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JON ANDERSON

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Jon Anderson biography
The name Jon ANDERSON is inextricably linked to that of YES, one of the most defining and influential bands in Progressive Rock history. Legend has it that ANDERSON (born John Roy ANDERSON, Oct. 25, 1944, England) worked on a farm and drove a taxi before creating his first band, The WARRIORS, with his brother Tony in 1964. From then on, the road ahead was paved for the next 30 years... and counting.

Although YES occupied the major part of his time, ANDERSON has contributed extensively to various artists' albums and projects over the years, lending his vocal talents to the likes of VANGELIS, KITARO, Mike OLDFIELD, John-Paul Jones, TANGERINE DREAM, TOTO, 4HIM, Jonathan Elias and BÉLA FLECK & THE FLECKTONES as well as to fellow YES member Steve HOWE on one of his solo albums. At time of printing, he was working with Igor Khoroshev (YES' new keyboard player) on Khoroshev's album entitled "True You True Me".

Despite his numerous engagements with YES and other artists, ANDERSON found the time to release 13 solo albums, quite wide ranging in style - from the fantasy land of "Olias of Sunhillow" (1976) to the contemporary pop/worldbeat of "The More You Know" (1998). Of particular interest to progsters is his debut solo album and masterpiece, "Olias of Sunhillow": an incredibly gorgeous work of epic adventures in mythical times and places. Laced with heavenly vocal harmonies and loaded with strings and keyboards (VANGELIS style), it features ANDERSON playing all the instruments himself. In the 'mildly interesting' category are: "Song of Seven" (1980) which is something of a compromise, considering that half of it is progressive and the other half made up of simple, radio-friendly tunes; "Animation" (1983) for its variety of musical roots and tempos; and "Toltec" (1996) with its distinctive Mexican/Native American flair - a concept album based on the work of author Carlos Castenada.

With the exception of "Olias of Sunhillow" however, readers shouldn't expect anything remotely similar to YES from these albums. Often featuring spiritually tinged lyrics (ANDERSON has always been a "spiritual seeker"), most are not terribly 'progressive', rather befitting the New Age or World Music categories.

Recommended for those interested in exploring exotic (Latin, Celtic, World) musical ties.

Lise (HIBOU), CANADA

See also:
- Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe<...
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The Living TreeThe Living Tree
Import
Gonzo Multimedia 2011
Audio CD$10.76
$9.99 (used)
Olias of SunhillowOlias of Sunhillow
Import
Atlantic UK 1998
Audio CD$34.43
$25.46 (used)
Song of SevenSong of Seven
Import
Atlantic UK 1998
Audio CD$23.87
$16.60 (used)
Survival & Other StoriesSurvival & Other Stories
Gonzo/Voiceprint 2011
Audio CD$8.15
$8.14 (used)
Change We MustChange We Must
Angel Records 1994
Audio CD$13.09
$1.88 (used)
Earth Mother EarthEarth Mother Earth
Ellipsis Arts 1997
Audio CD$2.94
$1.89 (used)
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JON ANDERSON discography


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

JON ANDERSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 355 ratings
Olias of Sunhillow
1976
2.76 | 132 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.33 | 106 ratings
Animation
1982
2.47 | 80 ratings
Three Ships
1985
2.66 | 89 ratings
In the City of Angels
1988
2.43 | 63 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.06 | 86 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.29 | 48 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.45 | 69 ratings
Toltec
1996
3.03 | 10 ratings
Lost Tapes Of Opio
1996
3.05 | 46 ratings
Earth Mother Earth
1997
2.51 | 46 ratings
The Promise Ring
1997
2.93 | 54 ratings
The More You Know
1998
3.95 | 26 ratings
In Elven Lands: The Fellowship
2006
4.14 | 14 ratings
Searching for the Songs
2007
3.16 | 12 ratings
Watching the Flags that Fly
2007
1.40 | 5 ratings
From Me To You
2008
3.41 | 76 ratings
The Living Tree (Anderson/Wakeman)
2010
3.66 | 69 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2011

JON ANDERSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.20 | 5 ratings
Live In Sheffield 1980
2006
3.67 | 9 ratings
The Mother's Day Concert
2007
3.14 | 11 ratings
Live From La La land
2007
3.13 | 20 ratings
The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
2011

JON ANDERSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 14 ratings
Tour Of The Universe
2005

