About King Crimson
King Crimson are a progressive rock band formed in 1968 in London, England. They exerted a strong influence on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and continue to inspire subsequent generations of artists from multiple music genres as well. Guitarist and primary composer Robert Fripp, the band's only remaining founding member, has acted as the driving creative force throughout its history. Although this causes him to be viewed as the band's leader, Fripp himself shuns this label. King Crimson has earned a large cult following. They were ranked No. 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Initially considered one of the seminal founding bands in progressive rock, the original King Crimson influenced and altered the music and approach of contemporaries such as Yes and Genesis. Despite this, Fripp in particular has often distanced himself from this genre. Crimson has drawn inspiration from a wide variety of music over the years, keeping their work fresh by incorporating elements of Classical music, jazz, folk, heavy metal, gamelan, industrial, Electronic, experimental music, and new wave.
Founded by Fripp, drummer Michael Giles, bassist and singer Greg Lake, multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, and lyricist Peter Sinfield from the ashes of psychedelic pop trio Giles, Giles and Fripp, the band initially focused on a dramatic, doom-laden sound rich with layers of Mellotron strings, flute, and Lake's distinctively powerful vocals. Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King , remains their most commercially successful and influential release, with a potent mixture of jazz, classical and experimental music. Their visibility increased tenfold following an opening act slot for the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, London, in July 1969. Following the sudden departure of McDonald and Giles, Fripp and Sinfield assumed direction of the group for In the Wake of Poseidon , the chamber jazz–inspired Lizard , and Islands . In 1972, Fripp changed the group's instrumentation and approach, bringing in new players including bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. Drawing inspiration from European free improvisation, swapping saxophone for violin and developing ever more complex and clever compositions, they reached what many saw as a new creative peak on Larks' Tongues in Aspic , Starless and Bible Black , and Red . Fripp disbanded this group in 1974.
In 1981, King Crimson reformed with another dramatic change in musical direction. Fripp and Bruford returned from the previous band, and for the first time a second guitarist , was incorporated. Also including bassist Tony Levin , this band blended influences drawn from African music, gamelan, post-punk and New York minimalism. This Crimson lasted three years, resulting in the trio of albums Discipline , Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair . Following a decade-long hiatus, Fripp revived this group as a sextet in 1994, adding Stick player Trey Gunn and drummer Pat Mastelotto. Mingling the mid-'70s and 1980s approaches with new creative options available via MIDI technology and the rhythmic interplay of the two drummers, this revival resulted in another three-year cycle of activity that included the release of a new album, Thrak , and multiple concert recordings. From 1997 to 2000, Fripp formed several smaller configurations of musicians from the larger band to explore different approaches to their music. This series of related bands, collectively referred to as “ProjeKcts”, toured and recorded both live and studio material. Fripp would go on to occasionally form new ProjeKcts from 2000 to 2006 as well. Fripp, Belew, Gunn and Mastelotto reunited as King Crimson in 2000 as a more industrial-oriented "Double Duo", releasing The Construkction of Light and The Power to Believe . After Gunn left the group, and Levin rejoined, the band expanded for a 2008 tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their formation .
Following another hiatus , during which Fripp was thought to be retired from touring, King Crimson came together again in 2013; this time as a septet with an unusual three-drumkit frontline , the return of saxophone/flute to the lineup for the first time since 1972, and new second guitarist and singer Jakko Jakszyk. Levin returned on bass and Stick. Drummer Jeremy Stacey participated as well when health issues prevented Rieflin from touring. Stacey eventually joined full-time as the third drummer, while Rieflin returned and switched to keyboards. This version of King Crimson continued to tour from 2014 to 2021, and have released multiple live albums to critical acclaim, rearranging and reinterpreting music from across the band's entire 50-year career for the first time. They resumed touring in 2021.
In August 1967, drummer Michael Giles and his bassist brother Peter, pro musicians in working bands since their mid-teens in Dorset, England, advertised for a “singing organist” to join a group they were forming. Fellow Dorset musician Robert Fripp – a guitarist who neither played organ nor sang – responded, and Giles, Giles and Fripp was born. The trio recorded several quirky singles and one eclectic album, The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp. They hovered on the edge of success, and even made a television appearance, but were never able to make a commercial breakthrough.
Attempting to expand their sound, the three recruited Ian McDonald on keyboards, reeds and woodwinds. McDonald brought along two new participants: his then-girlfriend, former Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble, whose brief tenure with the group ended when the two split, and lyricist, roadie, and art strategist Peter Sinfield, with whom he had been writing songs – a partnership initiated when McDonald had said to Sinfield , "Peter, I have to tell you that your band is hopeless, but you write some great words. Would you like to get together on a couple of songs?" Fripp, meanwhile, saw Clouds at the Marquee Club in London which spurred him to incorporate classically inspired melodies into his writing, and utilize improvisation to find new ideas. No longer interested in Peter Giles' more whimsical pop songs, Fripp recommended that his old friend, fellow guitarist and singer Greg Lake could join to replace either Peter or Fripp himself. Peter Giles later called it one of Fripp's "cute political moves". But he had become disillusioned with the band's lack of success and departed, leaving Lake to become bassist and singer.
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