Those who may have heard of King Crimson usually limit their knowledge to the songs on their first release, 1969's In The Court Of The Crimson King. As the band is still active in some form or another, however, this is very limiting. The first King Crimson, lasting from 1969 to 1972, was an unstable unit, led reluctantly by Robert Fripp, through multiple personnel changes and various albums with Fripp's guitar work being the only consistent part. The path from Court up through Lizard and Islands would have been daunting for anyone to follow.
After bassist Boz Burrell quit to form Bad Company, Fripp recruited bassist/vocalist John Wetton, stole Bill Bruford from Yes, and violinst David Cross (Fripp was a huge fan of John McLaughlin, who had a violinist in the Mahavishnu Orchestra) as well as percissionist Jamie Muir who lasted only long enough to complete the first release of the new band, Larks' Tongue in Aspic. This new band released two more albums, then Fripp decided to break up the band. Their last release came after the official demise. Most of the tracks were taken from various live recordings, with some overdubbing (like the sax solo on "Starless"). One instrumental, "Providence", was an improv piece from their last concert, in Providence, RI. The track that leads off the album, however, is a blistering instrumental that reminds anyone who was unsure that this band, once all the myths about them are stripped away, was quite capable of melting concrete. When Fripp put the band back together in the early 1980's, with Adrian Belew on a second guitar, Bruford once again keeping the beat, and Tony Levin on bass and stick, "Red", along with "Larks' Tongue in Aspic, Part 2" was one of two older tunes the band resurrected for their live show.