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Adrian Belew biography
Adrian Belew was born Robert Steven Belew on December 23, 1949, in Covington, KY, Belew's first instrument of interest was the drums, as he soon kept the backbeat in his high school's marching band. But not long after his discovery of the Beatles, Belew picked up the guitar, teaching himself how to play and to write original songs. In 1975, he officially changed his name to Adrian (because he liked the name).

During the mid/late 70's, Adrian did work with FRANK ZAPPA, which in turn led to his meeting with BRIAN ENO, which in turn led him to his work with the TALKING HEADS. After the album that he worked on with the group came out, Robert Fripp approached Adrian and asked if he would like to join a new version of KING CRIMSON. "Discipline" came out in 1981, and the album featured Adrian's Roland Guitar Synth, which provided many bizarre sounds to the already stellar sound. His first solo album, "Lone Rhino" was released in 1982. In the following years, Adrian would release many other solo efforts, and would collaborate with such artists as David Bowie and Porcupine Tree.

In 2005, Adrian released the first third of his concept piece titled "Side One". This album featured the talents of Les Claypool (Primus) on the bass guitar and Danny Carey (Tool) on the drums. This album had many bizarre Krimson-esque sound and was acclaimed by fans and critics. "Side Two" was released on July 12, 2005. It features a more electronic approach to the sound, but still has some Krimson guitar sounds.

Adrian Belew pushes the envelope with his musical direction and spirit. I highly recommend that you delve into the depths of Adrian Belew's catalogue.

Why this band must be listed in :
The majority of his output is progressive in my opinion, and fellow Krimson members Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn are included.

Lone Rhino (1982), Studio Album
Twang Bar King (1983), Studio Album
Electronic Guitar (1985), Video
Desire Caught by the Tail (1986), Studio Album
Mr. Music Head (1989), Studio Album
Oh Daddy/ Peaceable Kingdom (1989), Single
Young Lions (1990), Studio Album
Not Alone Anymore (1990), Single
Desire of the Rhino King (1991), Studio Album
Inner Revolution (1992), Studio Album
Acoustic Adrian Belew (1993), Compilation
Here (1994), Studio Album
Peace on Earth (1994), Single
Guitar as Orchestra (1995), Compilation
Op Zop Too Wah (1996), Studio Album...
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ADRIAN BELEW Videos (YouTube and more)

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Op Zop Too WahOp Zop Too Wah
Passenger 1996
$7.18 (used)
Guitar As Orchestra: Experimental Guitar Series 1Guitar As Orchestra: Experimental Guitar Series 1
Adrian Belew Prod. 1995
$7.00 (used)
Lone Rhino / Twang Bar KingLone Rhino / Twang Bar King
BGO Records 2015
$9.94 (used)
Young LionsYoung Lions
Atlantic 1990
$2.93 (used)
Desire of the Rhino KingDesire of the Rhino King
Polygram Records 1991
$4.03 (used)
Inner RevolutionInner Revolution
Atlantic 1992
$2.49 (used)
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ADRIAN BELEW discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

ADRIAN BELEW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 62 ratings
Lone Rhino
3.14 | 25 ratings
Twang Bar King
3.47 | 23 ratings
Desire Caught By The Tail
2.79 | 24 ratings
Mr. Music Head
2.20 | 32 ratings
Young Lions
2.76 | 27 ratings
Inner Revolution
2.71 | 19 ratings
The Acoustic Adrian Belew
3.39 | 27 ratings
2.54 | 14 ratings
Experimental Guitar Series Vol. 1 - The Guitar As Orchestra
3.98 | 35 ratings
Op Zop Too Wah
3.91 | 14 ratings
Belew Prints - The Acoustic Adrian Belew Vol. 2
0.00 | 0 ratings
Raven Songs 101 (with Kevin Max)
3.48 | 52 ratings
Side One
3.41 | 41 ratings
Side Two
4.00 | 74 ratings
Side Three
3.98 | 30 ratings
Adrian Belew Power Trio: E
3.00 | 1 ratings
E for Orchestra
3.83 | 3 ratings
FLUX By Belew Volume One
4.00 | 1 ratings
Flux Volume Two

ADRIAN BELEW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 13 ratings
Side Four

ADRIAN BELEW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ADRIAN BELEW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.19 | 7 ratings
Desire Of The Rhino King
3.93 | 6 ratings
Salad Days
3.83 | 3 ratings
Coming Attractions
4.00 | 1 ratings
Lone Rhino/Twang Bar King

