Best King Crimson Songs

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The Top Ten

1 Starless

This song seems to summarise King Crimson's career: the last song on the fantastic 1974 album "Red", it features a conventional verse format with haunting mellotron that is reminicant of "Epitaph", yet with jazz influences and a sax solo part. About a third of the way through, there is one of the most thrilling crecendoes in contemporary music, it lasts at least 5 minutes and is a mesmeric ride. The ending is pure power: "21st century" style sax jam and an amazing return to the beginning material. Definitely their best work.

Utterly transcendent. I often find myself unable to stop listening to this song - what a remarkable composition. Sheer beauty in the graceful verse and the dissonance as well. The bass lick that begins the large instrumental section is pure genius. Really struggle to find the words to describe this work of art - I adore King Crimson, but for me everything they did pales in comparison to this. One of the greatest songs ever written.

When I first listened to Starless, I didn't get past the first couple of minutes -- I just thought it wasn't my kind of music. Then I listened to it again and got to the instrumental part. Then I listened to it again. And again. And again. I listened to it for days and days, playing little games, and now I can't stop listening. Please send help -- Starless has taken over my life, and I like it!

And no matter how much I how break it down, it remains consistent - UncommonLoon

Love it

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2 Epitaph

Possibly the most hauntingly apocalyptic song ever to intrude on the human psyche. There is an ethereal quality to the keyboards that has never been duplicated. The truth of the lyrics, the booming roll of Bruford's drums... Awe-inspiring and terrifying! - IgnoreThis

TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT it was Michael Giles who played the amazing drums on this track. Bill Bruford didn't join the band until 1972. Sorry about the incorrect info. Both drummers deserve their respective credit for their accomplished careers. - IgnoreThis

What should I say- every time I hear this first sounds I got chills over my all body. Beutiful. The rest of the song is getting better and better from minutes to minutes. Great progressive song, one of my top ten songs ever.

One of the greatest tracks of all time. This song just sounds like death itself, It's so grand, Powerful, Beautiful, Dark, apocalyptic, Haunting and Epic. The Symphonic feel with the Mellotron and the drums rolls, Fantastic drum fills and how could we forget, Unparalleled Vocal performance by Greg Lake make this song one of the best Rock songs ever released.

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3 21st Century Schizoid Man

Craziest prog-rock song I've heard, the instrumentation is unbelievable and this in 1969 would be one of the heaviest things out there.. Lyrics are so weird but so memorable... Great song overall - fidelcanojr

Seems like I can vote twice, awesome, once again, this song is unbelievable, one you listen to it you'll understand how epic it is - fidelcanojr

This is just a brilliant song. So much soul was clearly fed into this track. The sax solo, the bizarre lyrics, the pulsating guitar riff, the disorientating drums. Everything about this song just screams brilliance.

Probably the first and one of the best prog rock songs ever made. Simply amazing! - PatrickRoncoski

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4 The Court of the Crimson King

This song is not like any other songs in recent history. It is so gloomy and impressively represents the band's name which is The Crimson King who apparently is lord Satan. All in all, KC is the most underrated group of its time and skill in making this form of European jazzy music.

Couldn't stop listening to it after the first time... Its brilliant. Especially the part with the awesome "aah" -ing...

This song is seriously unlike any song ever. It's absolutely fantastic. Best King Crimson song, brilliant lyrics, music, and Greg Lake sings it perfectly. Love it!

Best crimson song ever spectacular mellotron nice vocals

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5 Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part One)

This one is a thrilling journey! So inventive, and yet coherent and by moments strangely moving! Those improvised percussions are just awesome!

The most unique song. Ever. The definition of true music is larks. It's that simple.

This is basically the mother of all post-rock.

All of larks kicks ass!

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6 I Talk to the Wind

Perhaps the best song king crimson ever composed... Please listen to it guys... Its gonna blow your minds!

This is really a GREAT song! But it takes some great listening. This one goes deep.

I'm not the biggest KC fan but I really love the debut and Red and I couldn't agree more with the list. I actually can't decide which one of these in the top 5 is the best as they are all amazingly great.

Not at all prog, but a nice pop song. I never crave this song.

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7 Lizard

In my humble opinion this is one of the most impressive prog songs ever. The part I especially like is the pure, jazzy awesomeness of the second half.

Prog rock MASTERPIECE. Jon Anderson kicking off the beginning with perfection which then goes into something like 'A Devils Triangle' which sort of fades into an 'Islands' type sound and THEN gets very jazzy before a verse of spoken word. A 'Pictures Of a City' sound proceeds to kick you in the face and leaves you with a beautiful outro.

This song really takes me to another place, from the beginning with Joe Andersons part til the last circus alike part. All the jazzy improvisation in the middle comes from a beautiful melody and suddenly turns into really dark and weird music. I just love this song

On YouTube there isn’t a single upload of the original, full song. I’ve looked everywhere and the only thing I can find is a DAW rendition. I guess I’m never hearing the original song.

