[[caption-width-right:350:The ''Starless and Bible Black'' lineup: (L-R) [[Music/{{Asia}} John Wetton]], David Cross, Robert Fripp, and [[Music/{{Yes}} Bill Bruford]].]]

->''"Everything you've heard about King Crimson is true. It's an absolutely terrifying place... In Music/{{Yes}} was an endless debate about should it be F♮ in the bass with G♯ on top with the organ, or should it be the other way round. In King Crimson, almost nothing was said. [[TheSpartanWay You were just supposed to know.]]"''
-->-- '''Music/BillBruford''', 2009 interview

King Crimson is a band that began in 1968 in London, from the first generation of ProgressiveRock groups. They've pretty much existed ever since, despite some pretty regular break-ups and reformations (196874, 198184, 19942004, 200708, 2013). 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 196874 period was plagued by constantly shifting lineups. Its most stable lineup was between 1981 and 1984, where they toured as a four-piece, and from 1994 to 1998, when that same four-piece took on two additional members. The band was revived in 2013 as a seven-piece band that contained two new members, along with five previous members, including one (Mel Collins) who'd hadn't played with the band for nearly 30 years.

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 just to ''[[MindScrew fuck with your head]]''.

Not counting any [=ProjeKcts=] -- side albums from various subsets of the band, used as "research and development", according to Fripp -- King Crimson had been on another hiatus since 2009. And in August 2012, Fripp announced his retirement from live performance, seemingly disbanding the group.

However, in September 2013 [[TenMinuteRetirement he announced the new seven-piece lineup]] (which included ''three'' drummers) which began touring in 2014. It initially was billed by Fripp as a 'farewell' tour, but then the seven-piece line-up also toured in 2015 and 2016, and then toured as an eight-piece in 2017 and 2018. But, as Fripp is in his seventies and his dissatisfaction with the state of the music industry [[http://www.dgmlive.com/about.htm is well documented]], each re-formation or line-up change could someday be the last depending on his mood.

Fripp has had a strident policy of no photography or recording since the band's inception. However, he has acquiesced (slightly) to the smartphone age, allowing for photographs when himself and Tony Levin (an accomplished photographer as well as bassist) take out their cameras at the end of the show. [[note]]Levin keeps a photo diary on his personal [[https://tonylevin.com/road-diary website]]. [[/note]]

Has spawned two bands, 21st Century Schizoid Band and [[https://www.facebook.com/thecrimsonprojekct/ The Crimson ProjeKCt]], comprised of former and current members who also play the band's repertoire, ostensibly with Fripp's blessing. Four of the current eight-piece band are in these units as well, putting the status of both effectively on hold.

Current band members:
* [[IAmTheBand Robert Fripp]] (1968): guitar, guitar synthesizer, etc.
* Mel Collins (197072, 2013): saxophone, flute, Mellotron [[note]]Session musician in 1974[[/note]]
* [[Music/LiquidTensionExperiment Tony Levin]] (198199, 2003): Chapman Stick, bass
* Pat Mastelotto (1994): drums, percussion
* [[Music/PorcupineTree Gavin Harrison]] (2007): drums
* Jakko Jakkszyk (2013): guitars, lead vocals
* [[Music/{{Ministry}} Bill Rieflin]] (20132016, 2017-): drums, keyboards [[note]]Rieflin took a sabbatical in 2016, but the band announced his return in January 2017 while also keeping Stacey. Since then, he has been relegated to playing only keyboards.[[/note]]
* Jeremy Stacey (2016-): drums, keyboards [[note]]Recruited [[http://www.dgmlive.com/news.htm?entry=5474 by]] Jakkszyk & Harrison when Bill Rieflin decided to take a sabbatical in 2016, but not released when Rieflin returned in 2017.[[/note]]

