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That one time that Keith Emerson bough John Paul Jones' Yamaha GX-1 synth



Keith Emerson, founding member and keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died today (March 11, 2016). He was 71.

A pioneer in innovative and experimental keyboards, Emerson was one of the more popular owners of the Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer, along with Stevie Wonder and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones.

"...I had a new toy. I had this big new keyboard. And Robert and I just got to rehearsals early, basically. [...] With Zeppelin writing, if you came up with good things, and everybody agreed that they were good things, they got used. There was no formula for writing. So Robert and I, by the time everybody turned up for rehearsals, we’d written three or four songs. So we started rehearsing those immediately, because they were something to be getting on with," John Paul Jones recalled.

Jones brought his GX-1 on stage in 1979, for the Copenhagen warmups and the two Knebworth shows for Kashmir and In The Evening, both featuring a very gritty, sine wave-sounding synth tone.

Despite only being used on the road for three months, John Paul Jones held on to the Yamaha GX-1 until 1987, when it was sold to Keith Emerson. Emerson’s GX-1 had been stored in his barn recording studio and damaged by a rogue tractor. Jones’ GX-1 was used for parts. Emerson’s GX-1 was later sold to Italian keyboardist, Riccardo Grotto.

For more on the Yamaha GX-1 and many other instruments, check out www.ledzepgearbook.com

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

July xx, 1969 - The band play many festivals now on their third American tour
July xx, 1970 - Additional recording for Led Zeppelin III at London’s Island Studios
July 16, 1970 - Photographer Chris Welch films Led Zeppelin on his 8mm camera, some clips later used in the Whole Lotta Love promo video
July xx, 1971 - Untitled gets re-mixed in London
July 05, 1971 - A riot erupts mid-concert, forcing Led Zeppelin to stop after about 40 minutes
July xx, 1972 - After repeated bad press, Led Zeppelin hire their first publicity firm
July 20, 1973 - A last minute decision is made to film the remaining part of the tour
July xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin is filmed over the three nights for their film that will emerge as The Song Remains The Same
July xx, 1974 - After viewing their 1973 filmed performance, it is apparent critical errors were made
July xx, 1974 - Mixing for Physical Graffiti at Olympic Studios
July 05, 1975 - The band meet in Montreux to discuss adding South America and Japan to the end of their North American tour
July xx, 1976 - Bonham and Page fly to Montreux, Switzerland to check out some new sound and drum effects
July 17, 1977 - The last ever performance of Moby Dick played at the Seattle Kingdome
July 24, 1977 - The band plays its last US date at the Oakland Coliseum
July xx, 1978 - Led Zeppelin are invited to perform at Maggie Bell’s Festival Hall show
July xx, 1979 - Led Zeppelin film their rehearsal at Bray Studios
July 04, 1979 - Led Zeppelin confirm a second date at Knebworth in August 1979
July 05, 1980 - Simon Kirke joins in on drums for an encore in Munich
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