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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 June 2004
This compilation is well put together, containing most of the high points. As an introduction to the band it is exellent and will provide anyone wanting to explore the back catologue with an idea of where they should head first. I'd start with Tarkus and Brain Salad Surgery.
For those existing fans this works well as CD to carry around with you - great for the car. The highpoint is Tarkus - which sounds different to me - perhaps some re-mastering has been done.
Based on the popularity of the band in the 70's there has to be a third group of fans that never explored ELP on CD - for them this is a must.
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on 21 January 2005
It's 30 Years since I saw ELP live. That was a while after I'd become addicted to Nice's 'Five Bridges'.
The vinyl ELP albums wore out some time ago - lots of scratches and crackles. But I recently played 'Welcome back My Friends' to my violin - orchestra playing teenage daughters and they were impressed with the classical compositions that turned into rock organ music.
Imagine my pleasure when I discovered and bought this CD collection on Amazon and was able to play all my favourites of 30 years ago.
My kids are now fanatical about ELP and impress their friends about their 'cool' old man, who they have to tell to turn the noise down!
This album is great if you are hearing ELP for the first time or, like me the thousandth time. ELP were great live - but on my iPOD I can relive my misspent youth.
Like a vintage wine, ELP have improved with age. In this case - its mine! 16 or 60 - just buy it and enjoy!
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on 1 January 2012
To those among us familiar with progressive rock, the names Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer will be all too familiar. Their unique blend of masterful lyricism, exceptional synth and powerful composition earned them a place among the giants of prog rock as being one of the genre's biggest trailblazers. ELP was a trilogy of prog talent formed by Messrs Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1970. Their eponymous debut album released in the same year earned them international attention and gave them the momentum needed to see them rise to international fame, filling stadiums and gaining attention - both positive and negative. While some described their revolutionary new style of symphonic rock as "pretentious" others today see them as one of the most revolutionary forces in 70s prog rock.

ELP gained recognition for their classically-inspired pieces, notably "Jerusalem", "Fanfare for the Common Man" and "Nutrocker". These pieces perfectly encapsulate the band's method of removing the blues origins of rock, and replacing them with more classical backgrounds, thus creating a whole new sound and style of music which was so short-sightedly and superfluously panned by a handful of "critics". Because ELP's back catalogue of musical achievements is so difficult to sum up, The Ultimate Collection 2CD package is one which does well to include the high points and most famous songs from the band's history. By condensing the band's past onto two CDs of material, some songs are inevitably overlooked. But for the casual listener or any greenhorn to the progressive or symphonic rock genre, this compilation offers a chance to gauge the sound and feel of ELP's music and gives a convenient break-down of the band's most notable musical achievements.

It's easy for a devotee of the genre to recommend this CD, simply because of the momentous presence which ELP maintains on the international prog rock stage. To any aficionado, the reasons for purchasing this CD are all too obvious to outline. Quite bluntly, Emerson, Lake and Palmer were and remain three of the genre's most potent and skilled supremoes. But for the full experience, one simply cannot make do with two CDs and should purchase the whole collection simply in order to comprehend the scale, talent and influence of one of progressive rock's most influential trinities.
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on 3 September 2009
As a fan of ELP going back to the early seventies, I thought I had to have this CD. It contains the very best of ELP and certainly brings back the old memories. Tracks are from very early stuff right the way through, and is still as fresh today as it was when first released. Even my children (early twenties) listen to it and accept that music then is far superior to most of that produced today. Fully recommended
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on 11 June 2010
During the early 1970s there were a considerable of UK artists who, for want of a better description, are known as progressive rock.
The more odvious being Yes, Genesis, King Crimson etc.
ELP easily make the grade with their classically influenced rock and skillful acoustic rock songs.
I don't go for all their work, but mostly enjoy Fanfare For The Common Man, I Believe In Father Christmas (Greg Lake) and, to top the lot, Jerusalem.
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on 31 December 2009
Wow what a cd! I have to say it wasn't at all what I expected. I have a Nice album on vinyl featuring Keith Emmerson on keys, but that is a bit rough and earthy particularly the vocals, and has quite a jazz feel to it, where this is a lot more sophisticated but well engineered though, just like the Nice album. They play a massive variety of material, so if you are looking for an extension to The Nice with similar sounding renditions you will be disappoiinted. Greg Lake gives a whole new influence to the repertoire which makes for very interesting listening. There is some studio stuff and some live music. I particularly enjoy live music if it is well mastered, and this is one of the best.
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on 22 February 2013
good cross section of the mighty ELP, they churned out some great stuff still played today, better then some of the crap thats manufactured today thats for sure
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on 15 August 2006
I had a live album (1993 Royal Albert Hall) and hated it. Couldn't find the songs in amongst the endless sonic waffle.

A year or so later I came across this best of in a supermarket. Hated the band, but I had a kinky feeling that I might get a genuine transgressive thrill from buying and then listening to it. So I took a chance and farted my money away.

It was good.

There was a lot more power, more muscle, and a brighter sound to it. The studio recordings sounded much more pleasant. "Tiger In The Spotlight" (in comparison to the version on Works Live) in particular sounded better.

I also practised patience with it. I accepted that it was noise/music for its own sake, and that the lyrics didn't really tell much of a story. With a few listens the extended pieces started to sound more structured. And in time I found the songs within. Now they sound like proper songs. "Knife Edge", "Pirates" etc are great songs that you have to work to enjoy. And it's worth the battle in the end. There's also some easy to digest semi-accoustic tracks like "From the Beginning" to help you through the discs.

Give it a chance and you might find lots to enjoy. And because it's so obtuse you get a feeling of achievement when you do start to like it. After all, not everyone can say they listen to ELP, and not make it sound like they're taking the piss. Be one of them.

Even the live album sounds okay now.

Though word of warning: the studio albums are too inconsistent to be much fun.
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on 7 June 2008
Thanks to my elder brother playing Tarkus non stop in the early 70's, my love for ELP began before I reached my teens. This compilation is brilliant not only as a memory jogger but as an introduction to the whole "prog rock" thing, of which ELP were probably the best exponents. I still think that Greg Lakes' " turn me on" is one of the best ballads ever written (apart from the "ladder")Tarkus is "prog" at its "story-telling" best and that ELP still have a very special place in my heart. If you have heard of them and were wondering what all the fuss was about, do yourself a favour and buy this album!
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on 5 February 2011
This is an excellent colection of ELPs finest,I had most of these tracks on various albums in the seventies,so turn down the lights and select 11 on the volume control.
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