47 years ago today, King Crimson unleashed its debut album in the UK.
I can still recall that the “underground” FM radio stations in the Windsor/Detroit area were quick to jump on it. There seemed to be a great sense of anticipation for when the next airing of 21st Century Schizoid Man would jump out of the stereo speakers. The aggressive metronomic guitar slashes of Robert Fripp’s guitar coupled with the overdriven distorted vocals of Greg Lake seemed to create a tension which made even the previously aired strains of the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray seem suddenly somehow tame.
When playing the LP, it seemed like a shock to hear the quiet beauty of the following track – I Talk to the Wind. But, such was the mystery and awe inspiring monster that was King Crimson.
Throughout the rest of the album’s lengthy excursions, this balance of light and dark, loud and quiet, beauty and ugliness was exploited to its fullest extent.
The second most broadcast song was the title track. The use of Ian McDonald’s mellotron seemed to take the sound into the stratosphere. By the end, the listener would inevitably be attempting to put their dropped jaw back into proper facial alignment as well as catch their breath. It was a sound that would literally leave the listener gasping for air.
The sounds of thousands of albums have come since this record was released in 1969. However, extremely few have managed to create such a stunning impact upon first listen and then continue to do so over the years.