In the Court of the Crimson King

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In the Court of the Crimson King
In the Court of the Crimson King - 40th Anniversary Box Set - Front cover.jpeg
Studio album by
Released10 October 1969
RecordedJune–August 1969
Studio Wessex Sound Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock [1]
Length43:56
Label
Producer King Crimson
King Crimson chronology
In the Court of the Crimson King
(1969)
In the Wake of Poseidon
(1970)
Singles from In the Court of the Crimson King
  1. "The Court of the Crimson King"
    Released: 12 October 1969
  2. "Epitaph" / "21st Century Schizoid Man"
    Released: 12 October 1969

In the Court of the Crimson King (subtitled An Observation by King Crimson) is the debut album from the English rock band King Crimson, released on 10 October 1969 on Island Records in England and Atlantic Records in America. The album is one of the first and most influential of the progressive rock genre, where the band largely combined blues influences that rock music was founded upon with elements of jazz, classical, and symphonic music.

King Crimson British art rock band

King Crimson are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968, that now is more international in membership. King Crimson have been influential both on the early 1970s progressive rock movement and many contemporary artists. Although the band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history, Robert Fripp is the only consistent member of the group and is considered the band's leader and driving force. The band has earned a large cult following. They were ranked No. 87 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Although considered to be a seminal progressive rock band, they have often distanced themselves from the genre: as well as influencing several generations of progressive and psychedelic rock bands, they have also been an influence on subsequent alternative metal, hardcore and experimental/noise musicians.

Island Records British international record label of Jamaican origin; imprint of Island Records Ltd.

Island Records is a record label owned by Universal Music Group. It was founded in 1959 by Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall, and Leslie Kong in Jamaica, and was eventually sold to PolyGram in 1989. Island and A&M Records, another label recently acquired by PolyGram, were both at the time the largest independent record labels in history, with Island in particular having exerted a major influence on the progressive music scene in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s.

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.

Contents

The album reached No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 28 on the US Billboard 200, where it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album was reissued several times in the 1980s and 1990s using inferior copies of the master tapes. After the masters were located in 2003, a 40th-anniversary edition of the album was released in 2009 with new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes by Steven Wilson.

The Official Albums Chart is a list of albums ranked by physical and digital sales and audio streaming in the United Kingdom. It was published for the first time on 22 July 1956 and is compiled every week by the Official Charts Company (OCC) on Fridays. It is broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and published in Music Week magazine, and on the OCC website.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards. Certification is not automatic; for an award to be made, the record label must request certification. The audit is conducted against net shipments after returns, which includes albums sold directly to retailers and one-stops, direct-to-consumer sales and other outlets.

Production

Recording

King Crimson made their live debut on 9 April 1969, [2] and made a breakthrough by playing the Rolling Stones free concert at Hyde Park, London in July 1969, before an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people.

Hyde Park, London Royal Park in London, United Kingdom

Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water lakes.

Initial sessions for the album were held in early 1969 with producer Tony Clarke, most famous for his work with the Moody Blues. After these sessions failed to work out, the group were given permission to produce the album themselves. The album was recorded on a 1" 8-channel recorder at Wessex Sound Studios in London, engineered by Robin Thompson and assisted by Tony Page. [3] In order to achieve the characteristic lush, orchestral sounds on the album, Ian McDonald spent many hours overdubbing layers of Mellotron and various woodwind and reed instruments. In some cases, the band went through 5 tape generations to attain deeply layered, segued tracks. [4]

The Moody Blues English band

The Moody Blues are an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1964, initially consisting of keyboardist Mike Pinder, multi-instrumentalist Ray Thomas, guitarist Denny Laine, drummer Graeme Edge, and bassist Clint Warwick. The group came to prominence playing rhythm and blues music. They made some changes in musicians but settled on a line-up of Pinder, Thomas, Edge, guitarist Justin Hayward, and bassist John Lodge, who stayed together for most of the band's "classic era" into the early 1970s.

Multitrack recording process of mixing individual sound sources to a single recording

Multitrack recording (MTR)—also known as multitracking, double tracking, or tracking—is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.

Wessex Sound Studios was a recording studio located in Highbury New Park, London, England. Many renowned popular music artists recorded there, including Sex Pistols, King Crimson, The Clash, Theatre of Hate, XTC, The Sinceros, Queen, Talk Talk, The Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend and The Damned. The property was sold to a residential development company in 2003.