Former band members:
* Ian [=McDonald=] (196869): saxophone, flute, Mellotron [[note]]Session musician in 1974[[/note]]
* [[Music/EmersonLakeAndPalmer Greg Lake]] (196870; died 2016): bass, vocals
* Michael Giles (196869): drums
* Peter Sinfield (196872): VCS 3 synthesizer, lyrics
* Gordon Haskell (1970): bass, vocals
* Andy [=McCulloch=] (1970): drums
* [[Music/BadCompany Boz Burrell]] (197172; died 2006): bass, vocals
* Ian Wallace (197172; died 2007): drums
* [[Music/{{Asia}} John Wetton]] (197274; died 2017): bass, vocals, piano
* Jamie Muir (197273): percussion, drums
* Music/BillBruford (197297): drums, percussion
* David Cross [[note]]No, not ''that'' Creator/DavidCross[[/note]] (197274): violin, Mellotron, piano
* Richard Palmer-James (197374): lyrics
* Trey Gunn (19942003): touchstyle guitar, Chapman Stick, fretless bass
* [[Music/FrankZappa Adrian]] [[Music/TalkingHeads Belew]] (19812013): guitar, vocals [[note]]The door has been [[https://www.dgmlive.com/news/Belew%20now%209th%20Man left open]] for Belew to rejoin the band if an opportunity arises.[[/note]]

Additional musicians:
* Peter Giles (1970): bass
* Keith Tippett (197071): piano
* [[Music/{{Yes}} Jon Anderson]] (1970): vocals
* Nick Evans (1970): trombone
* Robin Miller (197071, 1974): oboe, cor anglais
* Marc Charig (197071, 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
* Chris Gibson (2017) : keyboards [[note]]Recruited when Bill Rieflin was unable to take part in the Fall 2017 tour.[[/note]]

Studio album discography and notable songs:
* ''Music/InTheCourtOfTheCrimsonKing'' (LP, 1969) - "21st Century Schizoid Man", "Epitaph", "The Court of the Crimson King"
* ''In the Wake of Poseidon'' (LP, 1970) - "Pictures of a City", "Cat Food", "The Devil's Triangle"
* ''Lizard'' (LP, 1970) - "Cirkus", "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'' (LP, 1974) - "The Great Deceiver", "The Night Watch", "Fracture" [[note]]While ''technically'' a studio album, nearly all of the album was recorded live during the 1973 tour, with crowd noise later removed and certain pieces enhanced with studio overdubs.[[/note]]
* ''Red'' (LP, 1974) - "Red", "Starless" [[note]]The song "Providence" was recorded live in Providence, RI (natch) during the tour for ''Starless And Bible Black''.[[/note]]
* ''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) - "Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream"
* ''THRAK'' (LP, 1995) - "Dinosaur", "Walking on Air"
* ''The [=ContruKction=] of Light'' (LP, 2000) - "[=FraKctured=]", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part IV"
* ''Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With'' (EP, 2002) - "Eyes Wide Open", the title track [[note]]The EP also includes a live version of Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part IV recorded during the 2001 tour.[[/note]]
* ''The Power to Believe'' (LP, 2003) - studio versions of "Level Five" & "Dangerous Curves" [[note]]Songs initially developed during the [=ProjeKct=] years; "Level Five" has since been deemed by Fripp as the latest installment of the "Larks' Tongues" series[[/note]], new versions of "Eyes Wide Open" and "Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With"

"[=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

The band has released several live albums; the most-well known are arguably ''Earthbound'' (1972) from the lineup that recorded ''Islands'' and ''USA'' (1974) from its John Wetton-led early lineup, while the most loved among fans tend to be ''The Night Watch'' and ''The Great Deceiver'', which document the Wetton-era lineup, and ''Absent Lovers'', which represents the 1980's-era Belew-led lineup. Fripp also has released ''forty-seven'' King Crimson and [=ProjKct=] live albums between 1998-2016, independently through the ''King Crimson Collector's Club'' series, which was subscription-based at its inception, but of which all are now available individually.

