In The Court Of The Crimson King
KING CRIMSON

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Album · 1969

Filed under Proto-Metal

Tracklist

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
3. Epitaph (8:47)
4. Moonchild (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

Total Time 43:52

Line-up/Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitar
- Greg Lake / bass guitar, lead vocals
- Ian McDonald / flute, clarinet, saxophone, vibes, keyboards, vocals
- Michael Giles / drums, percussion, vocals

About this release

October 10, 1969
Islands, Atlantic

Reissued as 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition in 2009 with the following tracklist:

Disc 1

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (2009 Stereo Mix) (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (2009 Stereo Mix) (6:00)
3. Epitaph (2009 Stereo Mix) (8:52)
4. Moonchild (2009 Stereo Mix) (9:02)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (2009 Stereo Mix) (9:31)
6. Moonchild (Full Version) (12:15)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version) (4:56)
8. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix) (6:37)
9. Epitaph (Backing Track) (9:05)
10. Wind Session (4:31)

Disc 2: Dvd-Audio

Original Album 5.1 Mix

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
3. Epitaph (8:47)
4. Moonchild (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

2009 Stereo Mix

6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
7. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
8. Epitaph (8:47)
9. Moonchild (12:12)
10. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004

11. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
12. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
13. Epitaph (8:47)
14. Moonchild (12:12)
15. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

Additional Audio Content

16. Moonchild (Full Version) (12:13)
17. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version) (4:54)
18. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix) (6:34)
19. Epitaph (Backing Track) (9:02)
20. Wind Session (4:28)

The Alternate Album

21. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental) (7:07)
22. I Talk To The Wind (Studio Run Through) (4:20)
23. Epitaph (Alternate Version) (9:27)
24. Moonchild (Take 1) (2:20)
25. The Court Of The Crimson King (Take 3) (7:14)

Video Content

26. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Edit) (8:00)

Total Time 199:00

Reissued also as 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition in 2009 with the following tracklist:

Disc 1

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (2009 Stereo Mix) (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (2009 Stereo Mix) (6:00)
3. Epitaph (2009 Stereo Mix) (8:52)
4. Moonchild (2009 Stereo Mix) (9:02)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (2009 Stereo Mix) (9:31)
6. Moonchild (Full Version) (12:15)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version) (4:56)
8. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix) (6:37)
9. Epitaph (Backing Track) (9:05)
10. Wind Session (4:31)

Disc 2

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (6:03)
3. Epitaph (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (8:48)
4. Moonchild (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (9:25)
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental Version) (6:46)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Bbc Session) (4:40)
8. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Bbc Transcription Disc) (7:11)
9. The Court Of The Crimson King (Part 1) (Vinyl Single) (3:22)
10. The Court Of The Crimson King (Part 2) (Vinyl Single) (4:31)

Total Time 148:35

Reissued as 40th Anniversary Limited Edition with the following tracklist:

Disc 1

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Stereo Album Mix, 2009) (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (Stereo Album Mix, 2009) (6:00)
3. Epitaph (Stereo Album Mix, 2009) (8:52)
4. Moonchild (Stereo Album Mix, 2009) (9:02)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (Stereo Album Mix, 2009) (9:31)
6. Moonchild (Full Version) (12:15)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version) (4:56)
8. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix) (6:37)
9. Epitaph (Backing Track) (9:05)
10. Wind Session (4:31)

Disc 2

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (6:03)
3. Epitaph (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (8:48)
4. Moonchild (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004) (9:25)
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental Version) (6:46)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Bbc Session) (4:40)
8. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Bbc Transcription Disc) (7:11)
9. The Court Of The Crimson King (Part 1) (Vinyl Single) (3:22)
10. The Court Of The Crimson King (Part 2) (Vinyl Single) (4:31)

Disc 3

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Trio Version Instrumental) (7:07)
2. I Talk To The Wind (Studio Run-through) (4:20)
3. Epitaph (Alternate Take) (9:27)
4. Moonchild (Take 1) (2:20)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (Take 3) (7:15)
6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Original Pink Label) (7:21)
7. I Talk To The Wind (Original Pink Label) (6:02)
8. Epitaph (Original Pink Label) (8:55)
9. Moonchild (Original Pink Label) (12:12)
10. The Court Of The Crimson King (Original Pink Label) (9:22)

