A little more than a week ago, the nominees for induction into the 2016 class of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced. What was remarkable about this year’s batch of nomininees was that YES, one of the biggest progressive rock groups in history, was nominated.
If you know anything about the Rock and Roll HOF, you know that it is governed under the somewhat dictatorial iron first of Jann Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, and a man who hates progressive rock so much that, given the chance to either eliminate cancer or progressive rock from the world forever, would be hard-pressed to make a decision. Wenner is rumored to hold veto power over inductees of the Hall of Fame so that he can exclude any artist that he doesn’t like, regardless of how deserving they are.
YES was nominated this year because of the Hall’s policy of throwing a bone to deserving musicians that Wenner doesn’t care for by not nominating them until a key member of the group, or a solo performer, dies. Earlier this year Chris Squire, the founding member and bass player for YES, succumbed to Leukemia. That’s the only reason YES was nominated, even though they should have been inducted in the inaugural class. If Chris Squire of YES gets in posthumously, it will put him in the company of George Harrison and Frank Zappa.
Which brings us to Emerson, Lake and Palmer…this is a band that Wenner holds in even deeper contempt. A prog-rock supergroup, this band sold out arenas and moved millions of albums back in the 1970s when Wenner’s chosen list of critic’s darlings couldn’t get arrested. YES, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Genesis were the “Big Three” of progressive rock back in the 1970s.While none of these bands could catch a critical break from Rolling Stone, all of them sold millions of records and concert tickets. ELP may have been the most-hated band in the closed clique of rock critics of the day.
And so, tonight we bring you ELP, in all their bombastic glory, with a full orchestra no less, at their peak in 1977 performing live in Montreal. This is our extended middle finger flung in the direction of Mr. Wenner and his circle of conservative, angry old white guys who hate progressive rock. Enjoy!