Fripp's label, Discipline Global Mobile, also has nearly ''six hundred'' recordings available for sale via download, ranging from full concerts (at times even '''entire tours''') from every stage of the band, along with compilations of rehearsals, rare mixes, and demos. Fripp, ever the archivist, notes each recording's sound quality and source, at times along with notes from his diary. [[note]]Fripp also has two full-time engineers working for Discipline Global Mobile who work on unearthing, organizing, and re-mastering content.[[/note]]

!! 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, Fripp 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]]. It took decades, with the discography passing through a few different labels, but Fripp now finally controls the Crimson catalog. Beginning in 2008, each album is being re-issued, with new stereo mixes, bonus material, and a 5.1 surround mix (coordinated by Fripp and produced by Music/StevenWilson of Music/PorcupineTree) on the majority of them. When we say bonus material, by the way, we mean ''a lot'' of bonus material. Some releases have as many as ''twenty discs''.
* BoleroEffect: They first tried this out with their simplified cover version of Gustav Holst's "Mars", and by five years on, "Starless" used this to the point where it could be considered an UrExample of PostRock. It's not their only usage of the trope; "Lizard", "The Talking Drum", "Dangerous Curves" and "The Devil's Triangle" are other good examples. [[note]]"The Devil's Triangle" is basically their rewrite of "Mars", so it figures.[[/note]]
* BreatherEpisode: Most of the band's early albums have a SurprisinglyGentleSong somewhere along the middle to provide a break from the otherwise unrelenting bleakness.
* 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... ahhhhhhhhhhh..."
* ContinuityNod:
** 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.
* ControlFreak: Robert Fripp in the early days of the band. It ended up driving multiple musicians, including vocalist Gordon Haskell, out of the band. He's mellowed out significantly since then, however.
* CoverVersion:
** "Get Thy Bearings" by Music/{{Donovan}}, "Mars, the Bringer of War" (from ''The Planets'') by Music/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.[[/note]]
** Don't forget [[Music/{{Revolver}} "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" from ''Music/TheBeatlesAnthology'', but since this was a recording from just before the release of the documentary (and as such, the song itself), he only sings the Lennon bits (as those were available before on bootlegs).
* CrapsackWorld: "21st Century Schizoid Man" and "Epitaph" from ''Music/InTheCourtOfTheCrimsonKing'' both describe this kind of world.
* CreepyCircusMusic: The 23 minute epic "Lizard" ends with about 2 minutes of warped, ghostly sounding carnival music following an incredibly heavy jazz section. "Cirkus", [[MeaningfulName appropriately enough]] also qualifies.
* CreepyJazzMusic: Despite not usually being classified as a jazz band, they have recorded songs in this style, especially "21st Century Schizoid Man", and "One More Red Nightmare".
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** 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 ''Music/InTheCourtOfTheCrimsonKing'' even refers to the trope by name.
* DeadpanSnarker: Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: The intro to "Easy Money" features some... rather ''squishy'' percussion from Jamie Muir, which is likely boots worn on his hands plunging into mud or a similar substance. As the song is already about [[IntercourseWithYou sex]], this may have been the intention; that's at least what the perverted mind wants to think.
* DroneOfDread: "Starless and Bible Black" is a particularly unnerving example.
* EpicRocking:
** The best example from the band's studio work is the twenty-three-minute "Lizard", though they have done so much of this throughout their career that they practically count as the {{Trope Codifier}}s. (If counted as one song, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" would be even longer, at around thirty-six minutes; however, it was released in five separate parts across three albums plus an LP).
** Robert Fripp [[https://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".
** They indulged in this so much in their early years that their management advised them to give titles and track listings to the individual sections of their longer songs, the reason being that if you've got a song that's so long it takes up one entire side of an album, the composers only get royalties for one track, but if it consists of four or five tracks gathered into a "suite", they get royalties for each track.
