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JOHN WETTON

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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John Wetton biography
John Wetton, a man who has been in more bands than most of us have had hot dinners, was born in Derby, England on 12th June 1949. He is the youngest of two boys, both of whom have persued their own very different musical careers - John in rock and his brother in the world of classical church music. When John was 12, the family moved to Bournemouth. During his school years, he played in several Shadows and Beatles-style groups, eventually getting onto the local R&B circuit with the Palmer-James Group. It was about this time that he met with Robert Fripp, who would play such a vital role in his career later. After college, John toured Rumania backing Helen Shapiro! This earned him enough money to buy a decent Fender Precision Bass for 35 pounds. His next band was Tetrad, another group local to Bournemouth, but he soon decided to leave them and move to London. He stayed a short while in a band named Splinter, and then quit to join James Litherland's Brotherhood, by September 1969. The band soon changed their name to Mogul Thrash, and John made his first album with them. They were a rough-edged R&B outfit, with brass section, but were much more popular on the continent than in Britain. They get involved with a legal problem with their management, and the only way to extricate themselves was for the band to split up.
John then spent some time doing session work, earning enough to buy a ticket to Los Angeles. He only stayed a couple of months, and immediately on his return to London, he was called and asked to join Family. He stayed for two albums, but felt restricted. He was never going to be lead vocalist with Roger Chapman around; likewise, the writing core of the group did not extend to him. When Robert Fripp offered him a job in King Crimson, it was too good to refuse. During his two years with the band, King Crimson enjoyed critical acclaim and success. They recorded four albums, but by September '74, Fripp decided to put the band on ice. John had been socialising a lot with Roxy Music, and joined when an opening for bass player turned up. The band promoted Country Life and toured the UK, Europe and America. John was a casual member of the band, and did not feel financially settled. In March '75, he decided to join the band Uriah Heep after they had just fired bassist Gary Thain. He played on two albums, but his presence did nothing to stem internal unrest in the band. Everyone hated each other, and so by August '76, he left before it all got unpleasa...
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Live: Chasing the DragonLive: Chasing the Dragon
Mesa 1995
Audio CD$12.78
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Raised in CaptivityRaised in Captivity
Frontiers Records 2011
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SinisterSinister
Import
Inside Out Germany 2004
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Rock of FaithRock of Faith
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Giant Electric Pea 2004
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Battle LinesBattle Lines
Limited Edition
ECLIPSE 2010
Audio CD$59.72
$6.72 (used)
Wetton/ManzaneraWetton/Manzanera
Renaissance Records 1999
Audio CD$13.15
$5.43 (used)
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JOHN WETTON shows & tickets


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JOHN WETTON discography


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

JOHN WETTON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.79 | 14 ratings
Caught In The Crossfire
1980
2.16 | 12 ratings
Wetton - Manzanera. One World
1987
3.51 | 32 ratings
Battle Lines
1994
2.85 | 24 ratings
Arkangel
1998
2.56 | 19 ratings
Sinister
2001
2.92 | 17 ratings
Rock Of Faith
2003
2.91 | 22 ratings
John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon
2005
3.37 | 19 ratings
John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes - Icon II - Rubicon
2006
3.88 | 17 ratings
John Wetton & Geoff Downes - Icon 3
2009
2.29 | 25 ratings
Raised in Captivity
2011

JOHN WETTON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.51 | 12 ratings
Chasing The Dragon
1995
3.33 | 3 ratings
Akustika - Live in Amerika
1996
4.05 | 2 ratings
Sub Rosa: Live In Milan 1998
1998
3.50 | 8 ratings
Nomansland - Live In Poland
1999
4.00 | 5 ratings
John Wetton & Ken Hensley. One Way Or Another
2002
2.58 | 5 ratings
Agenda
2003
3.00 | 4 ratings
Amata
2004
3.92 | 3 ratings
Never In A Million Years (Icon)
2006

JOHN WETTON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.02 | 4 ratings
Live In The Underworld
2003
4.09 | 4 ratings
Amorata (DVD)
2003

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

2.41 | 10 ratings
King's Road 1972-1980
1987
2.08 | 4 ratings
John Wetton + Richard Palmer-James : Monkey Business 1972 - 1997
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Anthology
2001

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

2.48 | 3 ratings
John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05
2005

JOHN WETTON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nomansland - Live In Poland by WETTON, JOHN album cover Live, 1999
3.50 | 8 ratings

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Nomansland - Live In Poland
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Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars King Crimson invaded Poland

John Wetton seems to have found many fans in Poland as more than one live album of his have been recorded in that country. The present one was recorded in 1998 and features, in addition to Wetton himself on vocals and bass, a line-up of Martin Orford (of IQ fame) on keyboards and flute, Steve Christy (Jadis) on drums, and David Kilminster on guitar. They form a very tight band.

