The Nice

The Nice was one of the first art-rock groups to experiment with classical forms, fusion, and it was also a vehicle for Keith Emerson’s keyboard talents. Emerson plundered Sibelius, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky in order to create extended rock instrumentals. P.P., a British soul singer, started the group as a backing band. Arnold featured guitarist David O’List and drummer Brian “Blinkyā€¯ Davison. Bassist Lee Jackson was also part of the group. The group broke up from Arnold just two months later and renamed themselves the Nice. They released “The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack,” their debut single in 1968. The Nice quickly gained a reputation for being a theatrical, exciting live band. Emerson, dressed in gold lame and throwing knives into his Hammond organ to make strange sounds, was the star of the Nice. He also performed onstage masturbation. Emerson’s antics caused controversy when Ars Longa Vita Brvis featured a cover Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story song, “America”. It was performed by The Nice at the Royal Albert Hall, while they burned an American flag. Bernstein attempted to block the song’s publication in the U.S. Emerson had become the star of the group and O’List, who was fed up, had left the group to join Roxy Music. Five Bridges Suite and Nice were big hits in Britain. However, the group did not succeed in America. Emerson, then touring with King Crimson in 1969, met Greg Lake on a U.S. Tour and ended up dissolving the Nice due to its failure in 1970. He, Lake, and drummer Carl Palmer created the popular Emerson, Lake and Palmer, expanding on Emerson’s ideas with the Nice. After a few unsuccessful stints with other groups, the remaining Nice members eventually left. From discogs

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