Weekend Musical Break: King Crimson

Yes may lie at the heart of the Progressive Rock movement, with their complex arrangements and symphonic sound. They are probably the core Progressive band that has the most songs in radio rotation today. But less well-known, and far less frequently heard, is the act that is the bedrock of Prog’s other half, the experimental and avante-garde.

1969’s In the Court of the Crimson King was deeply influential to the Prog movement, and its effects can still be felt in contemporary successors like Muse, the Flower Kings and Porcupine Tree. It was King Crimson’s first album, and it’s probably their most accessible. The title track, which you’ll see below, is still heard occasionally on the abomination that is corporate radio, much less frequently than the band’s lone other entry on Classic Rock stations, ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, which has seen numerous covers.

King Crimson is not representative of the experimental side of Progressive Rock; in five decades, it has defined it, and with its fusion of rock, symphonic sound and improvisation, set the stage for other avante-garde (and even weirder, in some cases,) acts.

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2 responses to “Weekend Musical Break: King Crimson

  1. Hmmm…one of the few progressive acts I never got into.

    Not sure why.

    I started Prog rock in 1970 with Genesis – Trespass
    And then Nursery Cryme after that.
    Then moved on to Glam….

    But, of all of the bands of that time..Crimson never got me..yet, the individual members did (Belew and Fripp for example…lol)

    Thanks for these memories…cheers to ya!

  2. Favorite Crimson album: Discipline

    They grabbed it from me.
    Took it away from me.
    Turned it on.
    And it said, “He held a gun in his hand. This is a dangerous place.”

    King Crimson is consistently good. I never have to worry, as I have to with Yes, if I’m going to like it. The music is always tight, focused, never meanders or wanders for no reason. Robert Fripp understands that music is more important than musicianship — not that he is any slouch there. But the music itself is always frontmost.

    Which is unusual for prog bands. Often times bands lose themselves in making technically difficult music which never connects.