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Jon & Vangelis Short Stories album cover
3.15 | 114 ratings | 16 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Curious Electric (6:42)
2. Each And Everyday/Bird Song (3:43)
3. Bird Song (1:25)
4. I Hear You Now (5:13)
5. The Road (4:31)
6. Far Away In Baagad (2:50)
7. Love Is (5:13)
8. One More Time (6:18)
9. Thunder (2:14)
10. Play Within A Play (7:02)

Total Time: 53:12

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals, composer
- Vangelis (Evangelos Papathanassiou) / composer, performer, arranger & producer

- Raphael Preston / acoustic guitar (5)

Releases information

Artwork: Alwyn Clayden with Veronique Skawinska (photo)

LP Polydor ‎- POLD 5030 (1979, UK)

CD Polydor ‎- 800 027-2 (1983, Germany)
CD UMC ‎- 478 940-9 (2017, Europe) Remastered by Vangelis; New cover art

Thanks to Retrovertigo for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JON & VANGELIS Short Stories ratings distribution

(114 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

JON & VANGELIS Short Stories reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The debut album of collaborative work between Yes man Jon Anderson and Greek composer and spacey man Vangelis whom very famous with his "Chariots of Fire" soundtrack album. It was a culmination of after years of friendship between them that finally got together to make a series of albums under their names "Jon & Vangelis". For my personal taste, this was not an album that really hit me even though the composition quality are good, overall. Song like "Curious Electric" Vangelis puts his ideas through synthesizer work and Jon is kind like not really tuned in with the music. But as a debut album as a result of friendship, this could be the foundation of the future releases that proved to be better. Keep on proggin' ..!

Review by Matti
2 stars As much as I like Vangelis (and Jon), I can't give this album more than 2 stars. I bought it in '91 but it was obvious almost right from the start that it would be among the CD's I carry to second hand shops. Wonderful 'So Long Ago, So Clear' in Best of Vangelis had encouraged me to think I must enjoy Jon & Vangelis albums, but after all that stuff is better in small doses, amidst instrumentals. About Short Stories (I didn't see much 'stories' in lyrics), it has some tracks over 6 minutes with some progness - though 'rocking' it is only shortly in few places, and frankly, in an embarrassed way of synth & drum bursts. Otherwise it's sentimental and syrupy songs with an arrangement that makes you only miss a proper band (Raphael Preston plays ac. guitar on one track only). In Vangelis' best albums I never miss anything in sound; safe to say that judged as VANGELIS music this album is of the worse. I don't know about other Jon & Vangelis albums, but none of the tracks I've heard of them is on the level of earlier Vangelis tracks featuring Jon Anderson, not to mention newer output with guest vocalists, in Voices for example.

Surely I don't despise everything here: e.g. 'Each and every Day' and 'The Road' are pretty nice peaceful songs. But as a whole the album is just too sweet and synth-oriented to listen through. 'Love Is' is a real sentimental sugar overdose. If you're a die-hard Jon fan who needs also the (quite similar sounding) Christmas album Three Ships, go ahead.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an accessible album where pop New Age and lite progressive music form a balanced whole. Jon Anderson's omnipresent & pleasant lead vocals are in the foreground. There are omnipresent drums parts, and the ensemble is neither monotonous nor linear. The tracks are rather short. Many bits are very beautiful and mellow, and rather romantic. It sounds a bit like a more catchy & sentimental version of Vangelis' "Opera sauvage", "China" and "Chariots of fire". Not flashy, this record has a more modest sound recording than "Friends of Mr. Cairo", where the sound is really crystal clear. Anderson's vocals are also very good here but they are a bit less flamboyant than on "Friends of Mr. Cairo". The keyboards are varied, often floating, magical, full of miscellaneous effects, and there are intense passages carrying pleasant emotions. I think it is a very underrated album. There is a sublime & dreamy volume effect applied on the keyboards of "Play within a play", like Vangelis used to include on his "China" album.
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the quintessential meeting of new age and progressive music. Jon Anderson and Vangelis fashion an album that only ' So Long Ago, So Clear' from Vangelis's Heaven and Hell album could get close to in terms of excellent output.

