JOHN WETTON-ANTHOLOGY-THE STUDIO RECORDINGS VOLUME 1.

JOHN WETTON-ANTHOLOGY-THE STUDIO RECORDINGS VOLUME 1.

Most musicians are lucky to be in one successful band. A few become members of two successful bands. John Wetton has been a member of numerous successful bands. His career started with Mogul Thrash, before moving onto Family, King Crimson and Uriah Heep. He then joined prog rock supergroup UK, who released two critically acclaimed albums. Next stop for John Wetton was Wishbone Ash, before he joined another prog rock supergroup Asia. Their first two albums sold in excess of nine million copies. John Wetton was living the dream. However, he was working harder than ever.

By the early eighties, John Wetton was still working as a session musician. The great and good of music had John’s number. He worked with Roxy Music, Brian Ferry, Tony Banks, Phil Manzanera, Roger Chapman and members of E.L.P., Genesis and Yes. It seemed John had an insatiable appetite for music. So, it’s no surprise that in 1980, he embarked upon a solo career.

Caught In The Crossfire, which was released in 1980, was John Wetton’s debut solo album. Further albums would follow over the next thirty-two years. It was as if when John had time, he would return to his solo career. These albums were welcome releases, from a  musical innovator. Thirty-two tracks from John’s solo albums features on the recently released Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. It was recently on the Primary Purpose label, and and is an introduction to John Wetton’s solo work. 

It took nine years before John Wetton got round to recording his debut album, Caught In The Crossfire. By then, John Wetton was almost a musical veteran. The previous nine years had been a whirlwind. It was a long way from John’s early days in Bournemouth.

John Wetton served his musical apprenticeship in Bournemouth, where he grew up. That’s where he first met Richard Palmer-Jones. They were members of The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group, Tetrad, and Ginger Man. After that, John Wetton joined  Mogul Thrash. That’s where he made his breakthrough.

Mogul Thrash.

Mogul Thrash were a prog rock band, who had evolved out of Brotherhood. They released their debut single Sleeping in the Kitchen in 1970. Then a year later, Mogul Thrash released their eponymous debut album in 1971. It was produced by Steampacket founder Brian Auger. On its release, Mogul Thrash was well received by critics. The future looked bright for Mogul Thrash. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

As Mogul Thrash was released, the group were locked in a legal battle with their management. It didn’t end well. Mogul Thrash had no option but to disband. So, 1971s Mogul Thrash proved to be group’s only album. For bassist John Wetton, and the rest of Mogul Thrash, this was a huge disappointment. Mogul Thrash looked like they were going places. Luckily, Family were looking for a bassist.

John Wetton fitted the bill. Not only could he play bass, but he was a guitarist and vocalist. So, the multitalented  twenty-two year old joined Family. He played on their next two albums.

Family-Fearless.

Fearless, Family’s fifth album, was released on 29th October 1971. This marked John Wetton’s Family debut. He played bass, guitars, and keyboards. Family were almost getting three musicians for the price of one. He would more than play his part in Fearless’ sound and success.

On its release,  Fearless  was well received by critics. The new lineup of Family seemed to have gelled quickly. Fearless was littered with highlights, including Spanish Tide, Save Some for Thee and Take Your Partners. So, it’s no surprise that Fearless sold well.

After its release, Fearless climbed the British and American charts. Eventually, it reached number fourteen in Britain and number 177 in the US Billboard 200. This was a first for Family. Never before had any of their albums charted in America. John Wetton it seemed, was Family’s good luck charm.

Bandstand.

After the success of Fearless, Family returned to the studio, and recorded Bandstand at Olympic Studios, London. This was where they had recorded Fearless. Just like Fearless, Bandstand  was produced by George Chkiantz and Family. However, it marked a change in style for Family.

Bandstand was released in September 1972. It marked a stylistic departure for Family. Their music moved towards the mainstream. Partly, this was because Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney had accepted the standard method of songwriting. It made life a lot easier. However, this move towards the mainstream risked alienating Family’s fans.

Prior to Bandstand’s release, critics had their say. Critics liked Family’s more mainstream sound. The album was released to near critical acclaim. A few contrarian critics disagreed. However, the people that mattered were the record buying public.

As Bandstand hit the shops, the members of Family wondered how their new sound we he received? When the dust settled, Bandstand had reached number fifteen in Britain and number 183 in the US Billboard 200. This was almost the same as Fearless. It seemed their new sound had neither lost, nor gained, Family any new fans. However, before long, Family had lost their bassist.