Some time after the album had been completed, however, it was discovered that the stereo master recorder used during the mixdown stage of the album had incorrectly-aligned recording heads. This misalignment resulted in a loss of high frequencies and introduced some unwanted distortion. This is evident in certain parts of the album, particularly on "21st Century Schizoid Man". Consequently, while preparing the first American release for Atlantic Records, a special copy was made from the original 2-track stereo master in an attempt to correct some of these anomalies. (The analog tape copying process usually results in generation loss.) From 1969 to 2003, this second-generation "corrected" copy was the source used in the dubbing of the various sub-masters used for vinyl, cassette and CD releases over the years. The original, "first-generation" stereo masters, however, had been filed away soon after the original 1969 mixdown sessions. These tapes were considered lost until 2003.[ citation needed ]

21st Century Schizoid Man song composed by Robert Fripp performed by King Crimson

"21st Century Schizoid Man" is a song by the progressive rock band King Crimson from their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.

Generation loss is the loss of quality between subsequent copies or transcodes of data. Anything that reduces the quality of the representation when copying, and would cause further reduction in quality on making a copy of the copy, can be considered a form of generation loss. File size increases are a common result of generation loss, as the introduction of artifacts may actually increase the entropy of the data through each generation.

Sleeve design

Barry Godber (1946–1970), a computer programmer, painted the design for the album cover. Godber died in February 1970 from a heart attack, shortly after the album's release. It was his only album cover; the original painting is now owned by Robert Fripp. [5] [6] Fripp had said about Godber:

Robert Fripp English guitarist, composer and record producer

Robert Fripp is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. As a guitarist for the progressive rock band King Crimson, Fripp has been the only member to have played in all of King Crimson's line-ups from their inception in the late 1960s to the present. He has also worked extensively as a studio musician, notably with David Bowie on the albums "Heroes" and Scary Monsters , Brian Eno, David Sylvian and contributed sounds to the Windows Vista operating system. His complete discography lists more than seven hundred releases over five decades.

Peter brought this painting in and the band loved it. I recently recovered the original from [managing label E.G. Records's] offices because they kept it exposed to bright light, at the risk of ruining it, so I ended up removing it. The face on the outside is the Schizoid Man, and on the inside it's the Crimson King. If you cover the smiling face, the eyes reveal an incredible sadness. What can one add? It reflects the music. [7]

The album cover is painted on a wall in the 1987 Troma Entertainment film Surf Nazis Must Die . [8]

Release

The album reached No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart [9] and No. 28 on the US Billboard 200, [10] where it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. [11]

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
All About Jazz Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [12]
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [13]
Mojo Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg [14]
The Village Voice D+ [15]

In the Court of the Crimson King initially received mixed reactions from critics. Village Voice critic Robert Christgau called the album "ersatz shit", [15] while John Morthland of Rolling Stone said King Crimson had "combined aspects of many musical forms to create a surreal work of force and originality". [16] The album has since attained a classic status, with AllMusic praising it "[a]s if somehow prophetic, King Crimson projected a darker and edgier brand of post-psychedelic rock" in its original review by Lindsay Planer, and calling it "definitive" and "daring" in its current review. [13]

In his 1997 book Rocking the Classics, critic and musicologist Edward Macan notes that In the Court of the Crimson King "may be the most influential progressive rock album ever released". [17] The Who's Pete Townshend was quoted as calling the album "an uncanny masterpiece". [18] In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came fourth in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". [19] The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine's "50 Albums That Built Prog Rock". [20] In 2014, readers of Rhythm voted it the eighth greatest drumming album in the history of progressive rock. [21] In 2015, Rolling Stone named In the Court of the Crimson King the second greatest progressive rock album of all time, behind Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon . [1] The album is also featured in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die . [22]

In the Venture Bros episode "Perchance to Dean," Dean is cautioned against listening to the album, as it will turn him into an evil scientist. [23]

Reissues

In the Court of the Crimson King was reissued several times in the 1980s and 1990s through Polydor and E.G. Records, with pressings made from copies that were several generations removed from the stereo sub-master tape. This resulted in sub-par audio quality and audible tape hiss. In 1999, Virgin Records released a 30th Anniversary 24-bit remastered edition of the album.