** The ''Islands'' era contains probably the most of this in terms of KC live performances; the live version of "21st Century Schizoid Man" from ''Earthbound'' is nearly twelve minutes long, while "Groon" lasts for fifteen minutes and thirty seconds. The 40th Anniversary re-issue of the album also includes a version of "Sailor's Tale" lasting over fourteen minutes.
** Probably the single longest composition by any lineup is the improv "Zoom Zoom" from the KCCC release ''Live at the Zoom Club''. Its running time? '''Almost forty-five minutes'''. And there's ''another'' improv from the same show lasting twenty-two minutes, which is almost as long as the Lizard suite. Other improvs from the Wetton-era lineups can get quite long, with a handful over twenty minutes.
* EverythingIsAnInstrument: Jamie Muir, an experimental percussionist, had a knack for this. A far-reaching selection of items from bells, wooden blocks, scrap metal, children's toys, and a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbira thumb piano]] were used to record Larks' Tongues in Aspic.
* ForeignLanguageTitle: "Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)" ("Nuages" is French for "clouds"), and several tracks with Japanese names, of which the best known are "Matte Kudasai" and "Shoganai" (a longer list is below under Gratuitous Japanese).
* FracturedFairyTale: ''Lizard'' gives off this impression with its medieval aesthetic and more baroque sound combined with the band's usual heaviness.
* TheGift: Fripp says that Tony Levin has this, in that Levin's a natural musician who can fit into any context and who learns difficult-to-impossible parts with ease, whereas by contrast, when Fripp himself started to learn guitar he was tone-deaf and had no sense of rhythm, and only reached his current level of virtuosity by means of self-imposed TrainingFromHell.
* GratuitousJapanese: They have several songs with Japanese names. "Matte kudasai" ("待ってください") means "Please Wait". "Shōganai" ("しょうがない") means "it can't be helped", and is so common that there's [[ItCantBeHelped a trope for it]]. "Mie gakure" ("見え隠れ", usually romanised as "miekakure") means "appear and disappear". "Shidare zakura" ("しだれ桜" seems to be the most common character reading, though "枝垂れ桜" and "シダレザクラ" are amongst the other possibilities) refers to a specific type of cherry tree (apparently [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_subhirtella this one]]), sometimes translated as "weeping cherry".
* 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).
* HiddenTrack: ''Islands'' has one (see StudioChatter below). Several other live recordings also sometimes contain them, though they're usually just speeches by Fripp or one of the other band members.
* {{Instrumentals}}: Lots of them. Some King Crimson fans resent that they do songs with vocals at all.
* {{Improv}}: From beloved ("Asbury Park", "Trio") to almost universally despised by fans (the Coda to "Moonchild"). A curious example is [[https://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.
** Their 1996 live album ''[=THRaKaTTaK=]'' is almost an entire album full of it! It consists of "Thrak" as performed at various shows as well as improvisations involving the song.
* IntercourseWithYou: Not many of their songs; two exceptions being "Ladies of the Road" from ''Islands'' and "Easy Money" from ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic''.
* LargeHam: Lake's vocals could be pretty hammy. Some of the others could get this way at times too.
* 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.
** The screechy bike horns at the climax of "The Talking Drum" can easily scare someone. That they come right before the very hard-rocking "Larks' Tongues in Aespic, Part II" doesn't help things.
* LeadBassist: The band has a history of this. Greg Lake, Boz Burrell and John Wetton are good examples, but although Tony Levin only sings backing vocals he's still more of a showman than Fripp. In the 2014- lineup of the band, Jakko Jakszyk is the lead singer and he, too, is less of a showman than Levin.
* LighterAndSofter: ''Islands'' is a lot softer and airier than the albums that came before and after it.
* 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 things related to "a Lloyd's insurance syndicate which suffered huge financial losses...", an allusion to King Crimson's former label, E.G. Records' management. [[note]]Marine 475 was the name of one of Lloyd's of London's property schemes that E.G. Records execs had bought into with the money they kept from their artists. When Lloyd's became besieged with claims, along with accusations of fraud, it lead to the collapse of the label. btw, E.G. stands for David '''E'''nthoven and John '''G'''aydon, the first managers of King Crimson and the founders of the label, who had both left the company by the mid-1970's, long before the scandal began.[[/note]]
