King Crimson were an English progressive rock band formed in 1968 in London. The band drew inspiration from a wide variety of music, incorporating elements of classical, jazz, folk, heavy metal, gamelan, industrial, electronic, experimental music and new wave. They exerted a strong influence on the early 1970s progressive rock movement, including on contemporaries such as Yes and Genesis, and continue to inspire subsequent generations of artists across multiple genres. The band earned a large cult following.

Founded by Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield, the band initially focused on a dramatic sound layered with Mellotron, McDonald's saxophone and flute, and Lake's powerful lead vocals. Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), remains their most commercially successful and influential release, with a potent mixture of jazz, classical and experimental music. Following the sudden simultaneous departures of McDonald and Giles, with Lake also leaving very shortly afterwards, the next two albums In the Wake of Poseidon and Lizard (both 1970) were recorded during a period of instability in the band's line-up. A settled band of Fripp, Sinfield, Mel Collins, Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace recorded Islands in 1971, though in mid-1972, Fripp let go of this line-up and changed the group's instrumentation and approach, drawing from European free improvisation and developing ever more complex compositions. With Bill Bruford, John Wetton, David Cross and, briefly, Jamie Muir, they reached what some saw as a creative peak on Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974), and Red (1974). King Crimson disbanded at the end of 1974.

After seven years of inactivity, King Crimson was reborn in 1981 with another change in musical direction. The new band comprised Fripp, Bruford and new members Adrian Belew and Tony Levin. They drew influence from African music, gamelan, post-punk and New York minimalism. This band lasted three years, resulting in the trio of albums Discipline (1981), Beat (1982) and Three of a Perfect Pair (1984). Following a decade-long hiatus, they reformed in 1994, adding Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn for a sextet line-up Fripp called "The Double Trio". The double trio participated in another three-year cycle of activity that included the release of Thrak (1995), and multiple concert recordings. There was a hiatus between 1997 and 2000. Four members of the double trio reunited in 2000 as a more industrial-oriented King Crimson, called "The Double Duo", releasing The Construkction of Light (2000) and The Power to Believe (2003). After a five-year hiatus, the group expanded (in the person of new second drummer Gavin Harrison) for a 2008 tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1968 formation.

Following another hiatus (2009–2012), during which Fripp was thought to be retired, King Crimson came together again in 2013; this time as a septet (and, later, octet) with an unusual three-drumkit frontline, and new second guitarist and singer Jakko Jakszyk. This version of King Crimson continued to tour from 2014 to 2021, and released multiple live albums, rearranging and reinterpreting music from across the band's entire 50-year career for the first time.

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1969In the Court of the Crimson KingKing Crimson4.671
1970In the Wake of PoseidonKing Crimson4.138
1970LizardKing Crimson434
1971IslandsKing Crimson418
1973Larks’ Tongues in AspicKing Crimson4.5524
1974Starless and Bible BlackKing Crimson4.2519
1974RedKing Crimson4.332
1981DisciplineKing Crimson4.4524
1982BeatKing Crimson3.5520
1984Three of a Perfect PairKing Crimson321
1995THRAKKing Crimson3.516
2000The ConstruKction of LightKing Crimson3.258
2003The Power to BelieveKing Crimson3.159

Album + Compilation

1975A Young Person’s Guide to King CrimsonKing Crimson46
1986The Compact King CrimsonKing Crimson46
1991The Abbreviated King Crimson: HeartbeatKing Crimson2
1991Frame by Frame: The Essential King CrimsonKing Crimson1
1993Sleepless: The Concise King CrimsonKing Crimson3
1993The First ThreeKing Crimson1
1999The Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners’ Guide to ProjeKctsKing Crimson2
2000A Beginner’s Guide to the King Crimson Collectors’ ClubKing Crimson1
2001iMPRoVaTTaKc, Volume # 1King Crimson1
2004The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson, Volume 1: 1969–1974King Crimson3
2005The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson, Volume 2: 1981–2003King Crimson1
2006The Condensed 21st Century Guide to King Crimson: 1969–2003King Crimson1
200840th Anniversary Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2014The Elements: 2014 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2015The Elements: 2015 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2016On (and Off) the RoadKing Crimson1
2016The Elements: 2016 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2017The Elements: 2017 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2017Sailors’ TalesKing Crimson1
2018King Crimson 1969–1972King Crimson1
2018The Elements: 2018 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2019Heaven & EarthKing Crimson51
2019The Elements: 2019 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2020The Elements: 2020 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2020The Complete 1969 RecordingsKing Crimson1
2021The Elements: 2021 Tour BoxKing Crimson1
2021Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With / Level Five / EleKtriK: Live in Japan, 2003King Crimson2
2023Mister Stormy’s Monday Selection, Vol. 9King Crimson1
2023Mister Stormy’s Monday Selection, Vol. 10King Crimson1

