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King Crimson — Epitaph
Album: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Avg rating:
8.1

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1875









Released: 1969
Length: 8:29
Plays (last 30 days): 1
The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams
Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
When silence drowns the screams

Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back and laugh
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying

Between the iron gates of fate
The seeds of time were sown
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known
Knowledge is a deadly friend
If no one sets the rules
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools

The wall on which the prophets wrote
Is cracking at the seams
Upon the instruments of death
The sunlight brightly gleams
When every man is torn apart
With nightmares and with dreams
Will no one lay the laurel wreath
When silence drowns the screams

Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back and laugh
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Crying
Crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I'll be crying
Crying
Comments (382)add comment
When this album came out the war in Vietnam was raging, people were marching, cities were burning, Nixon was in the Whitehouse. 

This line was striking: 

"The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools"

Today the war in Ukraine is raging, the planet is burning, people are marching, Putin is in the Kremlin. Trump is looming. 

The fate of mankind is again (still) in the hands of fools. 
 Harry_Tuttle_99 wrote:

This one goes to Eleven.




And beyond!
 nicknt wrote:

When mellotron became a masterpiece. Timeless.




YES! I Agree!  The Moody Blues also made great use of the Mellotron.
This one goes to eleven.


Imkirok wrote:


   Timely, but unfortunately more true now than ever.

 


phlattop wrote:



You could probably make that statement for a large chunk of human history.


For different reasons, yes.
When mellotron became a masterpiece. Timeless.
 Imkirok wrote:



Timely, but unfortunately more true now than ever.



You could probably make that statement for a large chunk of human history.
 GTT wrote:


GODLIKE!!! ICONIC!!!



I'd been noticing for a while that these two write very similar comments (a lot of exclamation points and capital letters), and this exchange made me even more curious, so I decided to "investigate" to see if they are the same person. 

First, I looked at their general rating patterns:

#             JJ     EM (by %)
4              0      2
5              6      9
6            55    45
7            25    25
8             0      1
9             0      0
10         14    18

(I didn't include rating of less than 4 because neither really rate songs less than that. )

There are a few small differences, but it's clearly the same general pattern.

Next, I looked at the ratings of individual songs, and they have the exact same ratings for almost all of the songs I've seen them rate, and that includes ratings that aren't average, such as a 10 for Burning Down The House by Tom Jones & The Cardigans (average rating of 6.3). They aren't completely the same (joejennings rated Alone Again Or by Love a 10 while eileenomurphy rated it a 7), but they're almost the same, and you'd expect some variation in opinion at different times. 

(Also, looking through joejennings' comments, he agrees with eileenomurphy 20+ times, and eileenomurphy agrees with joejennings a similar amount. )

So, I think they are the same person talking to him or herself. Good taste in music, either way.

Son of GTT



Sorry Zippy, close but no cigar!  We knew each other in college & had similar musical tastes.  We both went on to have long careers in live audio production, (mostly music), doing live shows & remotes for local PBS & NPR stations. We are both retired & still keep in touch!
 deniseperry wrote:

Moody Blues Knights in White Satin - 1967. King Crimson Epitaph - 1969.


Applausi from Camaleonti (very similar to White Satin) released in 1968 in Italy, became a big hit back then. Who knows, perhaps that inspired Epitaph!

 bviner wrote:

Awesome, but how about some next gen stuff?  King Crimson's Discipline is an adventurous, experimental and ground-breaking collection from one of rock's truly singular bands.  



THRAK!!!!
Awesome, but how about some next gen stuff?  King Crimson's Discipline is an adventurous, experimental and ground-breaking collection from one of rock's truly singular bands.  
This one goes to Eleven.
 nomnol wrote:
Only on RP. Go figure. This is an absolutely fabulous album.  
That is illogical captain. The word 'absolutely' is superfluous.


Going to California followed by Epitaph, I am in my special place! Just need some nice sativa now!
 jagdriver wrote:
How prophetic that they had Obama and Putin in mind as they penned these lyrics.

(Wait! Who else am I leaving out?) 
 
How prophetic of you ! 

Seven years later, same teams (Obama - Biden / Putin), same place.

History is repeating itself a little too frequently lately.
GODLIKE!!!  ICONIC!!!
 eileenomurphy wrote:

GREAT!! ICONIC!!




