[[quoteright:225:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ghcgukcu_1472.jpg]]
King Crimson was a band that began in 1969 in London, from the first generation of ProgressiveRock groups. They've pretty much existed ever since, despite some pretty regular break-ups and reformations (1969-1974, 1981-1984, 1994-2009). Also debatably proof that time travel is real.

The only constant member of the band is guitarist and mastermind Robert Fripp, and indeed the band's 1969-1974 period was plagued by unstable lineups. However, things have stabilised somewhat since their 1981 reformation.

Their music is characterised by really impressive instrumental technique, UncommonTime signatures, EpicRocking, pretty extreme dynamic contrasts, lots of {{Improv}}, lyrics that usually [[WordSaladLyrics sound cooler than they read]] (when [[{{Instrumentals}} they appear]]), and a large percentage of tunes that seem specifically designed to ''[[MindScrew fuck with your head]]''.

Not counting any [=ProjeKcts=] (side albums used as "research and development") since then, King Crimson has been on another hiatus since 2009. In August 2012, Fripp announced his retirement from live performance, seemingly disbanding the group. In September 2013 [[TenMinuteRetirement he announced a new lineup]] of seven musicians (including three drummers) with the expectation of being fully active by September 2014.

Current band members:
* [[IAmTheBand Robert Fripp]] (1969 - Present): guitar, guitar synthesizer, etc.
* [[Music/LiquidTensionExperiment Tony Levin]] (1981 - 1999, 2003 - Present): Chapman Stick, bass
* Pat Mastelotto (1994 - Present): drums, percussion
* [[Music/PorcupineTree Gavin Harrison]] (2007 - Present): drums
* Mel Collins (1970 - 1972, 2013 - Present): saxophone, flute, Mellotron
* Jakko Jakkszyk (2013 - Present): guitars, lead vocals
* [[Music/{{Ministry}} Bill Rieflin]] (2013- Present): drums

Former band members:
* Ian [=McDonald=] (1969): saxophone, flute, Mellotron
* [[Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer Greg Lake]] (1969-1970): bass, vocals
* Michael Giles (1969 - 1970): drums
* Peter Sinfield (1969 - 1971): VCS 3 synthesizer, lyrics
* Gordon Haskell (1970): bass, vocals
* Andy [=McCulloch=] (1970): drums
* [[Music/BadCompany Boz Burrell]] (1971 - 1972): bass, vocals
* Ian Wallace (1971 - 1972): drums
* John Wetton (1972 - 1974): bass, vocals, piano
* Jamie Muir (1972 - 1973): percussion, drums
* Music/BillBruford (1972 - 1998): drums, percussion
* David Cross[[note]]No, not ''that'' Creator/DavidCross[[/note]] (1972 - 1974): violin, Mellotron, piano
* Richard Palmer-James (1973 - 1974): lyrics
* Trey Gunn (1994 - 2003): touchstyle guitar, Chapman Stick, fretless bass
* [[Music/FrankZappa Adrian Belew]] (1981 - 2009): guitar, vocals

Additional musicians:
* Peter Giles (1970): bass
* Keith Tippett (1970 - 1971): piano
* [[Music/{{Yes}} Jon Anderson]] (1970): vocals
* Nick Evans (1970): trombone
* Robin Miller (1970 - 1971, 1974): oboe, cor anglais
* Marc Charig (1970 - 1971, 1974): cornet
* Harry Miller (1971): double bass
* Paulina Lucas (1971): vocals
* [[Music/RoxyMusic Eddie Jobson]] (1975): violin, piano, recruited to add violin to the live album ''USA'' whenever Cross' contributions were lost to technical issues

