King Crimson, 1981
Photo: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images
King Crimson Tour And Special Releases Celebrate Band's 50th Anniversary
Proving rock's potential as an encompassing musical format, jazz met classical met mind-blowing in 1969 with the Oct. 10 release of King Crimson's debut album, In The Court Of The Crimson King — one of progressive rock's most influential releases. The band reformed through the years with varying constellations of musicians surrounding prolific guitarist, composer and producer Robert Fripp. Celebrating 50 years of rock, 2019's "KC 50" brings together a 50-concert tour, 50 weekly releases of tracks to digital, multiple box sets, a documentary and more, including art and KC 50 T-shirts.
The band's first formal rehearsal was on Jan. 13, 1969. They gained an immediate following with their seventh performance that summer on July 5 as the opening act for an audience of a half million at London's Hyde Park who turned out to see the Rolling Stones' free "Stones In The Park" concert. Their debut album was released that fall. Even though their original lineup fell apart, their cult following and track-record of musical experimentation have continued grown ever since.
DGM announced the KC 50 rollout on Jan. 13, the anniversary of the band's fateful first rehearsal. The DGM label was first formed by Fripp in 1992 to increase his creative control. Its initials stand for Discipline Global Mobile, a reference in part to the band's 1981 album Discipline, which also supplied DGM's knot-logo from its cover art. KC 50 is high-concept enough to be mind-blowing in itself and is helpfully summarized at Pitchfork.
The first of the 50 planned digital track-releases dropped on Jan. 13 as well. The first set of announced dates for their planned 50-concert celebration tour were also announced with tickets available at Ticketmaster. The announced dates kick off in Germany in June, with three nights at London's Royal Albert Hall June 18–20. The three U.S. venues announced so far are Sept. 3 at Los Angeles' Greek Theater, Sept. 10 at Chicago's Roosevelt University Auditorium followed by Sept. 21 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
The King Crimson documentary Cosmic F*Kc is expected by the end of 2019, incorporating rare archival footage. In June, Sid Smith's long out-of-print biography In The Court Of King Crimson will be re-issued in a revised and expanded edition. Merch to come includes KC 50 T-shirts as well as a limited edition of 200 silk-screens of the band's debut-album cover art, signed by Fripp.
In addition to DGM's collectors' club musical releases reaching their 50th by year's end, four musical compilations are anticipated. A six-LP vinyl set covering 1972–74 will be released in February. May will see the a release of Heaven & Earth, comprising King Crimson's studio albums from the late 90's through 2008. October will bring the release of the band's complete 1969 recordings as well as an Oct. 12 box-set release of In The Court of the Crimson King loaded with live recordings and extras including DGM Companion Vol 1, an illustrated coffee-table volume commemorating the album, edited by Fripp and his DGM co-founder David Singleton.
With all of these treats are in-store for anybody diving into King Crimson's body of work, the vitality and imagination behind this KC 50 anniversary help demonstrate that rock's mind-bending superpowers are alive and well.