Sep 182010

This is a follow-up to a previous piece on some of the admirable-if-best-forgotten qualities of King Crimson.

As he did in our original clip from 1973, bassist/singer John Wetton, with his flowing man and polyester silkscreened shirt, lays claim to the heretofore inconceivable title of Sexiest Man in Prog. Can you imagine the D&D tail lining up to get backstage after a show?

Can Townsman Northvancoveman or other hockey fans of the Hall confirm if that is actually some form of a Boston Bruins logo on drummer Bill Bruford‘s overalls? It turns out he was wearing that thing in the earlier clip, but I didn’t notice the logo. Bruford must have been sweet on that outfit.

And thinking of a recent thread, is that a xylophone or a marimba I see behind Bruford?

Violinist David Cross seems to be wearing the same suit as in our original feature, but his haircut suggests a coming client meeting for his day gig. The guy cleans up nicely!

Robert Fripp is still the brains of the operation, making no effort to get in step with the latest styles. It’s cool, though: he usually stays in his office, wrapped up in his latest designs and out of our hair. Bruford and Wetton will pitch any new capability Fripp cooks up.

See also: Making the Case for the Sexiest Man in Prog-Rock.


  22 Responses to “They Don’t Make ’em Like That Anymore: King Crimson, 1974”

  1. bostonhistorian

    Yes, that’s a Bruins logo. I wonder what the band Slapshot thinks about that….

  2. larry

    why isn’t fripp an option for sexiest prog rocker? that’s not cool, man.

    this is my second-favorite line up of crimson, my favorite being islands.

  3. Man I just don’t get them at all.

    I took alexmagic’s advice from the linked post and I turned off the sound. The video got much better. In fact it looked so interesting that after about 2 minutes with the sound off that I turned it back on again only to be shocked back into reality.

  4. BigSteve

    This is the KC period I like, but I hate it when youtubes have the audio and video out of sync.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    This is how I feel about Madonna, cdm. Looks like we need a converse to this Glossary entry:

  6. Mr. Moderator

    This is also my favorite period of King Crimson. I figured their chops were so good that it just seemed to be out of sync.

  7. misterioso

    I get it now: they’re TRYING to be boring. In that light, this makes more sense. Back when I used to think they were trying to be interesting, this sort of clip would have just pissed me off. But now I know better.

  8. Bruford looks enthusiastic, I’ll give him that.

    Look-wise, Robert Fripp intrigues me. From around 1979-83, he had a great look that was appropriate for the times and his personality. Short, slicked back hair, suit and skinny tie. Great stuff. Every other era, it seems to me, he either looks uncomfortably hirsute — like this clip — or, in the later eras, like he’s this close to growing a ponytail.

    I thought this clip wasn’t bad, musically. But Crimson rarely sound like I think they ought to sound. That Shudder to Think album I like a lot — Pony Express Record — has weird time signatures and changes and heavy, molten guitars (not to mention a weird bald singer), but in a way I respond to more, and I unfairly resent KC for not following suit retroactively.

  9. trigmogigmo

    This era of KC just isn’t for me. The Belew era lineups have always cooked up some really good stuff. Some people don’t like the Belew influence, but I think the combination works great with him in it.

    @Oats – I too really like Pony Express Record for the same reasons, and the way the dissonant verses often kick over to weird hummable chorus melodies. You might like some of the later KC like Thrak, or parts of the early 80’s triplet.

  10. mockcarr

    This is the soundtrack to a migraine.

  11. I’m in the “this is bad KC” camp. Pretty much the kind of prog I never need to listen to, full of what Zappa called “spoo.” I much prefer the Belew and, well, Lark’s Tongue. The double-trio is roughly equivalent to the hippy-era albums for me, but those three 80s albums are one of the strongest post-sophomore stretches of creativity and execution of any band that I like (possibly disqualified due to the ‘reformation’ angle).

  12. misterioso: Not so much with the trying to be boring, I hear this stuff and think, “well, I bet it’s fun for them.”

  13. Mr. Moderator

    Wetton has stormed into the lead in the current poll, putting his closest competition, David Gilmour, in the rearview mirror!

  14. jeangray

    Don’t you people know that David Gilmour was a MALE MODEL before he joined Pink Floyd????????

  15. Mr. Moderator

    Yo, Chris Squire and Carl Palmer are making a fantastic push! Does someone have a nipple slip photo of Squire I don’t know about?

  16. Mr. Moderator

    Damn, that triple-neck bass of Squire’s must have more sex appeal than I imagined!

    The man is hot on Wetton’s heels. STAY TUNED: This historic showdown will continue as an in-depth piece on the finalists is being prepared for publication, most likely tomorrow. Thanks for your interst, voters!

  17. Mr. Moderator

    A companion piece focusing on Wetton and other sexy prog-rockers has been published here:

  18. This is a great clip for aficionados of this version of KC, but for those who aren’t familiar with this particular KC lineup, it’s not the best introduction. It’s a very early gig from their 1974 tours, and some of the material, such as “Starless”, was a work in progress.

    Also, as others have noted, KC did not appear to be very comfortable in front of T.V. cameras. I think that a case of nerves is clearly the cause for the uncharacteristically sloppy reading of “Larks’ Tongues’, Part 2” that they gave during this same performance. So, it’s silly to judge the band’s live demeanor by this particular instance.

    Speaking of silliness, it makes about as much sense to compare the Belew lineup to this lineup as it does to compare feces to caviar (which is which, I leave you to determine 😉 )

  19. An apt comparison because they both kind of taste the same to me.

  20. Good stuff, Aldebaran! Welcome to the Hall. I love it when people stumble across an old piece and still feel the need to put their views down for the record. That’s why we keep our archive active and try to direct folks back to it. Don’t be a stranger.

  21. I saw King Crimson live in Ocala, Florida in the spring of 1974. Unfortunately for them, a Doobie Brothers concert was being held on the same night around 40 miles away in Gainesville, so there were only a few hundred hardcore people at the KC concert. I got to sit second row center stage in a comfortable chair (this was in a Jai-Alai fronton). However, the band still played a long and fierce set, including the yet-to-be-released “Starless”. Fripp thanked us for passing over the Doobies in favor of Crimson, which got him a huge cheer. The whole show had an air of “by invitation only” for the most devoted fans. I hadn’t heard much Crimson before, but I was converted.

  22. It’s amazing that there was a time in which the Doobie Brothers and King Crimson were fighting for the same audience. If I were doing a Venn diagram about this, it would have consisted of a circle and then another circle way over there.

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