King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson is a rock band founded in Dorset, England in 1969. Although often categorised as a foundational progressive rock group, the band has incorporated diverse influences and instrumentation during its history (including jazz and folk music, classical and experimental music, psychedelic rock, hard rock and heavy metal, new wave, gamelan, electronica and drum and bass). The band has been influential on many contemporary musical artists, and has gained a large cult following despite garnering little radio or music video airplay.
The band’s lineup (centred on guitarist Robert Fripp) has persistently altered throughout its existence, with eighteen musicians and two lyricists passing through the ranks. A greater degree of stability was achieved later on in its history, with current frontman Adrian Belew having been a consistent member since 1981. Though originating in England, the band has had a mixture of English and American personnel since 1981.
The debut lineup of the band was influential, but short-lived, lasting for just over one year. Between 1970 and 1971, King Crimson was an unstable band, with many personnel changes and disjunctions between studio and live sound as the band explored elements of jazz, funk and classical chamber music. By 1972 the band had a more stable lineup and developed an improvisational sound mingling hard rock, contemporary classical music, free jazz and jazz-fusion before breaking up in 1974. The band re-formed with a new line-up in 1981 for three years (this time influenced by New Wave and gamelan music) before breaking up again for around a decade. Since reforming for the second time (in 1994), King Crimson has blended aspects of their 1980s and 1970s sound with influences from more recent musical genres such as industrial rock and grunge. The band’s efforts to blend additional elements into their music have continued into the 21st century, with more recent developments including drum and bass-styled rhythm loops and extensive use of MIDI and guitar synthesis.
In the Court of the Crimson King is the 1969 debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album reached #5 on the British charts. The album is certified gold in the United States.
The album is generally viewed as one of the strongest of the progressive rock genre, where King Crimson largely stripped away the blues-based foundations of rock music and mixed together jazz and Classical symphonic elements. In his 1997 book Rocking the Classics, critic and musicologist Edward Macan notes that In the Court of the Crimson King “may be the most influential progressive rock album ever released”. The Who’s Pete Townshend was quoted as calling the album “an uncanny masterpiece”. In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #4 in its list of “40 Cosmic Rock Albums”. The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”.
“The Court of the Crimson King” is the fifth and final track from the album. It was also released as a single. It reached #80 on the US charts, and is the band’s only charting single in the United States.
The dance of the puppets
The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun.
I walk a road, horizons change
The tournament’s begun.
The purple piper plays his tune,
The choir softly sing;
Three lullabies in an ancient tongue,
For the court of the crimson king.
The keeper of the city keys
Put shutters on the dreams.
I wait outside the pilgrim’s door
With insufficient schemes.
The black queen chants
The funeral march,
The cracked brass bells will ring;
To summon back the fire witch
To the court of the crimson king.
The gardener plants an evergreen
Whilst trampling on a flower.
I chase the wind of a prism ship
To taste the sweet and sour.
The pattern juggler lifts his hand;
The orchestra begin.
As slowly turns the grinding wheel
In the court of the crimson king.
On soft gray mornings widows cry
The wise men share a joke;
I run to grasp divining signs
To satisfy the hoax.
The yellow jester does not play
But gentle pulls the strings
And smiles as the puppets dance
In the court of the crimson king.
King Crimson, rock, band, England, progressive rock, jazz, folk music, classical, experimental music, psychedelic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, new wave, gamelan, electronica, drum and bass, Greg Lake, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto , Gavin Harrison, Michael Giles, Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield, Mel Collins, Gordon Haskell, Andy McCulloch, Boz Burrell, Ian Wallace, John Wetton, In the Court of the Crimson King, HD
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