Disc 4

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Live In Hyde Park) (6:37)
2. The Court Of The Crimson King (Hyde Park) (6:32)
3. Get The Bearing (Hyde Park) (9:42)
4. Epitaph (Hyde Park) (4:29)
5. Mantra (Hyde Park) (3:05)
6. Travel Weary Capricorn (Hyde Park) (5:37)
7. Mars (Hyde Park) (3:30)
8. The Court Of The Crimson King (Live At Fillmore East) (7:52)
9. A Man A City (Live At Fillmore East) (12:19)
10. Epitaph (Live At Fillmore East) (8:31)
11. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Live At Fillmore East) (7:56)

Disc 5

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (US Radio Promos) (7:22)
2. I Talk To The Wind (US Radio Promos) (6:04)
3. Epitaph (US Radio Promos) (8:51)
4. Moonchild (US Radio Promos) (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (US Radio Promos) (9:27)
6. The Court Of The Crimson King (Edited Mono-Single Mix) (2:20)

Disc 6: Dvd-Audio

Original Album 5.1 Mix

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
2. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
3. Epitaph (8:47)
4. Moonchild (12:12)
5. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

2009 Stereo Mix

6. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
7. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
8. Epitaph (8:47)
9. Moonchild (12:12)
10. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

Original Album Mix Remaster, 2004

11. 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:24)
12. I Talk To The Wind (6:05)
13. Epitaph (8:47)
14. Moonchild (12:12)
15. The Court Of The Crimson King (9:22)

Additional Audio Content

16. Moonchild (Full Version) (12:13)
17. I Talk To The Wind (Duo Version) (4:54)
18. I Talk To The Wind (Alternate Mix) (6:34)
19. Epitaph (Backing Track) (9:02)
20. Wind Session (4:28)

The Alternate Album

21. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Instrumental) (7:07)
22. I Talk To The Wind (Studio Run Through) (4:20)
23. Epitaph (Alternate Version) (9:27)
24. Moonchild (Take 1) (2:20)
25. The Court Of The Crimson King (Take 3) (7:14)

Video Content

26. 21st Century Schizoid Man (Edit)

Total Time 501:16

Thanks to andyman1125, Pekka, Lynx33, adg211288 for the updates

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Unitron
King Crimson-In the Court of the Crimson King

Well, this is going to be controversial.

I can enjoy some King Crimson, they have been a leading figure in the creation of progressive rock. 'Starless and Bible Black' and 'Red' are among some of the decent examples of their sound that has influenced so many, and they even have good recent albums like 'The Power to Believe'. Unfortunately, their debut isn't such a fine example.

Now I appreciate the effect this album had on the music industry, it really stood-out. The album begins with the song I enjoy the most, '21st Century Schizoid Man'. It combines saxophone, jazzy drumming, chaotic heavy guitar, and dark lyrics in a surprisingly decent mix. The next song 'I Talk to the Wind' would of been a decent relaxing interlude if it didn't drag on for so long. The song never really changes, just stays the same for six minutes. 'Epitaph' is yet another song that would of been okay if it didn't drag on for so long. It doesn't change other then the bridge until the end when some distorted guitar comes in. 'Moonchild' doesn't drag on, it's a very experimental song, but it doesn't really have any beat or melody to it. If you enjoy improvisational jazz you'll probably enjoy it, but I find it pretty boring. The finale title track is the only other song I enjoy. It has parts that I don't like, such as the improvisational jazz parts and the flute sections, but other then that it's a pretty good song with a great melodic chorus and good instrumentation.

The lyrics are certainly one of the stronger points of the album, being about political and social themes.

I need to say something about the disgusting cover art. I see that this album cover gets as much praise as the album itself, if not more. I can't see why, it's just a close-up of a fleshy, screaming, face that is way too detailed. I can even see inside the nostrils. It's one of the worst rock album covers I've ever seen, I find it very disgusting.

