A Bit Like You And Me Radio

May 27, 2013

The Nice - Flower King of Flies (1967)

When American soul singer P.P. Arnold wanted to replace her backing band, The Blue Jays, on her 1967 tour, her driver suggested Keith Emerson as a man who could get a new group together for her. After approaching Emerson with the idea, he accepted under the condition that he and his soon-to-be band would also be able to open for her with their very own set. Arnold’s manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, saw this as getting two bands for the price of one and quickly agreed. The first member that Emerson recruited was Lee Jackson, whom Emerson had previously played with in a band called Gary Farr and the T-Bones. Rounding out the band were Ian Hague and David O’List. Quickly, the band began to achieve a following and Oldham offered them a contract on their own. Hague, who had no interest in their progressive rock sound, was replaced by Brian Davison. After the band’s first album, O’List began to become less and less reliable after beginning to use LSD, which he had first been exposed to by David Crosby, who had spiked his drink. Eventually, O’List was fired and the remaining three members continued as a trio. They played their last concert on March 30, 1970 in Berlin, Germany. Frustrated with their lack of success, the band broke up. Keith Emerson soon continued on in the successful supergroup, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

This song was written by band members Keith Emerson and Lee Jackson. It was the opening track to the band’s debut album, The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack. The title character, Emerlist Davjack, was actually a play on words referencing each of the members’ names: Emerson, O’List, Davison, and Jackson. The album is widely considered to be one of the first examples of progressive rock, having been released nearly three years before that genre became popular.

album art

The Nice - Flower King of Flies (1967)

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Lyrics:

On a cloud by Saffron lies
The Flower King of Flies
And the children all in white
Have gathered here tonight

Let the dance of love begin
Let the temple maidens sing
A song that’s sung in time
To a gong and bells, sublime

The Flower King of Flies
The Flower King of Flies

The Flower King of Flies
The Flower King of Flies

Lanterns from Cathay
Mark the ending of the day
And the night’s cut down to size
By the Flower King of Flies

The sun has shone all day
And Saffron has played
The king from on his cloud
Spread the words of love around

The Flower King of Flies
The Flower King of Flies
The Flower King of Flies
The Flower King of Flies

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