Studio album discography and notable songs:
* ''In the Court of the Crimson King'' (LP, 1969) - "21st Century Schizoid Man", "Epitaph", "The Court of the Crimson King"
* ''In the Wake of Poseidon'' (LP, 1970) - "Picture Of A City", "Cat Food", "The Devils Triangle"
* ''Lizard'' (LP, 1970) - "Lizard"
* ''Islands'' (LP, 1971) - "Ladies Of The Road"
* ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' (LP, 1973) - "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One", "Easy Money", "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two"
* ''Starless and Bible Black''[[note]]partially recorded live[[/note]] (LP, 1974) - "The Great Deceiver", "The Night Watch", "Fracture"
* ''Red''[[note]]also partially recorded live[[/note]] (LP, 1974) - "Red", "Starless"
* ''Discipline'' (LP, 1981) - "Elephant Talk", "Matte Kudasai", "Thela Hun Ginjeet"
* ''Beat'' (LP, 1982) - "Heartbeat", "Sartori in Tangier"
* ''Three of a Perfect Pair'' (LP, 1984) - "Three of a Perfect Pair", "Sleepless", "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part III"
* ''VROOOM'' (EP, 1994) -
* ''THRAK'' (LP, 1995) -
* ''The [=ContruKction=] of Light'' (LP, 2000) -
* ''Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With''[[note]]partially recorded live as well[[/note]] (EP, 2002) -
* ''The Power to Believe'' (LP, 2003) -

"[=ProjeKct=]" studio album discography:
* (as "[=ProjeKct=] Two") ''Space Groove'' (LP) - 1997
* (as "[=ProjeKct=] X") ''Heaven and Earth'' (LP) - 2000
* (as "Jakko Jakszyk, Robert Fripp, and Mel Collins - A King Crimson [=ProjeKct=]") ''A Scarcity of Miracles'' (LP) - 2011

