RIP John Wetton
Before we forget again – 2017 appears unfortunately to be heading much the same way as 2016 when it comes to the Grim Reaper swapping his scythe for Leatherface’s chainsaw.
Most of you will be saying ‘who?’, but with his passing goes the two original lead singers of King Crimson in less than two months (the other being Greg Lake of Troika ripoff ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ and Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame).
For those of you again going ‘who?’, King Crimson were the band (first appearing at the Rolling Stones famous free concert in Hyde Park overshadowed by the death of Brian Jones two days earlier) many point to as the ones who simultaneously started the whole folk revival and prog rock with their debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King… which everyone else then profitted from and became incredibly rich and famous (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, etc) except for them!
You know, the ones who did that album cover you always see in the shops and you mean to go and pick it up and have a look at it to see who it is, but change your mind and say ‘I’ll have a look at it next time I’m in’:
(See? It wasn’t just you! And yes, this Heavy Metal looking effort completely fails to go with the music inside, which is all very hey-nonny-no and ♫ I tell you, I tell you the Dragonborn comes ♪ sort of stuff).
Fast forward to 1982, with prog rock having been slaughtered by the changes in music brought about by punk, new wave, heavy metal and disco, some of the said hasbeen proggers (Steve Howe of Yes, Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake and Palmer and John Wesson of King Crimson) decided if smug Robin Williams lookalike Jon Anderson could get away with writing bloody Hobbit music with Demis Roussos’ keyboard play Vangelis with increasingly silly videos, they in turn could make a mainstream version of prog, and so started a supergroup called Asia (with the Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes!).
Which they duly did – their eponymous debut album being No.1 all over the place, the single ‘Heat Of The Moment’ being a big hit, and prog was kewl with pretentious sixth formers all over again, especially those natty dragon posters decades before Smaug c/o Benedict Cumberbatch (or however that ugly bumnugget’s name’s spelt! And yes Americans, that is how spelt is spelled, or rather spelt – ugh, dammit!) and Paarthurnax in Skyrim made dragons sexy by sounding less like they would be eating the obligatory chained up virgin princess sacrifice after the obligatory ten second instant barbeque and more like they would be tonguing her out until her eyes popped from her sockets (and the hero slaying the beast and ‘saving’ the damsel would be told ‘thanks for ruining my f**king life you evil bastard!’ seconds before being run through with their own sword in an awkward place)
Trouble was, the smug Robin Williams lookalike promptly reformed Yes (bye bye Howe!), who along with Genesis and Pink Floyd promptly copied what Asia had done, got all the kudos for being so ‘inventive’, history repeated itself, and Asia faded into history and numerous compilation albums of songs for playing when driving down motorways (see also Bachman Turner Overdrive’s ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’, Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, Free’s ‘Alright Now’ and the fifty billion versions of ‘Born To Be Wild’…)
Moral of the story: life’s a bitch.
Anyway, here’s Asia’s one and only worldwide hit – and thanks: