• Michael Edmondson

How often do you remind yourself that life can sometimes be fortuitous?

Today’s Navigate the Chaos question is “How often do you remind yourself that life can sometimes be fortuitous?”

Fortuitous has its origins in mid 17th century: from Latin fortuitus, from forte ‘by chance,’ from fors ‘chance, luck.’

People who navigate the chaos understand that while they may have a plan, life is fortuitous and circumstances can alter their course of action.

Guitarist and singer Greg Lake was a co-founder (with guitarist Robert Fripp) of King Crimson, the influential late ‘60s progressive rock band. Lake's backstory provides a great example of how fortuitous careers can be sometimes.

After one album and one U.S. tour, King Crimson disbanded while appearing at San Francisco’s Filmore West.

On the same bill was another British progressive rock band, The Nice, with keyboardist Keith Emerson. That band was also splitting up, and so Emerson and Lake formed a band. Needing a drummer, the two had several people audition and after several weeks finally had Carl Palmer join the band.

They settled upon then name Emerson, Lake & Palmer to remove the focus on Emerson as the most famous of the three, and to ensure that they were not called the "new Nice".

With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 48 million records sold worldwide, Emerson, Lake and Palmer became one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s.

As Rolling Stone noted "ELP became one of rock's first supergroups upon forming in 1970. In fact, ELP practically defined the term. Before punk came along and took progressive rock down a peg, the trio enjoyed the kind of success that could have only happened in the Seventies, when musicians strained at the confines of two-minute singles and dance-ready beats."

The result was a stretch of albums — as well as a smattering of fluke radio hits like 1970's melancholy "Lucky Man" — that turned prog from a black-light-in-the-basement listening experience into a stadium-filling phenomenon. At their heart was Emerson, whose eternal quest for a bigger, grander sound (thanks to a bank of organs and synthesizers that grew to resemble a fortress onstage) helped make ELP one of the most accomplished and absorbing bands rock in American history.

Lake told Rolling Stone magazine in 2013 “It’s very weird, but there you go - strange things happen sometimes. Music, and the music business, is sort of very fortuitous. It’s very circumstantial.”

Amidst the break-up of two bands an entirely new one was formed. This new band would go on and make a substantial impact on the music industry and popular culture.

How often do you remind yourself that life is random and circumstances that arise out of events beyond your control can alter the path you are traveling?

#music #GregLake #RollingStone #fortuitous #serendipity #band

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