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!Tropes:
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: Each verse of "Elephant Talk" is a list of words that mean "talk" that share the same first letter. This gets [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] in the fourth verse with the line "These are words with a D this time."
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: In a live performance of "Thela Hun Ginjeet", Adrian Belew recounts how the gang he encountered wanted to "Kill me! Rip my limbs off! Smash my tape recorder!"
* BaldOfAwesome: Tony Levin.
* BerserkButton: Robert Fripp hates (unsolicited) flash photography during concerts (and doesn't feel too hot about bootlegs, either).
** To the point of actually ''stopping'' concerts when it happens and having the roadies [[SeriousBusiness take away the camera]].
** Don't ask him for an autograph either.
*** Specifically, RF believes that such things screw with a musician's ability to perform music in a honorable fashion. If you're "the right person," (who isn't out to sell autographed material, disrupt performances, or ask anything of him so you can brag about it to your buds later), at "the right place," (namely, not at concerts or out of the blue on the street), at "the right time" (when he's prepared to do such things), you may just get lucky.
** Generally, anything to do with the inherently shitty nature of the music business (such as the folding of the record label King Crimson was under due to unsound business practices, ill-designed venues, self-serving promoters, jerkass "fans," and a consistent ignorance of anything KC did after 1974 by the press and the public alike) can cause the soft-spoken Englishman to make [[PrecisionFStrike the word "fuck" REALLY stick more than any DI could hope to achieve]].
* BrokenRecord:
-->"I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat myself when under stress, I repeat-"
-->"In the court of the crimson kiiiiiiiiiing ahhhhhhhhhhhhh... kiiiiiiiiiing ahhhhhhhhhhh..."
* CoverVersion: "Get Thy Bearings" by Donovan, "Mars, the Bringer of War" (from ''The Planets'') by GustavHolst, "Prism" by Pierre Favre, "Heroes" by Music/DavidBowie (note: Fripp played guitar on the original version of this song, and Belew played the song live as a member of Bowie's touring band).
** Don't forget [[Music/TheBeatles "Tomorrow Never Knows!"]]
** Early setlists include Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has a Master Plan".
** On one live album, Adrian Belew does a version of Music/TheBeatles' "Free As A Bird", although for some reason he only sings the Lennon bits.
* CrapsackWorld: "21st Century Schizoid Man" and "Epitaph" both describe this kind of world.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Many albums, notably ''Red''.
** The whole Wetton, Cross and Bruford line-up could be considered this. After the complete personnel turnover from "Islands" to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", the band metamorphosed from a lush, symphonic prog band into almost a metal group. ''Starless and Bible Black'' is probably every bit as edgy as ''Red'' but just not quite as heavy.
** Allmusic's review of ''In the Court of the Crimson King'' even refers to the trope by name.
* DeadpanSnarker: Robert Fripp.
* EpicRocking: To a T.
** Robert Fripp [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_standard_tuning needs his own special tuning]] to rock this epically.
** Adrian Belew also qualifies. His ability to make his guitar sound like another instrument or an animal call, combined with the dexterity of the other band members, is probably what Fripp meant on making Crimson a "Small, mobile, intelligent, self sufficient unit".
* ForeignLanguageTitle: "Matte Kudasai", "Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)", "Shoganai"
* GratuitousPanning: The studio version of "VROOOM" from the ''THRAK'' album is mixed with with half of the band members (Fripp, Gunn, and Bruford) on the left channel and the other half (Belew, Levin, Mastelotto) on the right channel.
* HaveAGayOldTime: "Faggot" in "The Great Deceiver" is intended to refer to a skinny person (the "stick" definition of the word), not as a gay slur. Richard Palmer-James was apparently pretty embarrassed when he remembered the word's alternate meaning (which was not commonly used in the United Kingdom at the time, so this could also be an example of DidNotDoTheBloodyResearch or SeparatedByACommonLanguage).
* {{Instrumentals}}: Lots of them. Some King Crimson fans resent that they do songs with vocals at all.
* {{Improv}}: From beloved ("Asbury Park") to almost universally despised by fans.
** A curious example: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxEbFxwed3M "The Deception of the Thrush"]], an improvisation featured on many King Crimson live albums. Each iteration follows the same basic structure, but with wild variations in actual content. The linked version is arguably the best one.
* IntercourseWithYou: Not many of their songs; "Ladies of the Road" is one exception.
** And "Easy Money" from "Larks Tongue in Aspic"
* JapaneseStockPhrases: "Matte Kudasai" (lit. "please wait"), "Shoganai" (a variant of "[[ItCantBeHelped shikata ga nai]]")
* LastNoteNightmare: "21st Century Schizoid Man" is probably the best known example, but the band use this trope pretty often. It's especially commonplace during live improvisations.
* ListSong: "Elephant Talk" lists ways to say talking ("Arguments, agreements, advice, answers...")
