THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF JOHN WETTON.
The Life and Music Of John Wetton.
On the ’31st’ of January 2017, John Wetton passed away in Bournemouth, Dorset aged just sixty-seven. Music had lost another of its most talented and successful sons. John Wetton had enjoyed success with seven bands and as a solo artist. His career began with Mogul Thrash, before he joined Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and then progressive rock supergroup UK. Next stop for John Wetton, was Wishbone Ash, before he joined another progressive rock supergroup, Asia. Their first two albums sold in excess of nine million copies. By then, John Wetton was one of the most successful musicians of his generation. This success would continued right up until John Wetton’s death, in his adopted home town of Bournemouth.
Despite spending much of his time in Bournemouth, John Wetton was born on the ’12th’ June 1949, in Willington, Derbyshire. However, during John’s childhood, the Wetton family moved to Bournemouth. That was where John discovered music and later, would serve his musical apprenticeship.
It was also in Bournemouth that John Wetton 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.
Mogul Thrash were a progressive 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, starting with 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.
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 progressive 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 Black.
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.
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 progressive 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 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.
Recording of UK took place 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.
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. Before that, UK released their swan-song.
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-The Solo Years
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. Although the album sold well, it wasn’t a huge success. Despite that, ecord 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 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.
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
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. Before that, John and members of rock royalty collaborated on an album.
John Wetton and Phil Manzanera decided to collaborate on an album where rock met pop. The resultant album, Wetton Manzanera was released on 1987. It was well received by critics. However, there was still no sign of John releasing his sophomore album. Eventually, it would be released in 1994.
The Solo Years-Part Two.
Fourteen years after John Wetton released his debut solo album Caught In The Crossfire, he returned with his sophomore album Battle Lines in 1994. It marked the return of a musical innovator.
Throughout his career, John was also an early adopter of technology. 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. With its mixture of technology and traditional instruments, Battle Lines was a captivating album.
Critics agreed. Battle Lines veered between beautiful and elegiac, to dramatic and innovative. Genres melted into one, as with elements of folk, folk rock, progressive rock and rock shine through. John and his small, talented band made a welcome return on Battle Lines.
Battle Lines, John Wetton’s long awaited sophomore album found him evolving musically and as a musician. This ensured his music continued to stay relevant in an ever-changing musical landscape. John’s fans welcomed the release of Battle Lines, but the album failed to find a wider audience. Despite this, John returned with a live album in 1995.
Chasing The Dragon.
This was Chasing The Dragon, Johhn Wetton’s first live album. It was recorded during John’s 1994 Japanese tour. During the tour, John played songs from Caught In The Crossfire and Battle Lines. When the tour arrived in Osaka and Tokyo, John ensured that the tapes were running. These shows were recorded, and later, became Chasing The Dragon.
It features fifteen tracks from the Osaka and Tokyo shows. This included Heat Of The Moment, Caught In The Crossfire, In The Dead Of Night, Only Time Will Tell, Hold Me Now and Battle Lines. John revisited the King Crimson back-catalogue on Starless and Book Of Saturday. This also made Chasing The Dragon an attractive proposition for King Crimson fans upon its release in 1995.
Upon its release, Chasing The Dragon proved popular. Alas, not enough for the album to chart. It was a similar story to John’s previous albums. Despite this, John continued to record and release live albums. This includes Live In Argentina 1996, which would become the first official bootleg that John Wetton released.
Two years after the release of Chasing The Dragon, John Wetton returned with a new solo album, Arkangel. It featured twelve tracks that had been recorded between 1995 and 1996 in five studios on two continents.
Part of Arkangel was recorded in Can-Am and Convent studios in Los Angeles, while other recording sessions took place at the Xero Studio, and Intimate studios. Some of the Arkangel sessions took place at the Garage Studios, in East Grinstead, Sussex. Gradually, the album started to take shape. That was no surprise, given the personnel that worked on the album. Joining John were Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, Richard Palmer-James and Billy Liesegang who co-produced some of Arkangel. It was released in 1997,
When Arkangel was released it was well received by critics. They were won over by a carefully crafted album of pop rock and progressive rock that oozed quality. Especially on tracks like the ethereal instrumental The Circle Of St Giles, Last Thing On My Mind, the rocky I Can’t Lie Anymore and the ballad Arkangel. These songs were part of what was, without doubt, one of John’s best solo albums. It set the bar high for future albums.
As the new millennia dawned, John Wetton released his fourth solo album Sinister, in August 2010. Just like Arkangel, Sinister featured an all-star lineup. Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, John Mitchell and Gary Chandler. They play their part in what many regard as another of John Wetton’s finest solo albums.
The musicians that feature on Sinister are among some of the most talented of their generation. This includes progressive rock royalty. Gone are the samples and synths, as John returns to his rock roots. 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.
When Sinister was released, it was to praise and plaudits. Critics hailed the album as one of John Wetton’s finest solo albums. For John this was the perfect way to start begin the fifth decade of his musical career.
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 Sinister in January 200. However, Rock Of Faith was well worth the three year wait.
When critics heard Rock Of Faith, they described the album as a fusion of classic, rock, progressive 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. 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 the first of two official bootleg albums during 2003. With John Wetton, it was a case of feast or famine
Live In Argentina 1996.
Live In Argentina 1996 was recorded on 19th of October 1996, at Broadway Theatre, Buenos Aries, during John’s South American tour. That night, John Wetton was accompanied by a small band. John plays bass, acoustic guitar and takes charge of lead vocals. He’s joined by drummer Thomas Lang, guitarist Billy Liesegang and keyboardist and vocalist Martin Orford. This small, but tight and talented band, John worked his way through seventeen tracks. They were recorded and eventually, were released as Live In Argentina 1996.