The set list features many songs that Wetton originally performed with other bands in the 70's and 80's, including King Crimson's Book Of Saturday and Easy Money from Larks' Tongues In Aspic, The Night Watch from Starless And Bible Black, and Starless from Red; UK's In The Dead Of Night from their self- titled debut and Rendez-Vous 6:02 from Danger Money, and Sole Survivor from Asia's self-titled debut. All of these classic songs are very good and they represent Wetton's musical career perfectly. Thankfully, he spares us the tedious Heat Of The Moment this time! Everything is performed very well.

Orford and Kilminster are both allowed their little solo spots which create very nice instrumental interludes between the vocal numbers. Tatras is Orford's piano solo and Bygosh!! is an acoustic guitar number performed by Kilmister. The two men then collaborate on The Birth of Igor. Both are excellent instrumentalists.

The Last Thing on My Mind, Emma, and After All are taken from Arkangel, the John Wetton solo album they were touring in support of at the time. While Arkangel is not a strong album on the whole, these songs are not bad.

This live album is in many ways similar to the excellent Amorata live concert video that I have reviewed previously and given the same high rating. The Amorata DVD (and, as far as I understand, the same concert also on CD called Agenda) features John Mitchell from Arena instead of Kilminster, but many of the same songs are present of both releases. You need at least one of these!

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 King's Road 1972-1980 by WETTON, JOHN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1987
2.41 | 10 ratings

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King's Road 1972-1980
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Review by Per Köhler

3 stars There are two good reasons to purchase this Cd, 'Night after Night' and 'As Long as You want Me here'. No doubt about it; they are both worth the price of the record. Particularly as none of them are to be found elsewhere on Cd. Jobson/Wetton worked well together and this is their last legacy from initial period. Jobson's solo on 'Night' is raw like Japanese Sushi. Served by the most delicious Geisha. 'As Long as' is something that could've been delivered from the reformed King Crimson if they had opted for a return of Wetton. Possibly in a slightly reworked and stripped down version. Asia never even touched any of these great compositions, the smile in their eyes is a result of collected bundles of banknotes. The other songs of interest here are already in your collection. The least relevant, one must admit, are taken from quickly forgotten solo album Caught in the Crossfire. The one and only song by Jack Knife says little to the prog fan. King's Road serves as an introduction for the multitudinous group of record buyers who got high on 'Heat of the Moment' and 'Sole Survivor'. They have a long way to avant-garde Starless. What unites the album is the record company E.G. and the artist himself. Otherwise very little. Wetton deserves more than a single Cd for his contribution to the various bands he has taken part in. The music listeners as well; Wetton's comprehensive recording history isn't easy to survey. Not only how many bands/artists he has visited or been in, but also what exactly he contributed. Sang, played, wrote or produced. If you're not in possession of all material related to the rock icon you're most likely not knowledgeable about what happened where. Not even with the informative invention called internet by your side. If all contractual issues could be solved there should at least be a double-Cd including 'One Way or Another', 'That's That' and 'Same Time Next Week'. Just to mention a few. Any surviving rehearsal tapes from the time spent with Wakeman/Bruford? Wetton's Phenomena colleague Glenn Hughes is luckier with his collected work(they have both played/sung with everybody except each other). Perhaps next step in their career?

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 Rock Of Faith  by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.92 | 17 ratings

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Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars It was back in #62 that I raved about John's latest album, 'Sinister', and said that it was his finest work since he had left Asia and here I am now saying the same thing again, because although 'Sinister' was good it wasn't as strong as this which has to be one of the best albums John has ever been associated with throughout his long career. The core of the band was John himself, Steve Christey (Jadis) and John Mitchell (Arena) who are both in his touring band and one Clive Nolan (Arena, Shadowland, Pendragon etc). John Wetton had gone to Thin Ice to record the drums and liked it so much he stayed! Clive's partner in crime, Karl Groom, engineered the album and the Thin Ice guys co-produced it with John. There are also a few guests, including one Geoffrey Downes who he hadn't worked with in years, but for this album they also co-wrote two songs together. Something that will most definitely be of interest to all Asia fans.

But what makes this such a strong album? The songs are much more in the melodic/hard rock field, but slower, with an emphasis on orchestral overtones with the main listening point being the vocals. Each song is aimed at maximising the power of the voice, with the music as a vehicle, and this has really allowed John to shine. The album starts with an atmospheric instrumental, where Clive and John Mitchell combine to good effect to build on the emotion, which in turn leads to the title cut which segues in gently, gradually building on John's vocals.