By 1972, John Wetton had attracted the attention of King Crimson. They were prog rock royalty, and one of the biggest and most innovative bands of the prog rock era. So, when John was asked to join King Crimson, he couldn’t say no. He made his debut on Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

King Crimson-Larks’ Tongues In Aspic.

Larks’ Tongues In Aspic was King Crimson’s fifth album. The album marked an almost new lineup of King Crimson. This was the third lineup in the group’s history. Joining Robert Fripp were bassist John Wetton, ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, percussionist Jamie Muir and David Cross, who played violin, viola, Mellotron, electric piano and flute. This new lineup saw the band head in a new direction. 

King Crimson incorporated different instruments, including percussion and African mbira. They moved away from their jazz sound, to a fusion of prog rock and experimental music on what became Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. 

It was released in March 1973, to critical acclaim, reaching number twenty in the UK and number sixty-one in the US Billboard 200. With a new lineup and having released their strongest album in recent years, King Crimson looked as if they were about to become one of the biggest bands of the early seventies. 

Starless and Bible.

Just about every prog rock band released a concept album. Starless and Bible Black, which is a quotation from the first two lines of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, was King Crimson’s concept album. The album is a commentary on the sleaziness and materialism that was blighting society. Richard Palmer-James, a former member of Supertramp, cowrote four of the songs on Starless and Bible, which saw King Crimson take a different approach to recording.

Unlike previous albums, there’s no drums on Starless and Bible. Despite the lack of drums, drummer Bill Bruford played percussion and cowrote three tracks. While he played on Starless and Bible, Jamie Muir didn’t. He’d left the band. Another change was that only the first two tracks on Starless and Bible, The Great Deceiver and Lament recorded in the studio. The rest of the tracks were recorded live, with the applause edited out. This was a very different approach from previous King Crimson albums.

Despite this, Starless and Bible Black was well received. Some critics hailed Starless and Bible Black as King Crimson’s best album since their debut. With its fusion of prog rock and experimental music, it was an ambitious and groundbreaking album. On its release in March 1974, it reached number twenty-eight in the UK and number sixty-six in the US Billboard 200. With King Crimson having released two consecutive critically acclaimed albums, it looked as if they were about to join the royalty that included Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. However, that wasn’t to be.

Red.

Having just released to consecutive critically acclaimed albums,  Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and then Starless and Bible Black, critics and fans wondered what direction King Crimson seventh album Red would take? Being King Crimson, fans and critics had learnt to expect the unexpected. The first change was in the lineup. After their 1974 summer tour, David Cross left King Crimson. This meant the band was now a trio consisting of Robert Fripp, bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. They cowrote much of Red.

Red featured just five tracks. Recording of Red began on 30th June 1974 at Olympic Studios, London and finished in August 1974. Four of the songs on Red were recorded live. The exception was One More Red Nightmare, which was recorded live. In the studio, Robert Fripp played guitar and mellotron. He was joined by bassist John Wetton and drummer Bill Bruford. They were augmented by a variety of musicians who often, played on just one track. These musicians played their part in not only what’s a landmark album, but an album that marked the end of an era.

On its release in October 1974, Red reached just number forty-five in the UK and number sixty-six in the US Billboard 200. Critics hailed Red as an innovative album. There are obvious similarities with Larks’ Tongues In Aspic and Starless and Bible Black in sound and quality. One change was the lack of the acoustic guitars that featured on previous albums. With its fusion of prog rock and classic music, Red proved to be a hugely influential and innovative album. Sadly, it was the last King Crimson studio album to feature John Wetton.

Uriah Heep-Return To Fantasy.

Having left King Crimson, John joined Uriah Heep. They had already realised seven albums since their 1970 debut …Very ‘Eavy …Very ‘Umble. John was brought in to replace Gary Thain. He joined just in time to play on their eighth album Return To Fantasy. John it seemed had the Midas touch.

Return To Fantasy was recorded at Lansdowne Studios and Morgan Studios, London. Just like previous albums, Gerry Bron took charge of production. Initially, Mick Box thought found that the chemistry he had with Gary Thain was missing. However, soon, John was making his presence felt, playing bass, mellotron and adding backing vocals. He played an important part in Return To Fantasy’s success.

