King Crimson

I Talk to the Wind

Composed by Robert Fripp / Michael Giles / Greg Lake / Ian McDonald / Peter Sinfield

Song Review by

King Crimson, it is not often noted, had some folk and folk-rock influences in their very early days (and the Giles, Giles & Fripp collaborations predating King Crimson). "I Talk to the Wind" is the track that most reflects these folk influences and the influence of co-songwriter Ian McDonald (only a bandmember for the first album) in particular. Coming right after the assaultive jazz-prog rock of "21st Century Schizoid Man," the first track on their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King: An Observation by King Crimson, this gentle, subdued folky ballad was quite a contrast and served notice that King Crimson was more versatile than your average new band. McDonald's lilting recorder carries the song's principal pastoral riff, leading into a typically late-'60s lyric of a passive, disoriented protagonist, not so much making comments as recording impressions and reveling in ambiguity. The harmonized, slightly jazzy vocal melodic lines, though, were lovely, leading to a slightly more up-tempo, tensely pensive verse, lamenting (or perhaps merely just noting) that the lyrical observations were blown away, unheard, by the wind. The version on King Crimson's album is the only one that most listeners are familiar with, but actually the song had been recorded at least a couple of times in 1968 by embryonic King Crimson lineups. One version, a more genteel arrangement featuring McDonald, Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Peter Giles (who dropped out before King Crimson's first album), and ex-Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble, showed up on the 1975 compilation The Young Person's Guide to King Crimson. This, and a second 1968 recording featuring the same lineup minus Dyble, appear on the archival Giles, Giles & Fripp CD The Brondesbury Tapes.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In the Court of the Crimson King 1969 Caroline Distribution / EG Records 6:05
A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson 1976 Island 3:15
The Compact King Crimson 1987 EG Records 6:06
Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson 1991 Caroline Distribution 6:05
Sounds of the Seventies: FM Rock, Vol. 2 1992
Various Artists
A Beginners' Guide to the King Crimson Collectors' Club 2000 Discipline Global Mobile 4:45