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Palmer, Carl (20th March 1950-Present)

He is a rock drummer, percussionist and composer born Carl Frederick Kendall Palmer in Handsworth, Birmingham, England to a musical family where his father was a guitarist, drummer, singer and dancer, his mother was a multi-instrumentalist, his grandfather was a drummer and his mother was a violinist.

He began by learning the violin but moved his interest to the drums from a young age when he was taking interest and influence from drummers such as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.  When he was 11 years old he got a drum kit for his birthday and studied drums for the next three years with a local performer.  When he was 14 he joined The Mecca Dance Band and the next year became a member of King Bees who later evolved into The Craig and released the single “I Must Be Mad”.  At the same time he performed on a session for a single release by the The Chants.

By the time he was 16 he was becoming noticed as a drummer and joined up with Chris Farlow & The Thunderbirds who released the single “My Way of Giving” and were produced by Mick Jagger.

In 1968 he became the replacement for the drummer Drachen Theaker in The Crazy World of Arthur Brown after they had found success with their hit song “Fire”.  He remained with them for no more than a year when during their US tour he abandoned them and returned to the UK with the organist, Vincent Crane.

He and Carl put together the group Atomic Rooster but the time he spent with this new band was also brief although performing with them on their debut self-titled album released in 1970.

That same year he became acquainted with Keith Emersen and Greg Lake and realising they could work well together then formed the trio Emerson, Lake and Palmer, who became familiarly known as ELP.  This was the best thing he could have done as their unique sound which encompassed a wide range of music genres brought them tremendous success.  Their debut album which was self-titled found them success from the start when it reached No. 4 in the UK album chart and No. 18 in the US.  It also produced the single “Lucky Man” which reached No. 48 in the US Billboard 100.

The following year, in 1971 the released Tarkus which would be their first and only No. 1 album in the UK as well as reaching No. 9 in the US.  That same year they released the live album Pictures at an Exhibition which brought them a No. 3 in the UK and No. 10 in the US.

Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery were released in 1972 and 1973 respectively, both of which reached the Top 10 in the UK album chart and the Top 20 in the US.  Many more live and studio albums were released over the next few years and in 1977 they saw their first and only British singles chart success with “Fanfare for the Common Man” which is still heard regularly on the radio and TV today.

In 1979 they decided to go their own separate ways both to date have released 17 live albums, 9 studio albums, 13 compilations and 13 singles.

In 1980 Carl formed his band PM and released the album Carl Palmer’s 1:PM.  The band did not continue following the lack of success of this recording.

During 1981 he became a member of the progressive British rock supergroup Asia who released their debut self-titled album in 1982 which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and No. 11 in the UK.  The single “Heat of the Moment”, which was the first single release from it, shot them to the top of the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks charts in the US with and further No.4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 although achieving a lesser hit in the UK where it reached just No. 46.  They also received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist and Billboard named it the Album of the Year   Continuing to perform with them throughout the years he rejoined them after their hiatus from the mid 1980s to early 1990s and remained with them until 1992 when he left to reform Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

In 1989 he had also got back together with Keith Emerson as well as the bass guitarist and singer Robert Berry and performed with the trio known as 3.  They released their only album The Power of Three in 1989 before disbanding that same year.

In 1991 he released his own double album Do Ya Wanna Play which included his “Concerto for Percussion”.

The re-united ELP performed several concerts over the next few years as well as releasing the 1992 box set Black Moon, In the Hot Seat, two further studio albums and several DVDs.  They only lasted until 1998 when there was a rift with Greg Lake and he left the band.

In 1998, once ELP had gone their separate ways again, he joined back up with John Wetton of Asia and performed in the band Qango who released their Live in the Hood in 2000.

Since around that time he embarked on a tour with his The Carl Palmer Band, who he still tours with, and has subsequently six albums that came out annually from 2001 to 2004 and then one in 2006 and one in 2010.  These are Anthology, A World With Bob Ross The Black Cat Demands the Unknown, Working Live – Volume 1, Working Live Volume 2, In Concert: Carl Palmer Plays the Music of ELP and Working Live – Volume 3.

He rejoined the original members of Asia in 2006 and is still performing with them to date.  The group has released many albums and singles but none have achieved the same success of their first release.

In 2010 ELP got together for a one-off concert as headliners of the High Voltage Festival in London and a double live album has since been released.

Performing as a guest artist on recordings or having his compositions performed by other artists, his work can be heard on Progression by Jon Anderson, Gold by Roger Daltrey and Hammer It Out by Keith Emerson, Dizzy’s World by the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, From the Beginning: Retrospective by Greg Lake, Five Miles Out by Mike Oldfield, Rockford Files by Mike Post, Extended Versions by Ringo Starr, Live at the Marquee by Sweet, King Biscuit Flower Hour by Triumph and The Anthology by John Wetton.

In the field of musical education Carol has held a series of drum clinics and master classes in the UK, Europe and the US.

He has been listed in the Top 10 of the 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine and was one of the first drummers to be recognised by Modern Drummer Magazine when they inducted him into their Hall of Fame.