Emerson Lake and Palmer’s masterpiece, “Pictures at an Exhibition” was proof that almost anything could go with rock and roll in the early seventies. Performed live in 1971, the concert album combined arrangements from Russian composer Modest Muskorky’s 1874 classical score, which Keith Emerson had seen performed traditionally many years earlier with other related songs written by the band. Keith Emerson had seen a traditional performance of Muskorky’s peice many years earlier and became stoked to have Emerson Lake and Palmer record an adaptation of it. The album hit number 10 on the US charts and went up to number 3 in the UK.
Like many in the US, the first song I ever heard off of “Pictures at an Exhibition” was “Nutrocker”, a song combining an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite with progressive rock. It was released as a single in the United States only. The song was performed as the encore to the concert. I remember my elementary school music teacher playing “Nutrocker” for us in class one day. I was familiar with The Nutcracker Suite and was absolutely enthralled by this variation of its music.