The Court Of The Crimson King

Album: The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)
Charted: 80
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  • This is the best-known song from one of the pioneers of the progressive rock movement. It evokes imagery of a black queen, funeral march and fire witch in a medieval royal court.
  • Since this is nine minutes long, it was not released as a single, but received radio play nonetheless.
  • The turnaround on Mellotron (played by Ian McDonald) was inspired by James Brown. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Charles - Charlotte, NC, for all above
  • The British outfit mixed together jazz and classical symphonic elements for In the Court of the Crimson King, largely departing from the blues influences that rock music had been founded upon. It has been cited by many as the first ever prog-rock LP.
  • An Atlantic Records advert at the time of the album's release claimed it featured the heaviest riffs on record since Mahler's 8th Symphony. "I know it had to cost ten thousand pounds to make," The Who's Pete Townshend was quoted as saying. "I can't tell if it's worth it."

Comments: 41

  • Brad from In Bed W/your SisterIn response to Elaine from East Hartford, Ct. You are correct..If I had to pick a decade where I could only listen to music from that decade...It would surely be the 70's hands down. There is so much interesting, great music from many different genres that was just kick ass. Not talking about s--t radio air play garbage. Yes some of the long play FM stations were smoking but the radio station seemed to be dictated to as to what they could play and some sucked big. 70's were the greatest musical period in modern history. I know I was there. The 60's had some great stuff too but the technology of capturing the music was better in the 70's sadly. You can sure as hell tell the difference in 2 yrs of tech upgrades from 68 to 1970. Ear candy was everywhere in the 70's.
  • George Pope from Vancouver, CanadaIt' like Moody Blues for hard rock/acid rock fans. . . A wonderful song to have on loop in the background for any activity! Especially cogitating. . .
  • Valo from Moscow, Russia FederationReg, I disagree. What do you want, it's prog-rock! It's illogical!
  • Elaine from East Hartford, CtI do not agree with the poster that say ELP were short-lived (well, maybe to their devoted fans they WERE), but they certainly were NOT dicey! And they were not a primarily keyboard or guitar bands.

    Each member and there were only 3: Greg Lake, Carl Palmer, the drummer and Keith Emerson were ALL great musicians in their own right!
    In fact they are one of my FAVORITE bands of all time, both on their albums and in Concert also.

    I saw an AWESOME concert at the Bushnell long time ago that blew my mind. Them and Quicksilver Messenger Service have to be one of the best bands to see live.
    I've seen over 100 acts at least, probably 200 in my day and NO ONE could compare with the likes of Emerson Lake and Palmer, no one.

    It does help that their pianist studied classical music but Carl Palmer is an outstanding drummer, yet, plays in "the pocket" so to speak, and so, meshes well with the other two members of the band.

    It's sad they are not still together... Go check out Brainsalad Surgery, Still You Turn me On, C'est La Vie, Take a Pebble, Lucky Man, the whole album off Taurkus is deep & interesting, they certainly were not a "jam band", which often bores me to tears.

    Oh, and QSM, another great band out of the southwest... Who Do you Love? Fresh Air, Whatcha gonna do about Me? a supreme band to see live.

    again, sadly, another band that's not together, but in their heyday, they were TOTALLY a force to be reckoned with.

    Funny, that they have so many critics, but these musicians rocked the 70s, trust me, they did!
  • Rick from Plainwell,mich, MiI bought Court of the Crimson King--In the Wake of Posedion--King Crimson/Lizard, when they came out on vinyl,still listening to them..My 30 yr. old son likes Tool,Rage Against the Machine,etc., had him listen to King Crimson and he realized that it all pretty much started with K.C.
  • Hartmut from Darmstadt, GermanyI was once a great fan of prog Rock including Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes and others. One of my favorites was In the court of the crimson king by king crimson, and yes there are Epitph, Moonchild and The title track which are my favorites.
    I like to mention that the Keyboard player and composer of in the court.... was Ian McDonald,
    English man, who was later in New York and joined as a founding member the famous Rockgroup FOREIGNER.
    For example he played the Keys on "Cold as ice"
    Some years later, it semms, as if had to leave the group, there were some kind of troubles and problems.
    In 2001 or 2002 this guy recorded with the original drummer, the brother of the drummer on bass, giles Bros., and another very good and busy session player on saxophon and keys, Mel Collins, who for example played sax solos on many famous smash hits like "Private Dancer" Tina Turner and a lot more.
    He was also the following member of Ian McDonald with King Crimson in 1971.
    Now theses guys plus a younger guitarist recorded one more time some Songs by King Crimson inkl. In the court...

    It sounds very similar to the original.
    And also there is a life version of this certain song, from 2007, by UK Rockgroup ASIA, reunited too, with original member Carl Palmer, John Wetton, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes.
    But here you can really listen and hear that the musicians are a little bit older, sad to say...but it is a fact.

