalogue much more, the fact that I can play/learn most of Wakeman's stuff more easily in comparison to Emerson's has always been a tipping point in this type of ridiculous discussion for me.

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I agree with Cygnus. Even so, I agree with the costumes (against them). Perhaps it was the time. Although Keith quit wearing them long before Rick stopped. From what I've been able to discern by listening to and watching them both for 40 years I don't agree that Emerson is the better player. But I go back to Cygnus' response. They are different, and I love them both for different reasons. And sometimes for the same reasons.

 

And if I could only have one, it'd be Keith because of his work, his output. Fortunately I don't have to make that choice.

 

I never took a photo of Keith's armadillo costume, but I did of Rick's cape.

 

http://home.comcast.net/~dannylgriffin/img/Concerts/yes3.jpg

 

Although even today some country artists think they have to wear a Nudie costume. So how is it different?

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Apples and oranges. 'Nuff said.

 

No, more like apples and carrots u_u.

 

I personally like Wakeman more. Could be because I like Yes more than ELP. Could be because I love Rick's Six Wives album. As somewhat pointed out in the other thread, I think Wakeman has a better right hand, and Emerson a better left hand.

 

Anyway, both are legends and both are awesome.

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It really is an apple & oranges comparison. I've always loved both but always preferred Wakeman. I'm sure someone better versed in music appreciation could pinpoint which classical periods influenced each of them most. To me Wakeman would be more appropriate scoring a chick flick, where as Emerson would be better suited scoring a slash 'em up horror movie.

 

Perhaps Wakeman is to McCartney what Emerson is to Lennon.... except that I always preferred Lennon. go figure.

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ELP were my first exposure to prog, via my progressive-thinking piano teacher, so Emerson was my first hero, but Wakeman followed soon after and I prefer his more lyrical/romantic approach. I can still listen to and enjoy Yes but I find myself rather cringing at ELP these days.

 

Having said that, I think Emerson is the better composer. Wakeman's solo stuff is really thin outside the band dynamic of Yes.

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...Emerson, hands down. (har-har-har)

 

He was the straw that stirred the drink from The Nice forward; and

he did it from behind a keyboard.

 

Bottom line, it was Emerson who truly "changed the game"

during the late '60's-mid-'70's for keyboardists.

 

For my money-he was both a better player & better performer whose

individual accomplishments exceed those of (certainly) Wakeman, Banks,

or any other English keyboardist of that genre/era...

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For my money-he was both a better player & better performer whose

individual accomplishments exceed those of (certainly) Wakeman, Banks,

or any other English keyboardist of that genre/era...

 

Flash forward to 2040, with the current kids being nostalgic like we are:

 

Well, I think that Ashley Simpson was the better singer, while Rihanna was more of a technician. Britney was the more advanced composer. Taylor Swift had some serious chops, I once saw her put her capo on in less than a minute. Miley Cyrus had the best lip-syncing technique...

:facepalm:

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My 2 cents,

 

Having grown up with both, Wakeman always seemed a bit rhythmically stiff and I always loathed the "hey, let me play a "blues scale" wherever I want to ramp it up" aspect of his lead lines.....but parts and orchestration wise, he really did well...and I like his work on "Hunky Dory".....it would have been really interesting if he would have joined the Spiders from Mars rather than Yes....probably curbed a lot of his bombastic tendencies....

 

Plus what is it where these English Prog guys are allergic to the pitch bend wheel?

 

I always preferred Patrick Moraz to both of them.....but Emerson wins handily in a mano e mano smackdown! (and I like Emerson better in the Nice...his playing was much freer and you could see the Hendrix-of-the-Keys aspect much more in those days.....but Tarkus and Karn Evil 9 are stunning to this day!!!)

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My 2 cents,

 

Having grown up with both, Wakeman always seemed a bit rhythmically stiff

I think the flip side of the same phenomenon is that I think Wakeman's timing is more solid.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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My 2 cents,

 

Having grown up with both, Wakeman always seemed a bit rhythmically stiff

I think the flip side of the same phenomenon is that I think Wakeman's timing is more solid.

 

I've always thought Carl Palmer had tempo issues, so maybe Emo just went along for the ride.

 

FWIW, I've never really thought of either of these guys as groove players.

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Can't compare really. To each his own.

