Song Lyric Sunday — Lucky Man

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday themes, Jim Adams has given us Fate, Fortune, and Luck. As soon as I saw these words, the song “Lucky Man” from Emerson, Lake & Palmer came to mind.

“Lucky Man” was written by Greg Lake when he was 12 years old after his mother gave him a guitar for Christmas. It was recorded by the English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the group’s 1970 self-titled debut album. When the song was initially released in 1970, it reached number 48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, number 25 in Canada, and number 14 in the Netherlands. The single was re-released in January 1973 and peaked at number 51 on the U.S. Hot 100 and number 71 in Canada.

Probably one of ELP’s most recognized songs, “Lucky Man” came to be used on Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s debut album when they needed one more song. Greg played the version he had written from childhood, but the rest of the band did not like it, or felt it would not fit. Lake then worked on it in the studio with Carl Palmer.

Lake explained, “So Carl and I, we recorded the first part together, just drums and acoustic guitar. And it sounded pretty dreadful. But then I put a bass on it and it sounded a bit better. And then I went and put some more guitars on it, and an electric guitar solo. Then I put these harmonies on, these block harmonies. And in the end it sounded pretty good, it sounded like a record.”

The end of “Lucky Man” contains one of the most famous Moog synthesizer solos in rock history. Keith Emerson had just recently gotten the device, and only decided to play on this song after hearing the track Lake and Palmer came up with and realizing it was a legitimate song.

The man featured in the song was, in the end, not so lucky. The “lucky man” had riches and acclaim and ladies by the score, but he decided to fight for his country, got shot, and died.

Here are the lyrics to “Lucky Man.”

He had white horses
And ladies by the score
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door

Ooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

White lace and feathers
They made up his bed
A gold covered mattress
On which he was laid

Ooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing

Ooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died

Ooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooh, what a lucky man he was

9 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Lucky Man

  1. newepicauthor August 8, 2021 / 6:45 am

    At least he dies a hero and people probably saw this as a protest song about the Vietnam war. Great choice Fandango and it has been way too long since I last listened to this classic.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. J.E.M. Wildfire August 8, 2021 / 10:22 am

    Thank you! This is one of my favorite songs. On a side note, Greg Lake’s autobiography, published posthumously, is also named “Lucky Man.” ❤ It's a great read.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Michael B. Fishman August 8, 2021 / 1:25 pm

    I used to really like this song! Maybe I’m not remembering correctly, but I think the radio edit of this song cut out a big chunk of the synthesizer solo because it was thought to resemble a police siren too closely and would confuse, or panic, drivers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 8, 2021 / 1:32 pm

      Interesting. I can see that happening, especially if the driver or passengers were stoned.

      Like

  4. leigha66 August 21, 2021 / 11:44 pm

    This one takes me back, been ages since I have heard it. Good choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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