It is an album that hearkens back to old times while also showing the future, and on the basis of this album that is very bright indeed. It is immediately accessible and enjoyable and one that I have enjoyed playing a great deal.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

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 Sinister by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.56 | 19 ratings

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Sinister
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Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars 'Sinister' is John's new studio album, and it is simply the finest thing that he has recorded since the debut Asia album all those years ago. The worry is that it may be ignored as there is so much Wetton material flooding out, but take it from me this is one of the best driving albums you are ever likely to hear.

John has been working with some very strong writers, including Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams), Jim Peterik (Survivor), Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper) and David Cassidy (!!) among others. In addition, he has worked on only one song with Martin Orford and Steve Christey (where instead of using Dave Kilminster he has brought in Gary Chandler). The first song, "Heart Of Darkness" begins and ends as a gentle number, but inbetween it is a fine AOR rocker. Having already been shocked by the quality of the opener, I wasn't ready for "Say It Ain't So" which is a classic. Imagine Asia mixing with Bryan Adams in a power ballad that can also belt along, then you may have some idea of how good this is. "No Ordinary Miracle" is much more in line with his ballads, and slows the album down a little. Then it is back with the third Vallance co-write, which again ups the tempo. A gentle instrumental (featuring Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald) leads into the hardest number on the album. This is "Another Twist Of The Knife", and Dick Wagner riffs the song along, as John gets heavy. This has great hooks and features some of John's best ever singing ? it is worth getting the album for this song alone!!

The song featuring Jadis, "Silently", is the most 'progressive' on the album, and features some very characteristic guitar work from Gary. It comes a close second to being the best song on the album. Both "Before Your Eyes" and "Second Best" are slower numbers, and then it is time for the closer "Real World". This is John with a 12-string, joined by Steve Hackett (on harmonica!). Overall, it is an awesome album, one that I took out of my CD interchanger with much dismay. If you have ever enjoyed any of John's work, or just want to hear a great melodic rock album then this is one that you simply have to get.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

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 Agenda by WETTON, JOHN album cover Live, 2003
2.58 | 5 ratings

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Agenda
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Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

1 stars I'll start off saying that I like JOHN WETTON's voice but that alone can't save this live album, recorded in Poland. And I simply don't care about his bass playing. There's so many wonderful bass players in Progressive Rock and JOHN is just a regular one, competent, but his playing is always the same in tone and lines.

If ASIA, band which he was a big part of, arrangements usually suck, here JOHN WETTON shows himself able to ruin this versions even more, with cheesy keyboards (thanks to Martin Orford) and lame acoustic guitar versions (thanks to himself and John Mitchell). Steve Chrisley, the drummer, simply doesn't exist, pretty much, but his drums sound can't be praised.

Not to mention souless KING CRIMSON versions and, to complete the whole package, a really bad art on the cover.

JOHN WETTON, to my eyes, is like a Circus, that jumps from town to town (project to project/band to band), never settles down in any place and is always live from a glorious past.

Maybe that's why he never really get a name by himself.

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 John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05 by WETTON, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.48 | 3 ratings

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John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05
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Review by oldfieldolli

4 stars Heat of the moment- a classic Asia song. Well I don't know how many versions we really do need, but I like this version very much. Wetton and Downes are in good shape. Maybe not prog, but excellent pop/rock after all. Truly wonderful song and I have always liked John Wetton's voice. Let Me go is also a good song and I like to listen it often as well as the whole album Icon. Good songs, excellent tunes. But buy the whole album, not this EP.(Well maybe the ep is not available anymore, but anyway) It is as good as the best Asia albums. Three and a half stars to this ep and four stars to the album.

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 Raised in Captivity by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.29 | 25 ratings

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Raised in Captivity
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Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars I always admire John Wetton whenever he played with others in what so called "band" like he did with King Crimson, UK as well as Asia - even though the latter is not something as my favorite one because the music is not prog basically. But for some reason I doubt his capability to be a solo artist as many of his albums were not measuring up into my standard. Rased in Captivity is actually not good one or at least there is practically neither catchy or progressive track in the album. Yes, there is a huge effort by him through bringing together big names like Steve Mose (Lost For Words), Robert Fripp (Raised in Captivity), Steve Hackett (GoodBlye Elsinore), Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Mick Box (New Star Rising), Eddie Jobson, Yes, it's an atrraction point and a credit for his effort for this but unfortunately it does not lift up the overall quality of the music. It's hard to say it is good as there is no one track that really makes me hooked with it - everything just flow flat with practically no soul in it. It's totally different with Asia first album, for example, that has many catchy tracks even though the music is straight forward pop rock style.

Oh ...maybe good point with this album is in every single track we would try our best to indicate where and how the 'featuring' stars take place in the music. For example I am really observing the Hackett playing at the third track. One track that is probably quite catchy is The Human Condition - it has nice guitar solo but the contribution of Tony Kaye is not that really obvious.

