19 November 1973…
It was the album which secured them the title of ‘My Favourite Band’ for me…and, from what I recall, was loved and loathed by the music press in equal measure on both sides of the Atlantic.
Fans of the band were hoping that the band would pull out all the stops to continue the success of their first three albums, but few could have predicted what the end result would finally be like. In Britain the album’s masterwork – Karn Evil Nine – was showcased by the BBC Radio 1 DJ, Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman. I remember my excitement following his announcement the previous week, that he would be playing some excerpts from the album for the first time on radio. Like many others of my generation, I sat in my bedroom with the radio plugged into my tape deck, my finger hovering over the pause button in readiness to record it. Of course, once the music had been recorded it was played almost to death – with every nuance of the piece being identified, noted, and then talked about at length with school-friends and band-mates, during the days and weeks afterward.
Brain Salad Surgery (or BSS as we now fondly refer to it) was notable for quite a few things, not the least being the cover art designed by H.R.’The Alien’ Giger himself (don’t mention the airbrushed penis…oops! Sorry Super…already did!). The album also introduced a lyric which adorns the entrances to many Hard Rock cafe’s across the world; a large foldable lyric insert with the band’s photos on them to stick up on your bedroom wall; the lyrical contribution of Peter Sinfield; the breathtaking majesty of Karn Evil Nine, and finally how the title is a slang reference to fellatio..! And there you have it – this album was just about everything a young ELP fan could ever wish for.
And don’t forget ‘Jerusalem’. The album’s opening track was ELP’s rendition of the song which they then went on to perform in their live set, and the track became one of my all-time favourites of theirs which I would later perform live, (with the UK tribute band Noddy’s Puncture), as well as to record. I am not alone in thinking that this song should become our new English national anthem – and if we were to adopt the ELP version, then even better!
This version of ‘Jerusalem’ was recorded on both sides of the Atlantic by myself and the other musical conspirators known as EMP… I hope you enjoy it.
“Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends!” Happy 40th birthday BSS…!