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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


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December 16, 1968 - Zep plays Bath Pavilion for a mere £75.
December 26, 1968 - First American concert at the Coliseum in Denver, CO
December xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are reported to have sold 5 million dollars worth of albums in the US
December 11, 1969 - Led Zeppelin are presented gold and platinum discs for their first two albums
December xx, 1970 - The band enters Island Studios to begin work on the fourth album
December xx, 1971 - The band plays a few low-key shows back in England
December 23, 1972 - The band break for Christmas holiday after a London gig
December xx, 1973 - John Paul Jones works on studio productions for Madeline Bell
December xx, 1973 - Joe Massot films Jimmy Page’s fantasy sequence at Loch Ness
December 19, 1974 - John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page jam with Bad Company at the Rainbow Theater
December 10, 1975 - Led Zeppelin play a 45-minute show with Norman Hale at Behan’s in Jersey
December xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin rehearses for the 1977 tour
December 25, 1976 - It’s announced that Plant and Bonham will reunite with the Band of Joy for three shows in the new year
December xx, 1977 - The band minus Robert gather to discuss Led Zeppelin’s future plans
December xx, 1978 - The new album is completed quickly at Polar Studios and mixed at Jimmy’s Plumpton Studio
December xx, 1979 - John Bonham considers joining Paul McCartney’s Wings
December 29, 1979 - The band minus Jimmy Page attend the Paul McCartney And Wings Kampuchea befefit show
December 04, 1980 - Led Zeppelin issue the following statement not to carry on as a band: "We wish it to be known, that the loss of our dear friend and the deep respect we have for his family, together with the deep sense of harmony felt by ourselves and our manager have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were."
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