** "Coda: I Have a Dream" (from "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part IV") lists major events of the 20th century.
** "Coda: Marine 475" (from "VROOOM") lists… ''something''… related to "a Lloyd's insurance syndicate which suffered huge financial losses and whose members included [the band's former managers]"
*** A bit of detail: The executives of the record label KC was on (EG Records) had been using artist royalties they were "delayed" in paying to invest in insurance schemes (like Lloyd's) and real estate deals; they'd also taken advantage of Fripp's spiritual retreat in the mid-70's to convince him to sign over his publishing rights (not only did the record company now own King Crimson's actual recordings, they owned the songs in totality, including licensing rights, royalties, etc...). Due to a real estate bubble bursting in the late 80s, coupled with a tidal wave of insurance claims made in that era, the execs were bankrupted, and couldn't pay up. So they sold the company, along with all of KC and Fripp's music, to Virgin Records without telling the band, and then offered all the label's artists a lump sum settlement with a gagging clause (read: bribe) to avoid getting taken to court. Fripp said fuck that (in a manner of speaking), and took the company to court; after a really long and expensive lawsuit, he managed to get the copyrights back, though to this day, he still deals with record labels selling/streaming KC stuff without authorization, one of the reasons he left public performance in 2009. More to the point: Marine 475 is the name of one of those Lloyd's Syndicates the execs had bought into with money stolen from their artists, and whose collapse led to this whole fiasco.
* LongTitle: "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum", "Mother Hold the Candle Steady While I Shave the Chicken's Lip"
* LoudnessWar: Thankfully, completely averted, as Robert Fripp hates modern recording industry practices.
* MinimalisticCoverArt: ''Earthbound'' has only the band name and album name on a black background. ''Discipline'', ''Beat'', and ''Three of a Perfect Pair'' each have a symbol, the band name, and album name on a solid-color background. ''Red'' just has a picture of the band's lineup at the time (Fripp, Wetton and Bruford), with text and title. ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' probably takes the cake, having just a symbol on a stark white background.
** Actually, every single album they've made between 1973 and 2000. These guys don't usually go for DesignStudentsOrgasm.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: From 1 to 7, depending on the era and the song.
** A circa-1975 interview with Robert Fripp mentions the difference in the public's perception of the band, depending on the country: in America, they were seen almost as something one would put on a suit and tie to go see, while they were considered elsewhere to be some kind of killer metal.
* MotorMouth: Adrian Belew in "Neurotica".
* MythologyGag: The lyrics of "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum" include references to earlier Crimson songs, in particular "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" ("happy as a lark's tongue in cheek bone china doll") and "Frame by Frame" ("the world's my oyster soup kitchen door frame by frame").
** "Walking on Air" (from 1995) includes the lyric "In between the deep blue sea and the sheltering sky", and one of their instrumentals (from 1981) is titled "The Sheltering Sky" (itself a reference to a novel by Paul Bowles).
** Then there are "[=FraKctured=]", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part III", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part IV", and "Fearless and Highly Thrakked", whose titles refer to earlier songs/instrumentals.
* NewSoundAlbum: [[IncrediblyLamePun One of the kings]] of this trope.
* TheNotRemix: The "40th Anniversary Series" of album reissues, and two tracks ("Cadence and Cascade" and "Bolero - The Peacock's Tale") on the compilation ''Frame by Frame''.
* ProgressiveRock: One of the TropeMakers.
* ProtestSong: They have a few. "21st Century Schizoid Man" protests TheVietnamWar, "Lament" protests record industry politics, etc.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: The vocal sections of ''"Thela Hun Ginjeet"'' come straight from Adrian Belew's frazzled story of being confronted by gangsters just minutes earlier. As Belew began his story, Robert Fripp [[ThrowItIn signalled to the studio engineer to begin recording.]]
* RedOniBlueOni: When the showmanlike, somewhat flamboyant Adrian Belew and the focused, intellectual Robert Fripp are put on the same stage, this kind of interaction inevitably results.
* RevolvingDoorBand: See above.
* RockMeAmadeus: "The Devil's Triangle" has some obvious similarities to "Mars, the Bringer of War", but [[SuspiciouslySimilarSong different enough to not be a copyright violation]]. (They either didn't ask for permission or were denied permission to record it at that time. Later on, some archival live albums such as ''Epitaph'' included recordings of their adaptation of "Mars, the Bringer of War" that they performed live in 1969, titled simply "Mars".)
* RockTrio: The lineup just before their mid-70s hiatus. In the 90s, King Crimson's six-man lineup was billed as being two {{Rock Trio}}s put together.