Overall, I feel that this album is overrated. I wouldn't call it bad, but a perfect word to describe my feelings for it would be: Boring. It's probably just my personal music tastes, but I find King Crimson's later efforts much more enjoyable. Like I said before, I appreciate it's legacy to rock music and it was important in developing progressive rock. I just can't seem to enjoy it much.

Hope you found this review helpful.

Feel free to comment!
siLLy puPPy
Never really thought of King Crimson as metal since most of their music is more avant-garde jazz related but I guess they did have a stake in its development with their more rockin' numbers, so here is my review from PA:

Although rock music had been becoming more progressive before this release with such artists as the Beatles, Zappa, the Moody Blues and others slowly chipping away at the damn of the progressive reservoir, it was this album that burst open the floodgates and took progressive rock music to a whole new level by stripping away the blues influence and replacing it with classical, jazz and avant-garde.

A very eclectic playlist with mostly accessible songs like “21st Century Schizoid Man” and “The Court of the Crimson King” but also included the inaccessible “Moonchild” which does seem like an exercise of tolerance at times but ultimately is an interesting piece after forcing you to change your musical mindset. A style they would go on to incorporate on future releases.

The album took the world by storm making progressive rock popular and ushering in the next golden age of music. Although it took me longer to love parts of this album than others I ultimately succumbed to its charm and have to give this album no less than 5 stars for its unadulterated brilliance, boldness and importance in musical history.
Warthur
So many words have been written on the merits of this album, so I'll refrain from getting too deep into them and instead address what is often cited as the album's one flaw: Moonchild, the first song on the second side, which begins unusually gently given the tone of the rest of the album (loud, paranoid, bombastic, sweeping, dramatic, and all the other words that have been applied to it...) and ends up seemingly losing its way in a long quiet section of freeform improvisation which lasts for around 9 minutes or so. (Indeed, in the most recent round of remasters this section was shortened). Taken on its own, the song is highly dissatisfying, but taken as a prelude to the spine-tingling album closer of In the Court of the Crimson King I actually think the free-playing segment works quite well, the improvisation coming together into a gentle but foreboding atmosphere before the first chords of In the Court blare forth.

So, I will join with the masses in giving this one five stars, even though some of the individual songs might only be three star compositions, because this is one of those very few albums which you can say are greater than the sum of their parts.
Phonebook Eater
10/10

"In The Court Of The Crimson King" is the quintessential Prog Rock album.

King Crimson are one of those bands that could be loved by anybody: their extremely proud of their eclecticism, as every album they've ever released is different in a way from the rest. In the case of their debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King", well, nothing sounded quite like that before, and much of progressive music sounded like it after. Indeed, it is absolutely the best, most important and influential Progressive Rock album of all time.

This mighty creature is the result of legendary guitarist Robert Fripp's genius, sided by a band that is to die for: Greg Lake on bass guitar and vocals, Ian McDonald on all wind instruments plus mellotron, Micheal Giles on drums, and last, but not least, Pete Sinfield, the lyricist. Together, they were King Crimson, however the lineup after this release will change on almost every album released. Before 1969, only a few Progressive Rock traces were around, and this album gave a huge push to the genre, bringing up all the elements of Prog, Art Rock, Jazz Fusion, carefully mixing them all together, all in a little more than forty minutes. ITCOTKC has, like I said, all the elements of progressive rock, before the genre was developed: it has the aggressive, virtuous, multi time changing song ("21st Century Schizoid Man"), the soft, flute based ballad ("I Talk To The Wind"), the melancholic, yet extremely apocalyptic and mellotron based song ("Epitah"), the minimalistic, the quirky tones mixed with free improvisation ("Moonchild"), the epic sounding soundscapes ("The Court Of The Crimson King"). This album has it all, even though, for the most skeptical ones, this album might seem inconsistent, like I use to feel, because it had one strong, in your face song and the rest were mellow. But it actually is, for the already explained reasons, one of the most complete albums in terms of sound.

Lyrically, the album is extremely enigmatic, fascinating, evoking fantastic situations, people and creatures: dancing puppets, witches, and what more, are present, especially in the last track; however, there are many other themes echoing all over the album, such as grief, confusion, worrying, frustration, but also cheerfulness and sweetness, but they are written with such a mysterious touch that they are not at all thorny and complex.