    Hartmut, Darmstadt,Germany
  • Allison from A Little Ol' Town In, MiI love this song. The first time i heard it, it sounded a lot like the moody blues. AWESOME SONG =)))))
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaThere is actually a rare Japanese single on Atlantic which splits the song into two parts. It's very rare.
  • Simon from Pittsbugh, Pathere aren't enough bands that sound like this now adays
  • Melquiades from CaliI can not believe somebody said 21th century is bad O.o, i think it is the best of the album and i also think Moonchild becomes boring toward the end with all those weird noises that go on for like 6 minutes or more, but thats just my opinion.
    Oh and btw, i think their later work is real good too, it is just different, with the jamming and all maybe not as consistent as this album, but pretty good anyway.
  • Ben from Cincinnati, Ohmoody blues were some of the pioneers of prog-rock too, don't forget.
  • Ben from Cincinnati, Ohi LOVE king crimson's first two albums. but the rest suck. bad.
  • Justin from Georgetown, Ineveryone should know about this song and love it
  • Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesThere are so many better King Crimson song than this it isn't funny. Th band went though 5 or six incarnations after Lake left. I like ELP but they were rather short lived and to say they were better than Crimson is a pretty dicey proposition. The bandsare instrumentaly very different with ELP being a keyboad band and Crimson getting all those seffects out of stringed instruments, primarily guitar. Yes was great also but progressive in a differnt way. more accessable but I wouldn't say better. Crimson is sometimes rather bizzare but they can't be surpassed for talent. They have also been consistant about evolving progressivly thoughout thier history which continues to this day, something Yes ELP, Genesis and all the other progressive bands couldn't manage. Of course Fripp is the only Original member. Bruford left Yes to join King Crimson. I thought Thrak was a bit stuck in that "Dinosaur" mode but it had some very good songs on it. Fripp is an odd guy but you have to respect the man

    Kent, Bruford and Levin are still with he band to my knowledge though Levin also still plays with Peter Gabriel. I could be wrong about Levin, he could have left recently, not sure, but I know Bruford's still with them as far as it goes, they are kind of loose and do a lot of solo stuff. Fripp did some shows with Brian Eno last year. Last time I saw them they were a five piece and sounded a bit "thick". Of couse I was freezing as it was outside in the winter LOL

