The fifth album of King Crimson from 1973 was titled "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" and it is their second classic album in progressive rock. 

King Crimson logo

The first incarnation of King Crimson with Robert Fripp, McDonald, Michael Giles, Sinfield and Greg Lake was a huge success but soon after the second album Greg Lake left the band to form the legendary Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Various line-up changes occured with only Fripp and Sinfield as solid band members after the first album. The help of Yes vocalist Jon Anderson on the title track of the third album "Lizard" didn't help the band to maintain the success. Also because of the introduction of avant-garde jazz and chamber-classical influences they failed to impress. For the next album "Islands" they started searching for a new lead vocalist including Bryan Ferry from Roxy Music and the manager of E.G. Records John Graydon but both didn't make it. John Wetton was invited to become bass player but refused at that time to join The Family. 

John, Jamie, Robert and Bill in 1973

In 1972 a new major line-up was introduced including free-improvising percussionist Jamie Muir and drummer Bill Bruford who left Yes at the peak of their career in favour of the darker King Crimson. So the band now had two percussionists. Finally also John Wetton decided to join the band as a bassist and lead vocalist together with violinist, flautist and keyboardist David Cross. Wetton suggested Richard Palmer-James from the original Supertramp as a lyricist since Sinfield left the band. Cross and Fripp played the Mellotron which became a recognizable keyboard in the music of King Crimson.

The band started to get good reviews for their live performances with much improvisations. Then they started to work on the next album with this new formation. It was recorded in January and February of 1973 in London and released in March titled "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". On stage Muir entertained the audience with theatrical stage activity with bizarre clothing and fake blood capsules spit or applied to his head. The album reached #20 in the UK and #61 in the US. Soon after the tour it was said that Muir left the band based on onstage injury caused by a gong landing on his foot. But later it appeared he wanted to retire from the music business to join a Tibetan monastary in Scotland. Fripp and Wetton mainly composed the songs on the new album.

John, Jamie, Robert and Bill in the studio

The title track splitted in two parts is a long experimental instrumental piece. On "Book Of Saturday" we can hear the power of John Wetton's vocals combined with guitar and violins. "Exiles" starts with spooky sounds, then the violin takes over to play a heavenly melody and more great vocals by Wetton. "Easy Money" is a song in which heavy guitar is followed by a more quiet approach. But it is a rather weaky track. "The Talking Drum" is an instrumental piece that starts quietly, but slowly starts to increase volume, which leads directly to "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two". The strength of the album is in the instrumental parts.

This line-up made another 2 great albums "Starless And Bible Black" and "Red" with equal success.

Two months before the release of "Red"in 1974 King Crimson's future looked bright with talks regarding founder member Ian McDonald rejoining the group. But then Fripp expressed his wishes to retire from the music industry and refused to tour. So at this point the band broke up to be reformed in another line-up in 1981. Fripp continues to play guitar for David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall and many other artists. He also started an experimental solo career. He decided to form an new band in 1980 but eventually it would become a another new incarnation of King Crimson but never again with great success.

Original album cover

Larks' Tongues In Aspic (1973)
Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One / Book Of Saturday / Exiles / Easy Money / The Talking Drum / Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two

Book Of Saturday