* {{Sampling}}: In a rather unexpected move, the TitleDrop of "21st Century Schizoid Man" was sampled in Music/KanyeWest's "Power".
* ScareChord: Several, but the one in "The Devil's Triangle" is particularly jarring.
* ShoutOut: Music/TheBeatles, JimiHendrix and ComicStrip/RupertBear are depicted on the cover of ''Lizard''.
** The lyrics of "Happy Family" (from ''Lizard'') are widely believed to be a thinly-veiled reference to Music/TheBeatles' breakup ("Silas" = George, "Rufus" = Ringo, "Jonah" = John, "Jude" = Paul), which would explain the cover illustration.
** The opening lyrics to "Epitaph" reference Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence"
* ShoutOutToShakespeare: One section of "Epitaph" is called "[[Theatre/MacBeth Tomorrow and Tomorrow]]", which is fitting since the song is about death and despair.
* SomethingBlues: "Proza[=Kc=] Blues".
* SillyLoveSongs: You wouldn't expect to see this trope here, but there you are. "Cadence and Cascade".
* SoundtrackDissonance: A French porn studio in the mid 70s used "Larks Tongues In Aspic, Part II" in one of their films (Emmanuelle). While Fripp was irked that they didn't ask for his permission to use the track, he commented/joked in his online diary that they actually couldn't have picked a better KC song to use (honestly, the song does have certain raunchy, sexy overtones). Nonetheless, the heaviness of the piece might seem a bit off to some.
* SpokenWordInMusic: "Elephant Talk," "Indiscipline," "Thela Hun Ginjeet," "Neurotica," "Dig Me", "Coda: Marine 475"[[note]]only in the studio version, and even there it's almost inaudible in the mix[[/note]]
** "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part I", near its end, includes a recording of the play "[[http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/STELLA/STARN/scotplay/GLASS/glass0.htm Gallowglass]]": "[...] you shall be hanged by the neck upon a gibbet until you are dead", with a ScareChord at the same time as the word "dead".
* StudioChatter: Right at the end of the ''Islands'' album, there's a recording of the string and woodwind musicians rehearsing "Prelude: Song of the Gulls".
* TextlessAlbumCover: ''In the Court of the Crimson King'', ''In the Wake of Poseidon'', ''Islands'', and ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic''.
** Also, the [=ProjeKct=] Two albums ''Space Groove'' and ''Live Groove''.
* TheSpartanWay: Bill Bruford's descriptions of what playing in King Crimson was like almost make the band sound like this.
-->'''Bruford''': In Music/{{Yes}}, there was an endless debate about should it be F natural in the bass with G sharp on top by the organ. In King Crimson... you were just supposed to ''know''.
-->'''Bruford''' (on joining King Crimson): It was like going over the Berlin Wall... [[{{Dissimile}} into East Germany]].
* TitleConfusion: The last song on ''Red'' is titled "Starless" on the album cover, but Fripp sometimes announced it as "Starless and Bible Black" in concert. The reason for the shortened title apparently was that the previous album, ''Starless and Bible Black'', contained an improvisation titled "Starless and Bible Black", which was completely different from the song "Starless". The confusion is understandable, given that "Starless" actually ''contains the lyrics'' "starless and bible black," whereas "Starless and Bible Black" does ''not'' (being an instrumental). [[MindScrew Whew]].
** This was actually because Wetton wrote "Starless" as the title track for the previous album, but the rest of the band rejected it and wend with the improvisation. For "Red," they brought the song back, but since the original title was already taken, they shortened it.
** The band often had (private) parody titles for their [=LPs=]. Hence ''Braless and Slightly Slack'', or ''Tree of a Perfect Pear''.
** They do this in their improvs as well; One is called "Shark's Lungs In Lemsip".
* TitleTrack: An unusual case, in that all but one of their studio albums have title tracks (and even the one that doesn't, ''Beat'', has a song called "Heartbeat"). It appears that Robert Fripp finds the inclusion of a title track vitally important. The most amusing example of this is the album ''Starless and Bible Black''--although they had begun writing a song whose chorus included the title phrase, it was eventually rejected from the album, and a live improv was just added in its place and titled "Starless and Bible Black". The originally intended title track made its way onto ''Red'', where it was entitled just "Starless"
* TropeCodifier: Arguably, for ProgressiveRock in general.
* UncommonTime: All over the place. Possibly the TropeCodifier for this trend in ProgressiveRock. ''Discipline'' really takes this UpToEleven with some almost impossible-to-follow polyrhythms on tracks like "Frame by Frame", "Thela Hun Ginjeet" and "Discipline". It's probably not possible to express in concise terms just how mind-boggling the last of these gets, so [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discipline_(instrumental) have a Wikipedia article]].
* WordPureeTitle: "Thela Hun Ginjeet", an anagram of "heat in the jungle".
* WordSaladLyrics: Some of their lyrics, especially the ones by Adrian Belew or Peter Sinfield (the latter may also be EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory).
* WordSaladTitle: "Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream", "This Night Wounds Time", "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum".
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