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8 Islands

The best example of prog-meets-classical music you can find on King Crimson. Marvellous Pete Sinfield lyrics. Islands (the album) is one of the most underrated of KC's albums, perhaps because of an unbalanced line-up, but its complex harmonies and weird influences (ranging from Mahler to the Beatles) make it a very rewarding listen.

If "Islands", as an album, is all about the Odyssey, then this is the Penelope's song. But actually it's my song: best lyrics EVER in the history of the prog music.

Amazing band, Islands is a masterpiece. Play this before you go to sleep.

A masterpiece

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9 One More Red Nightmare

The interlude is so beautifully constructed in its complexity. Full of great rhythmic ideas throughout the song

The interlude is so beautifully constructed in its complexity. Full of great rhythmic ideas throughout the song

The interlude is so beautifully constructed in its complexity. Full of great rhythmic ideas throughout the song

Bruford's fills in the second half are brilliant!

10 In the Wake of Poseidon

The best progressive rock band after Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd! Enough said!

Goose bumps every time Poseidon appears. The sound is barely audible at auditory threshold, but can be perceived all over the body. Dynamic as it's used to be.

Epitaph 2.0 - izayaorihara

The Contenders

11 Red

To listen to Red is to view an important stepping stone for modern day progressive rock and metal. Driving, raw and incredibly composed - it's possibly the best song of KC's career.

Great song. Still has grit and power

12 Cirkus

My favorite all time song, from album Lizard.

One of the most magical songs ever made! Fell in love with it the first time I listened.

Mellotron and sax! Mel Collins is the man

Epic song!

13 Moonchild

Oh moonchild, the ugly duckling of their debut album. For sure is not their best, but it deserve more recognition - ChameleonKing

The best song that fills me with peace

It reminds me on the Moulin Rouge movie, and I don't know why... But I like this song

The beauty in this song made me emotional

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14 Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel is probably my favorite king crimson song, with its amazing combination of classic soft rock followed by a transition to what I can only describe as metal.

Everything you wish a song to be

15 The Sheltering Sky

Such an underrated song. My favourite song on discipline. A looked over gem. Great instrumental track.

This is my summer sunset song.
It has something so majestic on it that grows thanks to that intractable guitar.
80's King Crimson can improvise too!

16 Dinosaur

King Crimson fuses prog, metal and even pop to make an excellent song

The solo in the middle when every thing is quite make me feel like watching the discovery of dinosaur with black and white screen or retro screen.This song's rhythm is also nice.

I wonder what kind of instrument was used for, well, dinosaur's sound. A bit elephantly roar. I appreciate lyrics, 'cause I kind of identify with the guy.

17 Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part Two)

Why is this not #1? This has always been my #1, oh well.

In my opinion it's better than part one

18 Fracture

The greatest example of how technically advanced music can show great emotion. This is probably Fripp's best guitar work, Wetton's best bass work and undoubtedly Bruford and Cross' best work. They all combine to create a psychotic masterpiece that does exactly everything the music requires; no more, no less. Considering it was all done live in one take with Fripp's guitar as the only "written" part makes this even more astonishing.

Best instrumental by the band, in my opinion. Shifts and changes genres and sounds all throughout the song. Definitely deserves top 10.

Probably my favourite song from Starless and Bible Black. - IronSabbathPriest

19 Frame by Frame

Great guitar riff. Classic Fripp!

I have to bandaged my left hand from playing Flipp's line.

20 Easy Money

Oh my god! Why is easy money so down in the list, one of my favourites. From the awesomest prog album ever, larks tonges in aspic

Oooh baday bow dow, ooh way now, ba the dow, awoo ooh - SammySpore

21 Pictures of a City

This is a great Greg Lake KC song that is very jazzy and reminiscent of 21st Century Schizoid Man. Should at least be within the top 20.

22 The Night Watch

Beautifully constructed medieval-sounding lyrics and my favorite guitar solo (so far, at least) from king crimson. The only problem is how short it is. Lasting only 4 minutes, you just don't want it to end. If they had combined this with fracture or at least added some of Crimsons great instrumental work than hands down this would be my favorite song by them.

This is probably the most beautiful song in existance.

If I was ever to be on 'desert island discs' then this would be the KC one I took with me; a great example of a Crimso masterpiece not needing to be long. Also to be fair, the painting, which I have seen in Amsterdam, is magnificent.

23 Book of Saturday

I just adore this song, it's my favorite one! I loved it from the first time I heard it and immediately I felt it. Awesome song

For me One of the best! Easy, clean but hits in deep

I like it's calm tune...

