|Song by King Crimson from the album Red|
|Genre||Progressive rock, jazz fusion, hard rock, heavy metal|
|Writer||John Wetton, Richard Palmer-James|
|Composer||Bill Bruford, David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton|
|Red track listing|
"Starless" is a piece by British progressive rock band King Crimson. It is the final (and longest) track on the Red album, released in 1974, after which the group disbanded; thus it may be considered the culmination of that phase of King Crimson's existence.
The original lyrics and melody for "Starless" were written by John Wetton. He intended the song to be the title track of the group's previous album Starless and Bible Black. Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford initially disliked the song and declined to record it for that album. Instead the group chose an instrumental improvisation as the title track. However, "Starless" was later revived, its lyrics altered and a long instrumental section (based on a bass riff written by Bruford) added to it, and performed live between March and June 1974. For the Red recording sessions, the lyrics were again altered (with contributions by Richard Palmer-James). The haunting introductory theme, originally played by David Cross, was taken over by the guitar, with Fripp making minor alterations to the melody. As the title "Starless and Bible Black" had already been used, the original title was shortened to "Starless".
Recorded cover versions of Starless include those by: Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, and Randy George; Craig Armstrong, on his album As If to Nothing as "Starless II"; Banco De Gaia, on their album Memories Dreams Reflections; The Unthanks, on their 2011 album Last.
The song has been covered live by Asia, a supergroup of which John Wetton became a member; 21st Century Schizoid Band, a group made up of earlier members of King Crimson; and After Crying, a Hungarian symphonic rock band, with guest vocals by Wetton.
- Robert Fripp: guitar, mellotron
- John Wetton: bass guitar, vocals
- Bill Bruford: drums, percussion
- Mel Collins: soprano saxophone
- Ian McDonald: alto saxophone
- non-credit: cello