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King Crimson — The Court Of The Crimson King
Album: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Avg rating:
7.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1781









Released: 1969
Length: 9:23
Plays (last 30 days): 1
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 pilgrims' 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 grey 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 gently pulls the strings
And smiles as the puppets dance
In the court of the crimson king
Comments (337)add comment
Wow.  The whole song.  In its entirety.

Just wow.
It's strange to me that this immortal milestone of prog rock doesn't reach an average of 8.0 while nearly all Pink Floyd songs (even the wost ones) are rated beyond 8.0. 
 Dubbelito wrote:

The art of silence with a long pause within this song reminds me fondly of Iron Maiden's  Rime of the Ancient Mariner...

Great to hear long songs uninterrupted.



Wow!  Great comment!  So true.
thank you Bill for also playing such "old stuff" - King Crimson and especially this song accompanies me now since more than 50 years. Possibly you also once might play "Prince Rupert awakes" on "Lizard"with the unmatched voice of Greg Lake.
Had to stop what I was doing and say thanks for this one. 
Wow....possibly 50 yrs. since I've heard & enjoyed  this one.
Got a Covid test today, so this album cover seems appropriate
Dwarves, Dwarves, bring forth the Dancing Dwarves!!!
The art of silence with a long pause within this song reminds me fondly of Iron Maiden's  Rime of the Ancient Mariner...

Great to hear long songs uninterrupted.
Anyone else watching the Robert Fripp/Toyah Willcox videos on YouTube? We're loving them.
I saw King Crimson playing this track live at Hyde Park in London in 1969. Fifty two years ago! I'm getting old!!
I'm guessing the guy on the cover is just getting his COVID test? I never want to see that far up anyone's nostrils...
Oh that drum break... love it
The drumming is phenomenal
Ya gotta love the album cover art. 

I may have went to school with the model for the cover. 

Ha!
This is the HISTORY!!! 
THANKS TO RADIO PARADISE
Time machine!
straight back into a London student flat in '69 .
Thanks Bill. 
Ahhh! There's a Terry Jacks record behind me in the cut out bin!!
OMG - in lockdown V3.01 listening to this on a rainy day in Lodon is a real memory shaker - still sounds good!
The 50th anniversary Steven Wilson remix of this song and whole album is a game changer.  It's perfection.  Has to be heard to be believed.
Обожаю .
Was watching Children of Men the other night, old Clive Owens sci-fi flick, and suddenly this song comes on, really loud, and just blew me off the planet... it had been years since I heard it, and man did it bring back old memories from college of rolling j's on the album cover (only the Beatles White album had more action on that front), listening to the other classic hits of this album on vinyl like Moonchild, in a glorious haze of psychedelic ganja smoke, ah life was simple then... next we'd throw on something like Pink Floyd Echoes or Luigi Nono and scare the shit out of ourselves.
This song epitomizes the power, transcendence and raw sexual energy of rock & roll.
 
 Stefen wrote:
The album jacket is so hideous that I always PSD.
 
OMG, this only happens to be the greatest album cover EVER created, and what you see here is only half of it- the other half is the inside of this dude's ear canal. I suggest you find the album in vinyl and play it through and then give us your opinion...
The album jacket is so hideous that I always PSD.
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2a2PibnFtOk/Vf4W_r1YI0I/AAAAAAAAB1Y/V1jG9PPUFHk/s1600/King-Crimson_low.jpg
R.I.P. Greg Lake
 They are defiantly creating a mood and telling stories. Loved that about King Crimson. All part of the era .     dsd wrote:
Looking back, much of the progressive stuff is as funny as anything by Spinal Tap.  This song's subtitle is  "including The Return of the Fire Witch and Dance of the Puppets" for crying out loud.  My son and I went over all the stuff on this album cover and had a great laugh......but having said all that:  It is still a GREAT song from a GREAT album
 


 gjeeg wrote:
The Crackcross bells WILL ring!!
 
That's 'cracked brass' actually.
 swart wrote:
Doc Severinsen recorded a great cover of this in 1970

Had to see if this was a joke but no joke - it really is a great cover 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJhBBLJwwGE

(can't embed the video)


Thank you! Always a treat to hear King Crimson !!   {#Notworthy}{#Notworthy}
Wow, does this bring back good memories. The whole album is very good in my opinion.
The Crackcross bells WILL ring!!
This one sorely needs the "Ford Econoline white van / weed / wine / PA Turnpike" mentioned below by RP commenteer, Below72. And 1970 too. But teenage Kanye fans would probably dig it right now.  
Ah, My hallucinogenic days!
Doc Severinsen recorded a great cover of this in 1970
Just saw the current lineup live and they were spectacular. They preformed this song, plus songs from just about every incarnation and every decade, including the Belew fronted '80s.