In 2003, the first-generation stereo master tapes were rediscovered in a storage vault. A year later, the album was released on CD with the High Definition Compatible Digital encoding format, described as the "Original Master Edition", on Fripp's Discipline Global Mobile label with improved sound quality compared to previous editions. A 12-page booklet is included. In October 2009, Fripp collaborated with musician and producer Steven Wilson to remix the original 8-track master recordings in a new stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix, released as the album's 40th Anniversary edition. [24] [25] The album was sold as three different packages: a two-CD set with the old and new stereo versions, a CD and DVD set with the new stereo and surround sound mixes, and a six-disc (5 CD/1 DVD) box with all mixes and bonus audio and video tracks.

Track listing

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."21st Century Schizoid Man (including "Mirrors")" Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, Greg Lake, Michael Giles, Pete Sinfield 7:24
2."I Talk to the Wind"McDonald, Sinfield6:04
3."Epitaph (including "March for No Reason" and "Tomorrow and Tomorrow")"Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield8:49
Total length:22:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
4."Moonchild (including "The Dream" and "The Illusion")"Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield12:13
5."The Court of the Crimson King (including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets")"McDonald, Sinfield9:26
Total length:21:39

2009 40th Anniversary edition

N.B. see the related release In the Court of the Crimson King - box set for additional related tracks from this era.

Personnel

King Crimson

Production

Charts

Chart (1969–1970)Peak
position
Canada Top Albums/CDs ( RPM ) [27] 27
UK Albums (OCC) [9] 5
US Billboard 200 [10] 28

Certifications

RegionCertification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada) [28] Platinum100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) [29] Gold100,000^
United States (RIAA) [11] Gold500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

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References

  1. 1 2 Epstein, Dan (17 June 2015). "50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone . Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. Epitaph (CD). King Crimson. Discipline Global Mobile. 1997.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. Sleeve notes on original Island Records (ILPS-9111) release.
  4. http://blog.musoscribe.com/index.php/2011/01/24/interview-steven-wilson-on-the-king-crimson-40th-anniversary-reissue-project/
  5. "August 1979 interview with Robert Fripp - ETWiki". Elephant-talk.com. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  6. "Barry Godber (English, 1946-1970)". Batguano.com. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  7. "Interview with Robert Fripp in Rock and Folk - ETWiki". Elephant-talk.com. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  8. Martin, Chris. "SURF NAZIS MUST DIE: A STUDY IN GOOD BAD FILMMAKING". Network Awesome. Retrieved 24 July 2016.
  9. 1 2 "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  10. 1 2 "King Crimson Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  11. 1 2 "American album certifications – King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King". Recording Industry Association of America . Retrieved 5 January 2017.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  12. Kelman, John (14 November 2009). "King Crimson: In The Court Of The Crimson King (40th Anniversary Series)". Allaboutjazz.com. All About Jazz . Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  13. 1 2 Eder, Bruce. "In the Court of the Crimson King". AllMusic . Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  14. Mike Barnes (November 2009). "Royal Flush". Mojo . London: Bauer Media Group (192): 106. ISSN   1351-0193.
  15. 1 2 Christgau, Robert (11 December 1969). "Consumer Guide (5): King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King". The Village Voice . Retrieved 5 December 2011 via robertchristgau.com.
  16. Morthland, John (27 December 1969). "King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson King > Album Review". Rolling Stone (49). Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  17. Macan, Edward (1997). Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture, Oxford University Press, ISBN   0-19-509888-9, p. 23.
  18. "King Crimson biography". Discipline Global Mobile (dgmlive.com). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  19. Q Classic: Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, 2005.
  20. Classic Rock magazine, July 2010, Issue 146.
  21. "Peart named most influential prog drummer". TeamRock. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  22. Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN   0-7893-1371-5.
  23. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1541106/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
  24. "Steven Wilson Headquarters". Swhq.co.uk. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  25. "DGM Live". DGM Live. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  26. "The Song Soup on Sea Gallery ~ Barry !". Songsouponsea.com. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  27. "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3764". RPM . Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  28. "Canadian album certifications – King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King". Music Canada . Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  29. "British album certifications – King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King". British Phonographic Industry . Retrieved 5 January 2017.Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type In the Court of the Crimson King in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.