On this date forty-nine years ago, down in the basement of the Fulham Palace Road Cafe, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald, Michael Giles, Robert Fripp plugged in their instruments and King Crimson were born. The space had been located a week earlier by Peter Sinfield, who along with fellow roadie, Dik Fraser, had helped haul the equipment down the flight of stairs into the cramped surroundings. After setting up the group played for an hour and a half.
At the time cover versions of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Joni Mitchell’s Michael From The Mountains made up part of the setlist. Amongst the original material that was being tried out by the quartet were Michael Giles’ Tomorrow’s People, Fripp’s Drop In, and Greg Lake’s song, Lucky Man.
Situated at 193 Fulham Palace Road, W6, the cafe basement would be King Crimson's base of operations for the next two and a half years. In the weeks that followed that first blow on this date, all kinds of visitors made their way to this unassuming location including David Enthoven and John Gaydon, who immediately struck up a partnership with the group.
Muff Winwood from Island Records also trekked down those stairs at the behest of Enthoven and Gaydon but was unimpressed, remarking that King Crimson reminded him of The Tremeloes. More impressed, however, were various members of The Moody Blues who were keen to sign King Crimson to their Threshold record label.
Although King Crimson’s last use of the space was in the autumn of 1971 cafe owners, Peter and George Calatychos, continued to rent the space out to bands. Fripp returned to the venue in the summer of 1972 to listen to a band called Waves who were rehearsing there and whose lineup included violinist David Cross.
It’s not known when the cafe changed hands but it's still operating today although the space is no longer used for rehearsing bands.