I AGREE!!
 deniseperry wrote:

This is the Moody Blues (Knights in White Satin). Which came first?




Moody Blues! And, both used the Mellotron keyboard extensively to get that "orchestral sound"!  Google: Melloton, it is very interesting. 
 Proclivities wrote:

Well, in 1969 Nixon was US President, Brezhnev was the Premier of the USSR, and Harold Wilson was the British PM. Maybe the lyricist, Peter Sinfield, was thinking of those three fun-loving guys - or more likely: no one in particular.



Very true!!! And a very "well thought-out" statement!!!
 jagdriver wrote:

How prophetic that they had Obama and Putin in mind as they penned these lyrics.

(Wait! Who else am I leaving out?) 


Well, in 1969 Nixon was US President, Brezhnev was the Premier of the USSR, and Harold Wilson was the British PM. Maybe the lyricist, Peter Sinfield, was thinking of those three fun-loving guys - or more likely: no one in particular.
 jeff_nnnn wrote:



For me, it's "The fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools."



Timely, but unfortunately more true now than ever.
 jsd52756 wrote:

Greg Lake was 22 when this was done.  Miss him and all he gave to us.  



Moody Blues Knights in White Satin - 1967. King Crimson Epitaph - 1969.
This is the Moody Blues (Knights in White Satin). Which came first?
 nomnol wrote:
Only on RP. Go figure. This is an absolutely fabulous album. 



Rock On! 
 cloudymcloudface wrote:


Confusion is my epitaph, that lyric is in my head a lot!!



For me, it's "The fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools."
If this doesn't give you chicken skin (aka goose bumps), check your pulse!
GREAT!! ICONIC!!
and the album cover...oh my
just the album title is freakin cool
 justin4kick wrote:


It might be the mellotron. An  instrument used by the MB and KC and so many more at the time.



TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!
Incredible LP, so much so that I recently bought myself a new copy to replace the one I wore out finally. 
English prog rock at its very worst - and that's saying something. 
Mellotrontastic!
Timeless. 
Saw King Crimson live at the original Massey Hall in Toronto in the early 70's. Incredible performance in a fabulous setting. While friends were listening to Donny Osmond, I was a confirmed KC fan. Thanks Radio Paradise for taking me back..
When I was 10, 11 & 12 years old, I frequently found myself facing that unforgettable cover illustration mounted on the walls flanking the escalators descending into subterranean tube stations in London where I lived back then.

There was no lettering - just that shocking facial image. 

I started listening to their albums 6+ years later....
This is a great song. The Greg Lake Vocals are wonderful.
 helgigermany wrote:
I know the lyrics 50 years later. This music  lives deep in my soul. 
 

Confusion is my epitaph, that lyric is in my head a lot!!
I know the lyrics 50 years later. This music  lives deep in my soul. 
 justin4kick wrote:


It might be the mellotron. An  instrument used by the MB and KC and so many more at the time.

 
Wonder if the T-shirt offer is still good? ;-)
One of the best prog songs ever with incredibly actual lyrics. 
 justin4kick wrote:


It might be the mellotron. An  instrument used by the MB and KC and so many more at the time.

 
Yep
 iam_overlord wrote:
Sounds a little like the Moody Blues. Is this just a coincidence or is there something I don't know?
 

It might be the mellotron. An  instrument used by the MB and KC and so many more at the time.

Greg Lake was 22 when this was done.  Miss him and all he gave to us.  
 pollyh wrote:
Ah, Greg Lake. Such a good time for music.
 
Really miss him....
Timeless. Epic. Godlike.
Only on RP. Go figure. This is an absolutely fabulous album. 
excellent, more of this.
 xnavy wrote:
I was PSDing and found KC. The brakes went on - When most people were listening Led Zep and The Who - My friends and I was sitting around with a pipe full of hash and listening to KC - THANK YOU

 
Yep, I was just thinking about hash and KC. 
To me 7 - Quite Likeable
More prog like this one, please!
I was PSDing and found KC. The brakes went on - When most people were listening Led Zep and The Who - My friends and I was sitting around with a pipe full of hash and listening to KC - THANK YOU
{#Music}{#Hearteyes}
i bought 2 albums for the cover alone without knowing anything about the music inside
in 1969 this album
and 1971 Naturally by JJ Cale 
For office tigers like me there is music like this to give us a glance into a gloomy unknown world. Or must I really fear that tomorrow I'll be crying? Naaah, life isn't bad at all. Cheers!
Prog.  {#Propeller}

{#Hearteyes}
 dirtbagpook wrote:
I wore out my brother's copy of this LP and then the cassette tape I made of it. My other brother still has the original LP. The artwork stops you in tracks. Prog rock at it's best!