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

2.17 | 10 ratings
The Deseo Remixes
1995

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Flight of the Moorglade
1976
3.09 | 7 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Everybody Loves You
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
1982
3.05 | 3 ratings
Surrender
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Boundaries
1982
2.05 | 2 ratings
Cage Of Freedom
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
Easier Said Than Done
1985
3.33 | 9 ratings
Shine - Mike Oldfield with Jon Anderson
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Is It Me
1988
3.05 | 2 ratings
Hold On To Love
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Whatever You Believe
1988
3.44 | 9 ratings
Change We Must (single)
1994
2.80 | 5 ratings
Candle Song
1994
3.07 | 8 ratings
The Lost Tapes Sampler
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Give Hope
2009
3.62 | 22 ratings
Open
2011
3.04 | 6 ratings
Race to the End
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Brasilian Music Sound
2012

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Three Ships by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.47 | 80 ratings

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Three Ships
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by paisanojac

3 stars I love this Three Ships album by Jon Anderson. I still remember when it first came out and I saw it at Tower Records and immediately purchased it. Decades later I still listen to it around Christmas time and still enjoy it. Is this Prog? Not at all, and that's why I am only giving it three stars, but for pure enjoyment I would give it four or five stars. It's a lovely Christmas album, and if that's what you want, then you will enjoy it. It does sound very 80s, which doesn't bother me, as it also brings back memories of the time. There are some naysayers for this album, and I suspect it is either because it is not prog, and/or because they don't like the Christmas message. I do like the Christmas message and enjoy it. To each his own.

One thing I have to warn folks about is the new, updated release. It includes a bunch of stuff that was not originally on the album and since I was so used to the original album version, I was thrown off by the additional material. If you like joyous Christmas music, you should like this album (and perhaps you might like the additional material if it suits your fancy).

 Animation by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.33 | 106 ratings

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Animation
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Kingsnake

3 stars This is a difficult record.

It suffers from (too) loud production. Also Jon tries too hard to be both progressive (Animation and Olympia) and pop (Surrender, All in a Matter of Time, etc.)

The songs that work the best for me, is when the band is more funky/fusion, especially on tracks like Unlearning and Much Better Reason.

Simon Philips is too loud in the mix, but does a great job. Also the bassguitar and keyboards sound great. Overall the album is uneven and there are too many musicians to say which one plays on which song, allthough I recognize Simon Philips anytime.

Everytime I play this record the openingtune blows me away, but as the albums continues I reach for the skip button too often.

The only songs I really enjoy are Olympia, Much Better Reason, Unlearning and Surrender. I think Surrender is even the best song Jon ever did. I wonder if it was a big hit.

 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 355 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars The first solo album by Jon Anderson, "Olias of Sunhillow" very faithfully carries on the Yes tradition, even without the help of any of his band mates.

Written, performed and recorded entirely by Mr. Anderson, "Olias of Sunhillow" takes on a far more subdued approach to the Yes experience but it is still a great foray into Jon Anderson's fantasy world building. After all, Anderson was the world builder with Yes, often being the philosophical brainchild of the group's output. A concept album, I'm sure that you can read the synopsis in a number of other reviews. I will note that the album's story line is derived from a series of Roger Dean (who did not do the cover for "Olias", interestingly enough) paintings. Beginning with the back cover of "Fragile" and following through the stages of the four "Yessongs" paintings, "Olias" is a story of exodus, rebirth and forging new beginnings, and can make for a powerful spiritual experience to listen to.

As far as the music, it gives very "new age" vibes, with soft, lush synthesizers, plenty of acoustic guitar, and great falsetto vocal lines. It doesn't quite give the same drive or punch as Yes, but it has the same soul. In all, this is a good but non-essential album, warranting a 3 star rating. If you can find a vinyl copy, however, I'd bump the rating up to 4 stars, as it contains an incredible storybook-style multi-sided gatefold with beautiful illustrations and poetry describing the narrative. 3 stars overall.

 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 355 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Dreamer of Pictures

5 stars This is a wonderful effort by Jon Anderson. Danceable? Nope, but that was not the forte of Yes in the 70s either. Captivating, entrancing, exhilarating? Yes indeed. As a prog fan, you will be humming/whistling/remembering/singing these melodies for a long time to come, and the arrangements are no less progressive that those recorded by Yes back then, though not in the precise direction of Yes.

Shortly after Olias was released in the mid-70s, I was riding with my parents on a longish weekend drive through Virginia. In those days, the network affiliated urban radio stations essentially gave the lower-rated weekend hours to the network, airing feed from the network HQs in Manhattan to avoid paying weekend DJs. We listened to a Richmond VA network affiliate for much of our drives. The normal network weekend fare of talk and light reportage was pretty boring, honestly, for a 23 year old prog fan.