' Curious Electric' is a superb opener mainly instrumental where finally Jon Anderson comes in to remind us he is inside a TV tube watching Match Of The Day! Curious electric indeed.The song tails off with excellent Vangelis sound effects which would do most sound systems some serious justice. There is a haunting quality to Short Stories, a purity, still heavily laden with the progressive feel, at the same time being totally novel in terms of delivery. The latter albums IMO by these two artists did not reach the same heights as on Short Stories.

' Each And Everyday' and ' I hear You Now' are beautiful love songs with such balance only Vangelis could provide such a platform for Jon Anderson. ' Love is ' and ' One More time' also deliver fine themes and vocals which helped create such a unique sounding combination of sounds. The highlight for me would have to be the epic ' Play Within A Play' which slowly builds to a mighty climax only to slowly dissolve like an ebbing tide into the sand as Vangelis's keyboards dissipate into the ether. Their finest hour together definitely just when progressive music was closing a chapter, so this lead on to new avenues in the eighties. 4 and 1/2 stars to be sure.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I consider Jon Anderson and Vangelis as pioneers of the "New Age" musical genre. I only have listened to this album and to their "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" album, but I prefer this album.

This album has a lot of "musical atmospheres" created by Vangelis, with Anderson`s vocals and lyrics really matching the mood of the music. Every song has a "nostalgical" mood that takes the listener, IMO, to a world of "fantasy". Anderson`s vocals are frequently enriched with the use of "echoes" or delay effects. "The Road" is one of the best songs in this album, with an acoustic guitar played by Raphael Preston, who also worked as recording engineer in this album. But, this is one of those albums that I prefer to listen from start to finish.

This album had a single released, of the song called "I Hear you Now", which I think it was a minor hit for them.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I owned this LP but never quite got into it. Tried to listen it several times and was always bored to death. Except one good song, "Play Within a Play", the remainder is forgettable. I preferred the following album "Private Collection". This is a period when both Vangelis' and YES' careers were down to the bottom. Avoid unless you are a devoted collector!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Sitting here in the television looking at the tube sitting next to me"

In 1979, Jon Anderson of Yes and Vangelis, once of Aphrodite's Child but latterly a solo performer, finally consummated their years of friendship with a jointly credited album. Vangelis had already enjoyed significant success as a solo artist, although his soundtrack for "Chariots of fire" would not surface for another year. Anderson had left Yes, as it turned out temporarily, the band recording their sole album without him ("Drama") for release in 1980. The two had worked together previously, notably when Anderson sang on Vangelis's "Heaven and Hell" album. Rumour has it that Vangelis may have been lined up as a replacement for Rick Wakeman in Yes on one of the occasions when he went walkabout, but the union never materialised.

The songs are credited jointly throughout, but I am guessing it would be fair to assume that the lyrics are Anderson's and the melodies Vangelis'. Anderson's lyrics are uncharacteristically straightforward, to the extent that we get the unexpectedly amusing examples such as that which headlines this review.

My over-riding impression of "Short stories" is that it has a rather disjointed feel. Anderson and Vangelis do not seem to blend well together, the album largely consisting either of typical Vangelis virtuoso synthesiser renditions or dominant Anderson vocals. When Anderson is singing, Vangelis is providing rather disinterested orchestration. There are exceptions of course, where the two come together well. The single "I hear you now" is one such case, the strong melody of the vocal line being complemented by some excellent synthesiser atmospherics.

"The road" is the only track to feature an additional musician, Raphael Preston contributing pleasant but unobtrusive acoustic guitar. "Far away in Baagad" is reminiscent of songs on Anderson's "Olias.." album, his chanting type vocal being at odds with the more melodic vocal style he adopts for most of the album. Unfortunately, when he returns to the purer style, it is for the slushy, sentimental "Love is", the low point of the album.

