King Crimson

Schizoid Man

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For King Crimson scholars interested in studying the evolution of the group's biggest hit, "21st Century Schizoid Man," over a six-year span (1969-1974), hunt down a copy of the British import CD Schizoid Man. A total of five versions are showcased -- two studio takes and three in-concert versions. The first two are the most common -- an edited version which the majority of the public still hears on classic rock radio, and the original full-length version from Crimson's 1969 debut, In the Court of the Crimson King. As for the live versions, both the "Live 1969" and "Live 1974" takes are strikingly similar, sticking close to the original arrangement. The big surprise is the almost heavy metal "Live 1972" version, which sounds like Black Sabbath covering the song and stretches to 11½ minutes, due to some highly technical sax/drum improvisation.

The only constant member on all five versions is King Crimson founder/leader/guitarist Robert Fripp, with the majority of the other members going on to more commercially successful bands (saxist Ian McDonald -- Foreigner, bassist/vocalist Greg Lake -- ELP, and bassist Boz Burrell -- Bad Company). Schizoid Man is not recommended to the casual King Crimson fan, but the King Crimson fanatic who just can't get enough will eat it up.

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