King Crimson discography
Group and recording history
In August 1967, brothers Michael and Peter Giles, and Robert Fripp formed the band Giles, Giles and Fripp. They recorded several unsuccessful singles and one album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp. The group then recruited Ian McDonald and Judy Dyble. McDonald brought in Peter Sinfield, and one of the first songs that they wrote together was "The Court of the Crimson King". Peter Giles was replaced by Greg Lake, and the band morphed into what would become King Crimson. The band, conceived on 30 November 1968, first rehearsed on 13 January 1969. King Crimson made their live debut on 9 April 1969, and participated at the free concert in Hyde Park, London, staged by The Rolling Stones in July 1969 before 650,000 people.
Signed to E.G. Productions, King Crimson's first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, was released in October on Island Records in the UK and Europe, and on Atlantic Records in the US, Canada, and Japan. The album reached number five on the UK Albums Chart, and The Who's guitarist Pete Townshend called it "an uncanny masterpiece." The original line-up played their last show together in San Francisco at the Fillmore West on 16 December 1969. Live recordings of the original King Crimson's concerts were released in 1996 as the live album Epitaph. Ian McDonald and Michael Giles left the band during the California tour.
From the start of 1970 until mid-1971, King Crimson remained in a state of "interregnum", Greg Lake joined what would become Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but he participated in the recordings for the band's second album In the Wake of Poseidon and for the early 1970 single "Cat Food"/"Groon". For the album recording sessions, brothers Michael and Peter Giles, Mel Collins, Keith Tippett and Gordon Haskell contributed as session players. In the Wake of Poseidon was moderately well received, and reached number four on the UK Albums Chart. Haskell and Collins were retained as full band members, and Andy McCulloch joined the group.
The new line-up participated in the recording sessions for the band's third album, Lizard. Keith Tippett, Marc Charig, Nick Evans, and Robin Miller contributed to the recording. Jon Anderson of Yes performed vocals on "Prince Rupert Awakes". Lizard, described as being an "acquired taste", reached number twenty-six on the UK Albums Chart, but it was not to the taste of Haskell and McCulloch, who quit the band.
Ian Wallace and Raymond "Boz" Burrell joined the band, and the new line-up went on tour. Later in the year King Crimson recorded and released their fourth studio album, Islands. Strongly influenced by Miles Davis' orchestral collaborations with Gil Evans, the album reached number thirty on the UK Albums Chart. Following the next tour, Sinfield left the band and released a solo album, Still, which features all of the current and previous members of King Crimson aside from Fripp, and then reunited with Lake by becoming lyricist for Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The remaining band broke up acrimoniously in rehearsals shortly afterwards.
King Crimson reformed in 1972 in order to fulfil their tour, but with the intention of disbanding afterwards. Recordings from this tour were later released as the Earthbound live album. During the tour Collins, Burrell and Wallace offered to continue with the band, but they were replaced by Jamie Muir, Bill Bruford, John Wetton, and the lineup was completed by David Cross. Richard Palmer-James was recruited as the new lyricist. Rehearsals and touring began in late 1972, and a new album Larks' Tongues in Aspic was released early the next year. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, notable for its revolutionary sound and use of dynamics, reached number twenty on the UK Albums Chart.
Following more touring, the group became a quartet in early 1973 when Muir suddenly departed. During the lengthy tour that followed, the remaining members began assembling material for their next album, Starless and Bible Black, released in January 1974, the album earned positive Rolling Stone reviews, and reached number twenty-eight on the UK Albums Chart. Most of Starless and Bible Black was recorded from live performances, but after careful editing it was presented as a studio album. Fuller documentation of the quartet's live work was revealed on 1992's four-disc live recording The Great Deceiver, and on 1998's double live album The Night Watch.
By this time, Cross was voted out of the group playing his final performance in Central Park in New York. The remaining trio recorded the band's seventh studio album, Red. Bruford and Wetton directed most of the sessions. Described as "an impressive achievement for a group about to disband", Red reached number forty-five on the UK Albums Chart. The album also included guest appearances by former members and collaborators, Cross, Miller, Charig, Collins and McDonald. Two months before the release of Red, Fripp announced that King Crimson had "ceased to exist". The group formally disbanded on 25 September 1974. A posthumous live album, USA was released in 1975 to critical acclaim. Reviewers called it "a must" for fans of the band and "insanity you're better off having". Technical issues with some of the original tapes rendered some of Cross' violin parts inaudible when mixed in 1974, so Eddie Jobson provided studio overdubs of violin and keyboards. The album was reissued in 2005. Following the assembly of USA, the band went their separate ways.
