Starless (12:18)

Cover of Red

From Red and 21 other releases

“Starless” is a song by British progressive rock band King Crimson. It was featured on the Red album in 1974.

The song is roughly 12 minutes and 15 seconds in length, the longest on the Red album. As the last track on the last King Crimson album of the 1970s, it features several moments which recall earlier releases. It starts with mellotron strings, electric guitar and a saxophone, playing in a style recalling Epitaph from In the Court of the Crimson King. These introduce a vocal segment in conventional verse-chorus structure. The middle section of the song is a build-up which recalls The Talking Drum from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. Starting with a single distorted guitar, little drumming and clean bass, the playing gradually becomes louder and much wilder, though the tempo stays constant and all the while Robert Fripp’s guitar plays only two different notes. The song’s final section begins with an abrupt transition to a fast, jazzy saxophone solo with distorted guitars and bass, and expressive tribal drumming by Bill Bruford. This recalls the wilder section of 21st Century Schizoid Man, the band’s signature piece from that era. The song ends with a short reprise of the opening melody.

The phrase “Starless and Bible Black” is a quotation from the poet Dylan Thomas’s play, Under Milk Wood. It serves both as the chorus for the song’s vocal segment and as the title of an instrumental track on the album Starless and Bible Black, there is little apparent similarity between the two pieces.


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Sundown dazzling day
Gold through my eyes
But my eyes turned within only see
Starless and bible black

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • petross85

    Wow. I love a different part of it every time I listen

    22 Oct 6:16pm Reply
  • SonOfThirteen

    Tony Levin pulling up trees towards the end there, bits of bass flying everywhere

    16 Sep 4:13pm Reply
  • SonOfThirteen


    16 Sep 4:06pm Reply
  • Philbitar

    Great! Love the Mellotron

    2 Sep 4:55pm Reply
  • postmadesign

    I will have to close door and windows and listen to this really loud!

    28 Aug 4:09pm Reply
  • postmadesign


    28 Aug 4:03pm Reply
  • efekok

    speechless.. this song gives you the chance to feel your soul

    24 Aug 5:22pm Reply
  • led_sabbath

    From romantic to orgiastic in 12 minutes!

    18 Aug 8:23pm Reply
  • Assedor

    Band maintains its sound; creating music is about one key for all the albums. It should be noted that the team is trying to squeeze out all the creative juices, the entire potential. The band is still very, very recognizable. However, looking at the membership does not have to wonder.

    29 Jul 2:17pm Reply
  • Harry_01

    This song sends shivers down my spine every time I listen to it! [2] It's so beautiful.

    28 Jul 7:29am Reply
  • Blancandrin

    Song of Songs

    11 Jul 11:50am Reply
  • mledkov

    If only one song is to survive a nuclear war it should be this one. (2)

    7 Jul 9:36pm Reply
  • ricardo_zmn

    8 Jun 7:59pm Reply
  • HinduWall

    This song is so fucking amazing. It's so many emotions. But the second movement recalls Animal Farm for me.

    31 May 3:10am Reply
  • gonzaloPV

    What a fantastic song. It's likely the one that made me get deeper into their songs. My favourite song from them so far.

    27 May 9:57pm Reply
  • wakey68

    Simply perfect!

    21 May 4:58pm Reply
  • Ennish

    Literally the perfect way to end an album like this. It's a mostly-somber piece that still has a bit of bite left to it, yet it's all the while very emotional and beautiful. This is certainly one song the band should be remembered for.

    19 May 2:47am Reply
  • LiquidEternity

    I'm pretty sure this is The Song. Song of Songs. For ever and ever.

    10 May 7:06pm Reply
  • petross85

    holy fuck them drums.......

    2 May 6:26pm Reply
  • thomasfranco

    If I had to choose a song to play at my funeral, it would be this one.

    13 Apr 10:24pm Reply
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