King Crimson

Moonchild/The Dream/The Illusion

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

Song Review by

"Moonchild," along with "I Talk to the Wind," was the clearest link to the folk influences borne by King Crimson on its first album, the only one that included Ian McDonald and Michael Giles among the personnel. The first three minutes or so of "Moonchild" -- really, the three minutes that are all that most listeners remember well -- comprise a delicate, folky poetic ballad. Its Tolkienesque ambience was created by the mandolin-like trills, pastoral melody, and lyrics of a moonchild that could have been straight out of a medieval fantasy. It's on the precious side, but the melody is indeed enchanting, with a minor-keyed tone that keeps it from getting sappy. The bulk of the cut, though, is devoted to an extended, improvised-sounding instrumental section that remains a bane of contention among King Crimson fans. Many, quite simply, find it structureless and boring, with its interminable if minimal array of flicks, beeps, rattles, vibraphone tickles, and plucks, with nothing in the way of a tempo or a consistent melody to keep the mood building. Indeed, at times when the song has appeared on reissues or compilations, just the standard first vocal section of the tune has been used, the remainder unsummarily dispensed with. "Moonchild" made a most unexpected appearance in the soundtrack to the late-'90s cult film Buffalo 66.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
In the Court of the Crimson King 1969 Caroline Distribution / EG Records 12:12