Love Beach

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Love Beach
ELP Love Beach cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 November 1978
Recorded1978
StudioCompass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas
GenreProgressive rock, pop rock
Length41:03
LabelAtlantic
ProducerKeith Emerson
Emerson, Lake & Palmer chronology
Works Volume 2
(1977)
Love Beach
(1978)
In Concert
(1979)

Love Beach is the seventh studio album by English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It was released in November 1978 by Atlantic Records as their final studio album released prior to their split in the following year. By the end of their 1977–1978 North American tour internal relations had started to deteriorate, but the group were contractually required to produce one more album. They retreated to Nassau, Bahamas as tax exiles to record Love Beach with lyricist Peter Sinfield who is credited as a co-writer of each track. After Greg Lake and Carl Palmer had finished recording their parts they left the island, leaving Keith Emerson to finish the album himself.

The album received negative reviews from critics. It reached No. 48 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 55 on the US Billboard 200 where it reached gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America in January 1979 for selling 500,000 copies.[1] It spawned one single released in the UK, Lake and Sinfield's track "All I Want is You". The album was not supported with a tour and in early 1979, Emerson, Lake & Palmer disbanded.

Background and recording[edit]

In March 1978, the band finished their ten-month North American tour in support of Works Volume 1 (1977) and Works Volume 2 (1977). Several early shows featured the group playing with a symphony orchestra on stage but it proved too costly to operate and the idea was dropped.[2] Despite the group preferring to rest, they were encouraged by Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun to record a new album. He also reminded them that they had to deliver one more. Emerson recalled the band's meeting with Ertegun and his suggestion for the group to make "a commercial album" which Emerson felt reluctant to do.[3] Lake recalled that Ertegun threatened to decline the band the prospect of solo albums if they refused to work together, so they agreed. Feeling the need for a commercial album suited Lake's method of songwriting, who was responsible for their previous radio friendly songs like "Lucky Man" and "From the Beginning", Emerson "eased up on my opinions to an extent, bit my nails, and gave him the freedom he kept asking for on side one".[3]

Compass Point Studios

The band had become tax exiles due to the discouraging British tax laws placed on musicians at the time and decided to record in Nassau in the Bahamas where Emerson and Lake were renting homes. Recording took place in 1978 at Compass Point Studios without a dedicated producer, despite Lake having produced all of their previous albums. Early pressings of Love Beach carried no dedicated producer's credit, but production and mixing of the album were largely carried out by Emerson.[4] Assisting the group were Jack Nuber and Karl Pitterson as engineers on engineer duties. The sessions were difficult due to the increasingly strained relations between the three musicians. Emerson's increasing drug use had started to affect his ability to work or collaborate with others.

Lyricist Peter Sinfield, who had worked with Lake in King Crimson and on his collection of songs on Works Volume 1, was asked by band manager Stewart Young to join them in Nassau and assist Lake in writing the lyrics. Though frictions had arisen between Sinfield and Lake by this time Sinfield thought a break would be good for him and accepted yet given the limited amount of time he had, requested that he worked alone.[5] Upon arrival, Sinfield found the group were barely talking to each other and left the island when he was done. Lake and Palmer followed suit after they had put down their parts, leaving Emerson to put "the whole album together ... and sent it off".[6][7]

Emerson was particularly upset about the album's title, which Atlantic Records had taken from one of the album's tracks by Lake and Sinfield, itself named after a stretch of beach on Nassau.[4] The front cover was taken on an island off Salt Cay, depicting the group as biographer Edward Macan described as "bare-chested late-seventies disco stars".[4] Emerson then organised a booth at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to conduct a survey on the public's opinion on the album with a questionnaire.[3] The overall opinion was of disagreement of the title which Emerson presented back to Atlantic, but the label refused to change.[5]

Content[edit]

The first side of the album consists of short tracks mostly penned by Lake and Sinfield.

