The juxtaposition of Keith Emerson’s death with Patti’s story reminds me that Keith was a frequent visitor to Salt Cay when the island was privately owned. We met him once, when he came over with his friend Colin, a croupier at one of the Paradise Island casinos. I was a fan not only of his rock classics but also his fully realized classical piano concerto, in the tradition of other lyrical British composers of the 20th century. When I told him how much I admired his concerto, he was genuinely pleased and flattered.
Would you destroy a piano to make a music video? Keith Emerson would.
We learned subsequently that he had written a song that captured the spirit and flavor of the island, also called “Salt Cay.” It was released a few years later on his album, “Honky.”
Among the cast of Emerson’s music video, we recognize one of the island caretakers (in the magenta dress, dancing with bananas) and the operatic fishing boat captain Patti mentioned (wearing a captain’s cap, characteristically chugging a bottle of rum).
John Unger Zussman is a creative and corporate storyteller and a co-founder of Retrospect.