The year 1969 saw the new experimental movement gained its common name "progressive rock" (although the origin of this is unknown). Nineteen sixty-nine also saw a new batch of bands that would eventually become the embodiment of the genre. Yes released its first album on Atlantic (although larger success would not come to the band until 1971's The Yes Album). King Crimson released In The Court Of The Crimson King, which garnered the most attention among fans and critics alike (Pete Townsend of The Who called In The Court..."an uncanny masterpeice."
While traditional rock and roll is ultimately based on the blues, progressive rock tends to be based more in European classical music and post bop jazz. Gustav Holtz's Mars was a concert staple at King Crimson concerts in the early 70's and Emerson, Lake and Palmer put Copeland's Hoedown and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition in their repertoire.
Fripp emerged in 1972 with his most forward-looking and brashest Crimson, including Bill Bruford (who left the far more successful Yes to join), John Wetton (of Family), new lyricist Robert Palmer-Jones, David Cross, and Jamie Muir (who left for a Buddhist monastery after Larks' Tongues in Aspic). This lineup specialized in brainy, Gothic metal and jagged, dissonant free improvisation, and drew critical comparisons to Captain Beefheart's Magic Band and, thanks to Cross' electric violin, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
The eerie, portentous sound of early King Crimson set the tone for British art rock. But by the time the group's Melotron-heavy sound and psychedelic lyrics had turned into lucrative clichés, leader Robert Fripp had long since shifted the group's style toward music that was far more eccentric, complex, and dissonant. The original Crimson's roots when back to 1967, when the Bournemouth trio Giles, Giles and Fripp began making whimsical pop, which resulted in one British-only album in 1968 called The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp.
There was a time when "progressive rock" was easy to define, and everybody knew who played it-Jethro Tull, ELP, Yes, and other peculiar, bombastic men who owned an inordinate number of Moog synthesizers during the mid-1970s. This was an extremely amusing era for rock; the single best example from the period was King Crimson's 1969 song "21st Century Schizoid Man," a track built on a spooky two-pronged premise: What would it be like to encounter a fellow who was not only from the distant future, but also suffering from an untreated mental illness?
Bad Religion record a self-titled EP in '81. Gurewitz borrows $1,000 from his father to press it, and Epitaph Records, named after the King Crimson lyric "Confusion will be my epitaph," is born.
"Today, there are greater necessities for me than pulling new KC music from the air & touring the world to present it to ears that would rather hear an older repertoire (which is pretty fab, may we note). Live KC music of any period would have value, but I doubt it would shape the contemporary musical debate. A grief of expectations, conventionality, conflicting demands – a younger Fripp would have dealt with it, and suffered. An older Fripp chooses his suffering more carefully[," says Robert Fripp in a 2010 diary entry.]
The big bang of prog rock was King Crimson's 1969 debut LP In the Court of the Crimson King. Months after the record was released, the original line-up dissolved and Crimson has existed in countless permutations ever since. The only constant member is Robert Fripp, though he seems to have lost interest in the band and they haven't played in a few years.
Kanye West has served up the surprise party jam for Memorial Day weekend as the rapper returned this morning with the explosive new track "Power." The song, reportedly the first single from his highly-anticipated fifth album Good *ss Job, reunites Kanye with Dwele, the soul singer who provided the hook to West's "Flashing Lights." Nah Right reports that Symbolyc One produced the cut, which carves an unexpected sample out of King Crimson's prog-rock classic "21st Century Schizoid Man."
King Crimson, from the start, were never stable enough to get nostalgic — they had been through more than half a dozen lineups when founding guitarist Robert Fripp first disbanded the group in the mid-Seventies — and the current band comes with its own set of changes: a new, second drummer, Gavin Harrison from the British-prog unit Porcupine Tree, and returning bassist and Stick player Tony Levin. The result is a fascinating hybrid of homecoming and unfinished business. Levin and singer-guitarist Adrian Belew first played with Fripp in the propulsive, contrapuntal-guitar Crimson of the Eighties. Harrison and drummer Pat Mastelotto's drum talk at Nokia, especially in their explosive overtures to "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" and "Thela Hun Ginjeet," recalled Mastelotto's knotted locomotion with Bill Bruford in the short-lived double quartet of the mid-Nineties.
King Crimson, now celebrating their fortieth anniversary, ended the first of four small-room shows here by not playing the most obvious encore: the fuzz-and-fury beast "21st Century Schizoid Man," from the group's 1969 debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King. It has, in fact, been a rare sighting for decades — I've only seen them play it once, in Philadelphia in 1974, sandwiched on a bill between the Kinks and Peter Frampton.