When critics heard Return To Fantasy, they hailed it a vast improvement on 1974s Wonderworld. Return To Fantasy was the album critics knew Uriah Heep were capable of recording. Critical acclaim accompanied Return To Fantasy’s release.

It wasn’t just critics who loved Return To Fantasy. So did the recording buying public. On its release on 30th June 1975,  Return To Fantasy reached number seven in Britain and was certified silver.  Return To Fantasy reached number thirty-eight in the US Billboard 200 charts, selling 450,000 copies. The new lineup of  Uriah Heep had just released their biggest selling album,  Return To Fantasy. The problem was following it up.

High and Mighty.

Nearly a year later, Uriah Heep released High and Mighty on 8th June 1976. It was the last Uriah Heep album to feature vocalist David Byron. He had been battling with alcohol. Sadly, his drinking was beginning to affect the band. So, he was sacked after the release of High and Mighty.

What didn’t help, was that High and Mighty wasn’t well received by critics. Some critics slated the album. They weren’t impressed by the move towards the mainstream. Nor did the lack of lengthy tracks please critics. The longest song on High and Mighty was just under six minutes. This was quite unlike Uriah Heep. So was the chart placing.

High and Mighty stalled at number fifty-five in Britain. This was their lowest chart placing since their sophomore album, Salisbury. Across the Atlantic, American record buyers turned their back on Uriah Heep, with High and Mighty reaching number 161 in the US Billboard 200. For Uriah Heep, something had to give. 

David Byron was sacked by Uriah Heep. John Wetton decided that this also was the time to part company with Uriah Heep. He had plenty of session work and collaboration to keep him busy.

For the next couple of years, John was kept busy. John played on Roxy Music’s 1976 album Viva! He also accompanied Bryan Ferry on 1976s Let’s Stick Together, 1977s In Your Mind and 1978s The Bride Stripped Bare.  This wasn’t John’s only collaboration with members of Roxy Music. 

Previously, John had played on Andy McKay’s 1977 album, Score. Then in 1978, Phil Manzanera  asked John to play on his 1978 album K-Scope. The pair had worked together on Phil’s 1975 debut Diamond Head. So, this was no surprise. Neither was John joining a new band UK.

UK-UK.

UK were another prog rock supergroup. Their lineup included John, Yes drummer Bill Bruford, keyboardist Eddie Jobson and guitarist Allan Holdsworth. This was the lineup that recorded two critically acclaimed albums. The first was UK.

UK had been recorded between December 1977 and January 1978.  It was released in March 1978. Although critics gave UK glowing reviews, referring to the music as innovative and progressive, UK passed record buyers by. The four members of UK were going to give up.

Danger Money.

Nearly a year to the day, UK returned with their sophomore album, Danger Money. It featured a new lineup of UK. Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth had left the group. Replacing them was Terry Bozzio. So, with UK reduced to a trio, they returned to the studio.

The new lineup were set record six songs at Air Studios, London. These songs were penned by John and Eddie. They were recorded between November 1978 and January 1979. Once Danger Money was recorded, it was ready for release in March 1979.

History repeated itself, when Danger Money was well received by critics, but failed to chart.  At least Nothing to Lose reached number sixty-seven in the British charts. Despite this modicum of success, it was a frustrating time for groups like UK. They certainly weren’t lacking in talent. Far from it. UK were a hugely talented group. Part of the problem was the changing musical landscape. 

The nihilist sound of punk and post punk was polluting the airwaves. Many critics were little more than cheerleaders for the talentless punks. It truly was the great rock ’n’ roll swindle. Its victims were talented prog rock groups who punks referred to as dinosaurs. However, little did they realise that in three years time, John Wetton would have the last laugh.

Night After Night. 

Danger Money was John Wetton’s final studio album with UK. He featured on their live album Night After Night. It was recorded during UK’s tour of Japan, in early June 1979. The album was recorded at Nakano Sun Plaza and Seiken Kan, in Tokyo. It was released in September 1979.

This was perfect timing. UK were about to head out on tour, supporting Jethro Tull on their American tour. So, the release of Night After Night was timed to coincide with the American tour. Sadly, Night After Night wasn’t a commercial success. This resulted in John leaving UK.

John Wetton-Caught In The Crossfire.

Following his departure from UK, John decided that now was the time to embark upon a solo career. So he began work on what became Caught In The Crossfire. 

