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Jon Anderson Song of Seven album cover
2.81 | 190 ratings | 19 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. For You for Me (4:23)
2. Some Are Born (4:06)
3. Don't Forget (Nostalgia) (3:02)
4. Heart of the Matter (4:21)
5. Hear It (1:51)
6. Everybody Loves You (4:03)
7. Take Your Time (3:09)
8. Days (3:30)
9. Song of Seven (11:16)

Total Time 39:41

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals, keyboards (1,7,8), acoustic guitar (2), harp (8), composer, arranger & producer

- Ian Barinson / guitar, bass (2), vocals (2)
- David "Clem" Clemson / guitar (4,9)
- Ronnie Leahy / keyboards
- Damion Anderson / keyboards (5)
- Dick Morrissey / saxophone (2,4)
- John Dankworth / alto saxophone (3)
- The Delmé String Quartet / strings (9)
- David Ogden / string arrangements (9)
- John Giblin / bass (1,3,6-9)
- Jack Bruce / bass (4)
- Mel / bass (5)
- Morris Pert / drums (1,3,6), percussion (1,5,7,9)
- Simon Phillips / drums (4)
- Christopher "Rainbow" Harley / lead (2) & backing (3,4,6,8,9) vocals
- Deborah Anderson / harmony vocals (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Alwyn Clayden with Ian Nicholson (illustration)

LP Atlantic ‎- SD 16021 (1980, US)

CD Atlantic - 7567-81475-2 (1990, Germany)
CD Atlantic ‎- AMCY 24 (1990, Japan)
CD Wounded Bird Records ‎- WOU 6021 (2006, US)
CD Arcāngelo ‎- ARC-8062 (2011, Japan)

Thanks to Lucas for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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JON ANDERSON Song of Seven ratings distribution

(190 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (22%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

JON ANDERSON Song of Seven reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record is rock, globally slightly progressive, and quite progressive on the last song "Song of Seven". The bass is well played and sounds good; it is amazingly complex on "for you for me".

ANDERSON's voice is outstanding, as always. The keyboards are omnipresent, and there are many piano parts. There is also electric and acoustic guitars. Finally, everything is decent but not very good, until you listen the last track: "Song of Seven": a beautiful mellow progressive song, starting with emotional symphonic arrangements. Probably his best song ever!

Review by daveconn
4 stars "Song of Seven" is Jon ANDERSON's most conventional album to date, sounding at times like a spiritually informed SUPERTRAMP. A handful of these tracks are carryovers from the last YES sessions, rendered here in a straightforward style by the studio musicians on hand. While less well received than his collaborative effort with VANGELIS released earlier in the year, Short Stories, this record is much more accessible and engaging. Unlike the conceptual "Olias of Sunhillow", "Song of Seven" is simply a collection of songs, many with a positive message and a catchy melody. A few qualify as actual pop songs - "Don't Forget (Nostalgia)", "Heart of the Matter" and "Take Your Time" for example - delivered with a charm and sincerity unique to ANDERSON. The opening "For You For Me" is more in line with the free-form vocalizing of Short Stories, "Hear It" and "Days" perhaps the closest match to "Olias" ' acoustic magic. The album's high point is the title track, which recalls the melodic epics of YES, albeit on a more modest scale. Likewise, "Some Are Born" and "Everybody Loves You" are memorable songs that deliver Jon's message of love and hope in pleasant arrangements. The music, predictably light on its feet, is anchored by traditional instrumentation: fretless bassist John Giblin, keyboardist Ronnie Leahy, guitarist Ian Barinson and percussionist Maurice (Morris) Pert add an element of substance lacking in Jon's earlier work, although some may find the results mundane by comparison. I have yet to read a positive account of this album, but it's one of my favorites from Jon, unpretentious and disarmingly sweet.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Has some mediocre parts and also plenty of pretty sounding stuff. All too syrupy for my liking. Best songs are ' Song of seven' and ' For you For me'. Give him his due Jon Anderson was not scared of the critics following this release surely?
Review by Guillermo
3 stars This is Jon Anderson`s "Family Album", because even his children sang some background vocals and even played some keyboards, Jon did the cover design and his wife shot the cover photographs. And in the song "Song of Seven" one of his daughters sings very good backing vocals. This song also has a very good string quartet arrangement, and a very good guitar solo by Clem Clemson (former member of the band "Humble Pie). "Take your time", "Days" and "Song of Seven" are played without drums, but with percussion and keyboards. In some songs there are very good backing vocals by Christopher Rainbow (from "The Alan Parsons Project" and also "Camel"). The "Side One" of the L.P. is more pop oriented, but it is also good.As someone mentioned before me in other reviews, some of the songs in this album were previously recorded with YES in demo form, and I think that some were recently released in the "Tormato" and "Drama" new remastered CDs with bonus tracks.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Warning, this review contains an obscure reference!

