Released 10/10/1969 Island Records ILPS 9111 Total Playing Time 43m 56s
This album is considered by musicians and fans alike as the benchmark progressive rock album. Whether this accolade is true or not, there is no denying that the album boasts one of the most the most memorable sleeve designs ever put on a record.
The cover art was created by a friend of King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield called Barry Godber. Godber worked as a computer programmer. Work on the recording of the album was progressing well but there was nothing prepared for the cover, Sinfield played a couple of completed tracks to Godber and asked him to create something which would get the album noticed in the record stores.
When Godber returned with the two completed pieces which make up the album the band where overwhelmed by what they saw.
* ”We all stood around it around it,” says Greg Lake, ”and it was like something out of Treasure Island where your all standing round a box of jewels and treasure…this fucking face screamed up at us from the floor, and what it said to us was ‘Schizoid Man’- the very track we’d all been working on. It was as if there was something magic going on.” * Classic Rock Magazine December 2009.
Sadly Barry Godber died of a heart attack on February 1970 The original artwork is now owned by Robert Fripp. Pete Townshend of The Who, called the album ”an uncanny masterpiece”
The cover did its job well and attracted many people to the album even if they hadn’t heard a single note of it. Strangely enough, given his tragic early death, the painting was based on a distorted reflection of the artists own face.
Outer cover (Schizoid Man)
Inner cover (The Crimson King)
Barry Godber pictured holding a copy of ”In the court of the Crimson King,”
* Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree says of the album ”For me this the birth of progressive rock. Yes, there were other albums before that; you could say Seargeant Pepper or The Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed have a claim to laying down a blueprint of progressive rock, but In the Court…..really is the first time you have such technical prowess allied to musical experiments, great songwriting and a conceptual feeling all tied together in one record. *2009 King Crimson Remasters, Promotional Material.
No progressive rock collection is complete without a copy of this groundbreaking and influential recording. Try and see the cover in its 24 x 12 gatefold version.