So I was rather stunned when the network aired an interview with John Anderson, discussing his solo album Olias of Sunhillow. One thing Anderson said at the time has stuck in my head through the decades: he was inspired to write Olias by watching bees, especially their communal behavior. I suspect he meant honeybees.

What an elaborate world Anderson conjured from that simple everyday experience.

Olias is a concept album, realized thoroughly. The basic story told in the music of Olias is the effort of the characters, led by Olias, to build a ship and use it to transplant their clan to a more suitable locale. Will you understand every word? No, this is Jon Anderson we are discussing, clarity is not his style on Olias.

I bought the Olias LP around the time that radio interview was broadcast. In June1976, Yes played a concert in RFK Stadium in DC. This was the day-long concert with Gary Wright, Peter Frampton and other performers as support for Yes as headliners. I attended that show and shot a lot of Ektachrome photos of all the performers. initially I was surprised that the Olias cover symbol was displayed prominently onstage. One of the songs performed during the Yes set was from Olias, the charming instrumental song which I believe is titled Qoquaq En Transic. Aha! That's why the symbol was so prominent, and I have photos of it. In addition to Anderson, Patrick Moraz played keyboards and Alan White played percussion, giving Howe and Squire a few minutes of break. Alas, the song was not introduced, so the audience had no idea what it was unless they already were familiar with Olias.

The song is not documented on the Wikipedia list of songs performed by Yes during that tour. However, the Wikipedia list includes a harp solo, and the Qoquaq En Transic song begins with a harp solo. Anderson used his harp skills a few years later on the epic Yes song Awaken.

Anderson sang brilliantly on Olias, of course, but also played many of the myriad instruments involved in this production. In many cases he was able to play only a few notes at a time, so the recording effort must have been lengthy. The LP booklet names and depicts a few other instrumentalists who contributed to Olias. Anderson aimed for and hit the spot of a great variety of moods; the grandest parts are walls of sound featuring soaring vocals rather than blistering guitar or keyboard solos in the style of Yes.

If you want a very analogous example of the Olias sound from the Yes canon, try We Have Heaven from Fragile. You won't find an intricate guitar-bass rondo in Heart of the Sunrise, or the driving rock pulse in Roundabout. But Olias has plenty to grab your attention.

On my phone, which is my primary music playback device these days, I have stored the entire album except the material up front prior to the Meeting track.

One thing I suspect Anderson remembers from this recording experience is the sheer time required to produce Olias. Studio time is money in this business, either paid to the studio owner and producer or paid to construct a studio for oneself and learn how to use it. I am not sure that any of Anderson's subsequent solo releases used a similar time-consuming self-performed approach for so much of the instrumental material.

I mention this because in the past year or two Anderson has announced he will record a follow-up to Olias. inspired by bees again, perhaps? We can hope the results this time around will prove no less progressive, fascinating and enjoyable, regardless of his recording approach and his use or not-use of talented colleagues.

 Surrender by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Surrender
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Surrender" is a song taken from JON ANDERSON`s "Animation" solo album from 1982, and was released as the "A" Side of this single. It is a Pop Rock song with some World Music / Caribean / Latin Music influences, including some Latin percussion instruments (a marimba too, or maybe a steel drum, I think) and a bit of harp playing (maybe played by Anderson himself), plus very good keyboard arrangements (by David Sancious, I think) and very good drums (maybe played by Simon Phillips, one of the best session drummers I have listened to). It also has some very good bass guitar playing (and I think that it was played by Stefano Cerri, as the credits in this album gave main credits to all these musicians that I mention here, but also they gave additional credits to other musicians without giving specific details for who played in each song in the album). There are also some backing vocals which sound like being sung by some of Anderson`s children (like in his "Song of Seven" album). This song sounds to me a bit similar in style to his "Don`t Forget (Nostalgia)" song from the "Song of Seven" album, at least in the bass playing style.

"Spider", in the "B" Side of this single, is a non-album track which was released again as one of two bonus tracks in the most recent CD re-issue of the "Animation" album (re-issued some years ago by Anderson himself on his own record label, with another song called "The Spell", if I remember well now, because I don`t have that CD). It has an acoustic guitar plus very good drums by Simon Phillips (I think, again), some horns and very good keyboards (maybe played by David Sancious), some children`s vocals. This song has some New Age music influences, plus some Rhtyhm and Blues music inlfuences (which made me remember a bit some of PHIL COLLINS`s musical style as soloist from the early eighties), plus a very good lead guitar solo (maybe played by Dave "Clem" Clemson, former guitarist of HUMBLE PIE and COLOSSEUM, and who also appeared in Anderson`s "Song of Seven" album).