This album is for collectors only - those who really want to have the work of Wetton throughout his musical career. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05 by WETTON, JOHN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.48 | 3 ratings

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John Wetton Geoffrey Downes Icon: Heat Of The Moment- 05
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by raggleman

1 stars I am a huge John Wetton fan but this release is one of the biggest dissappointments I have heard......not just from him, but from ANYONE. I can see no point to this EP. How many bloody versions of Heat Of The Moment do we need !! The one here adds nothing to any of the countless other versions available. Then there are some 'orchestrated' Icon pieces.......very pleasant but I'm sorry, the orchestration adds absolutely nothing to the mix.....it's not exactly the Enid. The Smile has left your Eyes is represented by an appalling version. Very tender to begin with but it soon descends into blandness and why on earth the huge power chord (not as good as that sounds) at the end. Dreadful. Oh, and a new track (or new to me anyway). A waste of 2 minutes of my life. Sounds like Wetton wrote and performed it when he really was in bed. Avoid. A total waste of your hard earned cash.

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 Raised in Captivity by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.29 | 25 ratings

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Raised in Captivity
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

1 stars It might not come as much of a surprise to most people that John Wetton decided once again to stick to his guns, thus making Raised In Captivity another AOR release. The surprising part is how uninspired and unsettlingly bland this collection of songs actually turns out to be!

Released under Frontiers Records (the same label as Asia) only a year after the prog supergroup's second reunion album Omega, there's really nothing that would have suggested to me that Wetton was running out of steam on his steady AOR streak that he began back in 1982. Unfortunately this definitely can be considered to be the final nail in the coffin of his nearly 30 year affiliation with the format.

This bland mess just proves that all the guest spots in the world can't save an album when the songwriting and performances aren't there. Artists like Steve Hackett, Geoff Downes, Robert Fripp, Tony Kaye, Steve Morse, Eddie Jobson and Mick Box have contributed to Raised In Captivity and it's quite unfortunate that none of them manages to stop this train wreck from ultimately happening. On some level, it would have actually felt less painful for me if these guest spots weren't here but there's just no way to avoid the unavoidable by awarding this release anything more than the completionists only rating that it barely reaches up to.

The songs are not quite there, even if some are slightly better than others, the '80s vibe is annoying and the guest spots are pretty much the only reason why completionists might be merely amused by Raised In Captivity. Approach this album at your own risk, you have been warned!

**** star songs: Steffi's Ring (2:36) Don't Misunderstand Me (3:43) Mighty Rivers (5:20)

*** star songs: Raised In Captivity (6:09) Goodbye Elsinore (4:44) We Stay Together (4:26) The Devil And The Opera House (6:51)

** star songs: Lost For Words (4:59) The Last Night Of My Life (5:54) The Human Condition (5:22) New Star Rising (4:33)

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 Battle Lines by WETTON, JOHN album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.51 | 32 ratings

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Battle Lines
John Wetton Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars It's all about setting the right level of expectations...

Most of us here are well familiar with the great studio album trilogy of the 73-74 King Crimson lineup and some of us are also fans of the two late '70s U.K. albums. Wouldn't it have been swell to hear more of that great music on a John Wetton solo album? Well, you can pretty much forget all that on Battle Lines since 1982 was the year that Wetton discovered his niche in the AOR genre which he's been relying on ever since!

Does this mean that Battle Lines is a bad release? No, not at all. In fact, this is easily the best collection of tracks that Wetton has released since the famous Asia debut. Just keep in mind that this album has nothing even remotely prog related on it and you'll be just fine. I happen to enjoy this type of music when it has just enough momentum to it and Battle Lines certainly delivers the goods in the somewhat cheesy songwriting department. Most of these tracks will make you realize the Wetton has no intention of leaving the '80s since this release sounds almost exactly like the early Asia recordings. The material tends to lean heavily on the softer ballad-driven side of the band's repertoire with Right Where I Wanted To Be being as bombastic as this material will ever get.

If you're a fan of Asia and know their debut, Alpha, Phoenix and Omega by heart then this is definitely a great follow-up purchase for you. If you're looking for that wonderful bass player and singer from the '70s, who could mesmerize us with his vocals and skillful playing, then you'll have more luck exploring all the great live King Crimson records that have been reissued over the last decade. John Wetton has no intention of reinventing the wheel with his material so keep those expectations at a reasonable level and you'll find Battle Lines to be a pleasant little album well worth a few spins.

**** star songs: Right Where I Wanted To Be (4:56) Battle Lines (5:25) Crime Of Passion (4:43) Hold Me Now (5:58) Space And Time (4:07) Walking On Air (3:10) You're Not The Only One (5:02)

*** star songs: Jane (4:19) Sand In My Hand (3:50) Sea Of Mercy (4:40)

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