Given John Wetton is a talented multi-instrumentalist, he was able to record much of Caught In The Crossfire himself. He played bass, guitars, keyboards and added vocals. To play the drum and percussion parts, John drafted in Simon Kirke of Bad Company. Another guest artist, was saxophonist Malcolm Duncan. They played their part on Caught In The Crossfire, John Wetton’s long-awaited debut album.

On its release in 1980, Caught In The Crossfire was well received by critics. Although quite different from his work with Family, King Crimson and Uriah Heep, it showed John’s versatility and ability to create ambitious and innovative music. Three of Caught In The Crossfire’s highlights were the title-track, Woman and Cold Is The Night. Fittingly, they feature Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. These tracks are a tantalising taste of what John Wetton was capable of as a solo artist. Record buyers awaited John’s sophomore album. It would be a long time coming.

There was a reason for this. John was a busy man. He worked with Roger Chapman on  their 1980 album Mail Order Magic and 1981s Hyenas Only Laugh for Fun. The former Family frontman had reinvented himself as a solo artist. However, later in 1981 John joined Wishbone Ash, where he replaced Martin Turner.

Wishbone Ash-No Smoke Without Fire.

With Martin Turner leaving Wishbone Ash, the English rock group found themselves with a problem. They had an album to record, but had no bassist. This was where John Wetton came in. He joined in time to record No Smoke Without Fire. 

No Smoke Without Fire was a stylistic departure for Wishbone Ash. Previously, their music had taken on an American influence. Some fans didn’t take to this. What they wanted was Wishbone Ash to return to the prog rock of their past. Other fans wanted Wishbone Ash to return to their hard rocking best. With Derek Lawrence returning as producer, for the first time since 1972s Argus, they did both.

When No Smoke Without Fire was released later in 1978, the album has hailed Wishbone Ash’s heaviest album to date. Critics welcomed the inclusion of prog rock epic The Way Of The World. Wishbone Ash many thought were back.

Sadly, The Way Of The World stalled at number forty-three in Britain, and failed to chart in America. For John Wetton and the rest of Wishbone Ash, this was a huge disappointment. Especially considering The Way Of The World was John’s only album with Wishbone Ash. He left the group to join Asia.

Asia.

Asia were another British prog rock supergroup. Its lineup featured John, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Geoff Downes. They were both members of Yes. The final piece of the jigsaw was Carl Palmer, or E.L.P.  With Asia’s lineup complete, they began working on their eponymous debut album.

Recording of Asia took place at the Townhouse Studios, London. For the five months between June and November 1981, the four members of Asia recorded nine tracks. Eventually, the album was finished and ready for release on 18th March 1982.

After their five months of hard work, reviews of Asia were mixed. This some critics felt, didn’t bode well for the release of Asia. They were wrong.

On its release, Asia’s 1982 eponymous debut album sold eight million copies worldwide, and reached number one in the US Billboard 200 charts. This lead to Asia being certified platinum four times over. John Wetton it seemed had the Midas touch.

Alpha.

Following the commercial success of Asia, the four members of the band started work on their sophomore album Alpha. John and Geoff penned nine of the ten tracks. The other track, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, was a John Wetton composition. These tracks were recorded between February and May 1983.

It was never going to be easy following up Asia. The album had sold eight million copies. Unsurprisingly, Alpha wasn’t as popular. Again, reviews of Alpha were mixed. Critics pointed towards the change in sound. Asia, just like Family had done a decade earlier, had moved towards the mainstream. Part of Asia’s appeal, was their progressive sound. While it was less prominent, Alpha was still a commercial success.

On its release on 26th July 1983, Alpha reached number six in the US Billboard 200 and number five in Britain. This resulted in Alpha selling two million copies worldwide. Alpha was certified platinum in America and gold in Britain. Sadly, after Alpha, Asia never reached the same heights

Astra.

There was a gap of two years between Alpha, and Asia’s third album Astra. It marked the end of an era. Astra was the last album to feature founding member John Wetton. He didn’t return until 2008s Phoenix. No wonder. All wasn’t well within Asia.

Astra had been two years in the making. Recording started in 1983. However, John left in September 1983, and was replaced temporarily by Greg Lake. He featured during some of Asia’s live shows. When John returned, Steve Howe departed. This was blamed on the tension between Steve and John. Replacing Steve, was Mandy Meyer, who brought a harder edge to Asia’s sound. 