Seven years passed before the release of Live In Argentina. When it was belatedly released in June 2003, Live In Argentina was a welcome reminder of John Wetton and his tight, talented band during their 1996 South American tour. It had been a memorable tour, and Live In Argentina was a reminder of this. However, later in 2003, John Wetton released the second of his official bootleg albums, Live In Osaka 1997.
Live In Osaka 1997.
In 1997, John Wetton embarked upon his latest Japanese tour. He was, by then, a popular artist in Japan, and was a regular visitor to the country. For his 1997 tour, there had been a change to the lineup of John’s band.
Keyboardist and vocalist John Young had replaced Martin Orford. So when the tour began, keyboardist John Young joined drummer Thomas Lang, guitarist Billy Liesegan while John played bass, acoustic guitar and added lead vocals. This was the lineup of John Wetton’s band that arrived in Osaka.
John Wetton had been booked to play at the Club Quattro, in Osaka, on the 2nd of October 1997. That night, the tapes were running as John and his band worked their way through eighteen songs from his back-catalogue. They would eventually become Live In Osaka 1997.
Six years passed before Live In Osaka was released in 2003. Just like Live In Argentina 1996, Live In Osaka 1997 was a popular release among John Wetton’s fans. Soon, copies of the two official bootleg albums sold out and were highly prized among collectors. So would the third official bootleg album that John Wetton released, Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999.
Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999.
Two years after his previous tour, John Wetton made a return visit to Japan in the summer of 1999. By then, John’s popularity in Japan continued to grow. For his tour, John brought with him, the latest lineup of his band.
For John Wetton’s 1999 Japanese tour, his band featured a new drummer Steve Christey. He was joined by guitarist Billy Liesegan and keyboardist Martin Orford who had returned to the fold. They accompanied John who took charge of lead vocals and switched between acoustic guitar and bass. This was the lineup that would take to the stage at the Sun Plaza, in Tokyo on 5th August 1999. .
As John Wetton and his band took to the stage, the tapes were running. That night, the stars were aligned as John and his band worked their way nineteen tracks. Their performance was almost flawless as they showcased their talented and versatility. Later, John revealed that it was one of the favourite concerts of his solo career. It was fitting that it would be released as Live At The Sun Plaza Tokyo 1999
Live At The Sun Plaza was released a year later, in 2000. John Wetton’s fans welcomed the release of this latest live album. Before long, it was out of print. It would a similar story when Live In Argentina and Live In Osaka 1997 were released in 2003.
Raised In Captivity.
Eight years after his previous studio album Rock Of Faith, John Wetton, returned 2011 with Raised In Captivity. John Wetton was joined by some of his musical friends. This all-star cast would play their part in what would be John Wetton’s last studio album.
Joining John Wetton at CircaHQ Studios,in Woodland Hills, California in January 2011 was an all-star cast. They had been members of some of the biggest bands in the world. This included former: Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett; Asia keyboardist Geoff Downer; Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse; Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye; Roxy Music violinist Eddie Jobson. Seamlessly, John Wetton and his and switch between musical genres throughout Raised In Captivity. There’s never a dull momen, as John draws inspiration from his musical past. Elements of progressive 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.
When Raised In Captivity was released in 2011, it was well received by critics and hailed as a welcome addition to John Wetton’s discography. Given the quality of music on Raised In Captivity, critics and music fans awaited the released of John Wetton’s next solo album.
Over the next couple of years, John Wetton continued to play live and collaborate with other artists. Despite being a professional musician for the best part of fifty years, John seemed to have an insatiable appetite for music. He made guest appearances on several albums.
This included Ayreon’s The Theory Of Everything and Renaissance’s Grandine il Vento, which were both released during 2013. The same year, John toured with UK and took to the stage with District 97 at Reggie’s Music Joint, Chicago, on 17th October 2013, Both the UK and District 97 shows were recorded and would later, be released as a live album.
Before that, Asia released their fourteenth studio album Gravitas, which was written and produced by John Wetton and Geoff Downes. Gravitas was well received upon its released in March 2014. So was District 97’s album One More Red Night: Live In Chicago, when it was released during October 2014. John who had just turned sixty-five, seemed busier than ever.
As 2015 dawned, John Wetton would soon celebrate fifty years as a professional musician. There was no sign of him slowing down though. He was about to release four albums during the next twelve months. 2015 was going to be one of the busiest of recent years. The year started with the release of John Wetton And The Les Paul Trio’s album New York Minute in early March. Later in March, John released The Studio Recordings Anthology. Three months later, Asia released Axis XXX Live San Francisco in June 2015. John’s final album of 2016 was Live Via Satellite, which was released in October 2015. It had been one of the busiest years of John Wetton’s career.
In January 2016, UK released their live album Curtain Call, which had recorded in 2013. Just a year after the release of Curtain Call, came the news that John Wetton had passed away.
John Wetton had been suffering from colon cancer for some time. Sadly, John Wetton passed away on the ’31st’ of January 2017, in Bournemouth, in Dorset, aged just sixty-seven. Once again, music was in mourning. Music had lost another of its most talented sons. However, John Wetton left behind a rich musical legacy.
This included the music John Wetton recorded with Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep, UK, Wishbone Ash and Asia. That is only part of the John Wetton story. He also enjoyed a successful solo career and collaborated with some of the biggest names in music. Much of the music that John Wetton created during his fifty-two year career, was ambitious, innovative, progressive and timeless. This includes the classic albums the he recorded with Family, King Crimson, Uriah Heep and Asia. They’re part of the rich musical legacy that John Wetton created, during a life making music.
The Life and Music Of John Wetton.