21st Century Schizoid Man  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"21st Century Schizoid Man" is a song by progressive rock band King Crimson from their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King.

Contents

Personnel

Lyrical content

The lyrics of "21st Century Schizoid Man" consists chiefly of disconnected phrases which present a series of images. All three verses follow a set pattern in presenting these images. The first line of each verse presents two relatively vague images (e.g."iron claw", "death seed"). The second line is a single image, often more specific than the first two, and the third line approaches an actual sentence. The fourth and final line of every verse is "21st century schizoid man".

The song makes reference to the Vietnam War as exemplified in the lyric "innocents raped with napalm fire" and "politicians' funeral pyre." Before a live performance of the song on December 14, 1969 (as shown in the live album Epitaph), Fripp remarked that the song was dedicated to "an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew."

Musical structure

Musically, the song is notable for its heavily distorted vocals sung by Greg Lake, a driving mechanical rhythm and piercingly loud saxophone and guitar, along with its instrumental middle section, called "Mirrors". Most of the song is in either 4/4 or 6/8 time, save for the end of the song, which is in free time.

Performances

King Crimson continued to perform it in their live act after Greg Lake left King Crimson in 1970 to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It appeared on four live albums from different versions of the band, first sung by Lake on Epitaph, then by Boz Burrell on Earthbound (1972), by John Wetton, on USA (1974), and by Adrian Belew on Vrooom Vrooom (2001, recorded in 1996). In 1993, Emerson, Lake & Palmer recorded a version for their 1993 box set The Return of the Manticore.

Covers





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "21st Century Schizoid Man" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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