Album + Compilation + Live

1999Cirkus: The Young Person’s Guide to King Crimson LiveKing Crimson2
1999The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume OneKing Crimson1
2000The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume ThreeKing Crimson2
2000The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume TwoKing Crimson1
2001The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume FourKing Crimson1
2001The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume FiveKing Crimson1
2002The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume SixKing Crimson1
2003The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume SevenKing Crimson1
2004The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume EightKing Crimson1
2005The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume NineKing Crimson1
2006The Collectors’ King Crimson, Volume TenKing Crimson1
2007Collectors’ King Crimson Box 3 (1972–1974)King Crimson1
2007Collectors’ King Crimson Box 2 (1971–1972)King Crimson1
2007Collectors’ King Crimson Box 4 (1981–1982)King Crimson1
2017Mainichi Hall, Osaka, Japan (December 13, 1981)King Crimson1
2018Audio DiaryKing Crimson1
2019Audio Diary 2014–2018King Crimson1

Album + Interview

2003The Power to Believe Tour BoxKing Crimson1

Album + Live

1972EarthboundKing Crimson8
1975USAKing Crimson8
1992The Great DeceiverKing Crimson57
1995B’BOOM: Official Bootleg – Live in ArgentinaKing Crimson3
1996THRaKaTTaKKing Crimson42
1996Petofi Csarnok, Budapest, Hungary June 19, 1996King Crimson1
1997Epitaph, Volumes One & TwoKing Crimson34
1997Epitaph, Volumes 3 & 4King Crimson3
1997The Nightwatch: Live at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw November 23rd 1973King Crimson8
1997EpitaphKing Crimson2
1997Three of a Perfect Pair: Live in JapanKing Crimson1
1998Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal 1984King Crimson58
1998On Broadway 1995King Crimson31
1998Live at the Marquee 1969King Crimson1
1998Live at Jacksonville 1972King Crimson2
1999The Beat Club, Bremen 1972King Crimson1
1999Live at Cap d’Agde 1982King Crimson1
1999The ProjeKctsKing Crimson1
2000Live at Summit Studios, Denver March 12, 1972King Crimson42
2000Live in Central Park, NYCKing Crimson2
2000Live at Moles Club, Bath - April 30, 1981Discipline1
2000Heavy ConstruKctionKing Crimson3
2000Live at Plymouth Guildhall May 11, 1971King Crimson1
2000Live in Montreal November 23, 2000King Crimson1
2001Live in Mainz: March 30, 1974King Crimson1
2001Live in Berkeley, CA – August 13, 1982King Crimson3
2001Live in Detroit, MI, December 13, 1971King Crimson2
2001Dec 14, 2001 – Beacon TheaterKing Crimson1
2001VROOOM VROOOMKing Crimson3
2002Live in Hyde Park July 5, 1969King Crimson2
2002Ladies of the RoadKing Crimson3
2002Live in Nashville, TN: November 9 & 10, 2001King Crimson1
2002Live at the Zoom ClubKing Crimson1
2003Eyes Wide OpenKing Crimson2
2003EleKtriKKing Crimson2
2003February 27, 1972: Kemp Coliseum, Orlando, FLKing Crimson2
2003Live in Guildford, November 13, 1972King Crimson1
2003Millenaris Centre, Budapest, Hungary July 15, 2003King Crimson1
2003National Auditorium, Mexico City, Mexico November 19, 2003King Crimson1
2004Live at Fillmore East, 1969King Crimson1

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