Top 10 Best King Crimson Songs

The Top Ten
1 Starless

The magnum opus of the entire progressive genre and one of the best songs ever composed. From the very first note, you are hypnotized, drawn completely into the track. The melody is haunting, unsettling, extremely melancholic, and unbelievably beautiful. The music during the first three verses feels so delicate and fragile, then it breaks into the instrumental section and become a fierce and heavy piece, unpredictable and existing, with both rock, jazz, classical, and even metal elements. It's a roller coaster ride. But that outro. Simply put, the best ending to any song ever. It reprises the first melody in the most epic way you can think of. The base, the mellotron play in sheer orchestral fashion, then it ends. Those last moments of music remain unparalleled by anything I've ever heard in any other song. Masterful is an understatement.

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!

2 Epitaph

It was extremely hard to choose between this or Starless. In the end, I went with Epitah. This is truly a hunting, beautiful masterpiece by King Crimson. It's hard to believe that these guys were so underrated. No one talks about them as much as they talk about other 70s bands. King Crimson surely deserve more credit than what they get. It's really painful to see how most people's taste in music is absolute crap. Thanksfully, they appreciate bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Prog rock is so underrated, it hurts. When I first heard this song, I wanted to share it with my friends. At the end of the day I realized they weren't going to appreciate it, so I kept it to myself. Besides, now that I think about it, it's better that way. People won't play this song to the point where I get sick of it, and that's a good thing.

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.

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!

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.

3 21st Century Schizoid Man

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.

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

Began it all, blasting 1969 (and beyond) wide open. Still the most powerful prog-rock track ever though they certainly came within a hair of matching it by the end of the run in 1974.

Another classic, energetic, powerful and great song from KC. Every time it reaches the middle section I want to get up and run somewhere

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.

I love this song so much because it goes from verses that are so dark to choruses that are still dark, yet uplifting at the same time. That moog is played in between the moaning in the choruses is so great. "... The court of the Crimson King, ah-ah-ah, (moog) aahh-ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah..."

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!

Just amazing, you're sitting there waiting for the song to go "Kiing" and every time it does, it's great. One of the very best progressive rock songs. Best song on the album and of King crimson!

5 Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part One)

The most layered and interesting folk and metal music juxtaposition any rock band could have come up with. Okay, here's my favourite song from every King Crimson record for noobs. Court: Moonchild Poseidon: Pictures Of A City Lizard: Prince Rupert Awakes (it's a close tie with Lady Of The Dancing Water) Islands: The Letters (Impaled on nails of ice!) Larks': Larks' pt. 1 Starless And Bible Black: The Great Deceiver Red: Providence (yeah, it's to die for) Discipline: The Sheltering Sky Beat: Requiem (The perfect drum improv) Perfect Pair: INDUSTRY (2nd best instrumental) Thrak: One Time Construkction: Frakctured Power To Believe: Level Five (from what I remember from my one listen where I found this album unsubstantial)

KC's world-beating rock improvisation honed into a scintillating avant-garde melange of madness, beauty and crazy Jamie Muir's visionary percussion/allsorts lunacy.

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.

6 I Talk to the Wind

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.

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

Underrated much? Easily the best quiet song off self-titled since Moonchild is a little too draggy.

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

7 One More Red Nightmare

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

8 In the Wake of Poseidon

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.

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

One of the best songs I have ever heard.

9 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.

Only King Crimson can rival Metallica for the greatest instrumentals of all time.

Same as Starless can't get enough of it.

Great song. Still has grit and power

10 Islands

One of the best King Crimson songs ever written, though unless you have a original pressing, you should stick to live versions. Boz Burrell sounds absolutely amazing don't get me wrong, but they messed up somewhere along the line in the mastering room and there is a high pitched ring around 6 minutes in that almost ruins it.

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.

Second favorite KC song behind epitaph. Beautiful and melodic lyrics combined with classical amazing classical instrumental. possibly one of the greatest songs ever created. Nothing like this has ever been made before, a masterpiece.

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.

The Contenders
11 Lizard

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.

The Jon Anderson part of this song is among KC's best material, unfortunately this tremendously weak KC epic continues with 19 minutes of minimal instrumentation, a minute of spoken word, and overall lack of enthusiasm.

12 Fallen Angel

Surprisingly heartfelt, impressionistic Palmer-James lyrics with hints of a Beatles influence both melodically and in terms of the guitar arpeggios. A great change of pace.

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.

The contrast between the chorus and the verses is just unbelievable

Just their best!

13 Larks' Tongues In Aspic (Part Two)

Way better than the aimless Part 1. I don't know what everyone's smoking when they listen to Part 1 to think it's better than this cut.

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

14 Dinosaur

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.

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

15 Moonchild

Not a bad song, but Iron Maiden's song with the exact same name makes this song look like crap. Sorry King Crimson, but Iron Maiden is better than you.

The most underrated song from the greatest prog album of all time, such a beautifil melody followed by tender lyrics, the perfect lullaby.

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

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

16 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 intro section dated back to 1969 and Fripp finally found the perfect song structure in which to house it in 1973.

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

17 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.

18 Frame by Frame

Great guitar riff. Classic Fripp!

19 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.

20 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.

21 Easy Money

One of my favorites, specially live.

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

From the open riff I knew I'd love this song and it didn't even remotely disappoint

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.

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.

All Crimson's songs are great but this rank at 24... should be higher, perfect story, perfect music, perfect lyrics

Beautiful song, Should be higher on the list.

23 The Great Deceiver

Power drives its way through the synapses of your brains and tells an interesting Marjoe Gartner-Type tale uncompromisingly.

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

24 Heartbeat

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

King Crimson does pop music. And the results are surprisingly awesome.

25 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...

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