Having had more encounters with pimps, pornographers, hoods, hookers, heavies, pop stars, rock legends, chancers, dancers, movers and shakers than most of us have had hot dinners, you might expect Lake’s autobiography to be a garrulous cavalcade of riotous, scandalous episodes.
However, throughout its pages, Lake is cast as more of a bystander, alone in a crowd rather than leading the parade. Though he sold millions of albums worldwide, Lake is frustratingly light on the creative processes animating them. Though mentioned, the frictions that lit up ELP are mostly left undiscussed in any meaningful detail. He is, however, unflinching in his criticism of the Works era and their 90s return.
Tellingly he points to mutual respect as the cornerstone of a successful group – once gone, then so too is any notion of a band. Related in simple prose, his account of what by any measure is a remarkable life seems curiously muted. Lake once said that a musician’s output is a more reliable indicator of who they are as a person, rather than trawling through interviews or books. Though containing several useful insights and, in the latter part, some poignant observations on his own mortality, reading Lucky Man, it’s hard to disagree