ADRIAN BELEW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Big Electric Cat / The Lone Rhinocerous
3.33 | 3 ratings
Pretty Pink Rose
0.00 | 0 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Desire Caught By The Tail by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.47 | 23 ratings

Desire Caught By The Tail
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

5 stars In my opinion, this is one of the best experimental guitar albums ever recorded and Belew's double threat voice and guitar make him one of the most talented artists out there. I believe this is his all time masterpiece and anybody with a serious interest in experimental guitar needs to dig in deep. This dude definitely marches to his own beat and this consumer is more than happy Adrian Belew is willing to share the sounds he creates with the public. The opener Tango Zebra and the closer Z are my top, but the rest are worth repeated listening for sure.
 FLUX By Belew Volume One by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 3 ratings

FLUX By Belew Volume One
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars Adrian Belew continues his later age creative renaissance with Flux by Belew Volume One. These are short snippets that range from folky to crunchy guitar to cabaret to a Ventures copy to everything in between. I love music like this and this record has reinforced my belief Adrian Belew belongs on the Mount Rushmore of accessible left field rock wierdness of which his former boss Frank Zappa has the largest bust. Singularly creative and decidedly non-conforming, Belew adds to his incredibly rich musical legacy. Fans of left field ideosyncratic rock will find a ton to like here, and this is a fine place to enter the solo world of a living master. I wish Belew got as much run with the media as Iggy Pop during his career-for some reason I put them in the same category as mad scientist weirdo geniuses

Dinosaur in my Trees is an excellent short goofy one here with great scrunching guitar accents

 Side Three by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 74 ratings

Side Three
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars Side Three is the final piece of Belew's Side trilogy, all released in the early Two Thousands. I adore Frank Zappa and King Crimson, but have found it hard to get into Adrian's solo stuff in the past. Well this was the album I've always waited to hear as I find this album a terrific balance between Belew's avantwierd and mainstream sensibilities. The flow is top notch from beginning to end and I've found this album has opened new doors for me and solo Belew. After I got into this record I looked up this guys credits - he's worked for damn near EVERYBODY in the music biz. He really is a living musical legend and the king of the unheralded artist team. 4.5 stars
 Young Lions by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.20 | 32 ratings

Young Lions
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This was one of Adrian Belew's attempts at a more accessible pop which was released during one of the times that King Crimson was on sabbatical. It was released between "Three of a Perfect Pair" and "Thrak". He was also head guitarist for David Bowie's concerts during this time. He also released a few albums during this down period for King Crimson, some of them good and some of them questionable. "Young Lions" is one of those albums that is questionable at best and definitely not as progressive than some of the others if at all.

The album starts out well enough for a pop album with 3 decent songs; "Young Lions" which makes for a great upbeat opener, "Pretty Pink Rose" which is written by David Bowie and features him singing lead which is a great surprise, and "Heartbeat", a King Crimson song done to a pop beat, which actually sounds good considering the way it's been made radio friendly. So, you might have at least a 3 star album by this point and there is plenty of room to grow here. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst.

The next song is "Looking for a U.F.O. which is just a complete embarrassment. Pop rhythms with annoying lyrics and no feeling whatsoever. The downward spiral continues with "I Am What I Am" which is the spoken word of Prophet Omega talking over what might have been an okay guitar solo if not for his distracting ramblings. Then he does a cover of The Traveling Wilburys' "Not Alone Anymore". So this is a great song when done by the Wilburys and Belew does a decent job of the cover, but adds nothing and takes nothing away, so there really is no point.

"Men in Helicopters" has a good message, and is also a slight turn for the better here because it doesn't sound so forced as the previous tracks. There is some nice guitar work during the instrumental break with other sounds going on. "Small World" is just bland and uninspired. There is a some harmonization over a lot of drums that sounds like some bad Jeff Lynne impression. I'd almost rather hear Disney's version of "It's a Small World After All", but not really. I think he's trying to be Peter Gabriel here too, but failing miserably. "Phone Call from the Moon" has some nice jazzy Robin Trower style guitar work, but the spoken part of the lyrics is pathetic: "Time moves slowly like the curve of the Earth" and so on. Okay whatever. Bowie returns thank goodness, for the last track "Gunman". Just to prove that Adrian is actually a great talent, the guitar is excellent, what you would expect on a KC album or one of Belew's better albums.