 

Emerson is the larger figure to me. Provided more of the vision of his band, more writing, more variety of idiom, etc.

 

Wakeman at his best is brilliant. The pipe-organ with mini combo work ... the archetypal mellotron work, etc. This song was my entry to "prog keyboards" and still works for me ...

 

[video:youtube]poYnoB1ovuM

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I didn't suggest questions in the other thread because I couldn't come up with better ones than what has been said already... but this is different. Emerson vs. Wakeman?! Cool, I'm 13 y.o. again! :D Feels good when you are actually 51.

 

Ok, I think that Keith Emerson, hand problems aside, is musically a few steps above Rick. His compositions touch a world of modern harmony (fourths, polytonality, superimposed chords, Bartokian dissonances, etc.) which Wakeman has never used in his own music. Also, I think Keith is more succesful in writing large-purpose works, which bring the tematic material in different places.

Playing-wise, again Keith shows more knowledge of different genres (jazz, blues, hard rock, contemporary music), while Rick seems to stick to baroque and classical influences.

Wakeman's style results in a very pleasant overall sound - but sometimes, Keith's music requires your full attention, which is a good thing to me.

Finally, Rick Wakeman seems to work better in the context of Yes, while ELP is Keith's creature; he wrote most of the music for the group.

Only negatives: Emerson sometimes indulges too much in his kitch excesses, going beyond the line of good taste.

 

How was that for a 13 years old? Not too bad, huh? :D

 

 

 

 

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Emerson, for reasons that can't be rationally defined, although marino and others have done a magnificent job. Keith has been such a hero/inspiration of mine that I have neglected to listen to much of Mr. Wakeman's body of work, which is just plain wrong. But I don't feel it's even possible for me to give Rick a fair shake; I would always view his work through my decidedly-biased Emerson lenses. Can't really explain it. It's a visceral reaction, not unlike what happens when Curly hears "Pop Goes the Weasel" in that Stooges short. I'm surprised that many respondents are straddling both sides of the fence. I've always thought of it as a sort of Democrat vs. Republican, Cubs fan vs. Sox fan type of dichotomy, but this is probably a function of my rigidity around this issue. Hopefully someday this will loosen up a bit. Until then, I remain bounded by the limitations of my current vision.

 

I too, have not participated in the other Emerson/Wakeman thread. Having met Mr. Emerson this summer, and after sitting down to talk with him over dinner, anything less will seem anti-climactic. So Im going to keep that one in a special place, and enjoy everyone's banter. You guys have asked some incredibly fantastic, insightful questions!

 

 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Having met Mr. Emerson this summer, and after sitting down to talk with him over dinner, anything less will seem anti-climactic.

 

I'm reminded of that line from Master & Commander where Russel Crowe's officers ask him for an anecdote from when he served under Lord Nelson of the British navy, during a dinner ("What did he say to you?").

"He (Lord Nelson) looked me square in the eyes, and said "Aubrey, might I trouble you for the salt?""

 

I guess you had to be there....

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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Emerson for the live show and jaw dropping chops.

Wakeman for the giant setup and the sense of humor.

Banks for the best use of chops in service to the music.

Minnear for originality and rhythmic vitality.

 

A little Vincent Crane from time to time to cleanse the palate.

Moe

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Tony Banks.

I'll see your Tony Banks, and raise you an Eddie Jobson, a Kerry Minnear, and a Jürgen Fritz.

 

 

Edit: Not suggesting that these guys are better or worse than Emerson/Wakeman, just that they are some other players that I feel deserve to be mentioned in the same breath...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I'm a little burnt out on ELP these days, but I gotta go with Keith.

 

I've never spent much time trying to learn Wakeman or Yes stuff ("Roundabout" being the exception). I've spent an enormous amount of time over the years trying to work up "Tarkus" and "Pictures at an Exibition"-with mixed results I'm afraid...I can do a pretty job wiht "Lucky Man" and "Jerusalem"

 

So at the very least I've always found Emersons playing more compelling. He's the one I still would like to emulate.

"Music should never be harmless."

 

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I'll see your Tony Banks, and raise you an Eddie Jobson, a Kerry Minnear, and a Jürgen Fritz.

 

Talking of Kerry, check Jordan Rudess's contribution "Giant" on the new SV-1 soundpack demos page...

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