Soon after the release of "USA", the rights to E.G. Productions (by now known as E'G Records) was transferred from Island Records to Polydor Records in the UK and Europe. All the albums were re-released by Polydor. Eventually, the E'G Records label was set up, and again the albums were re-released. In the US, rights to new E'G releases went to Warner Bros. Records
In 1981, Bruford was asked by Fripp to join a new band. He agreed and Adrian Belew and Tony Levin completed the band. Fripp named the new quartet Discipline, and the band flew to England to rehearse and write. They made their live debut at Moles Club in Bath on 30 April 1981 and went on to tour the UK. By October 1981, the four members of Discipline had made the collective decision to reactivate and use the name of King Crimson. Released on E'G Records in the UK and Europe, and on Warner Bros. Records/E'G Records in the US and Canada, Discipline, an immediate benchmark for the new sound, reached number eighteen on the Canadian Albums Chart. It was followed in 1982 by Beat, which reached number eighteen on the Norwegian Albums Chart. Three of a Perfect Pair, in 1984, reached number thirty on the UK Albums Chart. The last concert of the Three Of A Perfect Pair tour was recorded and subsequently released in 1998 as the live album Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal. After Three of a Perfect Pair King Crimson took a break which ultimately lasted for ten years.
In 1991, Fripp, prompted by a serious falling out with his management company and record label E'G Records, established his own record label Discipline Global Mobile, and invited David Sylvian to become the lead singer for a possible reformation of King Crimson. Sylvian declined the offer, but the two started a collaboration. Following the end of the tour with David Sylvian, Fripp began restructuring the band, bringing Bruford, Belew, and Levin back and adding Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto for an unexpected sextet or the so-called "Double Trio", which released the EP Vrooom in 1994. The band would make their live debut in Buenos Aires in 1995. The live album B'Boom: Live in Argentina was released in August of the same year. King Crimson released their eleventh studio album, Thrak, in April 1995. It contains revised versions of most of the tracks on Vrooom. Thrak was well received, and reached number fifty-eight on the UK Albums Chart. During 1995 and 1996 King Crimson continued to tour. The band released the live album Thrakattak in 1996. Live recordings from the period were later made available on the 2001 double CD release Vrooom Vrooom, and on the 2003 Déjà Vrooom DVD.
At that time, the six musicians of the "Double Trio" decided to work in smaller "sub-groups" or "fraKctalisations" called ProjeKcts. The various ProjeKCts played live and released several recordings. Various King Crimson members have continued to create new ProjeKCts to the present day. In 1998, DGM would launch the King Crimson Collector's Club, a service that regularly releases live recordings from concerts throughout the band's career. By the time, Bruford and Levin withdrew from the band. The remaining four active members of King Crimson, Belew, Fripp, Gunn, and Mastelotto, continued with the band, sometimes referring to themselves as the "Double Duo". King Crimson recorded their next album, The ConstruKction of Light, in Adrian Belew's basement and garage near Nashville. The results were released in 2000, and the album peaked at number seventeen on the Italian Albums Chart. The band recorded a parallel album at the same time under the name of ProjeKct X, called Heaven and Earth. King Crimson toured to support the records, releasing a triple live album Heavy ConstruKction. Later in 2001, the band released a limited edition live EP called Level Five, and, in 2002 the EP Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With. The two EPs both acted as work-in-progress reveals for King Crimson's 2003 album, The Power to Believe, which reached number twenty-five on the Finnish Albums Chart. Once again, the band toured to support the album, resulting in the 2003 live album EleKtrik: Live in Japan, recorded in Tokyo.
