Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Classic Song 27 - King Crimson "Prince Rupert Awakes"

Let's talk about a classic musical collaboration.

One of the most significant, for me, is the pairing up
of King Crimson (Mark II) with Jon Anderson of Yes.

Almost two years before I finally 'got' Yes, my pantheon
of musical influences had already broadened outward
from The Beatles-led British invasion and its
American imitators to a secondary wave
of international and Canadian
artists - all determined to
push the boundaries
of popular music and
challenge both themselves
and their listeners, old and new.

By the dawn of 1970, I was now firmly caught
in the imaginary grip of acts like The Moody Blues,
The Band, Sly and The Family Stone, Moby Grape,
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin,
and The Doors, as well as a host of other
visionaries. like Jimi Hendrix, The
Mothers of Invention, Chicago
Transit Authority and Simon
and Garfunkel. The Beatles
were beginning their slow,
but sure disintegration,
and I was scrambling
to find something or
someone new that
would push my
mind further,
into exciting,

Enter 'Lizard', the third album by King Crimson.

Featuring Robert Fripp, Mel Collins and lyricist
Peter Sinfield, and augmented by a new cast
of band members, including precision
drummer, Andy McCulloch and
vocalist/bassist, Gordon Haskell,
Lizard's five tracks signalled a
sea change in King Crimson's
overall direction, as they began
exploring new musical vistas and
incorporated powerful jazz elements
into their ouevre, courtesy of eclectic
pianist, Keith Tippet, Nick Evans on the
trombone, Mark Charig on cornet and the
true 'master of the cor anglais', Robin Miller.

But it was the inspired inclusion of Jon Anderson
as lead vocalist on the album's opening track on
side two, "Prince Rupert Awakes", that totally
awoke my still-slumbering sensibilities, and
in doing so, created a new and significant
musical milestone for 15 year old me.

"Prince..." also set the stage for my soon-to-be,
full initiation into the still-nascent, prog
rock army, once I'd matured a little,
and had occasion to review and
revel in all things YES.

Here's the definitive "Prince Rupert Awakes",
immediately following a snapshot of me in 1970
(taken by my brother Ken, the meditator in the
photograph accompanying Classic Song 23).

Mozz the Elder


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