It’s one of the most iconic images in rock-and-roll history: the 21st century schizoid man looking over his shoulder, In The Court of the Crimson King.
So imagine my surprise when I found the much more obscure gem on the left, a Verve jazz relic by one of the few drummers who could challenge Buddy Rich over a different kind of kingship, that of best big-band drummer of all time: Louis Bellson.
The album cover similarities are obvious, but let me explain why I don’t think they can be dismissed as mere coincidence:
- On both covers, the face fills the entire “frame” of the image
- The color palettes are virtually the same, composed of reds, violets and blues
- Check out the similar shapes in the eyes, cheeks and nose
- The killer: Look at the teeth, mouth, dimples and most of all, the tongue.
Observe, especially, the teeth in the lower right-hand corner of the mouths and the shadow of the tongues, on the left side, in both images — they’re just too much alike to be an accident.
Me, I’m convinced: the King Crimson artist used the Louis Bellson cover as his model. We have discovered the crimson king.