Happy Birthday Robert Fripp: Our Top Five Fripp Collaborations

Categories: Birthday
On this day in 1945, legendary guitarist Robert Fripp was born. Known best for his work in the  prog rock band King Crimson, his career has spanned five decades, a variety genres, and several hundred releases, including iconic works with Roxy Music's Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall, Blondie, David Bowie, and Talking Heads. We celebrate now with our top five Fripp collaborations! 

Grinderman - Super Heathen Child

5. Fripp/Grinderman - "Super Heathen Child" (2010)
Last year, Fripp contributed a two-minute guitar solo to an extended version of Grinderman's single "Heathen Child," which was released as a B-side under the title "Super Heathen Child" on limited edition 12" colored vinyl. Nick Cave knew he wanted something sinister on the song and who can do an evil guitar solo better than Fripp? That's right--no one. Cave called him up at his wife's urging, and Fripp knocked out the solo overnight, and sent it over before the two had even discussed the collaboration.


4. Fripp/Daryl Hall - Sacred Songs (1980)

Fripp produced and played on Daryl Hall's first solo album, Sacred Songs. Recorded in 1977, the album was intended to be part of an audio-triptych with Fripp's Exposure and Peter Gabriel's second album. Sacred Songs was shelved until 1980 because Hall's label believed it wouldn't be commercially successful; it was too different from all the Hall & Oates records, and RCA didn't want to risk upsetting that empire. Outraged at RCA's decision to hold the album, Hall and Fripp leaked it themselves and eventually RCA caved. A Hall and Fripp collaboration may seem odd at first but Sacred Songs is a surprisingly brilliant record that showcases Fripp's skills in production.  

David Bowie- Heroes

3. Fripp/David Bowie - Heroes (1977)

Heroes is the pinnacle of Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy" with Brian Eno (the other albums were Low and Lodger) and it also features Fripp on lead guitar! Fripp was invited to play on the record by Eno, who cowrote the album's title track with Bowie. Fripp's contribution on the song is seriously underrated--he added a whole new dimension to it when he figured out the right volume to play at and the right distance to stand from the speaker to get feedback that sounds like a gorgeous E-bow line. Genius! And very difficult for other musicians to replicate.    


 Fripp/Eno - The Heavenly Music Corporation

2. Fripp/Eno - No Pussyfooting (1973)
While Eno was working his solo debut, Here Come the Warm Jets, he and Fripp began their experiments with "Frippertronics," a looping technique developed by Fripp that allowed him to create dense, dynamic recordings with layer upon layer of guitars with two reel-to-reel tape decks. No Pussyfooting was their first exercise in system, and one of the earliest and most important experiments in ambient music.  


 Brian Eno - Baby' s On Fire

1. Fripp/Eno - "Baby's On Fire" (1974)

Fripp appeared on three tracks on Eno's classic solo debut Here Come the Warm Jets--voted one of the best albums of the year in Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll for that year--but it's his work on "Baby's On Fire" that we love the most. One of Eno's best pop compositions, the song features an unforgettable, blistering guitar solo from Fripp--possibly the most scorching solo ever recorded. A masterful collaboration at the height of both of their careers. 


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