Two good songs released in this single. Maybe more influenced by the Pop Rock music style of the early eighties, but with Anderson`s very own musical style influenced by World Music / New Age music.

 Race to the End by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.04 | 6 ratings

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Race to the End
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I remember that the video of this song was shared in JON ANDERSON`s Official Facebook Profile in 2012, at the time of London`s 2012 Summer Olympics. I forgot about this song and video since then until now when I realized that this single was included in the Prog Archives `s discography database and it was without a review. I listened to this song again, so I write a review about it.

"Race to the End" is really a re-make of VANGELIS`s main theme from his soundtrack album for the "Chariots of Fire" film from 1981. The original musical piece`s name in that album is "Titles", but it is widely known as "Chariots of Fire" when played in the radio. It was a very successful instrumental musical piece for VANGELIS when it was originally released as a single in March 1981.

Jon Anderson`s version of "Titles" has lyrics written by him and the song was re-titled as "Race to the End" to be released in this single as a tribute from Anderson to the Summer Olympic Games. It is a good version which is very similar in the musical arrangements and playing to Vangelis`version, with Anderson doing a very good job for it with keyboard player Christophe Lebled. It really sounds like Anderson could have simply added his vocals to Vangelis`s original 1981 instrumental recording. This 2012 version was recorded in France and California in July 2012.

The original video done for this single (which is available on youtube) shows scenes with several athletes who participated in different Summer Olympic Games during various decades (Usain Bolt, Nadia Comaneci, Mark Spitz, Yelena Isinbayeba, among the few I could remember by seeing them in the video). It is a good video.

 Animation by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.33 | 106 ratings

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Animation
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This album was also released in Mexico (on the Polydor label) in 1982 or in 1983. At that time, PolyGram Discos was releasing here very good albums from VANGELIS, JON AND VANGELIS, RUSH and others. I did not buy then this "Animation" album from JON ANDERSON, but one cousin bought it then. In fact, that cousin lent me some very good Prog Rock albums in the late seventies to mid eighties. He had then a very good collection of LPs, most of them being imported LPs not released in my country.

In 1982, YES as a band had split since early 1981, after their "Drama" album and tour with lead singer Trevor Horn , who replaced Jon Anderson in 1980. Despite the "Drama" album was somewhat successful, the "Drama" tour was problematic mainly for Horn who sometimes had problems singing the old songs from the band which were originally sung by Anderson. So, the band split, while Anderson released his "Song of Seven" album and also toured for that album in 1980. So, by 1982 YES was out of action for some time (but with some plans to reform the band, first as a band called CINEMA , with Chris Squire, Alan White, Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye, which later became YES again when Anderson rejoined the band for their "90125" album in 1983). Former YES`s guitarist Steve Howe was in ASIA and having a lot of success with that band. YES released in late 1981 a compilation album called "Classic Yes" . So, by 1982 there was not a new YES album, and some of their former members were trying to establish themselves as soloists or as part of new bands like ASIA in a changing musical enviroment which by the early eighties was more influenced by the Pop Rock music style than from Prog Rock music style of the seventies.

If Anderson`s "Song of Seven" album sounded more like a continuation of his work with YES in their aborted recording sessions in Paris in late 1979 (before Anderson and Rick Wakeman left the band), wiht more "light" Pop Rock songs with some inlfuences from New Age music and Prog Rock music, in this "Animation" album Anderson carried on with even more influences from Pop Rock with some New Age and World Music inlfuences, with even less Prog Rock influences, and even some influences from Gospel music (particularly in "All God`s Children"). So maybe he was trying to adapt his work as soloist to a more Pop Rock musical style. For this album he had David Sancious as keyboard player (a very good keyboard player who also has worked with ZUCCHERO and STING, among a lot other musicians), very good drummer SIMON PHILLIPS and other very good musicians like the recently late CHRIS RAINBOW who sings very good backing vocals. This album also has a song called "Boundaries" which Anderson recorded again as "Somehow, Someday" with YES for their "Open Your Eyes" album from 1997. I think that this song even has some Scottish Folk musical influences which made me remember a bit WINGS`s "Mull of Kintyre" hit single from 1977 (but without using bagpipes). "Olympia" is maybe the most Pop Rock influenced song. The New Age musical inlfuences are very clear in the "Animation" song.