  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesIn reponse to Evan, I agree about ELP, but I rank Pink Floyd and Rush as better prog-rock bands than Yes. But Yes were still good, neverthelsess
  • Lester from New York City, Ny'Epitath' is also a great cut off this album. Incredible vocal by Greg Lake. April Wine covered '21st Century Schizoid Man'.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesI'd also like to add Marillion onto that list - since Steve Hogarth took over the reins, they have released some pretty good prog-rock material of their own
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesRadiohead are OK as far they go, but no one tops the early prog-rock pioneers like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Rush
  • Kris from Baton Rouge, LaWhile I mostly agree that music today consists of the 3-chord monotony variety and songs like this one don't get created anymore, I do think some bands aspire to the same heights. There are Progressive Rock bands out there still doing interesting things with music. Although it's been heavily influenced by the age of technology, Radiohead still has merit as good Progressive Rock in my book.
  • Winston from Lost Angels, CaFor Prog Rockers wishing for the good old days, Buy De-Loused in the Crematorium by Mars Volta. For snatches of non-4/4 meters in modern music, check out "Pushing Forward Back" by Temple of the Dog (its in 7/8. Really-really), and stuff on Soundgarden's classic SuperUnknown. Sting's "Brought to My Senses " from the album Mercury Rising, is in 5/4 and "I Hung My Head," from the same album, is in 7/8. Odd-meter junkies can also rejoice in Tool's "Schism," in which Manyard sings in 4/4 while the band plays in 3/4. They, of course, toured with King Crimson in 2003.
  • Reg from Kemptville, OnFor me this album has two disapointments:
    1. "21st Century Schizoid Man" and
    2. The ending of "Court of the Crimson King" -- it's a lot of noise that doesn't suite the rest of the song.
    That said, however, I've always loved "Court..." and all that "noodling" on "Moonchild" is great Listening music.
    Reg, Kemptville, ON
  • T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsDoes anybody have a clue about what the bands name means?
  • Alex from Fort Mill, ScEvery day i wake up feeling deppressed knowing I'm living in the 21st century and will never experience the 60s & 70s. Today's music is all image and no talent. The 3 chord hits and rap of today are just noise polution compared to the Prog-rock movement. There is a quote by Bill Bruford (Left YES for KC) that said, "King Crimson was one of the only gigs for a rock drummer where you could play in 17/16 and still stay in decent hotels." Nowadays if you play in any key other than 4/4 you would be sent to the London Philharmonic. No matter how proffesionally trained you are in the guitar doesnt mean you cant play good old fashioned rock n' roll. I went to buy this album today but because it has only 5 tracks it wont sell to today's youth (which Im forced to be part of) so Im forced to download it off limewire. The only prog-rock band that is familiar by the MTV gen. is Pink Floyd, and only because of the incredibly popular and famous single "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II". Im in a band with ppl. who love this rock but we have no chance to make it big. Some prog-rock bands today do make it today ex. Dream Theatre but never have as much popularity as AFI and the like.
    All well, such is life.
    Peace Out.
  • Sean from Colorado Springs, CoI love the bass on this record.. especially 21st Century Schizoid Man.
  • Mike from Williamsburg, VaAlfred: the name of that song is "the great deceiver"
  • Evan from Flower Mound, TxI agree with kel, this website needs more of the third greatest prog-rock band of alltime, only trailing Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and Yes
  • Alfred from Sidmouth, CoWhat was the song called?
    The one which goes..
    Cigaret, icecream????
  • Bill from Philadelphia, PaAndrew - thank MTV and CNN for the "short attention span" ditties that pass as popular music. Many of today's youth can't pay attention beyond 5 minutes, let alone inprovise musically beyond that frame. Tha "art rock" of the 70's was a wonderful experience, which may never again be seen. I do miss the mellotron, syntesizer and creative drumming.
    Gus - it's good even without the acid.
  • Gus from Wilmington, Dethis sure is one amazing song. talk about a perfect way of ending an album and doing it with style. crimson is probably the smartest rock band along with zappa to have ever walked the earth. this is not a rock album, this is not even an "album", it is a piece of art. regarding the moonchild comment that is not 9 minutes of fooling around, moonchild is part of a psychological album and the song serves a purpose. it comes before "in the court.." and it is both examining dreams and also relating it to the alchemic, jungian theme of the album about mankind. they are musically telling you something that only your subcounsious can understand. try taking lsd and listening to it while readin blake or freud or jung and you will understand crimson and what the whole album meant. any way like i said this is a great album and i hope those of you who have never heard it get a chance to cause like i said it isn't just some music, it is art.
  • Andrew from TorontoThis is a masterpiece of its time and no band these days comes close to writing a song like this,these days if u use more than 3 chords and don,t repeat the chorus 50 times before the end nobody will listen.I know I am generalizing but this song and band came out at a time when artistic freedom was encouraged.There are many good bands and songs now but the restrictions and rules have changed in this fad filled,fickle fast food,music etc.corporate world so it is just a sign of the times as is King Crimson.Brilliant album with the exception of the noodling for 9 odd minutes on Moonchild.
  • Phil from San Jose, CaKing Crimson once toured with The Band, talk about two great bands, yet so dam different!
    Greg Lake awesome vocals, King Crimson paved the way for YES, Genesis, ELP and the likes.
  • Kel from Bucksport, MeI wouldn't exactly call this their "Most Famous Song" Probably most played, but not most famous. I'd give that title to 21st Century Schizoid Man
  • Tim from Kilkenny, IrelandDoves - a Mancunian band; the greatest band on earth - re-interpreted "Moonchild" as "M62 Song." It's sublime. They actually recorded it under a flyover on the . . . er . . . M62.
  • John from Barnsley, EnglandGreat drums just before the end.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaThe only song from this album that ever gets played in concert these days is "21st Century Schizoid Man", and even then you can't count on it.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaThese days, Crimson probably still consists of Fripp, Trey Gunn, Adrian Belew, and Pat Mastelotto. What was once a quintessentially an English band now is 3/4 American.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, Ca"Moonchild" comes on right before "Court". It consists of about 3 minutes of gentle ballad followed by about 9 minutes of poorly recorded aimless noodling. Fripp has always been a big believer in improvisational playing, but this was an early warning of what happens when it goes terribly wrong.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaKing Crimson's most famous song, and ironically one of only two in the band's entire existence that Fripp did not co-write. This was essentially Ian McDonald's masterpiece, and when he left the band following their first album there was fear that the band would implode. However, they are still playing today.
  • Laurence Crook from Cirencester, EnglandWhat a song. Buy the album.
  • Eileen from Mauricetown, NjFound the lyrics to Moonchild

    Call her moonchild
    Dancing in the shallows of a river
    Lovely moonchild
    Dreaming in the shadow
    of the willow.

    Talking to the trees of the
    cobweb strange
    Sleeping on the steps of a fountain
    Waving silver wands to the
    night-birds song
    Waiting for the sun on the mountain.

    She's a moonchild
    Gathering the flowers in a garden.
    Lovely moonchild
    Drifting on the echoes of the hours.

    Sailing on the wind
    in a milk white gown
    Dropping circle stones on a sun dial
    Playing hide and seek
    with the ghosts of dawn
    Waiting for a smile from a sun child.
  • Eileen from Mauricetown, NjOne of the most haunting songs on this album was "Moonchild." The album cover was a true work of art. Does anyone know where the band is today?
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