Side two consists of "Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman", a 20-minute track in four distinct parts. Its a concept piece that tells a story of a romance between a soldier and his fiancée during World War II, marking the first track by the band that deals with everyday people in comparison to their previous fantasy-inspired epics such as "Tarkus" and "Karn Evil 9".[5] Sinfield wrote all of the lyrics and later felt relieved to find a lyrical theme that worked for the song given the limited amount of time he had to work.[5] Emerson considered the words "a bit gross".[5]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic1.5/5 stars[8]
Classic Rock1/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable)[9]
Sea of Tranquility3/5 stars[11]

Love Beach was released in November 1978.[4] Emerson later called the album "an embarrassment against everything I've worked for".[4] Upon release Palmer spent two months arranging a farewell tour, but ongoing disagreements in the group led to the idea being shelved.[2]

Critical and fan appraisal of the album is mainly negative; some consider it the nadir of ELP's output, while others consider Black Moon and/or In the Hot Seat to be worse. Writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of the album's release, reviewer Michael Bloom said that "Love Beach isn't simply bad; it's downright pathetic. Stale and full of ennui, this album makes washing the dishes seem a more creative act by comparison".[9] The album was not toured or promoted by the band, although they did play "Canario" on the Old Grey Whistle Test TV show.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."All I Want Is You"Greg Lake, Peter Sinfield2:36
2."Love Beach"Lake, Sinfield2:46
3."Taste of My Love"Lake, Sinfield3:33
4."The Gambler"Keith Emerson, Lake, Sinfield3:23
5."For You"Lake, Sinfield4:28
6."Canario" (from Fantasía para un gentilhombre)Joaquín Rodrigo4:00
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Memoirs of an Officer and a Gentleman"
  • a. "Prologue/The Education of a Gentleman"
  • b. "Love at First Sight"
  • c. "Letters from the Front"
  • d. "Honourable Company (A March)"
Emerson, Sinfield, except d.: Emerson20:12

Bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Canario (Rehearsal 1978)" - 4:38
  2. "Taste of My Love (Rehearsal 1978)" - 3:01
  3. "Letters from the Front (Rehearsal 1978)" - 8:52

2017 Deluxe edition[edit]

Bonus tracks - in addition to The Original 1978 Album (2017 Remaster)
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
8."All I Want is You" (1978 alternative mixes (previously unreleased))Lake, Sinfield 
9."Taste of My Love" (1978 alternative mixes (previously unreleased))Lake, Sinfield 
10."The Gambler" (1978 alternative mixes (previously unreleased))Emerson, Lake, Sinfield 
11."For You" (1978 alternative mixes (previously unreleased))Lake, Sinfield 
12."Letters from the Front" (1978 alternative mixes (previously unreleased) - Incorrectly identified on CD and download editions as "Honourable Company (A March)")Emerson, Sinfield 
13."Canario" (1978 rehearsal out-takes (previously unreleased))Joaquín Rodrigo 
14."Letters from the Front" (1978 rehearsal out-takes (previously unreleased) - Correctly identified)Lake, Sinfield 
15."Prologue / The Education of a Gentleman" (1978 rehearsal out-takes (previously unreleased))Lake, Sinfield 

Personnel[edit]

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Additional personnel

Production

  • Keith Emerson – production
  • Jack Nuber – engineer
  • Karl Pitterson - engineer

Singles[edit]

  • "All I Want Is You/Tiger in a Spotlight" (UK release)
  • "Canario/All I Want Is You" (German release)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gold & Platinum search – Love Beach". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Forrester & Hanson 2013, p. 147.
  3. ^ a b c Forrester & Hanson 2013, p. 145.
  4. ^ a b c d e Macan 2006, p. 419.
  5. ^ a b c d e Forrester & Hanson 2013, p. 146.
  6. ^ Keith Emerson, quoted by Milano, Contemporary Keyboard magazine, September 1980, p. 17.
  7. ^ Macan, Edward (2006). Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Open Court, ISBN 0-8126-9596-8, p. 418-19.
  8. ^ Allen, Jim (2011). "Love Beach - Emerson, Lake & Palmer | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b Bloom, Michael (8 March 1979). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Love Beach". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  10. ^ Fielder, Hugh (February 2005). "Eight by Three". Classic Rock. 76. London, UK: Future Publishing Ltd. p. 104.
  11. ^ Pardo, Pete. "Emerson Lake & Palmer: Love Beach (remastered)". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved 3 December 2018.

Sources

  • Forrester, George; Hanson, Martyn (2013). Emerson, Lake and Palmer: The Show That Never Ends ... Encore. Foruli Classics. ISBN 978-1-905-79239-9.
  • Macan, Edward (2006). Endless Enigma: A Musical Biography of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Open Court Publishing Company. ISBN 0-8126-9596-8.