In late November 2003, Gunn announced his departure from King Crimson. Levin was subsequently reinstalled, reconvening with Fripp, Belew and Mastelotto for rehearsals in early 2004. A new King Crimson line-up was announced in late 2007, consisting of Fripp, Belew, Levin, Mastelotto, and a new second drummer, Gavin Harrison, and began rehearsals in spring 2008. In August of the same year, the band set out on a brief four-city tour in preparation for the group's 40th Anniversary in 2009, and on August 20, DGM Live issued a download-only release of the August 7, 2008 concert in Chicago.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1969||In the Court of the Crimson King
|1970||In the Wake of Poseidon
|1973||Larks' Tongues in Aspic
|1974||Starless and Bible Black
|1984||Three of a Perfect Pair
|2000||The ConstruKction of Light
|2003||The Power to Believe
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
King Crimson Collector's Club
Collectable King Crimson
- DGM Live
Additional releases along the lines of the Collector's Club are being made available at DGM Live. This is the new Discipline Global Mobile website including King Crimson/Robert Fripp news, online diaries from Robert Fripp and The Vicar, and ongoing releases available for download in MP3 and Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) formats.
The releases include extensive King Crimson and Robert Fripp live recordings, in addition to some previously unreleased studio material. Since the launch of the site, some shows have been made available sometimes within days or weeks of the performance. It has been noted that the Collector's Club releases will eventually be made available as downloads on the site as well. As of 1 November 2007 there are 118 releases available at the site.
Mostly studio recordings, some incorporating live recordings.
|1976||A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson|
|1986||The Compact King Crimson
|1991||Heartbeat: The Abbreviated King Crimson
|Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson
|1993||Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson
|1999||Cirkus: The Young Persons' Guide to King Crimson Live
|The Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners' Guide to ProjeKcts
|2000||The Beginners' Guide to the King Crimson Collectors' Club
|2004||The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson - Volume One - 1969–1974
|2005||The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson - Vol. 2 - 1981–2003
|2006||The Condensed 21st Century Guide to King Crimson
Mostly studio recordings, some incorporating live recordings.
|2002||Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With
|Year||Tour Box details|
|2003||The Power To Believe Tour Box
|2008||40th Anniversary Tour Box
Mostly studio recordings, some incorporating live recordings.
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1969||"The Court of the Crimson King"||—||80
|—||In the Court of the Crimson King|
|1970||"Cat Food"||—||—||—||In the Wake of Poseidon|
|1973||"Atlantic Sampler"||—||—||—||Non-album promo single|
|1974||"The Night Watch"||—||—||—||Starless and Bible Black|
|1976||"Epitaph" / "21st Century Schizoid Man"||—||—||—||A Young persons Guide|
|"Thela Hun Ginjeet"||—||—||—|
|1984||"Three of a Perfect Pair"||—||—||—||Three of a Perfect Pair|
|"Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream"||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
|1982||The Noise: Frejus
|1984||Three of a Perfect Pair: Live in Japan
|1996||Live in Japan
|2003||Eyes Wide Open
|2004||Neal and Jack and Me
- ProjeKct One
- ProjeKct Two
- ProjeKct Three
- ProjeKct Four
- Boxed set
- The ProjeKcts (1999)
- 4CDs, includes all of above Japan-exclusive releases.
- Compilation album from The ProjeKcts box set.
- ProjeKct X
- Heaven and Earth (2000)
- ProjeKct Six
- East Coast Live (2006, DGM Live)
- Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins
- A Scarcity of Miracles (2011)
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- "Article". New Musical Express. 1974-09-28.
- "Article". Acton Gazette. 1975-07-17.
- "Article". Cashbox. 1975-05-10.
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- "King Crimson discography". Norwegian charts (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "About". Discipline Global Mobile (dgmlive.com). Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "Article". Q. 1995-05.
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- "King Crimson discography". Italian charts (in Italian). Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Heaven and Earth". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "The Power to Believe". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "King Crimson discography". Finnish charts (in Finnish). Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "MSJ-Interview". Music Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-12-06.[dead link]
- "Robert Fripp's diary, November 09, 2007". DGMLive (dgmlive.com). Retrieved 2009-12-06.
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- "CRIA Certifications". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Gold and Platinum Search for albums by King Crimson". RIAA. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
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- "In the Wake of Poseidon – Canadian Album Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Lizard – Canadian Album Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Islands – Canadian Album Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
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- "Beat – Canadian Album Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- "Three of a Perfect Pair – Canadian Album Chart". RPM. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- DGM Live!
- The Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson, Billboard.com. Retrieved 2011-06-10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to King Crimson discography.|
- King Crimson Discography at AllMusic
- King Crimson Discography at Connolly & Company
- King Crimson Discography at Discogs