Even if this "Animation" album is really a mixture of musical styles with the Pop Rock musical style of the early eighties being the main ingredient. I think that JON ANDERSON was then really establishing his own musical identity as a soloist, maybe a bit influenced by his work with VANGELIS. This "Animation" album is a good album, maybe a bit "light" for my taste, but very original in musical style. Unfortunately for Anderson, this album, like "Song of Seven" was not very successful in the record charts. So this maybe was the main reason that made him re-join YES in 1983 for their very successful "90125" album. He even toured a bit to promote "Animation" in 1982.

 Boundaries by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Boundaries
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars When I was 13-14, JON ANDERSON's 1982 album Animation was one of the vinyls of my big brother's and big sister's that I found deep interest in. Actually it can be said that the title track was THE song in which a progressive, multi-part song structure totally fascinated me. This single contains two tracks from that album.

'Boundaries' was perhaps my second fave from it, though far behind. It's a laid-back singalong kind of a song with a pastoral feeling. Acoustic guitar (Dave Cempson) is in a central role, unlike on that album in general. Hey, now I notice for the first time what a respectable host of musicians the album has: Jack Bruce and John Giblin on bass, Morris Pert on percussion, keyboardist David Sancious, trumpetist Henry Lowther, etc...

'Much Better Reason' is more electrified and to some little degree disco-ish song but quite nice, especially for the way it builds up tension that is released in the catchy chorus. Among Jon Anderson's output (post-Olias) these songs represent fairly good average level. Production is good considering it was the hollow early eighties.

 Everybody Loves You by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1980
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Everybody Loves You
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Both songs of this single were taken from Jon Anderson`s "Song of Seven" album from 1980.

"Everybody Loves You" is a ballad or love song with very good "Classical Music" vocals arrangements at the start and at the end of the song, sung by Anderson with Christopher Rainbow. It also has a brief bass guitar solo played by John Giblin. This song is the first from the Side Two of the old LP, followed by "Take Your Time".

"Everybody Loves You" was previously recorded with YES during the failed recording sessions of the band in Paris in late 1979 with record producer Roy Thomas Baker. The arrangement of the version that Anderson recorded with YES was different, particularly without the use of the "Classical music" vocals arrangments, and sounded somewhat "unfinished" like other songs from the same recording sessions. YES`s arrangement was maybe more Prog Rock oriented. Anderson`s version is more simple and maybe more Pop Rock / New Age in musical style. But these differences maybe showed the reasons why Anderson and the band split in 1980. The other members of YES (particularly Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White) wanted a heavier sound for the band, a thing they achieved in their YES` "Drama" album in 1980, which was recorded without Anderson and Rick Wakeman. Anderson tended then to write more "soft" songs which maybe were not very liked by the rest of the members of the band (with the possible exception of Wakeman who left the band at the same time Anderson did it). So, Anderson re-recorded this song for his "Song of Seven" album, which sounds to me more like a "family life album" than anything else.

"Take Your Time" is another "soft" song with good lyrics and arrangements, but more simple than other songs that Anderson recorded with YES.

 Cage Of Freedom by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.05 | 2 ratings

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Cage Of Freedom
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars In 1985 I was playing the drums in an eight members (!) band which also included two female backing singers. One of them one day lent me some LPs to show me her musical tastes. One of those LPs was the Soundtrack of the 1984 version of the "Metropolis" film done by record producer and musician Giorgio Moroder (who worked a lot with artists like Donna Summer and others during the Disco - Dance -Synth Pop Musical Fads in the seventies-eighties). That album has contributions from several New Wave, Rock, and Pop Rock musicians from the 70s-80s (Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Loverboy, Billy Squier...). I read the list of contributors to that soundtrack album in the cover, which also included JON ANDERSON, I listened to that album, and the only interesting song which I listened to was to Jon Anderson`s contribution, a song titled "Cage of Freedom" (composed by Moroder with Pete Bellote, being both a very successful songwriting team for Donna Summer in particular). The song is very Synth-Pop music influenced, very well produced with all the typical ingredients from that time (electronic drums, very eighties sounding keyboards,...).The song also includes a good distorted guitar playing. But...that is all. It was for me very strange to find Anderson in this very commercial soundtrack album, but his contribution is the only thing that I liked from this very out of date eighties`s musical product.

For collectors / fans only.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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