Not sure what happened here, but it started off pretty good and ended good with one decent song in the middle, but more than half of this is just plain worse than mediocre. Not really worth looking into this one, but try some of his better solo albums, or get a King Crimson album released during his time with that band if you want to hear Belew at his best.

 The Acoustic Adrian Belew by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.71 | 19 ratings

The Acoustic Adrian Belew
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is an acoustic collection where most of the songs here are from Adrian Belew's past albums. There is also one King Crimson song (Matte Kudesai), a Beatles cover (If I Fell), and a Roy Orbison cover (Crying). Knowing this, you should have a pretty good idea of what this album will sound like, stripped down songs that you are used to hearing with a full band. The Beatles cover is decent, and was mostly acoustic on the original anyway. The harmonies are very nice and are just overdubs of Belew singing. The song is true to the original. The King Crimson song is quite straightforward as is the Roy Orbison cover.

Two of the songs are acoustic versions of songs that would be released on his next album "Here"; "Blinded By the Fire We Make" and "Dream Life". "Peace on Earth" is a section of "Tango Zebra". "Martha Unadorned" is a reversed version of the acoustic version of "Dream Life". I think it was placed there as filler to stretch things out to 33 minutes.

The album is very short, at only 33 minutes. The album was produced to present Belew as a singer/songwriter since most of his music is quite ornate when it comes to instruments and use of progressive elements. I suppose it accomplishes this, but it also makes this very much an un-progressive record as a result. It's nice as a mellow listening experience, but really accomplishes very little. When I want to listen to Belew's solo work, I would rather hear it as originally intended. It really doesn't do anything for me, so I would say it's for collectors/fans only and give it two stars. It might be interesting to others that might wonder what "Lone Rhinoceros" sounds like with only an acoustic guitar, but I can tell you from experience that it is rather underwhelming.

 Side Three by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 74 ratings

Side Three
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One thing you know or should know about Adrian Belew's solo projects is this crystal clear fact: He does not asssume himself as any kind of reference or musical- line. In fact he as his sometimes music colleague, Frank Zappa, rather be joking than been taken seriously. This guy sets the tone for this kind of sophisticated "clowning" performances with an undertoned virtuosism. The great thing of course is his multi-skilled talents with other instruments, as his "Zappa", "Crimson" guitar "mastership" level. So, that is the whole "package", and from there he will go anyway, his fancy takes him of. So, to balance his talents, he can turn out to be sometimes amusing, boring, intelligent, frantic, spiritual, etc., etc., etc. Therefore some of his self-titled efforts can be as excellent, as so-so, or plain down expendable. But they are always and almost, by rule, "no-compromises", daring projects. As he has no kind of ambitious/vicious "goals" beyond his association with any kind of Prog "legends". He pens down his music compositions, but really anything can happen they turn around in any kind of different directions and atmospheres. Now, considering this "hazardous/blessing" process in his solo efforts, "Side Three" is perfectly matched, both in aspirations, as in song-writing...Therefore, this album is a flawless display of Mr. Belew's antics and skills. As diverse, as fun. As intelligent; as to withhold the whole project, without losing a drop of all his best attributes, and still be irreverent and deep in the whole conception, without being or becoming pretentious and even less, sounding like that. If you like this musician tone and skills; here he sets some new standards even for himself!. ****4 "We were long overdue!!", PA Stars.
 Side One by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 52 ratings

Side One
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars King Crimson meets The Mars Volta.

It's a pretty simple combination, really. You take Belew's experience from King Crimson's 80's days with electronic beats, soundscapes and good lyrical composition with the frantic panic of TMV's angst-filled prog punk. It makes perfect sense when you hear it.

Take "Ampersand". You can already hear TMV influences from the massive feedback intro to the breakbeat drumming that accompanies the steady chords, yet Belew manages to make it a good listen by providing us with wonderful harmonies and great compositional skills. Now, it's probably not a catchy chorus that you'll be singing all day in your office cuticle, but it can easily get stuck in your head as a simple head bobber, until the very end, where the frantic drumming and loud guitar screams are completely evidence of TMV's influence on this particular record. I, as a drummer, could not even fathom how exhausted Danney Carey must've been once that song was over.

"Writing On The Wall" almost starts in a similar TMV fashion, but the bass is more evident, almost like Les Claypool from Primus infamy is slapping the bass on here (oh wait, he is!). That obviously contributes to the more funky side of this particular track, but the particular drum patterns here emphasize the hi-hat to extreme use, while Belew continues to showcase his fuzzbox-ish guitar sounds, but the similar playing of TMV's Omar Rodriguez- Lopez keeps coming to mind on this track. More similarites? Maybe.