 
One of only a couple LPs I had to get a second copy because I wore out the first one.
Left Cloud Cult for this on the PSD. No that's what I call a great trade. Thanks Bill!
 hayduke2 wrote:
Very cool seque' (? segway, you know) from Joseph Arthur, intelligent background music for an exceptional spring day
 
Indeed... except for the Joseph Arthur part.
How prophetic that they had Obama and Putin in mind as they penned these lyrics.

(Wait! Who else am I leaving out?) 
Spooky.
{#Cheers} .... nice bit of prog
Very cool seque' (? segway, you know) from Joseph Arthur, intelligent background music for an exceptional spring day
For me, this album took my musical journey in a totally different direction.
One I have never returned from.....................thankfully.



Ah, Greg Lake. Such a good time for music.
 pinem wrote:
Bought this album in the PX while doing basic training at Ft Dix, NJ, after being drafted in Dec of '69 via the lottery. It got me through a crappy time.

 
Awesome.
And thanks.
 
My favorite Sound
After listening to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Strawberry Alarm Clock, the Mamas and Papas and the like,  this blew me away. I had never heard anybody make music like this. It still sounds good to me today. This lead me to Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes and Genesis. There really was some good music in that era. that I think is under appreciated today.
 
Bought this album in the PX while doing basic training at Ft Dix, NJ, after being drafted in Dec of '69 via the lottery. It got me through a crappy time.
The fate of all mankind, I fear is in the hands of fools.
 winotron wrote:

Not really getting how this is not progressive rock.  To me, King Crimson pretty much exemplifies progressive rock.  

 
Some people just need to jump through hoops to try and deny that some great music is prog
 iam_overlord wrote:
Sounds a little like the Moody Blues. Is this just a coincidence or is there something I don't know?

 
It's that blessed Mellotron in the background and Greg Lake's earnest impassioned yearning keening singing that borrows heavily from the Moodies. 

 capandjudy wrote:

I will agree with that statement. This album blew me away in 1970 but I would not lump any of King Crimson's albums under the label of progressive rock.

  
Really? I know that stylistically King Crimson could be all over the place but this is firmly between the Moody Blues, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Yes. Check out Wikipedia's entry for King Crimson for all their changes in musical styles and personnel.
Sounds a little like the Moody Blues. Is this just a coincidence or is there something I don't know?
King Crimson is reforming as a seven piece band WITHOUT Adrian and will be touring 2014!!! https://www.dgmlive.com/news.htm?entry=4335
That entire album brings me a lot of memories. I wrote the lyrics of this song on the wall over the head of my bed... And I used to scare my gandma with the album cover. So silly... Grandma, I miss you.
I wore out my brother's copy of this LP and then the cassette tape I made of it. My other brother still has the original LP. The artwork stops you in tracks. Prog rock at it's best!
 lemmoth wrote:

Party Time!!!!! Yeah !!!!!! Happy Days !!!!!!!
So next song is clearly going to be Celebrate Good Times C'Mon.......

 
"Is That All there Is?" by Peggy Lee would be a good, happy, follow-up.
These lyrics are more important than the music! 
 Very good song from a very good LP.(Vinyl) 
King Crimson brings good memories of the 60s and 70s.
I've been hearing a lot of silence (or stonewalling) drowning out the screams lately......

Every time I listen to this song it becomes more relevant. 

Party Time!!!!! Yeah !!!!!! Happy Days !!!!!!!
So next song is clearly going to be Celebrate Good Times C'Mon.......


 nicknt wrote:
One of the 10 greatest songs ever. Astonishing sound (ahead of its times in 1969 !)
 
