The Court of the Crimson King

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"The Court of the Crimson King"
Single by King Crimson
from the album In the Court of the Crimson King
A-side "The Court of the Crimson King, Pt. 1"
B-side "The Court of the Crimson King, Pt. 2"
Released October 12, 1969 (album)
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded July 21–23, 1969
Genre Progressive rock, symphonic rock
Length 9:25
7:16 (abridged version)
Label Island Records WIP-6071, Atlantic Records
Writer(s) Ian McDonald, Peter Sinfield
Producer(s) King Crimson
King Crimson singles chronology
"The Court of the Crimson King"
"Cat Food"

"The Court of the Crimson King" is the fifth and final track from the British progressive rock band King Crimson's debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King. Also released as a single, it reached #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Along with "Heartbeat", it is the band's only charting single in the United States.


The track is dominated by a distinct riff performed on the Mellotron. The main part of the song is split up into 4 verses, divided by an instrumental section called "The Return of the Fire Witch". The song climaxes at seven minutes, but continues with a little reprise (called "The Dance of the Puppets"), before ending on an abrupt and free time scale.

37 second sample from King Crimson's "The Court of the Crimson King", demonstrating the sound of the first incarnation of the band, with its classically-influenced style and use of the Mellotron instrument.

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King Crimson made their live debut on 9 April 1969, and made a breakthrough by playing the Rolling Stones free concert at Hyde Park, London in July 1969 before an estimated 500,000 people.



Cultural references[edit]

The track was used in the 2006 dystopian film Children of Men, appearing on its soundtrack. It is also heard briefly in the first episode of the Red Riding trilogy. The song is also used widely in the Canadian television series Kenny vs. Spenny. The instrumental part of the song can be heard in the French movie Cinéman. The song has been recently chosen as the ending theme for the videogame Natural Doctrine.

External links[edit]