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 12 October 1969 (1969-10-12)
Format 7-inch 45 rpm
Recorded 21–23 July 1969
Genre Progressive rock[1]
  • 9:25 (album version)
  • 7:16 (edited version)
Composer(s) Ian McDonald
Lyricist(s) Peter Sinfield
Producer(s) King Crimson
King Crimson singles chronology
"The Court of the Crimson King"
"Cat Food"
In the Court of the Crimson King track listing

"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 one of the band's only two charting singles in the United States.


The track is dominated by a distinct riff performed on the Mellotron in D major. The main part of the song is split up into four 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[clarification needed]. The music was written by Ian McDonald and the lyrics by Peter Sinfield.



In popular culture[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. The track was also referenced in the video game Darkest Dungeon's first downloadable content, "The Crimson Court".


  1. ^ Murphy, Sean (22 May 2011). "The 25 Best Progressive Rock Songs of All Time". PopMatters. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 

External links[edit]