The first ELP albums I heard were Brain Salad Surgery and Works Volume 1. I was 17 the first time I saw them in 1987, as Emerson Lake and Powell, which from then on I explored and followed the music of this band. It was extremely disappointing that they disbanded after thier 1998 tour. They were absolutely "phenominal." They never sounded better or more in synch with each other. To this day, the only equal to Kieth Emerson is Rick Wakeman. None to Carl Palmer, especially after seeing him play live.
Tarkus....I hated this album when I first bought it. I was expecting to hear something similar to Brain Salad Surgery. The interesting thing with ELP's music is the more you listen to it, the more you discover it, and the more you like it.. Tarkus is now my second favorite ELP album. There is so much going on, different sounds, different structures, different styles, it is really quite an amazing music score. There is no music quite like it. It has very heavy percussion, and if you like keyboard music, you are going to really like this, maybe not your first time listening to it, but you will discover all the different musical complexities that are going on. Lakes' singing is fitting to the music, particularly in Tarkus and Bitches Crystal. This is true progressive music. You have the Tarkus suite which is comprised of 7 pieces of music (the Battlefield was the pinnacle of the suite), An almost "ragtime" tune in Jeremy Bender, A piano and ribbon synth volatile song in Bitches Crystal, church organ in The Only Way... and more. I recommend this to any enthusiast of keyboards, percussion, or progressive rock music. Just be open minded, because this is a different world of music waiting for you to discover.