One look at the lyric sheet confirms how much more Anderson dominates the second side, reaching a peak on the lyrically intense "One more time". These lyrics are deeply personal but the person they concern is not revealed. The closing tracks "Thunder" and "A play within a play" are linked to form a longer suite, but unfortunately Anderson is still in full verbose mood, preventing them from developing instrumentally as well as they might have done.

In all, a rather patchy first effort from these two luminaries. They would gel together better on their next project, but in this case I would recommend a Jon and Vangelis compilation before proposing investigation of this album.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars As opposed to the Friends Of Mr. Cairo album, here is one album I can sit through without feeling sick. Not without being bored, however. But we are spared the annoying movie samples, the awful drum machines and many of the worst programmed keyboard patterns of the follow up. There are even a couple of short decent passages on this album, but it takes an age to get to them. The lyrics range from so-so to really bad (sitting in a TV beside the tube?!). The vocals are very good, though (after all, it's Jon!) But a lovely voice must have something good to sing to make good music.

The keyboard sound is extremely thin for the most part and has more to do with the Synth Pop movement than with any form of Prog. Friends Of Mr. Cairo would go even further in a Synth Pop direction, but Short Stories is not even light Prog, or pop Prog, or New Age Prog. Rather, this is anti- Prog!

Not only the keyboard sound is thin, but the whole sound is extremely thin. It's basically just lead vocals, keyboards and occasional percussion instruments! Acoustic guitar can be heard on one track only, and it is hardly audible and certainly not Steve Howe material. So this is very minimalist music, and it becomes tedious very, very quickly. It is hard to grasp that one of the masterminds behind Close To The Edge and Gates Of Delirium could create something as mind-numbing as this.

Jon And Vangelis is really not my cup of tea. And even if Short Stories is much better than Friends Of Mr. Cairo, there is no question about the rating. Giving this album two stars would be an insult to the other two star albums like Yes' 90125, which is a masterpiece compared to this!

If you want to discover Jon's work outside Yes, his collaborations with Vangelis is the very last place to look. And Vangelis too has done far better music elsewhere. His Heaven And Hell album (on which Jon also makes an appearance) is far more interesting than any of the Jon And Vangelis albums.

Best avoid!

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As I left clear in a previous review, I don't like most JON & VANGELIS albums, but listening again all the albums I have, found that the problem is Jon not Vangelis. Most people complain about "Short Stories" because Jon doesn't seem an integral part in the duo, sounds as if the YES vocalist was playing a game with the rules of the Greek composer......That's exactly why I like more this album, Jon wasn't able to ruin it with his mystical delusions.

If "Friends of Mr Cairo" is boring and predictable with a soft romantic atmosphere, "Short Stories" is far more strong with Jon being more a singer than a co-writer, and that's good, at least for me.

The album starts with the mysterious and powerful "Curious Electric", Vangelis is simply brilliant with the keyboards, he creates that Space Rock/Electronic trademark sound that always reminds me of "Blade Runner".

Around the middle of the track, Jon appears in a short vocal passage that is quite interesting compared with other albums of this pair of musicians, but the strength and vibrant keyboard oriented music starts again until the end. excellent song.

"Each and Every Day" and "Bird Song" are two tracks that I rather avoid, in both Jon takes the lead with his boring and extra sweet voice not suitable for diabetics, and Vangelis limits himself to orchestrate it with apparently little interest, thanks God for the skip button.

"I Hear You Now" is another track in which Jon enters to Vangelis territory, the music is delicate and vibrant at the same time and the vocals don't ruin it, way more than I can say about most of the collaboration between the two artists.

I don't know why "The Road" always sounded so familiar to me with it's Celtic atmosphere, even when Jon takes the lead, the music is much more solid than in the Anderson dominated tracks.

Despite the cheesy vocal introduction of "Far Away in Baagad", Vangelis and his skills with the keyboards save the song with beautiful and mysterious melodies with a Greek flavour, in this track the virtuoso keyboardist adds the best from his ancestral ethnic inheritance and rescues the track from an horrendous start. On the other hand, "Love Is" follows the opposite path, starts promising with an interesting synth introduction but as soon as Jon Anderson and his annoying voice joins, the song is ruined, no matter how hard Vangelis tries to add solos, the vocals are absolutely tedious.

