ELP Rivalry Nearly Killed Yes
Greg Lake has recalled how the friendly rivalry between ELP and Yes led to Chris Squire’s band making a near-fatal mistake in the 1970s.
Squire, who once shared a London flat with Lake, told him a story involving an attempt to put the Yes logo on the exterior of a private jet during a US tour.
Speaking during a regular Q&A session on his current Songs of a Lifetime tour, Lake tells the audience: “People always think Yes and ELP were at each others’ throats, but it’s not true. We had a friendly rivalry. They used to call us Henderson, Snake and Charmer – and we used to call them Maybe.
“This was in the day we used to fly by private jets. Yes wanted a private jet, and we were competing with the same charter companies. Yes insisted on having their name on the side of the jet.
“One day they turn up at the airport and on the fuselage there’s ‘Yes’, so they’re happy about that. They get on and it takes off. It gets up to altitude – and all of a sudden there’s a slurping sound then a pop, and the plane goes from 500 miles an hour to 250 miles an hour in a second.
“What’s happened is, to put ‘Yes’ on the fuselage they’d done it with these huge stickers. When they got up to altitude the sticker ripped off and flew back into the jet.
“Now they had one sticker, and one engine left. Can you imagine? All you’re waiting for is ‘schloop’ – and you’re gone. As it happens they landed okay and all was well.”
Greg Lake Songs of a Lifetime UK tour
November 12 & 13: Pocklington Arts Centre, Pocklington, England
November 15: The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland
November 17: Lomond Auditorium, Glasgow, Scotland
November 18: Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle, England
November 19: Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, England
November 20: Philharmonic, Liverpool, England
November 22: Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England
November 23: G Live, Guildford, England
November 24: Guildhall, Southampton, England
November 25: O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London,