* 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, almost always completely averted, as Robert Fripp hates modern recording industry practices. One release that dips into this a slight amount is the second disc of ''Ladies of the Road'', but it's extremely rare for this problem to plague even modern releases of Crimson's music.
** ''Earthbound'' is heavily compressed; the aforementioned sound quality issues contribute to this. ''Ladies of the Road'' actually contains some material originally released there.
* LyricalDissonance: Quite often. "21st Century Schizoid Man", for example, is a swaggering, jazzy hard rock song with apocalyptic lyrics about the horrors of the modern world.
* MetalScream: Lake uses a type 4 throughout "21st Century Schizoid Man", made even more unsettling because his vocals are processed through a distortion filter.
* MinimalisticCoverArt:
** Every single album they've made between 1973 and 2000. These guys don't usually go for DesignStudentsOrgasm. ''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.
*** The cover art for ''Starless and Bible Black'', although pretty minimalist (just the band's name and the title on the front, in a military-styled stencil font), probably ''would'' give a design student an orgasm, because it's by noted English artist Tom Phillips, who was Music/BrianEno's tutor in Ipswich College of Art.
** Most of Crimson's archival releases and box sets released from 1998 onward are done by the same artist, [[http://www.pjcrook.com/ P.J. Crook]]. She also did the artwork for ''A Scarcity of Miracles''.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: From 1 to 7, depending on the era and the song. For their time, they probably qualified as an 11 on some songs (particularly "21st Century Schizoid Man", "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two", and "Red"), though. 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.
* MoodWhiplash: They were masters of this, starting from the first album. The LastNoteNightmare of "21st Century Schizoid Man" transitions almost directly into the SurprisinglyGentleSong "I Talk to the Wind".
* MotorMouth: Adrian Belew in "Neurotica".
* MundaneMadeAwesome: "The Night Watch" is in part a description of Rembrandt's painting of that name, and in part just a 17th century middle-class Dutch guy talking about his life, but it's still remarkably moving.
-->''The smell of paint, a flask of wine\\
And turn those faces all to me\\
The blunderbuss and halberd-shaft\\
And Dutch respectability\\
They make their entrance one by one\\
Defenders of that way of life\\
The redbrick home, the bourgeoisie\\
Guitar lessons for the wife''
* MysteriousWaif: The titular figure in "Moonchild" seems to be one.
* NewSoundAlbum: [[{{Pun}} One of the kings]] of this trope.
* NewWaveMusic: Wholeheartedly embraced with ''Discipline'' and ''Beat''.
* NonActionGuy: Peter Sinfield, despite being considered an official member of the band, almost exclusively contributed lyrics and played very little instrumentation(he only did very brief synth parts).
* 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''. While the ''Frame by Frame'' mix of "Cadence and Cascade" was sung by Adrian Belew, yet another version, sung by Greg Lake, was unearthed and appeared on the ''Elements Of King Crimson Tour 2014'' boxset. This version actually pre-dates the one that appeared on ''In the Wake of Poseidon'' that was sung by Gordon Haskell. Coincidentally, the version of "Bolero" that includes the overdubs by Tony Levin from ''Frame by Frame'' appeared again on the 2015 tour box.
* PostRock: As mentioned above, "Starless" is sometimes cited as an UrExample for this genre. The lengthy BoleroEffect-laden instrumental passage is a major reason for this.
* ProgressiveRock: One of the TropeMakers and {{Trope Codifier}}s.
* ProtestSong: They have a few. "21st Century Schizoid Man" protests UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, "Lament" protests record industry politics, etc.
* PunBasedTitle: In addition to the examples under MythologyGag, a lot of their {{improv}}s get these (which also double as {{Mythology Gag}}s). "Clueless and Slightly Slack", "The Fright Watch", "Sharks' Lungs in Lemsip"...
* 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 signaled to the studio engineer to begin recording.]] This was lampshaded when the band performed on an old American TV Show.