After the complexity of "Olias of Sunhillow", Jon Anderson went for a more straightforward, commercial collection of songs with this album. The title track stands out as the best and indeed most prog track, with a more varied structure than the rest. It is reminiscent in some ways of "The Promise" album by Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues especially the title track from that album. (Apologies for the slightly obscure reference!)

The remaining tracks are straight forward songs, generally short in length, and simplistic in structure. "Some are born" and "Take your time" were released as singles, and are certainly pleasant and accessible. They bear little relationship however to the work of Yes, at times Anderson is almost crooning!

A pleasant lightweight male vocal album, which is improved immensely by the title track.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh dear, I was quite devastated by this album. But maybe it points out that there's something wrong with me, and not with this album? Very loving, sweet and pretty pop album by reverend Anderson. The album covers had some elements similar to his previous album, and I bought this album second hand without listening it first. I must admit I sold it away quite quickly, as I was unable to listen this through completely. Maybe the album's qualities can be analysed better by a fan?
Review by ghost_of_morphy
2 stars You've spent the last ten years of your life in a band that has come to define progressive rock. You've release a brilliant concept album in which you have achieved a reputation as a musician as well as a singer. You are at the top of your game. What do you do next?

If you said "Let's release a solo album filled with campy, half-baked pop songs," you missed the right answer. But don't worry, Jon got that question wrong too.

Most of this album is so banal that I find it impossible to listen to. If the album consisted of only the first seven tracks I would consider myself generous for giving it one star and slam it as the worst solo album ever made by a former Yes member, (that's right, it'd fall below Wakeman's Rock and Roll Prophet.) I honestly have nothing to say about the first seven tracks except that I heartily wish Jon had never recorded them.

The last two tracks on the other hand, are something else.

Days is one of those slow, bittersweet songs that really lets Jon's voice take over the music. It's not as good as, say, the Soon section of The Gates of Delirium, but that's the kind of mood this song creates and Jon knows exactly how to exploit that. I'd give that song 3 stars.

Song of Seven is an epic work. Jon delivers an inspired performance on it, from the brash, upbeat beginning to the wistfully sentimental end. Lyrically it is pretty good too; Jon is working in the same vein that he did in Olias of Sunhillow, where he tries to present disjointed glimpses of the story he has imagined. The musicians accompanying him are not bad either, although it would have been real nice if, say, Steve Howe had just happened by the studio and decided to sit in on this session.

The bottom line on this album is that Song of Seven is a track that every Anderson fan should listen to, and the rest of the album is, at it's very best, forgettable and forgotten.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Can one song pay the price of a whole album ? In this case YES. The title track is probably the best Anderson's solo song and even though the rest is only pop, Song of seven is a masterpiece. This track is introduced by "Days" and listening to those two tracks together gives them more sense. It starts with children's voices and after a long instrumental intro, the middle part of this song slightly grows progressive, and it's so good that the final part seems too weak, even if it's as good as the intro. The album shuoldn't have more than two stars, but this track raises it to three.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Switch your mood to pop!

Some progheads willing to pursue a solo career with an ambitious albums or projects in the vein of their original bands to express their full potentials outside their original bands. A good example of this is Rick Wakeman with all of his early albums which were all in the stream of progressive music, exploring his full talents in albums like "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" or "The Myths and Legends of King Arthur" and the magical "Journey To The Center of The Earth". Another good example is probably Steve Hackett of Genesis who explored his full potentials to masterpiece albums like "Spectral Morning" or "To Watch The Storm" which stil have some bit elements of early Genesis.

