Emerson Lake & Palmer Spitfire “Hardest Day”

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Thanks to guest poster Sam Stoddart for this excellent writeup and video sharing the flight of the Spitfires – great history with a great artist!


On the 18th of August, thousands of spectators gathered at Biggin Hall to watch the World War 2 Spitfires take flight once more to commemorate the 75th anniversary of what is known as the “Hardest Day”. It was a special event that honoured those who lost their lives back in 1940 in the line of service, protecting the UK from the threat of the Luftwaffe.

Spectators had the opportunity to once again watch the old aircraft shine as they took to the skies in formation and they were even able to get up close afterwards for some photo opportunities.

It was a rare opportunity for people to see a moment of historical significance and talent at play, but just a day before one flying enthusiast had the opportunity to go one step further and actually fly a Spitfire. This lucky man was none other than Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

The keyboardist has long been passionate about flying and has had a pilots license for many years now, though he notes how back in the day he would terrify his bandmates when asked if he’d like to step into the cockpit. They might have feared he’d want to do a few tricks such as barrel roles or loop-the-loops and they may have been right for all we know.

Emerson might not have been able to have his fun then, but given the opportunity to fly a Spitfire by long-term friend Elaine Fairfax, he was in no position to refuse ticking off one of his bucket list.

Fortunately this special moment wasn’t lost and the day was recorded, complete with a soundtrack of Emerson’s very own 1972 ‘Abaddon’s Bolero’. The piece shows Emerson in his element, adding layer upon layer of keyboards to create a one-man orchestra effect and perfectly accompanies the footage of the Spitfire.

Please enjoy the video below!

-Sam Stoddart


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