"Matchless Man" is an absolutely wonderful piece. I remember finding this disc 4 years ago, listened to it for a good year, then sort of fell to the wayside, but once I picked it back up again, it was love at first listen...again. The opening chords sends chills down the spine as Carey shows off again, this time with the infamous Indian tablas. This is also where Belew's King Crimson days kick in, where the songwriting of those "popular" tracks kicks in. More than that, though, it almost seems his voice is absolutely perfect for the mood created in this track, almost a hypnotic, intoxicating environment, also evidenced by the addition of Gary Lee Tussing's cello.

"Madness" has a creepy intro similar to TMV's creepy outros. Even the atonal chords from Belew's guitar resemble TMV's...atonal...chords. Little bit of resemblence? Maybe, but Claypool seems to attempt a funky rescue mission that ends in vain. If you focus on Belew, the song really goes nowhere (so it seems), but if you focus on Claypool, you can pick up a funky melody (a trait he does so well in Primus, even though I personally don't like that band). Of course, that pretty much goes on like that for the rest of the track.

Quick interruption from the review; Out of the three "Side" albums Belew has recorded, "One" is obviously my favorite. I personally love King Crimson and TMV, so this a perfect mix of prog and accessibility thanks to Belew's experience with King Crimson's 80's records which tended to appeal to radio listeners more than prog fanatics. "Two" is a comparitively heavier release with even more electronic influence, almost like a Nine Inch Nails record, while "Three" is almost a combination of both "One" and "Two". Obviously the experimentation is there from "Two" ("The Red Bull...", "Cinemusic", "Incompetence Indifference"), and the funk is still there ("Troubles", "Whatever") along with the atmospheric tunes ("Drive", "Water Turns To Wine") and a potential Coldplay killer? (Men In Helicopters V 4.0)

However, it continues to be the diversity of tracks on "One" that, while they are a bit experimental, the melodies are still there and they keep get me coming back to these tracks. "Walk Around The World" is no exception. The 2 second intro is a bit TMV-ish, but the funk comes back, the beat is ever prevelant, and hell, sometimes I just get up and dance to the beat! No, it's not a club beat, but it gets you moving. Yet you can hear it easily; the experimentation mixing with melody, catchy verses/chorus as well as Belew's easily accessible voice. "Beat Box Guitar" is another good beat (perhaps evidenced by the name). It's not necessarily a fast beat, but it's another funky beat that can get you moving around, and while these tracks are pretty easily listenable (in my opinion), it's the few tracks after that may get a bit complicated.

"Under The Radar" sort of begins where "Beat Box Guitar" ends, and it's a sharp contrast from the former, as it's a mostly acoustic guitar-laden track with atmospheric sounds and Belew's voice, once again, bathing the air with solace and serenity. It seems to be a good track to just soak in a spa, until the weird car honking-esque noises piss you off. "Elephants" starts off with some BBC broadcast, then goes into a seven beat chord progression and Belew's hardcore heavy guitar playing (more Buckethead-esque if you ask me) behind what sounds like a jet engine starting up along with some weird guy talking in the background about elephants getting exterminated and eradicated or something like that. And of course, such disc ends with "Pause" starting off with the sound of burning fire, taiko drums, weird clicking noises, somber cello and of course, the sound of death itself (that omnious sound that reminds you of a dark howling wind, except you know something bad is going to happen, like what happens in horror movies; nothing good happens in horror movies).

In all, King Crimson fans of all shapes and sizes should give this disc a listen (along with "Op Zop Too Wah" and "Side Three"). This disc pretty much gives you that "radio-listening" ability 80's King Crimson discs (80's records period) provided along with experimentation of King Crimson old and of course, Belew's guitar playing himself. There's really nothing here that should catch any long-time fans off guard, so any good fan of eclectic prog will be delighted with a purchase of this disc.

 Lone Rhino by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.85 | 62 ratings

Lone Rhino
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This album arrived on the music scene in 1982 like a shooting star--the critics couldn't love Adrian enough. I am still awed by and love the amazing array of noises Belew could get out of a guitar--cat, rhino, momur, Japanese tears, whale, desert island heat, city fear, elephant--a veritable zoo of animals came from his guitar. Plus, he's really not a bad singer--has some clever, witty lyrics.