Asia’s new lineup spent much of 1984 and 1985 recording Astra. The band moved between studios. Eventually, Astra was finished, and ready for release in November 1985.

When critics heard Astra, reviews were mixed. While some critics weren’t impressed, other called Astra a solid album. The jury were well and truly out. As usual, the record buying public had the deciding vote.

On its release, Astra stalled at number sixty-seven in the US Billboard 200 and number sixty-eight in Britain. This was a far cry from Asia and Alpha. 

Following Astra, John Wetton left Asia. While they enjoyed a degree of commercial success, Asia never reached the same heights. The lineup of Asia with John, Steve Howe, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer proved to be the classic lineup of Asia. We wouldn’t see their likes again until 2008s Phoenix. By then, John Wetton was enjoying a successful solo career.

Battle Lines.

Fourteen years after John Wetton released his debut solo album Caught In The Crossfire, he returned with his sophomore album Battle Lines. It marked the return of a musical innovator.

Throughout his career, John had been an innovator. That was the case on Battle Lines. He made good use of the new technology that had become available. Keyboard parts were programmed and samples were used to create orchestral arrangements. They feature on Hold Me Now, Battle Lines and You’re Not The Only One, which all feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. John also programmed parts of Right Where I Want To Be and Walking On Air, where he also deploys synths. However, John hadn’t turned his back on traditional instruments. He uses guitars on several tracks, including Cold Is the Night and the acoustic version of Battle Lines. With its mixture of technology and traditional instruments, Battle Lines was a captivating album.

Battle Lines veers between beautiful and elegiac, to dramatic and innovative. Genres melted into one. Elements of folk, folk rock, prog rock and rock can be heard, as John and his small, talented band make a welcome return on Battle Lines.

After Battle Lines, John continued to concentrate on his solo career. He released Chasing The Dragon in 1995. However, none of the tracks from Chasing The Dragon feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. The next studio album that features on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1, is Arkangel.

Arkangel.

Given Arkangel is one of John Wetton’s finest solo albums, it’s fitting that seven tracks from Arkangel feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. 

One of the most beautiful is The Circle Of St Giles, which features Mike Stobbie’s digital orchestra. They also feature on After All, a beautiful, wistful track which closes Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. It was penned by John with John Young, and features a reflective John at his soulful best. However, there’s much more than orchestral tracks on Arkangel.

Among the other tracks on Arkangel, are The Last Thing On My Mind, the rocky I Can’t Lie Anymore and the ballad Arkangel, where John delivers a heartfelt, tender vocal. The other tracks from Arkangel, are the ballads 

You Against and Emma. Both tracks show another side of John Wetton. Emma with its understated arrangement, is another Arkangel’s of highlights. It features John Wetton, as he continued to reinvent himself.

After Arkangel, John Wetton released Chasing The Deer in 1998, and then No Mans Land in 1999. No tracks from these albums feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. However, there’s seven tracks from John’s first album of the new millennia, Sinister.

Sinister.

Sinister was released by John in 2001. It featured an all-star lineup. Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, John Mitchell and Gary Chandler are among the guest artists. They play their part in what many regard as one of John Wetton’s finest solo albums. That’s not surprising given the lineup. 

The musicians that feature on Sinister are among some of the most talented of their generation. This includes prog rock royalty.  Gone are the samples and synths, as John returns to his rock roots.

That’s the case on tracks like Where Do We Go from Here? Another Twist of the Knife, Heart of Darkness and Say It Ain’t So all have a rocky sound. They bring  back memories of the big, bold, anthemic sound that defined rock in the eighties and nineties. Second Best and Silently are dramatic, soul-baring ballads. John’s vocal is full of emotion as he lays bare his hurt. With its mixture of rock anthems and ballads, there was something for everyone on Sinister, where John Wetton and his all-star band roll back the years.

Following Sinister, John released two collaborations with Ken Hensley during 2002, More Than Conquerors and One Way Or Another. The next year, John made a welcome return with his next solo album Rock Of Faith.

Rock Of Faith.

Rock Of Faith was released by John Wetton in 2003. It was his first solo album since 2001s Sinister. However, Rock Of Faith was well worth the two year wait.

When critics heard Rock Of Faith, they described the album as a fusion of classic, rock, prog rock and symphonic rock. For John, it was akin to a return to the seventies. What’s more it was a return to form for John Wetton.