But other progheads wanted to have a solo career or form a project to move away from the complexities of prog rock. A good example is John Wetton (King Crimson), Carl Palmer (ELP), Steve Howe (Yes) and Geoffrey Downes (Yes) who formed ASIA as to crystallize their pop souls into music. The result was a hard rock and pop rock album. Another example is actually Jon Anderson, with the exception of his debut album "Olias of Sunhillow" which has intense prog elements. But from the second album "Song of 7" onwards he has never played prog any longer. Or, I could say that his music style is somewhat like ABWH, or Yes under Trevor Rabin era, especially "90125" and "Big Generator". So is the case with this "Song of Seven" album - it's basically more on pop outfit instead of prog exploration. However, it still has some (very little, actually) prog elements especially with the presence of John Giblin's bass playing.

Most compositions presented here are quite straight-forward in structure with less melodic or less catchy notes in singing line. Almost all songs do not have any particular catchy melody throughout the song. However, the composition is quite okay sepecially on some tracks that explore obvious bass playing by John Giblin, e.g. "Take Your Time" which to me has interesting bass lines throughout the song. "Days" is also a nice mellow track while the album title track "Song Of Seven" is probably the only track that has quite obvious prog elements especially on its structure and nuance - through the use of acoustic guitar. "Some Are Born" is also a good track that you might have been familiar in terms of style in Trevor Rabin's era of Yes.

Overall, I consider this album is a good one regardless it's being prog or not. If this is categorized as pop song, I could not deny it. One thing for sure, this album might attract those who have not known prog music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Song Of Seven is possibly Jon's weakest solo album ever (I haven't heard all on them yet). It is an album full of sweet pop melodies and very light weight rock 'n' roll. It is also extremely low on progressive content.

The album starts out with a song driven by drum machines. Fortunately, this is the only song here that has drum machines, but it is enough to leave a sour taste for the rest of the album. Some Are Born was a song Jon worked on during the aborted Yes session for a follow up to Tormato that never happened (a previous version is available as a bonus track on the remastered Tormato CD). This song would be quite good if it wasn't for the awful saxophone break!

The song Don't Forget (Nostalgia) is where he really looses it. This do-whoop, 50's style soft rock 'n' roll number is just awful. And Heart Of The Matter is a song that would fit perfectly on a Phil Collins album! The very short Hear It is the first good song of the album, coming in as track number five though, this is way too late to save the album from utter mediocrity, and besides, this song is not even two minutes long! Everybody Loves You has a good melody, but so much more could have been made of it. The same goes for Take Your Time. And don't even mention the unimaginative lyrics on these songs!

Days is another song that was a Yes demo. This one is also a bonus track on the Tormato CD. This lovely song is the only track that has the mood and feeling of Olias Of Sunhillow, especially the harp driven coda to the song. It is worth pointing out that two of the best songs on this album were Yes demos.

The only track here that can be said to be progressive is the 11+ minute title track. But even this is quite subdued and falls very far behind anything Yes ever did, before or since. It is fully listenable, even enjoyable, but not memorable at all.

This album is only for Jon Anderson fans and hard core Yes fans, but even for them it is not essential (especially, if you have the remastered Tormato CD). Even the 90125 album (which I consider the weakest Yes album of all time) is much stronger than this album. The only thing that Jon ever did, that I can think of, that was worse than this album, was his dreadful collaborations with Vangelis.

Not even the very nice Hear It and Days, and the decent Some Are Born and the title track saves this album from a one star rating. Sorry Jon! Things would get a bit better for the next one, Animation.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
2 stars 2.5 stars. Sign of the times, I suppose. The 80īs would not be kind to prog... And this album was one of the first hints. The first two songs, For You And For Me and Some Are Born are nice, if somewhat simple compared to almost everything Mr. Anderson have done up till then. Still they were quite good, except for the sax interventions on the latter (really atrocious, it almost ruins the otherwise fine tune). But this first impression is crashed by the poor, derivative, poppy stuff that comes next. The musicians are excellent, many of whom worked with Peter Gabriel with better results, I should point out.

But Song of Seven is somewhat saved by the last tune, the title track. This 11 minute epic is very progressive and inspired, one of Andersonīs best. Everything works and stands proudly along his most interesting and accomplished compositions. It would have fitted just fine in any classic Yes album or Ollias Of Sunhillow. Most of the credit I give for this album comes from this song alone.

I really expected at the time that Song Of Seven could hold the quality of Andersonīs first album with the help of extra, more skilled musicians. Ultimately it delivers a fantastic track, two good ones, and six weak pop tunes. It could have been worse, I guess...

