Thursday, January 22, 2009

BQRH #4: "In The Court Of The Crimson King" (King Crimson)

Hi there,

When I departed from the Aqui Sgt. Pepper radio show in 1998, I was a naïve 15 year old kid who only listened to The Beatles and very little else (at least the naïvety still remains).

The very fact that back then I rarely listened to the radio (that's true even now) didn't exactly contribute to change the situation, but I was never somebody who could leave a noise pollution unit on (paraphrasing Robert Fripp) just for the remote chance that a lost gem might pop up. Thankfully, college wasn't far away in time, and with that the acquaintance of my current group of friends, who would introduce me to most of the non-Beatles and non-Traveling Wilburys related music I became a fan of.

However, I became a fan of King Crimson by myself, and coincidentally, it happened thanks to a particular radio broadcast. One day in 2002, I was driving to the San Joaquin Campus of PUC in Santiago, a very cold morning, and the bombastic introduction to "In The Court Of The Crimson King" blasted through the speakers of my 1994 Honda like it was the last piece of music I would ever listen to. The station was FM 88.9 Radio Futuro.

The lyrics, while nonsensical, evoked to me a mysterious parallel universe not unlike depictions of fantasy authors like JRR Tolkien or CS Lewis, only more somber, unintelligible and, to this particular soul, much more seductive.

And then there's the vocal performance. God, I always wanted to sing like Greg Lake. A very masculine voice with an awesome range, to me he is the only singer capable to give this song justice, despite respectable trials from later Crimson vocalists like Boz Burrell and John Wetton. It is just that, to me, the soul of those early Crimson albums was not the omnipresent Robert Fripp (who would sail the Crimson ship to much more sharp-edged sonic territories and textures in the coming 40 years) but Greg Lake and his unique voice. To me the key to the later success of Emerson, Lake and Palmer was not Emerson and Palmer's virtuosity, but Lake's vocal deliveries.

This is a fan-assembled video of "In The Court Of The Crimson King", from the 1969 album of the same name. Very well edited, this short film definitely fits the mood of the song. A loving, careful execution, indeed.

Enough talking for me for today. I leave you with Lake, Fripp and co. As always, your comments are welcome.

Love, BQ

PS: Stay tuned for the next delivery of BQRH, as it will be a special gift for Beatles aficionados everywhere.


  1. Porque escribes el blog en ingles!!! Muy poco fiel a tu lengua patria... Saludos!

  2. Jaja! El motivo es bien simple. Me enferma no tener teclado con acentos, de modo que no escribir en castellano me ahorra la tortura de ocupar ALT+code a cada rato... :)

    Por otra parte, puedo acceder a una audiencia más amplia a través del inglés.

    Gracias por el comentario, Gabita. Saludos a Dani, y cuídense mucho.

  3. Bueno, point taken.... Igual de vez en cuando podrias escribirte uno en espaniol.... See not a big deal! (metete a mi blog todito en espaniol... Suerte!

  4. Gracias. Te añadí a mi listado de blogs. Un abrazo grande.