Three of a Perfect Pair

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Three of a Perfect Pair
Three of a Perfect Pair.jpg
Studio album by
Released27 March 1984 (1984-03-27)
RecordedMid-to-late 1983
StudioMay 1983: Arny's Shack, Poole, Dorset, England; June 1983: Marcus Studio, London, England; November 1983: Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York, United States
ProducerKing Crimson
King Crimson chronology
Three of a Perfect Pair
The Great Deceiver
King Crimson studio chronology
Three of a Perfect Pair
Singles from Three of a Perfect Pair
  1. "Three of a Perfect Pair" / "Man with an Open Heart"
    Released: 1984
  2. "Sleepless" / "Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)"
    Released: 1984

Three of a Perfect Pair is the tenth studio album by English band King Crimson, released in March 1984 by record label E.G.


The album balances traditional song structures on the "left side" with more free-form improvisation on the "right side", fitting somewhere between the experimental Discipline and the more commercially accessible Beat.[citation needed] Tony Levin had more input than on any other King Crimson album.[citation needed] The "other side" on the 2001 remaster consists of bonus tracks including an a cappella in which all four members supposedly sing in a barbershop quartet but is really Levin's voice overdubbed to create harmonization.[citation needed]

The name of the album is based on the idea of perfect opposites and "three sides to every story", or his, hers, and an objective truth.[citation needed]

The Peter Willis designed artwork illustrates the sacred–profane dichotomy while being a simplified version of the Larks' Tongues in Aspic cover; a rising phallic object represents a male solar deity about to penetrate the crescent figure, a female lunar deity.[citation needed] The back cover illustration is the same but adds a third element, a curved line stretching to reconcile the opposing sides.[2][3]

Tracks 10-15 were added for the 2001 30th Anniversary remaster. Two of the three "Sleepless" mixes were previously available on the UK 12" single. The Bob Clearmountain mix appeared (incorrectly credited and against the band's wishes) on the U.S. Warner Bros. LP pressing.

The hip hop duo Gang Starr would later sample the intro to "Dig Me" in their song "Words I Manifest (Remix)" from their 1989 debut album No More Mr. Nice Guy.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[4]
Robert ChristgauB−[5]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[6]
Trouser Pressmixed[8]

Released on 27 March 1984, Three of a Perfect Pair reached number 30 in the UK Albums Chart[9]

Trouser Press described it as "a most disjunct album from a band that prided itself on carefully matched contradictions. The Left Side sports four of Adrian Belew's poorer songs and a self-derivative instrumental; the flip is nearly all-instrumental, nearly free-form, nearly brilliant. [...] Apparently the Frippressive "discipline" that forged the critically acclaimed pop/art synthesis of the first two latter-day Crimson albums is not a permanent condition."[8]

During an interview on BBC Radio 1 in 1984, Robert Fripp described the album's 'left' side as "accessible" and 'right' side as "excessive".

A new 5.1 surround sound mix by Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp was released in October 2016 for the 40th Anniversary Series as a standalone CD/DVD package and as part of the On (and off) The Road (1981 - 1984) boxed set.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Adrian Belew; all music is composed by Belew, Bill Bruford, Robert Fripp and Tony Levin, except "The King Crimson Barber Shop", with music & lyrics by Levin.

Side one (The Left Side)
1."Three of a Perfect Pair"4:13
2."Model Man"3:49
4."Man with an Open Heart"3:05
5."Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)" (Instrumental)4:47
Side two (The Right Side)
6."Industry" (Instrumental)7:04
7."Dig Me"3:16
8."No Warning" (Instrumental)3:29
9."Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part III)" (Instrumental)6:05

2016 40th Anniversary edition[edit]


King Crimson
additional personnel
  • Brad Davis - engineer
  • Tony Arnold (Arny's Shack) - co-engineer on "Industry" and "Dig Me"
  • Nick James, Ray Niznik, Peter Hefter - assistant engineers
  • Tex Read - social services
  • Peter Willis (Trevall Mill Studio) - cover symbol design basis
  • Timothy Eames - cover art



Year Chart Position
1984 U.S. Billboard 200 58[10]
UK Albums Chart 30[9]


  1. ^ A Beginner’s Guide to the epic music of King Crimson
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 January 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Keeling, Andrew. "Smashwords – Musical Guide to Larks' Tongues In Aspic by King Crimson - A book by Andrew Keeling - page 31". Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  4. ^ Prato, Greg. "King Crimson Three of a Perfect Pair review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Three of a Perfect Pair". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (10 May 1984). "Album Reviews: King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  7. ^ Sinclair, David (3 May 1984). "King Crimson 'Three of a Perfect Pair'". Kerrang!. 67. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 10.
  8. ^ a b Grant, Steven; Fleischmann, Mark; Robbins, Ira. " :: King Crimson". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  9. ^ a b "King Crimson | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  10. ^ "allmusic ((( Three of a Perfect Pair > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 21 September 2010.

External links[edit]