Lizard (23:22)

Cover of Lizard

From Lizard

“Lizard” is the longest composed (as distinct from improvised) piece ever recorded by King Crimson. This piece is divided into several sections and even subsections, with a narrative running through its entirety, about a prince who takes part in an epic battle. The track’s grandiloquence verges on (self-) parody.

Lizard’s opening section, “Prince Rupert Awakes”, features Jon Anderson (from Yes) in his only ever contribution to a King Crimson recording. This section of the track alternates between sincere and ethereal verses, and an amusingly folksy chorus accompanied by handclaps. The two styles are then combined in a rousing, worldless chorale, that segues into the track’s next section, “Bolero”.

“Bolero” provides a showcase for the talents of supporting musicians Tippett, Miller, Charig, and Evans. Playing over McCulloch’s bolero-like drum part, they are given the space to develop progressively more jazzy solos around a central theme. When this section of “Lizard” was excerpted from the whole, for inclusion on the compilation Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson, Gordon Haskell’s bass guitar was replaced with a part recorded by the later King Crimson bassist Tony Levin.

As “Bolero” comes to a halt, it is followed by “Dawn Song”, the first of three subsections that comprise “The Battle of Glass Tears”. “Dawn Song” opens with an ominous theme led by Robin Miller, which is then joined by a subdued vocal sung by Haskell. The next subsection of “The Battle of Glass Tears”, “Last Skirmish”, is arguably the instrumental high point of the Lizard album.


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Farewell the temple master's bells
His kiosk and his black worm seed
Courtship solely of his word
With Eden guaranteed

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • IllNotta

    The part with Jon Anderson...oh God THAT FUCKING LOVELY PART <3

    18 Feb 8:19pm Reply
  • Mat-Pooneil

    The more I listen this piece, the more I like it.

    5 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Obzedat

    So epic!

    3 Apr 2013 Reply
  • dawoodb

    what the hell...

    26 Dec 2012 Reply
  • ChokitoBranco

    King Crimson and Jon Anderson together = Too much epicness for me too handle. [2]

    14 Dec 2012 Reply
  • worst_astronaut

    So great track...

    12 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Ennish

    Epic track. Jon Anderson's singing at the beginning is especially beautiful.

    1 Aug 2012 Reply
  • CaptainJingles

    Didn't like this at first. Much better at second listen.

    26 Jun 2012 Reply
  • julben

    Prince Rupert Awakes is really just amazing. King Crimson and Jon Anderson should've done more stuff together.

    9 Apr 2012 Reply
  • SmellyStuff

    This took a while to grow on me but holy shit when it finally did.

    7 Feb 2012 Reply
  • nikonas

    Can anyone recommend me anything similar to this?I really want to listen to more of those chaotic improvisations! Send me a PM if u know anything please .

    18 Jan 2012 Reply
  • CamelStrez

    The beginning with Jon Anderson is just great. Hell, the whole song is just great.

    17 Jan 2012 Reply
  • BlackLodgeDwarf

    King Crimson and Jon Anderson together = Too much epicness for me too handle.

    24 Dec 2011 Reply
  • Ozymandias90

    I think this song alone eclipses any of the songs in ITCOTCK. Anyone else?

    8 Nov 2011 Reply
  • mouritsdebeer

    I wish the lyrics were "burn a bridge and burn a bowl".

    19 Oct 2011 Reply
  • BrianRomeo

    8 - 9 minutes in = mindfuck [2]

    24 Jul 2011 Reply
  • ineedmoretool

    Maybe my favorite KC's song [3]

    21 Jul 2011 Reply
  • radyokafa_

    j. anderson and king crimson. yes!

    18 May 2011 Reply
  • moonmadness-

    Indeed be a very difficult track, can not do any band cover.

    22 Apr 2011 Reply
  • Ek90

    Maybe my favorite KC's song [2]

    13 Mar 2011 Reply
  • All 84 shouts

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