I've seen KC several times throughout the years and in the past their set lists pretty much stuck to a particular era.

This band can play it all. 
Amazing to have seen KC live last month! Three drummers, front and center, was like watching percussive choreography. Mr. Fripp modestly in the back, Mr. Levin taking pictures of the audience. I'd say this song was a standout, but the entire show was stellar!
Looking back, much of the progressive stuff is as funny as anything by Spinal Tap.  This song's subtitle is  "including The Return of the Fire Witch and Dance of the Puppets" for crying out loud.  My son and I went over all the stuff on this album cover and had a great laugh......but having said all that:  It is still a GREAT song from a GREAT album

Thank you for playing in it's entirety, it's been a long time {#Cool}
Greg Lake left us a few months ago. RIP great vocalist and bassist
 danfl75 wrote:

My drug crazed friend said if you tripped on acid and listened to the whole album, you would see God at the end. He used to say a lot things like Jimi played the guitar with his dingus. My LP and CD also has that little squeal, or were you referring to something different? I like the effect, but then again, maybe it was the smoke. It's still a freakin awesome song and album ,10!
Save

 

There's a 9:28 version, and a 10:02 version on iTunes. So far RP seems to be playing one of these two long versions  right now and not the usual badly edited-for-radio track where the cut in the song practically punches you in the face. Prog rock had some nightmarish self-indulgent and laughable moments, but this is one of the best. 

Is there anything left of your drug-crazed friend? You know...mentally?  
 kcar wrote:
Still playing the shortened-by-kicking-the-turntable version, I hear. Was someone tripping (literally and figuratively) when they edited this? {#Naughty} {#Fire}

 
My drug crazed friend said if you tripped on acid and listened to the whole album, you would see God at the end. He used to say a lot things like Jimi played the guitar with his dingus. My LP and CD also has that little squeal, or were you referring to something different? I like the effect, but then again, maybe it was the smoke. It's still a freakin awesome song and album ,10!
Save
 jbuhl wrote:
Meletron!
 
and now the greatest drum intro of all time
Mellotron!




July '70 / The Ford Econoline white van / weed / wine / PA Turnpike / King Crimson...
Leaving pittsburgh for the jersey shore. I thought I was on a trip to heaven.  I was 15.
Damn... that summer and this tune are fantastic memories{#Cool}
Gotta add Procol Harum too.
 coloradojohn wrote:
I used to love to sit someone down and proceed to blow their freaking mind with this. Smoke it mon! This and Pink Floyd, for sure; trip!

 
I feel ya...heck just the album cover art is a freaking trip!  I always liked breaking out my "War of the Worlds" by Jeff Wayne album (and CD in later years) and crank that on my Hi-Fi and similar effect!  In fact, that WotW double-album is in my top 11 all-time favorite musical releases ever.   

I was thinking about the WotW recently, and how it's not quite the proper format here for it, although maybe Forever Autumn would work.  I'm sure one of our UK listeners can correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't that go #1 for Justin H in the 'single' version? 
This is the finest piece of prog-rock ever played.
If you don't believe me, just ask Robert Fripp.
{#Music}
Awesome music - cool art too, Thank you ScottishWillie !!!
That flute is so good.  I Talk to the Wind, a song from this same album, will never get old. Man I can't believe we've lost Greg Lake.
 Proclivities wrote:

I think this album was better than anything EL&P ever did; opinions may vary of course.

 
EL&P did a few good songs and lots of self-serving crap.

There I said it.  

I have this KC song rated a 9, not a 10, because I always feel a slight tinge to produce and mix the song differently (even if I would not know exactly how to go about doing that).  

As to the path-breaking nature of this album, it has to be one of the more significant pieces of music in the late 20th century. 
 ScottishWillie wrote:

Nearly 50 yeas on and this album is still weird, disturbing and brilliant!

As is the album art.



In the Court of the Crimson King – gatefold



 

Brilliant art. 
Masterpiece.
A lot of Prog veers into pretentious territory but imo this album stays the correct side and it still sounds fresh today.

Nearly 50 yeas on and this album is still weird, disturbing and brilliant!

As is the album art.



In the Court of the Crimson King – gatefold


 passsion8 wrote:

Foretelling.

Can definitely hear the origins of ELP.  

