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King Crimson are a musical group founded by guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael Giles in 1969. King Crimson's style has typically been categorized as progressive rock, although it also incorporates diverse influences ranging from jazz, classical and experimental music to psychedelic, New Wave, heavy metal, gamelan and folk music. Although King Crimson has garnered little radio or music video airplay, they have a devoted following. Their debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, is widely regarded as a landmark in progressive rock. Their later excursions into even more unconventional territory have been influential on many contemporary musical artists.
In the late 1960s, the band was influential in popularising a previously unexplored mellotron rock style. Throughout the early 1970s, King Crimson's membership fluctuated as the band explored adopted elements of jazz and funk. The band developed an improvisational sound influenced by heavy metal and became a more stable unit in the mid 1970s, before their breakup in 1974. The band reformed in 1981 for three years, influenced by New Wave and gamelan music, before breaking up again for around a decade. Following their 1994 reunion, King Crimson blended aspects of their 1980s and 1970s sound, which has continued into the 21st century.
Although King Crimson's membership has fluctuated considerably throughout its existence, the band continues to perform and record music. Fripp, the only constant member of King Crimson, has arranged several disparate line-ups of the band, and he has stated that he does not necessarily consider himself the band's leader. Fripp describes King Crimson as "a way of doing things", and notes that he never originally intended to be seen as the head of the group.