"One more Time" is a simple naive song with some cute moments, nothing special, but neither as boring as the previous track, at least for the first couple of minutes until Jon takes the lead and destroys the charming atmosphere. I can't understand the fascination many people has with Anderson's voice, extremely acute, with little (if any) technique and absolutely boring, in YES the incredible skills of Wakeman, Howe and Squire hide the obvious defects, but Vangelis alone is not able to do it.

"Thunder" is another of this moments in which I thank God for the skip button, something I would also say about the closer "A Play Within a Play" if it wasn't for the excellent section between the third and four minutes, the rest again dominated by Jon is forgettable.

I believe that "Short Stories" is the best release by JON & VANGELIS, something that doesn't mean much for me, but at least we find a couple of good tracks that save the album, so three stars for an average album.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars In 1976 Vangelis played on Jon Anderson's excellent solo debut "Olias Of Sunhillow", then one year after Jon gave his voice and lyrics to "So Long Ago So Clear" on Vangelis' Heaven and Hell. Vangelis declined the offer to replace Rick Wakeman in the YES, but the seeds of the collaboration between Jon and Vangelis were planted.

Short Stories is an underrated album. It's true that the two genres are not very well fitting one into the other, but the result is everything but bad.

"Curious Electric" is from a musical point of view one of the best things ever written by Vangelis, including the electronic interlude which hosts Jon's first vocal effort. It's a song in three different sections on which we can see some of the many faces of the Greek keyboardist.

"Each and Everyday" sees the melodic side of both the artists join into an excellent song. Jon sings on sounds that are reminding of Vangelis previous album: China, but the instrumental part is not too dissimilar from the most melodic things of Aphrodite's Child.

"Bird Song" is more a coda of the previous song than a filler.

"I Hear You Now" is nothing special, to be honest. Just a melodic song on an electronic base. Not so bad to have to be skipped, just a bit mediocre.

I'm used to skip "The Road", instead. I find it boring. I think it's the weakest song of the album. Only when the keyboards overcome the acoustic guitar it acquires a sense.

"Far Away In Baghdad" opens with a vocal solo and seems to be more Jon's stuff. Who has liked Tales From Topographic Ocean will be delighted by this song. A great opener for the B side. After two minutes it stops and becomes spacey. This side of Vangelis is often defined as newage, I think it's closer to krautrock, instead. I have to admint that the central part of the song , when Jon restarts singing, is a bit too melodic.

"Love Is" has a weird electronic intro. Again when Jon sings there are connections to Tales. Of course there's no Howe or Squire, here. It fades into "One More Time", a kind of song that will be the normality in the next albums of the duo.

"Thunder" is really a short story. Two minutes of Jon singing on a childish melody almost alone, then a drum leads to the "beat" chorus and back to Jon. Short nice bit.

The closure of the album is a long song. Slow and melodic, it features some good instrumental passages. I find it very similar to So Long Ago So Clear until it becomes fast and rocky. When this rhythmic interlude is finished the sound becomes spacey and Jon's voice contributes in making it ethereal "we're returning once again and again". There's much of Albedo 0.39 in this song.

I'm undecided between 3 and 4 stars. Having rated Tales with 4 I I have to round it down to three, but it's more than just "good but non-essential".

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars `Short Stories' is the 1980 debut album that resulted from a collaboration between avant- garde keyboard player Vangelis and the lead singer of symphonic prog legends Yes, Jon Anderson. Although not even remotely as daring as the Seventies work of the Greek composer, nor as exciting as the classic Yes output from that same era, this first work still holds some moments of worthwhile music, with the two artists frequently blending together and complimenting each-other in interesting ways. On this album, the pair occasionally succeed in grafting Anderson's quasi cosmic/hippie enlightened words and Vangelis' spontaneous keyboard flair to mostly strong melodic compositions without truly aiming as low as obnoxious and vapid popular chart/top 40 music. Some moments get a bit drippy here and there (with Anderson involved, that's probably not all that surprising!), but there's a constant airy variety on display, and both the artists bring enough inspiration.