Agreed — the entire album is staggeringly good.  Also at the top of the class for album artwork.
 capandjudy wrote:

I will agree with that statement. This album blew me away in 1970 but I would not lump any of King Crimson's albums under the label of progressive rock.

 
Not really getting how this is not progressive rock.  To me, King Crimson pretty much exemplifies progressive rock.  
One of the 10 greatest songs ever. Astonishing sound (ahead of its times in 1969 !)
The fate of all mankind is in the hands of fools. 

That does not sound unreasonable or misguided. As true now as then. More? 
Still, the music is a bit...morose.  
Such a great cover too.
Another of those tunes that will prick up my ears on RP.  More Crimson please!
Sooooo good.
Greg Lake vocals + Mellotron = WIN
 martinc wrote:
A great album. Always wondered why this get a progressive rock label? Because it has a mellotron? Because it was different at the time?
 
I will agree with that statement. This album blew me away in 1970 but I would not lump any of King Crimson's albums under the label of progressive rock.
One of the better songs ever written.. Holds true today as it did back then, doesn't matter where you stand or what you stand for!!
A great album. Always wondered why this get a progressive rock label? Because it has a mellotron? Because it was different at the time?
Today ...
 polymath wrote:
"The fate of all mankind. I fear, is in the hands of fools" 
 
Exactly how I felt when I woke up on Nov. 7th.
 ScottishWillie wrote:

King Crimson the acceptable face of Prog Rock
 

 
Sounds about right.
Vietnam 'Conflict' at its apex.
My young brain was not worthy.......9

King Crimson the acceptable face of Prog Rock
 


 YES..until the brink is reached.  polymath wrote:
"The fate of all mankind. I fear, is in the hands of fools" 
 


Yesterday on PSD, today on the Main Channel. I know Bill is by my side. {#Biggrin}
 progrockette wrote:
Is that true? Really great if so - thanks!
 
Yep, it's true.  It was started by the guitarist of Bad Religion if I remember correctly.
 jmsmy wrote:
One of the only songs to have a record company named after it.
 

Is that true? Really great if so - thanks!
 Lrobby99 wrote:
The high pitched screeching gave me a headache.
 
So get off your cat's tail and enjoy the music.
The high pitched screeching gave me a headache.
"The fate of all mankind. I fear, is in the hands of fools" 
10. 'nuff said.
One of the only songs to have a record company named after it.
Phenomenal. I haven't heard this in at least 30 years. What a great album.
O yes. Good for the progger ears!
 stevetheshoe wrote:
I actually only listen to it on my original vinyl, still sounds fantastic.
That is except for hearing it here.
 

I Talk to the Wind is an absolutely phenomenal song off of that album - a total classic
Loved this as a teenager - it was so relevant then and maybe even more relevant today....{#Cry}
 lemmoth wrote:
That kind of interaction happens in my household as well, with my wife screaming out the lyrics of ELP or King Crimson and her adoration of Greg Lake worn on her sleeve ........ and me going "Huh, I don't get it"
 
I thought that this was Greg Lake on vocals, but despite being an ELP fan back in the day I'd not known he'd been with King Crimson. I don't blame your wife for her adoration of Greg Lake - he was a nice-looking boy, right enough, and had a fine voice and a brain to go with it. Keith Emerson was an ugly troll in comparison.


It is just amazing.I dont get to hear this song anywhere else but here and on my iphone. 
Is this the 2010 remaster/remix?
If so that Porcupine Tree reference is even more correct, as Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp did these R/Ms.

Information for all ya'll RP-ers: the first song comment for this tune was entered on December 5, 2001.  Ten years of comments spread over 9 pages.

Indicative of the power of this song?  I think so.
 ianmoff wrote:
I though this was magnificent when I first heard it 1969. I still think it's magnificent in 2010.

I was so hoping Greg was going to go into this at the end of Tarkus this year at High Voltage

My partner was wondering why I was stood there muttering 'Say it! Go on say it!'

{#Notworthy} 
 

That kind of interaction happens in my household as well, with my wife screaming out the lyrics of ELP or King Crimson and her adoration of Greg Lake worn on her sleeve ........ and me going "Huh, I don't get it"
Love the Crimson - and would love more from the Discipline, Beat, 3 of a Perfect Pair era too!