24 Exiles

This song is absolutely beautiful in every way. I don't know why but I always compare it to Starless but I actually much prefer it. Fripp's guitar solo gives me chills and the Melotron is so haunting but the song always has a hopefulness about it. Few King crimson songs are actually uplifting and happy and this along with Islands are my two favorites that fit that description. The flute, the violin, everything just works perfectly in this song and it's so sad how people just look over this one.

A highlight of King Crimsons's songwriting prowess. Every sound works together, painting a perfectly soul-tearing landscape. The delicate melody of the guitar solo sometimes still brings tears to my eyes after all these years.

The best song on one of their best albums. Definitely overlooked.

25 The Great Deceiver

Energetic, foreboding, amazing, so many adjectives describe a song that is criminally 32 spots away from where it should be (aka number 1)

Actually one of the most impressive KC riffs ever - damn fast, catchy, well-constructed

Underrated song, one of the best KC melodies.

26 Cat Food

No use to complain, if you're caught out in the rain; Your mother's quite insane; Cat food cat food cat food, AGAIN! Classic!

27 Elephant Talk

This song makes me want to play the chapman stick

A great way to start the Discipline album. - IronSabbathPriest

I just love this song so much.

Simply awesome...

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28 Sailor's Tale

The first two minutes is the finest in the fashion of Soft Machine, and then Robert Fripp introduces the guitar to gently reminds you of the mastery that is Crimson. And then in the fourth minute, the full power of King Crimson kicks you straight in the crotch... And then a gentle denouement of Pink Floyd's "Echoes"...

The atmosphere of this tune is amazing...

29 The Power to Believe

Power to believe is honestly one of their best albums. Not to disrespect any of their older stuff, I just really like this album for some reason. I love their older stuff.

30 The Devil's Triangle

My reaction:
1.17: I hear something
2.19: Oh it's getting started
3.47: Oh the climax is coming
3.50: Quiet again
3.59: Whoa it's coming back
5.33: This is apocalyptic
6.57: That was a loud climax
7.27: Is it over? But there's 5 minutes left!
7.32: What's that noise
7.50: Yesss it's not over!
7.52: Oh my god it's more epic than ever!
9.09: What's happening? That sounds like Big Top.
9.36: This is really random
10.48: The Court of the Crimson King?! What are you doing here?
11.11: So dreamy

After: My god. - SammySpore

31 Indiscipline

I love this song. Discipline is never an end in itself, only a mean to an end.

No idea why this wasn't on the list already...

This should rank much higher than it is

so good!

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32 Matte Kudasai

That guitar is wonderful

33 Cadence and Cascade

How is this not higher? Such a brilliant underrated song from an incredibly underrated album!

One of the most beautiful songs ever.

Very pretty song

34 One Time

Talking about time, this should be endless.

No King Crimson song matches "One Time"

35 The Construkction of Light
36 Three of a Perfect Pair

Great song. Should be much higher on the list.

How is this masterpiece this low?

37 Discipline
38 Walking On Air

The very atmospheric bluesy delicate ballad "Walking on air" has an incredible combination of extremely bottom bass, ethereal floating keyboards, gentle guitars and drums: the lead vocals are impressive too; this track is like a flower that blooms on a concrete surface.

39 Thela Hun Ginjeet

I dunno why this song wasn't on the list... Should be on top 5

Exotic, anegdotic, partially enigmatic. I love the sound.

Song is pure heat, walking down the big city I don't know, buying cigarets, cooles feeling of danger and everyday fighting on this street I finelly know

40 Dangerous Curves
41 Formentera Lady

Shamefully overlapped definitely one of the 10 best songs.

Epic!, this is a master piece
You can hear the siren's sing
Feel the the ocean's salt

42 Elektrik

I like this instrumental. I used to think there was a xylophone involved but there wasn't. - IronSabbathPriest

43 Level Five

Sheer epicness all the way through.

44 Lament
45 Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With

Please listen to it! It deserves far more attention! - yyschieweck

Amazing song!

46 Heartbeat

Okay that's nearly easy listening and not really KIng Crimson. But totally magic.

47 Sleepless
48 Neurotica
49 Ladies of the Road

Awesome jazzy track off of islands, their most underrated album. confused why this isn't on the list already

50 Peace
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Related Lists

Best Songs from King Crimson's Starless and Bible Black Top 10 Songs on Demons & Wizards's Touched by the Crimson King Best Songs On King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King Best Songs On King Crimson's Larks' Tongues In Aspic Best Songs On King Crimson's Discipline

List Stats

2,000 votes
67 listings
6 years, 320 days old

Top Remixes (15)

1. Starless
2. 21st Century Schizoid Man
3. Fracture
floflo79
1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
2. Starless
3. Epitaph
fidelcanojr
1. Starless
2. Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part One)
3. The Sheltering Sky
IronSabbathPriest

WRemix
View All 15

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