5 star songs: "Big Electric Cat" (10/10), "Momur" (9/10), "Naive Guitar" (10/10), "The Lone Rhinocerous" (10/10), "Addidas in Heat," (9/10), and the duet with his 4-year old daughter, "The Final Rhino" (9/10). A genius of the guitar--a different kind of genius than Hendrix, Fripp, Frith or Cooder, but a genius nonetheless.

 Lone Rhino by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.85 | 62 ratings

Lone Rhino
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by Slartibartfast
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After successful stints with Zappa, Talking Heads, David Bowie, and King Crimson, Adrian Belew was on a roll and put together his own group for this self titled album.

As Adrian was in King Crimson at the time, you'll find a lot of similarities between his work with that band in the music offered here. This album has plenty of Belew's trademark electric guitar animal imitations and of course he wastes no time getting down to business with Big Electric Cat, big electric cat, big electric cat. He really takes this album as a opportunity to show off sounds on the guitar that you've never heard a guitar make before.

Then his wife turns into a momur. Any guy who's been married for long enough can identify with this one. Sometimes your woman can get into a crazy mode. "She backed me in a corner, tried to kill me with a broom." Look out!

Stop It a more appreciative ode to his significant other. Sneaks in a reference to the Waffle House.

Man In The Moon is a really touching tribute to his departed Dad. "for a moment in time you held me there, father and son, home again".

Na´ve guitar is the first of three instrumentals on the album. If you don't like Adrian's vocals, he almost always delivers superb instrumentals on his solo albums. This track needs no accompaniment from the band or his vocals.

Then the Hot Sun rises on the horizon making some really spooky sounds.

Next up, the title track, sort of. An ode to a species being driven to extinction. He's doing those animal sound imitations again although I'm pretty sure rhinos don't sound like that. "Is beauty such a big commodity, I always heard it was only so deep". Lyrics are from the perspective of the animal.

Apparently has a thing for trains. Swingline is one of at least two songs he's done about trains. This one's about all the interesting things you might see while riding as a passenger.

Adidas In Heat injects more humor into the album. "You have the paraphenelic regalia Of an athletic supporter." What?!?

Animal Grace. Animals again?

Final Rhino instrumental wraps it up. Mournful instrumental.

Not quite a concept album, but there is a bit of theme going on in the tracks on here. Lots of good solo albums would come later, but he hasn't really topped this one.

 Side Three by BELEW, ADRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 74 ratings

Side Three
Adrian Belew Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Side Three' - Adrian Belew (5/10)

Now this is eclectic if an album ever deserved the title. The talented guitarist and singer Adrian Belew seems to pack about as many different sounds and styles into a half hour as could be considered healthy... Bringing some of the best musicians around in for this project (virtuoso bassist Les Claypool, King Crimson's Robert Fripp and drummer Daney Carey of Tool fame, to name a few) and covering everything from industrial to ambient, funk, and baroque pop, it goes without saying that this was an ambitious project to undertake. Despite the obvious effort that went into this undertaking and some superb musical moments however, 'Side Three' doesn't really feel like a cohesive piece of work, much less a masterpiece.

'Side Three's state of being very scattered may have been unavoidable. Trying to go in too many directions always runs the risk of going in no particular direction at all. As a result, 'Side Three' feels more like a collection of unfinished musical ideas. With most songs around or under the three minute mark, few of the tracks get much, if any of a chance to really flourish and reach their potential. Only a handful of tracks feel like they have been properly crafted into songs; mainly the first two tracks (the playful numbers 'Troubles' and 'Incompetence Indifference') and the beautifully arranged 'Men In Helicopters,' which wears a 'Sgt. Peppers' influence on it's sleeve.

Despite the criticism of structure, much of the actual music itself on 'Side Three' is very good, if short lived. Belew presents some very tastefully done ambient ideas, and seems to give a sample of just about everything else he was into at the time of recording. Things even seem to take a dive into the realms of noise and industrial, which may turn some people off of this record but not to worry; even the less enjoyable tracks are over before you know it.

Adrian Belew is certainly a talented individual. The ability to coordinate such a wide variety of musicians and styles and release it all under a single title is no small feat. However, it may have suited the man better had he decided to hold back on throwing so much different material onboard, and took the time to develop a few of the ideas more fully. Had this happened, I have no doubt that 'Side Three' would have become a much more enjoyable, and satisfying release.

Thanks to Cygnus X-2 for the artist addition.

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