The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

King Crimson - Biography

King Crimson

Gigs at the Marquee club: 17
Period of performances: 1969-1973
Line-up members at the Marquee club:
Robert Fripp (guitar), Michael Giles (drums), Peter Giles (bass), Greg Lake (vocals), Ian McDonald (winds, vibes), Pete Sinfield (lyrics, light show, synthesizer), Mel Collins (sax, flute, mellotron), Boz Burrell (bass, vocals), Ian Wallace (drums, vocals), Bill Bruford (drums), John Wetton (bass, vocals), David Cross (violin, mellotron), Jamie Muir (percussion).

King Crimson was originally formed in 1968 with the ex-members of Giles, Giles and Fripp, Robert Fripp (guitar), Michael Giles (drums) and Peter Giles (bass), plus Greg Lake (vocals), Ian McDonald (winds, vibes) and Pete Sinfield (lyrics and light show). King Crimson for the first time at the Marquee club in London on the 16th of May 1969, supporting the American band Steppenwolf.

On the 25th that same month King Crimson started a three month Sunday residency at the club, astonishing the city's music scene with their impressive combination of rock, avant-garde, jazz and classical music. Robert Fripp picked in his diary that John Kay from Steppenwolf told him he overhead at the back of theclub someone saying: "Follow that. They sound like a bleeding orchestra". King Crimson's legendary debut album "In the Court of the Crimson King" (1969) was probably the most influencial progressive rock album in the history and one of the most innovative and creative works ever recorded on which the Who's Pete Townshend described as an "uncanny masterpiece".

King Crimson at the Marquee
King Crimson at the Marquee, 1969

"In the Court of the Crimson King" was followed by numerous personnel changes in the band during the 70's, always leaded by the constant supervision of Robert Fripp. After the release of the studio albums "In the Wake of Poseidon" (1970) and "Lizard" (1970), on November the 9th 1971 the band returned at the Marquee club for two shows with a new lineup formed by Robert Fripp (guitar, mellotron), ex-Circus Mel Collins (sax, flute, mellotron), Boz Burrell (bass, vocals), Ian Wallace (drums, vocals) and Pete Sinfield (words, light show, VCS3 synthesizer). During these shows King Crimson presented the "Islands" album, which was released a month later. Soon later the long-term tandem created by Fripp and the lyricist Pete Sinfield broke due to the increasing incompatibilities in the method of work that started during the production of the "Lizard" album. Robert Fripp explained to the New Musical Express magazine in January 1972: "I suppose that the thing to say is that I felt the creative relationship between us had finished. I'd ceased to believe in Pete ... It got to the point where I didn't feel that by working together we'd improve on anything we'd already done."

Robert Fripp resurrected King Crimson from it's ashes in 1973 with a completely new line-up that included drummer Bill Bruford from Yes, bassist John Wetton from Uriah Heep, violin player David Cross and percussionist Jamie Muir. This new reincarnation of King Crimson was the last that ever played at the club and played for two shows in February 1973 to present the album "Lark's Tongues In Aspic", which was released a month later. The second of this shows didn't include Jamie Muir after being injured during the first show and was the very last performance of the percussionist with the band.

During the following years King Crimson kept suffering numerous line-up changes, always under the direction of Robert Fripp. In 1974 the band remained as a trio, featuring Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford, releasing the album "Red" which was a pioneering work of advanced and progressive alternative rock that later influenced generations of indie and punk rockers.

In 1981 Robert Fripp rebuilt King Crimson again featuring again Bill Bruford on drums plus the new members guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew from Talking Heads, David Bowie and Frank Zappa, and bassist Tony Levin from Peter Gabriel and John Lennon. The result was one of the most innovative and powerful unities in the history of rock, who revolutionized the music map with a contemporary fusion of new wave, progressive, avant-garde and pre-electronica. This line-up released the albums "Discipline" (1981), "The Beat" (1982) and "Three Of A Perfect Pair" (1984). In 1984 after having gained more attention and recognition in the media and industry that during the whole of it's former career, King Crimson split again. The band was re-invented in 1994 in a curious experiment called "double trio" that featured two drummers and two bass players, including the lineup from 80's (Bill Bruford, Tony Levin, Adrian Belew) on one hand and stick and warr guitar player Trey Gunn and drummer Pat Mastelotto in the other. In 2003, in a short of nature selective process, King Crimson remained as Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto, releasing the album "The ConstruKtion of the Light" (2003) with an important switch in the sound of the band to alternative hard rock, and "The Power to Believe" (2003) featuring with Tony Levin instead of Trey Gunn.

Apart from King Crimson, Robert Fripp has developed a productive solo career and has also worked with numerous artists. He collaborated in several Brian Eno solo albums. In 1973 Fripp and Eno joined together in 1973 to work on a system based in the manipulation of tape machines to create delays, this being the introduction of loop techniques and ambient works in the world of popular music, recording the albums "No Pussyfooting" (1973) and "Evening Star" (1975). Between 1977 and 1980 Fripp worked in the first three solo albums of the singer Peter Gabriel, all of them featuring Tony Levin. In 1977 Fripp joined Brian Eno for the sessions of David Bowie's album "Heroes" (1977). In New York, where he played live and jammed in clubs like the CBGB with numerous artists from the new wave and punk scene such including B52's, the Screamers, the Ramones and Iggy Pop. He also collaborated with Talking Heads, Blondie, Buster Jones, Paul Duskin, and David Byrne. In May 1980, Robert Fripp returned to the Marquee club for a couple of shows with the League of Gentlemen project, featuring Sara Lee, Barry Andrews and Johnny Toobad. In 1985 Robert Fripp started a series of Guitar Craft seminars started taking place worldwide in 1985. He has also worked later with Andy Summers of the Police, David Sylvian of Japan, FFWD, the Orb, Future Sound of London, Midge Ure, John Paul Jones, Joe Satriani and Steve Roach, to name just a few.