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Second solo effort by mr Anderson from 1980 named Songs of seven is a mixed bag, but generaly a positive one in my opinion. The album has some very fine moments not realy far from his previous work and even from Yes style like the title track, and aswell pieces like opening For you for me, and Some are born I realy like this piece a lot, specilay the lyrics, this are the best moments interluded with some more pop orinetation arrangements, but not realy bad for sure, at least for me. Some fine musicians involved here among others, Simon Philps on drums, Clem Clemson on guitar from Humble Pie or Colosseum fame, Jack Bruce on bass from Cream and Ronnie Leahy on keybord from later on Nazareth and of course Andrson on vocals, some keybords and harp moments here and there. For many fans and listners this album is a let down after the great Olias, maybe in places is so, but overall the album is in right place for that times - 1980, combining progressive moves with pop elements, not realy bad after all , really an odd mixture but works for me at least. The voice of Anderson shines again here , on every piece like in his glory days, his voice is fantastic for this kind of music. Now, this album is not better then Olias, is quite diffrent aswell in manner of composing, but is one of the most enjoyble of his solo works, realy , not bad at all. I realy like the album, no reason to give less then 3 stars for this release.
Review by Mirakaze
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars I wish I could say that I have a soft spot for this album, but I can't quite bring myself to go that far. One good thing I'll say about it is that Jon Anderson's voice has rarely sounded better than on this album. Somehow these vocal melodies fit his vocal cords perfectly: he sounds less strained than on a lot of Yes songs from the late 70s (even though he still reaches for the same gorgeous high notes) and his voice overall has a really sweet, childlike quality to it. He also sings a duet with his daughter Deborah on the lengthy title track, which goes off a lot better than when he brough one of his children along on Yes's Tormato.

Unfortunately, a good vocal performance can only do so much good when the music itself is crap. Alright, there are a few memorable moments such as the catchy "Some Are Born" and the title track which is a great celestial soundscape, and "Heart Of The Matter", an unconvincing stab at a hard rock boogie, has at least stayed in my memory for the wrong reasons, but everything else goes in one ear and straight out the other. Utterly toothless, insipid pop fluff without any distinguishing features besides the vocals. I do find it interesting that the production of this 1980 album has a typical early-to-mid-70s flavour to it, perhaps because Jon refused to stray from his hippie roots by jumping on the synth-pop/rock bandwagon (time corrected that 'mistake' by the time he rejoined Yes three years later, I suppose...), but that doesn't really help to make the album less boring. No one except big Anderson fans need bother with this.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Count me in as one who really enjoys this mans singing. If you judge this album on its 'progginess', well there really isn't any. This album is basically a pop rock album. The playing is very good with some of the players having well known pedigree. But the star here is Jon Anderson and his ... (read more)

Report this review (#2170899) | Posted by tdfloyd | Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars From 1980, this is probably the second best of his solo work I have heard after OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW. It is not too bad, if pretty poppy, folky and twee. The final song, "Song of Seven" is actually a pretty progressive number and the best thing here along with "Some are Born" and "For You For Me". Is ... (read more)

Report this review (#733594) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

1 stars im only warning anyone thinking this album may sounds somehow like the great Oliah of sunhillow, this sound not at all like that one, this is pure pop with sleazy jazz bassing and ugly flutes, everything on this disc is horrible, except the last track which has some intresting bits in it, yes ... (read more)

Report this review (#109162) | Posted by zebehnn | Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, the good Jon was never a prog artist in his solo career (but with Vangelis really sucks!!) This album it's like a bunch of delicate poems with some electronic folk music behind, a simple LP as many others... but I have to recognize that "Song of Seven" it's one of the best songs that And ... (read more)

Report this review (#40427) | Posted by progadicto | Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very uneven album by Jon Anderson. Half excellent, half filler. I enjoy very much the first track and of course, Song of Seven itself. I believe this is one of the best songs of Jon ever, including his contributions to Yes. The melody is simply breathtaking! On the other hand, almost all othe ... (read more)

Report this review (#37314) | Posted by Yurkspb2 | Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After the impenetrable and self-indulgent nonsense that was "Olias of Sunhillow" which, with all due apologies to all lovers of that offering, has next to no redeemig fesatrures, "Song of Seven" represents a very welcome breath of fresh air. Ditch track four, the turgid and incongruous "Heart ... (read more)

Report this review (#26929) | Posted by tbstars | Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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