King Crimson was formed in 1968 in London England. They were one of the early progressive rock bands helping to set the pace for others. The founder, guitarist and composer Robert Fripp has been the only member of the band with history day one through today. Along with Fripp other founding members were drummer Michael Giles, Bassist and Singer Greg Lake, Multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and lyricist Peter Sinfield. 

Their very first album In The Court of The Crimson King which came out in 1969 to this day is still their most commercially successful and influential release. They opened for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in July of 1969 which gave them quite a boost in visibility. In 1970 after Giles and McDonald had split from the band they released In The Wake of The Poseidon, the jazz inspired Lizard in 1970, and Islands in 1971. 

At that point Fripp decided to change the direction of the band, bringing in bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. The band changed up the instrumentation with even more complex and clever compositions, and hit what many called their creative peak, with albums Larks’ Tongues in Aspic in 1973, Starless and Bible Black and Red in 1974. Robert Fripp disbanded this version of King Crimson in 1974.

Then in 1981 King Crimson reformed with another dramatic change in direction, with Fripp and Bruford returning from the previous band. They also for the first time added a second guitarist with Adrian belew. On bass it was Tony Levin. This version of the band lasted three years releasing the albums Discipline in 1981, Beat in 1982, and Three of A Perfect Pair in 1984. Following a ten year hiatus, Fripp revised this group as a sextet (The Double Trio) in 1994 addins stick player Trey Gunn and drummer Pat Mastelotto. This gathering lasted for another three year cycle releasing the album Thrak. From this point forward 1997 to 2000 Fripp formed several smaller configurations of musicians from the larger band to explore different approaches to their live and studio material. 

Another hiatus happened from 2009-2012, when many thought Fripp had retired from touring. But the band came together again in 2013 as a septet with an unusual three drum kit frontline. This version of the band toured from 2014 to 2019, and they are set to resume touring again this year.

King Crimson is a true progressive band that has created 13 studio albums, 15 live albums, 13 compilation albums, 3 extended plays, and 10 singles, featuring 22 different musicians in their lineup throughout the years. Progressive Rock fans have loved and supported this band, but they were not a huge commercial success as far as album sales. But as a touring band, they were quite popular. 

Here are some photos of the band from a 1972 live performance, along with several of the King Crimson album covers. 

The photos in the gallery were taken from this YouTube video and courtesy of Beat Club.

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King Crimson

Album Covers and Live Performance photos

 

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