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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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