The opener "21st Century Schizoid Man" is one of the fundamental pieces of Progressive Rock, adding in strong elements of Jazz Fusion, thanks to the massive presence of the sax. The main riff has become pretty much a trademark for the genre. "I Talk To The Wind" easily is one of the best ballads of all time, the soft tones are just of an incredible power, that haven't aged a bit, thanks to the magical wind instruments that create them. "Epitah" a solemn, beautiful, mysterious song, with enigmatic lyrics, a great flow, and great instrumentation overall, especially concerning the mellotron. Most of "Moonchild" consists of a minimalistic instrumental improvisation, but the actual, only riff here is the softest you'll get from this album. A memorable and wonderful track, even counting the frequent odd moments. "The Court Of The Crimson King" is the perfect ending for an album, with an epic, once again solemn tone, with a gigantic riff and beautiful, soothing vocals; even in the quieter moments, the emotion is always there, just like in all the forty three minutes of music in the entire LP.

Even after more than forty years, "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is and remains a masterpiece of modern music, a landmark achievement that will always be remembered. An essential listen not only for who loves Progressive Rock, but for everybody who listens to any kind of music.
Andyman1125
c. 1969: "What in the devil is that?"

King Crimson is well known for their experimentation. From distorted vocals to heavily affected guitars, through their 40+ year existence, Robert Fripp has been well known for his musical..... "anti"-genius, breaking down every single rule made for music to make some of the most inventive music of the time period. In the Court of the Crimson King, the pseudo self titled and debut album of the band, showed just how willing to experiment the band was. Each track has a tasty amount of prog, proto-metal, jazz, and King Crimson-esque noise.

21st Century Schizoid Man, one of the band's signature tracks, is an odd way to open up an album. Blasting forth with intense saxophone/guitar work, immediately one can see just how freely Fripp is willing to work. The distorted vocals add an intense metallic touch to the already intense music. The instrumental section is full of proggish virtuosity and jazzy fun, making the track just a blast to listen to. Overall, the track is easily one of the best openers I've heard, and certainly one of the better tracks the band has put out.

Being 1969, the band was in no position to put out an all "metal" album, and they needed to almost appease their critics. So, I Talk to the Wind, a beautiful melodic piece, contrasts the insanity of the previous track. Cool and melodic, the track is one of the more laid back the band has produced, and has many pleasant instrumental solos and vocal sections a la Greg Lake. Overall, the whole track is cool and melodic, making for a very relaxing ride.

Epitaph is next, a somber and again melodic journey. Featuring some of the most classic KC lyrics, the song is again one of the better tracks the band has released. With haunting mellotron chords and some very somber vocal work, the whole track is a beauty.

Moonchild is the strongest jazz influenced track on the album, featuring more jazzy guitar solos and softer keyboard. However, the track isn't purely jazz. The track has a certain degree of experimentation to it, not the type seen in 21st Century Schizoid Man, but a crazy avant type that featured random muted chords and eccentric drum splashes and such. Overall, a much more avant-garde and creative track is seen here, showing how willing to do what they wish the band truly is.

The "title track" The Court of the Crimson King is the last and one of the best tracks on the album. It features a very fantastic mix of everything that was played on the rest of the album, with heavy sections, somber melodic sections, uplifting melodic sections, and everything in between for a great overall experience, which ends an absolutely fantastic album.

ALBUM OVERALL: King Crimson sure knows how to compose music. With their debut album, the band fleshes out of the some of the best progressive music ever, holding it's wait even 40 years after it's release. The album holds virtually every element that is desirable in the genre, experimentation, great instrumental sections, melodic beauty, and so much more. On the metal spectrum it may be lacking a bit, but 21st Century Schizoid Man certainly can hold it's weight to make the album an exceptional proto-metal album as well. Overall, In The Court of the Crimson King is certainly a masterpiece of progressive music, and is certainly a near masterpiece when it comes to influencing the metal bands that we all love. 4+ stars (MMA).

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