The ballad on Rock Of Faith are among the album’s highlights. This includes  I’ve Come to Take You Home, which is a mixture of beauty and emotion. Then there’s the ethereal beauty that’s I Lay Down. Quite simply, it’s one of the highlights of Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. So is the spiritual sounding Who Will Light A Candle?  Nothing’s Gonna Stand in Our Way is a hopeful  sounding ballad. It’s a welcome inclusion on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. Take Me to the Waterline. It has a much more rocky, progressive sound. Rock of Faith has an almost funky, dramatic sound, and shows just how versatile an artist John Wetton is. 

Seamlessly, John flits between ballads and rocky tracks on Rock Of Faith. In doing so, he combines musical genres, producing an album that’s beautiful, dramatic, soulful and wistful. John Wetton was maturing like a good wine, and would continue to do so.

After the release of Rock Of Faith, John released Amata later in 2003. With John Wetton, it was a case of feast or famine. His fans hoped that after two albums in a year, there wasn’t going to a long wait for his next album.

That wasn’t case. In 2004, John released Agenda. Just like Amata, no tracks from Agenda feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. However, three tracks from John’s most recent album feature on 2011s Raised In Captivity.

Raised In Captivity.

The last time we heard from John Wetton, was back in 2011. That’s when he released his most recent solo album, Raised In Captivity. Again, John’s joined by some of his musical friends. 

This includes guitarist Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis and Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes. Former Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse lays down some blistering licks on the uber rocky Lost for Words. It’s one of three tracks from 2011s Raised In Captivity that feature on Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1. The others are the rocky Raised in Captivity and the folk-tinged ballad Steffi’s Ring. Again it showcases John Wetton’s versatility. 

Seamlessly, John Wetton switches between musical genres throughout Raised In Captivity. There’s never a dull moment, as John draws inspiration from his musical past. Elements of prog rock, classic rock and folk can be heard, as John and his musical friends play their part in a truly captivating album, Raised In Captivity. It’s a welcome addition to John Wetton’s discography.

And what a discography it is. From his early days with  Mogul Thrash, John Wetton seemed destined for musical greatness. After Mogul Thrash disbanded, John joined Family. That was a huge step for him. However, it was nothing compared to what came next.

After releasing two albums with Family, John Wetton joined King Crimson. That was fitting. He was already an innovative musician. King Crimson were one of the most innovative groups of the prog rock era. With John’s help, their music moved in a different direction. John it seemed had the Midas touch.

That proved to be the case. Having joined Uriah Heep in 1975, he played his part in their biggest selling album, Return To Fantasy. After Return To Fantasy, the wheels started to come off Uriah Heep. So, John Wetton reyurned to session work.

Soon, John Wetton was working with the great and good of music had John’s number. He worked with Roxy Music, Brian Ferry, Tony Banks, Phil Manzanera, Roger Chapman and members of E.L.P., Genesis and Yes. It seemed John had an insatiable appetite for music. However, there was one thing John hadn’t done, released a solo album. So, in 1980, John embarked upon a solo career.

Caught In The Crossfire, which was released in 1980, was John Wetton’s debut solo album. However, John’s solo career was put on hold when he joined Wishbone Ash for one album.

With John playing bass, Wishbone Ash rolled back the years. It was a welcome return to form from the veteran group. However, John was just passing through. He formed Asia, whose 1982 eponymous debut album sold eight million copies. The followup sold another million copies. Astra was John’s final outing with Asia. By then, all wasn’t well within Asia. So, when Astra failed to replicate Asia’s first two albums, John called it a day. This allowed him to concentrate on collaboration and his solo albums.

With John now a solo artist, he showed he was still an ambitious and innovative artist. He pushed musical boundaries, mixing musical genres and influences. Seamlessly, they morphed into something new, magical and often quite beautiful. Other times the music is dramatic, rocky and progressive. That’s the case throughout Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1 which was recently released by Primary Purpose. 

It features tracks from five of John Wetton’s finest solo albums. This compilation is the perfection introduction to John Wetton’s solo career. Most people will be familiar with his work with Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Asia. However, they make not have heard John Wetton’s solo albums. Anthology-The Studio Recordings Volume 1 is the perfect primer, and a welcome reminder of a true musical innovator’s four decade solo career.

JOHN WETTON-ANTHOLOGY-THE STUDIO RECORDINGS VOLUME 1.

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