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Emerson, Lake & Palmer Songs - Tarkus Lyrics

Tarkus Lyrics By Emerson, Lake & Palmer Songs Album: Tarkus Year: 1971 The wall On which the prophets wrote Is cracking At the seams Upon the Instrumen

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus


Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus Lyrics and Youtube Music Videos

Album: Tarkus
Released: 1971

Tarkus Lyrics


The wall
On which the prophets wrote
Is cracking
At the seams

Upon the
Instrument's object
The sunlight
Brightly gleams

Where every man
Is torn apart
With nightmares
And with dreams

Will no one lay
The laurel wreath
When silence
Drowns the screams

Confusion
Will be my epitaph
As I crawl
This cracked and broken path
If we make it
We can all
Sit back
And laugh

But I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying
Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying
Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying

Between the iron gates of fate
The seeds of time were sown
And watered by
The deeds of those
Who know
And who are known

Knowledge is
A deadly friend
If no one
Sets the rules

The fate of all
Mankind I see
Is in
The hands of fools

The wall
On which the prophets wrote
Is cracking
At the seams

Upon the
Instrument's object
The sunlight
Brightly gleams

Where every man
Is torn apart
With nightmares
And with dreams

Will no one lay
The laurel wreath
When silence
Drowns the screams

Confusion
Will be my epitaph
As I crawl
This cracked and broken path
If we make it
We can all
Sit back
And laugh

But I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying
Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying
Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying

Crying
Crying

Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying
Yes I fear tomorrow
I'll be crying

Crying

Writer/s: GREG LAKE, IAN MCDONALD, MICHAEL REX GILES, PETER JOHN SINFIELD, ROBERT FRIPP
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Tarkus
  • This progressive epic runs 20:42 and takes up the entire first side of the album. The parts are:

    Eruption
    Stone of Years
    Iconoclast
    Mass
    Manticore
    Battlefield
    Aquatarkus
  • This song describes the story of a war machine called Tarkus (a mixture between an armadillo and a tank). This creature emerges from an egg that is beside a volcanic crater that is making an eruption. Then a cybernetic creature that looks like a futuristic station, this creature is destroyed by Tarkus' turrets. After that comes a creature called Iconoclast, that is a mixture between pterodactyl and a war airplane. This creature battles, but can't compare to Tarkus and loses the battle.

    Another creature appears named Mass (a mixture of lizard, lobster and a rocket launcher), and after a battle Mass loses the battle and Tarkus continues his bloody adventure. After three victories Tarkus faces a mythological creature called Manticore (this creature has a human face, lion's body and scorpion's tail). Tarkus faces Manticore and is stung in his eye. Manticore forces Tarkus to go back, and Manticore defeats Tarkus, whose body falls down to a river. But though Tarkus seems to be dead you can't be sure because his turrets are not damaged.
  • Greg Lake, who wrote the lyrics for this track, explains: "The initial inspiration for this record came from the music that Keith (Emerson) had written. Following on from this I wrote various songs and worked together with Keith and Carl (Palmer) as a producer to create the record you now hear. Tarkus has been the backbone performance piece for ELP and has certainly stood the test of time. It is one of the best examples of the musical genius of Keith Emerson as a composer and of the band ELP working and performing together at the very top of their game."
  • The album cover, created by the artist William Neal, shows a depiction of Tarkus. While most ELP albums were completed long before the cover art was done, in this case, it helped adhere the songs. Lake explains: "The album cover art lent a sort of visual concept to an album which didn't really have a bonding concept at all. Before the album sleeve was conceived the whole thing was just a string of various musical and lyrical concepts weaved together into one continuous arrangement."
  • Keith Emerson poured through Greek mythology looking for a name for this song, but came up empty. Inspiration struck when the word "Tarkus" popped into his head when the band was driving back from a gig. It conjured up visions of a tank, so the idea developed to make the new mythological creature an armadillo (because of its armor) with tank treads. Emerson says that the word is completely original, and the only thing he's heard close to it is "tukhus" - a Yiddish word for the rear end.
  • Always a very theatrical band, Emerson, Lake & Palmer at one point shared the stage with a model of the Tarkus creature, which would blast a foamy substance at key moments. This provided a Spinal Tap moment when during a show that Carl Palmer recalls being in Brighton, the creature was aimed in the wrong direction, and the foam went into Emerson's grand piano. "We had to stop the show and on came the roadies with the dustpans and the Hoover to clear it out," Palmer said.
  • In our interview with Carl Palmer , he said: "The greatest piece collectively as a band, which really was a blueprint for a lot of up-and-coming prog rock groups to follow, would have been 'Tarkus
  • .'
    The music in 'Tarkus' was very, very simple. It was a 10/8 rhythm, which I played to Keith, and I said, 'We could count this in 5/4, this is where the accents are.' He wrote, then, a topline that went wherever the accents were, and we had the melody. This was a fantastic piece of music, unbelievable.

    All that was wrong with 'Tarkus' was it probably wasn't as mature as a concept lyrically as what it should have been. It was just a group of songs nailed together, but the actual music itself was outstanding. It just didn't have the political overtones that something like Pink Floyd had with The Wall. It wasn't that in-depth. But the music was superior, was absolutely fantastic. We just never really carried it through far enough intellectually.

    So great album, great, great music, just didn't cap it off completely. But very proud of it."

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