A lengthy and dramatic instrumental build from Vangelis offering reverberating fan-like beats and energetic Hammond runs brings just a touch of unease and mystery throughout opener `Curious Electric'. Jon Anderson soon pops up to offer some matter of fact stream- of-consciousness musings over jagged discordant slicings, and I'm sure ever so briefly his melody drifts to the opening of Yes' `The Revealing Science of God'? `Each and Every Day' begins as a dreamy spacey drift of synths around a protective vocal from Jon that soon grows in power. `Bird Song' is a twinkling synth rumination with a grand chorus. The romantic `I Hear You Now' was a deserved hit single on it's release in the UK, and it's all pretty synths, a lovely melody and a sprightly Anderson vocal with swirling deep-space effects. `The Road' is an acoustic gospel piece with an unsurprisingly reflective lyric punctuated with big churning synth stabs.

`Far Away in Baagad' could be a distant relative to Anderson's `Olias of Sunhillow', droning chanting harmonies and frantic vocals weaving around building synth fanfares. Sadly, from here on the second side of the album takes a sharp dip in quality. `Love Is' has a swooning overwhelming loved-up vocal from Jon over New-Age ethereal synth washes, sweet but get's a little overwrought and definitely overstays it's welcome. `One More Time' is even more sickly-sweet, a late-night jazzy electric piano ballad with a syrupy vocal. A playful, almost theatrical vocal from Jon is seriously grating throughout the quirky `Thunder' too. Thankfully the closing track `A Play Within A Play' is much more interesting, with longer instrumental shimmering synth passages around a soothing vocal, before breaking into an up-tempo synth freak-out in the middle! If only more of the second side had been this inventive and promising!

One thing instantly noticeable is how confident and freed Jon Anderson's vocals are throughout `Short Stories'. Compare his performance on this album to his by-the-numbers going through the motions on the 1978 Yes album `Tormato'. Likewise, Vangelis seems up to the challenge of reigning in his more self -indulgent tendencies, and it's nice to hear him focused and a little more subdued after his schizophrenic mid to late 70's solo works! Although hardly a progressive blowout, and despite some of the later stretches getting a little too cute, `Short Stories is still an intelligent and often tasteful adult pop release. It's gentle, but there's still moments of artistic inventiveness and quirky flourishes to keep things interesting.

Three stars.

(Special thanks to Sam (Archives member Meltdowner) for mentioning this one to me, glad I gave it a chance!

Latest members reviews

4 stars A wonderful, magical album that came at just the right time. Jon was leaving Yes and found a nice place to express his more laid-back musical tendencies of the time. Apart from the weak opening track, this collection of songs is a delight for fans of Anderson the vocalist and melodist. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#1010032) | Posted by yesstiles | Friday, August 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An interesting album indeed, Jon&Vangelis' first effort. I definitely find it is the most progressive and complex in its arrangements compared to the other albums I have heard of theirs. "Curious Electric" opens, it's very unusual and grand as well. The futuristic electronic sounds are spectacul ... (read more)

Report this review (#882916) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, December 27, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In my opinion, the collaboration between Jon Anderson and Vangelis Papathanassiou produced some of the most inspired music of the late twentieth century. To me, the finest of the four Jon and Vangelis studio albums is Short Stories. You can imagine tracks such as 'I hear you now' and 'A play wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#532055) | Posted by Richens | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Coalesce the angelic vocals of Jon Anderson with the transcendental keyboard wizardry provided by Vangelis and you are guaranteed a unique experience. 'Short Stories', the duo's first studio effort, is a startling array of varied, celestial music. This album is certainly troublesome to pigeonh ... (read more)

Report this review (#421094) | Posted by La_Utter_Classe | Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A friendship that turned into collaboration. Not too surprising, really, considering Vangelis provided much assistance on Jon Anderson's first solo album, Olias of Sunhillow, and that Jon had appeared on Heaven and Hell, See You Later, and Opera Sauvage. This is also the first of four collab ... (read more)

Report this review (#295300) | Posted by Progosopher | Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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