 
Yes, of a yellow jester


 Skydog wrote:

i bought this album in 1969, never heard of them or what was on the record, i bought it because the cover looked cool

 
Funny. I bought a few albums that way too - Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene being the most memorable.

Hey, why don't we ever get any JMJ here on RP?
 passsion8 wrote:

Foretelling.

Can definitely hear the origins of ELP.  

 
I think this album was better than anything EL&P ever did; opinions may vary of course.
LONG LIVE PROG
 capandjudy wrote:
Foreboding 

 
Foretelling.

Can definitely hear the origins of ELP.  
I used to love to sit someone down and proceed to blow their freaking mind with this. Smoke it mon! This and Pink Floyd, for sure; trip!
 BCarn wrote:
Bought this (180 gram vinyl) last year after hearing it here. Love this era of music.

 
i bought this album in 1969, never heard of them or what was on the record, i bought it because the cover looked cool
I've heard on here that the "sword of punk smite away prog" or something to that effect -

In any event, check out the Claypool Lennon Delirium version of this live - pretty darn impressive.
Bought this (180 gram vinyl) last year after hearing it here. Love this era of music.
Foreboding 
 On_The_Beach wrote:
One of the earliest examples of "Prog-Rock", and a good one.
Fripp is a notorious jerk but he makes great music.
 
Yes, he does come off as if he is a tad full of himself.

Great music all the same.   
 NeilBlanchard wrote:
I dunno.  I like ELP (with Greg Lake) and Yes, and other music of this era - but this leaves me mostly cold.  Feels a lot like 'Spinal Tap' ...

 
hmmm,..."Big Bottom" is the only Spinal Tap song I am familar with,...and I don't know what to say {#Ask}
 bam23 wrote:
I assume that Greg Lake's passing is a partial reason for this being played. Whatever cliche one uses to describe this music, there has been nothing really like it since. Still holds up.

 
Yes, today Bill mentioned Greg's passing at the end of this. *thumbsup
that's it!
{#Meditate}
I assume that Greg Lake's passing is a partial reason for this being played. Whatever cliche one uses to describe this music, there has been nothing really like it since. Still holds up.
RIP Greg Lake. So many lost this year.
 Dave_Mack wrote:
Nice work, Greg. Fare thee well!

 
Yes, that.  Two in one year...
RIP Greg Lake, fantastic musician!
 
Nice work, Greg. Fare thee well!
Brilliant! Saw them recently in concert and thought they were fantastic. Please play more of them.
I'm old. i admit it. This was released when I was 11. Didn't get it at 11, but did by 15.
saw them live the other month and I was gobsmacked...
3 drummers front row...{#Drummer} {#Drummer}{#Drummer} 
never seen 3 drummers playing at the same time and I never thought that they could pull it of...vivid!
but they did and concert is a must see if you are in for a experience of a special kind...
this number, in particular, they were busy
Late night headphone sessions after discovering s{#Devil_pimp}ome musical enhancers in my late teens
 Hey_Porter wrote:
This song pops up on the movie Children of Men as a Rolls Royce spins around in a futuristic, dystopia London and winds up at the Battersea Power Station of all places.  No flying pigs are visible.

 
Pigs or no, I now associate this brilliant song with that brilliant (if draining) movie. 

Still playing the shortened-by-kicking-the-turntable version, I hear. Was someone tripping (literally and figuratively) when they edited this? {#Naughty} {#Fire}
It's melotrontastic!
 jgoldst wrote:
Editing this classic is sacrelige. 

So is mispelling 'sacrilege'.
 Otomi wrote:

Look closely a few scenes later, out the window. There's a pig on the wing.

 
There are also Sheep and Dogs represented in scenes. I loved that movie and these references.
Update to "The Court of the Orange King"
Editing this classic is sacrelige.
Bill, why the hell did you edit this? As you well know, it's a standard in the prog rock canon. Yes a bit long but really, that's prog and is why many of us like it - because it isn't simple 3 minute pop ditties.

And such an obvious jump in the edit that as others have said it sounds like someone hit the turntable. Really awful.

{#Razz}

WTF man?


I got a FEVER and the only cure is more ......mellotron
wow....nearly 50 yrs old
{#Bounce}love this
Freshman in college, 1970 experimenting with- lol many things, this was a treat then, still sounds aok TY RP blast from the past! {#Sunny} 
Where is the REWIND button?  I was on the phone and missed most of this great song
This is so good.  1969!  Sounds a little like what Genesis was doing a few years or more after that.  Prog Rock!!!
 