-->'''Belew''': Hello, America! I'd like to tell you the true story about how I nearly got killed while making the Discipline album.
* 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" from Music/GustavHolst's ''The Planets'', 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" from ''Music/MyBeautifulDarkTwistedFantasy'', as were parts of the line "Neurosurgeons scream for more".
* ScareChord:
** Several, but the one in "The Devil's Triangle" is particularly jarring.
** Another one happens at the end of "Dangerous Curves", after about six minutes of tension building up.
** "The Talking Drum", as mentioned above.
* ScaryMusicianHarmlessMusic: Inverted. King Crimson are one of the most terrifying bands ever, but Fripp is a polite, soft-spoken intellectual. [[note]]He has said "Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy."[[/note]]
* SelfDeprecation: Fripp loves to quote the band's more negative reviews, and adopted as a badge of pride one '80s music journalist's description of the band as "prog rock pond scum, set to bum you out".
* ShoutOut:
** Music/TheBeatles, Music/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" are either a reference to Music/SimonAndGarfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence" or a [[AsTheGoodBookSays reference]] to Literature/TheBible. Same with the Simon and Garfunkel song.
* ShoutOutToShakespeare: One section of "Epitaph" is called "[[Theatre/{{Macbeth}} Tomorrow and Tomorrow]]", which is fitting since the song is about death and despair.
* SillyLoveSongs: You wouldn't expect to see this trope here, but there you are. "Cadence and Cascade".
* SomethingBlues: "Proza[=Kc=] Blues".
* SoundtrackDissonance: A French porn studio in the mid '70s used "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II" in one of their films (''Film/{{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.
* 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 UsefulNotes/BerlinWall... [[{{Dissimile}} into East Germany]].
* 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 One", 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". It also doubles as a HiddenTrack. This has been used as King Crimson's walk-on music for TheNewTens' incarnation of the band.
* SurprisinglyGentleSong: There is often [[OncePerEpisode at least one of these per album]] in their '60s and '70s work. "I Talk to the Wind", "Cadence and Cascade", "Peace - A Theme", "Lady of the Dancing Water", "Prelude: Song of the Gulls", "Islands", "Book of Saturday", "The Night Watch", and "Trio" provide examples for the first six albums (''Red'' arguably does not possess an example). If we're counting Robert Fripp's work outside King Crimson, his collaborations with Music/BrianEno would also count (for Fripp, anyway), as they consist of serene {{ambient}} music that is light-years removed from the chaotic, dissonant prog Fripp was known for at the time. "Matte Kudasai" is becoming Crimson's iconic Surprisingly Gentle Song, thanks to cover versions from Kurt Elling and k.d. lang, among other people. From ''Beat'' there's "Two Hands".
* TextlessAlbumCover: ''Music/InTheCourtOfTheCrimsonKing'', ''In the Wake of Poseidon'', ''Islands'', and ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic''. Also the [=ProjeKct=] Two albums ''Space Groove'' and ''Live Groove''.
* 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 went 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 LP's. Hence ''Braless and Slightly Slack'', or ''Tree of a Perfect Pear''.
** They do this in their improvs as well; one is called "Sharks' 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: For ProgressiveRock in general. Arguably also for some tendencies of the genre, such as EpicRocking and UncommonTime.
* TwelveBarBlues: Even King Crimson has written a twelve-bar blues, in an UncommonTime, to boot. "Cat Food". "Matte Kudasai" isn't twelve bars (it's ''five'') but it's blues-inspired and has a shuffle feel.
* 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 [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discipline_(instrumental) have a Wikipedia article]].
* WarIsHell: "Prince Rupert's Lament," the fourth segment of "Lizard", is an instrumental depiction of the death and destruction left in the wake of the horrific Battle of Glass Tears. "21st Century Schizoid Man" also gets into this with its mention of "innocents raped with napalm fire".
* 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", though the latter of these isn't quite as word salad-y as it looks at first glance since it consists of a number of commonly used phrases mashed together ("oyster soup", "soup kitchen", "kitchen floor", etc.).