After quitting King Crimson, Greg Lake formed the legendary progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1970 gaining a place in the history of music as one of the best writers, vocalists, bass players and producers. He has also developed a career as a solo career an tours featuring old King Crimson material.

Pete Sinfield wrote lyrics for Emerson Lake and Palmer and worked as a producer for other artists, such as Roxy Music's legendary debut album, the Italian progressive rock band Premiata Forniera Marconi and the Italian violinist Angelo Branduardi. He also released the solo album "Still" in 1973 with the collaboration of musicians from King Crimson. He was awarded with the Ivor Novello?s prize for Best Song Musically & Lyrically in 1980 for Leo Sayer's ?Have You Ever Been In Love? and in 1992 for Celine Dion's ?Think Twice?. Pete Sinfield he has a credit for being one of the finest rock lyricist and poets in the history of rock music.

Ian Wallace became one of the most reputed drummers and has worked with a impressive list of artists, which includes Ry Cooder, Larry Coryell, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Alvin Lee, Warren Zevon, Brian Eno, Keith Emerson, Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, Jon Anderson, Stevie Nicks, Steve Marriott, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Procol Harum and The Traveling Wilburys. In 2004, he formed the The Crimson Jazz Trio, with bassist Tim Landers and pianist Jody Nardone to plays jazz interpretations of King Crimson. In 2002, Ian Wallace, Mel Collins, Peter Giles and Ian McDonald formed 21st Century Schizoid Band, along with Jakko Jaksyck of Level 42, playing King Crimson material. Sadly, Ian Wallace died of esophageal cancer on the 22nd of February 2007, at the age of 60.

Ian McDonald and Peter Giles released the album "McDonald & Giles" in 1970 with the collaboration of Steve Winwood. In 1999 McDonald released the solo album "Drivers Eyes" featuring Peter Sinfield, Michael Giles, John Wetton, Steve Hackett, Gary Brooker, Lou Gramm, John Waite and Peter Frampton.

Mel Collins is know in the music business as one of the most reputed sax and flute players. Mel Collins has played for an uncountable number of artists including Eric Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Brian Ferry, Joe Cocker, Dana Gillespie, Eric Burdon, Rolling Stones, Alan Parsons, Jim Capaldi, Humble Pie, Dire Straits, Bad Company, John Miles, Alvin Lee, Paul Carrack, Alexis Korner, Phil Manzanera, Meatloaf, Robert Palmer, Graham Parker, Propaganda, Chris Squire, Tom Waits, David Sylvian, Tears For Fears, Uriah Heep and Roger Waters. He was also part of the bands Kokomo in 1975 and Camel (1976-1983). It is important to mention also the fact that he played for nothing else than 32 times at the Marquee club with his band Circus, previous to King Crimson.

After quitting King Crimson, Boz Burrell formed the legendary hard rock band Bad Company in 1973 along with the members from Free Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, and Mick Ralphs from Mott The Hoople. Boz Burrell died of a heart attack on the 21st of September 2006, at the age of 60.

Bill Bruford has one of the most impressive careers in the history of drumming. Apart from taking part of Yes and King Crimson he also played live with Genesis in 1977 to replace Phil Collins during his vocal parts. He started a solo career in 1978 with the album "Feels Good to Me" focused to progressive jazz rock fusion and featuring guitarist, Alan Holsworth, bassist Jeff Berlin and keyboardist Dave Stewart. In 1978 Bruford formed the progressive rock band UK, featuring John Wetton, Alan Holsworth and keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson. Bill Bruford revolutionized the world of percussion in 1980 with the use of electronic drums. In 1986 he formed the reputed electro-acoustic jazz ensemble Bill Bruford's Earthworks. He has also taken part of the bands Gong, National Health and Pavlov's Dog. Bruford has played with numerous reputed musicians such as Buddy Rich Orchestra, Patrick Moraz, Kazumi Watanabe, Roy Harper, David Torn, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Rick Wakeman, Akira Inoue, Al Di Meola and Pete Lockett.

Jamie Muir left King Crimson after his ill-fated show at the Marquee club in February 1973. He quit the music business and retired to a Tibetan buddhist monastery in Scotland. In 1980 he returned to the music and worked with Derek Bailey's Company, Mike Giles and David Cunningham.

David Cross was part formed the progressive electronica band radius in 1988, and the David Cross Band, releasing several albums. He has also worked with Jade Warior, Jerry Goodman and Darling Buds. In 1997 Cross released the solo album "Exiles" featuring Robert Fripp.

John Wetton joined Roxy Music and Uriah Heep in 1975. In 1982 took part of the supergroup Asia, which featured ex-members of Yes Steve Howe and Geoff Downess and Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer . He has also worked with Bryan Ferry, Peter Banks and Steve Hackett and has released numerous solo albums.

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King Crimson gigs at the Marquee Club


The League of Gentlemen gigs at the Marquee Club


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