 Hey_Porter wrote:
This song pops up on the movie Children of Men as a Rolls Royce spins around in a futuristic, dystopia London and winds up at the Battersea Power Station of all places.  No flying pigs are visible.

 
Look closely a few scenes later, out the window. There's a pig on the wing.
Sounds moody, blue
PSD'd from Coldplay, which always leaves me cold, to this.  Yay!  {#Cheers}
 4merdj wrote:
Best album cover, a group that is a genre in itself. Well-deserved "9"!! {#Cheers}{#War}
 
https://ekladata.com/GoRKogV4s-YGTiK1_ckEZ2hpDtk.jpg
Best album cover, a group that is a genre in itself. Well-deserved "9"!! {#Cheers}{#War} 
{#Notworthy}
Love this song and album, but "The Return of the Fire Witch and The Dance of the Puppets?"   Is that Spinal Tap I hear laughing?

oh my god!
look where in PSD Land i landed!! 
This song pops up on the movie Children of Men as a Rolls Royce spins around in a futuristic, dystopia London and winds up at the Battersea Power Station of all places.  No flying pigs are visible.
 kcar wrote:

Using that standard, couldn't you say the same of just about everything?  

HEY, MR. BILL GOLDSMITH: who butchered that edit of this epic? Sounded like someone practically kicked the f$&*in' turntable over.

I'm not real keen on the shorter versions of long-play classics like this, but they're really hard to swallow when the shorter versions are so BADLY edited.  

 
OMG I just heard it, that is exactly what it sounds like - someone bumped the turntable.  Horrible!  Bill, you must have a clean version.   Please?


<totally unfair criticism>This reminds me of a low-key/not-so-terrible version of a song Spinal Tap might perform</totally unfair criticism>
 rp1125 wrote:
i don't know — i think it was a much better song when i was 16 and tripping 

 
Using that standard, couldn't you say the same of just about everything?  

HEY, MR. BILL GOLDSMITH: who butchered that edit of this epic? Sounded like someone practically kicked the f$&*in' turntable over.

I'm not real keen on the shorter versions of long-play classics like this, but they're really hard to swallow when the shorter versions are so BADLY edited.  
Epoque thing!
Perfect transition from Beck's Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime - just perfect! Cheers, Bill! {#Wave}
One of the greatest bong smoking tunes of all time....

 number7 wrote:
Saw this incredible band in Massey Hall in Toronto back in the 70's, WOW.
Except for Mr. Fripp getting mad at a fan for screaming (they were recording) it was great.
Golden Earring opened & played a too long version of Radar Love.

 
Fantastic!! Im going to see KC live in September.... I am very happy and anxious! {#Hearteyes}
I just hit the PSD button and this came up... What an absolute gem!!!
 Businessgypsy wrote:

Dean Venture: "Hey, what's this one with the face?"

Rusty Venture: "Oh! That! No, no, no, you're not ready to step into The Court of the Crimson King. At this stage in your training an album like that could turn you into an evil scientist."



 
Awesome reference, just awesome!
Saw this incredible band in Massey Hall in Toronto back in the 70's, WOW.
Except for Mr. Fripp getting mad at a fan for screaming (they were recording) it was great.
Golden Earring opened & played a too long version of Radar Love.
oh la pura gioia e genio pazzo del tutto... {#Cheesygrin} 
I dunno.  I like ELP (with Greg Lake) and Yes, and other music of this era - but this leaves me mostly cold.  Feels a lot like 'Spinal Tap' ...
 winotron wrote:
One of my all time favorites.  The musicianship in this song, and this band in general, is just amazing.

 

I agree. I love the imagery of the lyrics and the music is way above awesome. Perfect.
One of my all time favorites.  The musicianship in this song, and this band in general, is just amazing.
 gonzogumby wrote:
is it finally over?
 

luckily not yet

Thank you Bill!
this song would be amazing if it was about 9:25 shorter
i don't know — i think it was a much better song when i was 16 and tripping 
I was in high school when this came out.  It fit in with all of the angst of those days.  Kind of bittersweet. 
Is it 2:30 pm on the west coast? It is! Every day at this time the music slows down right when I need to get some energy. Bill - is it nap time in Paradise? Please rev it back up, I'm struggling here.
I got to see King Crimson do this great song live 3 times! Amazing concerts!
"O.M.G." I am so happily surprised to hear this jewel here. Thanks! "... for the court of the Crimson King-eeeeng-ahhhahhhahh" {#War}