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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

May 31, 1948 - John Henry Bonham was born at Redditch, Worchestershire
May xx, 1969 - The band’s debut album enters the US Top 10
May xx, 1969 - Recording sessions for Led Zeppelin II begin
May xx, 1970 - The band works on new material at Bron-Y-Aur
May 03, 1971 - Richard Cole jams on Whole Lotta Love playing congas
May xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy recording sessions on location at Stargroves and Olympic studios
May 27, 1972 - Warm-up gigs kick off in Holland for an upcoming American tour
May 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin gross nearly $250,000 for their performance in Atlanta, GA
May 05, 1973 - 56,800 attend the second show of the 1973 US tour at Tampa. This sets a record for the largest attendance for a one-act performance, previously held by the Beatlesfor their Shea Stadium show in 1965
May 10, 1974 - Swan Song Records is officially launched
May 11, 1974 - Led Zeppelin attend an Elvis concert and are thrilled when Elvis announces that Led Zeppelin is in the building
May 10, 1975 - Showco ships their PA system and video screens for the Earls Court shows from Dallas to London
May 23, 1976 - Page and Plant join Bad Company onstage at the LA Forum
May 21, 1977 - The Houston Summit claims $500,000 in damages to their venue caused by rowdy fans
May xx, 1978 - The band reunite at Clearwater Castle to rehearse
May 22, 1979 - It is officially announce that Led Zeppelin will headline at the Knebworth Festival in August
May 15, 1980 - After many revisions the European tour dates are finalized and the band is scheduled to open in Germany
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