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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 : : :

Jon Anderson official website

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Olias of SunhillowOlias of Sunhillow
Hybrid SACD - DSD · Limited Edition · Remastered
Audio Fidelity 2014
Audio CD$20.68
$32.12 (used)
In the City of AngelsIn the City of Angels
Sony 1990
Audio CD$19.85
$0.50 (used)
Survival & Other StoriesSurvival & Other Stories
Gonzo/Voiceprint 2011
Audio CD$9.97
$8.99 (used)
Promise Ring - Songs of New EirelandPromise Ring - Songs of New Eireland
Higher Octave 1997
Audio CD$21.00
$0.25 (used)
Earth Mother EarthEarth Mother Earth
Relaxation Co. 1997
Audio CD$1.73
$0.90 (used)
ToltecToltec
Highstreet 2004
Audio CD$19.37
$2.98 (used)
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JON ANDERSON shows & tickets


  • Jon Anderson no HSBC Brasil on 18 Oct 2014

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 | 267 ratings
Olias of Sunhillow
1976
2.72 | 102 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.34 | 79 ratings
Animation
1982
2.35 | 58 ratings
Three Ships
1985
2.61 | 67 ratings
In the City of Angels
1988
2.37 | 48 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.08 | 66 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.19 | 34 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.46 | 50 ratings
Toltec
1996
2.85 | 8 ratings
Lost Tapes Of Opio
1996
3.01 | 33 ratings
Earth Mother Earth
1997
2.45 | 34 ratings
The Promise Ring
1997
2.94 | 40 ratings
The More You Know
1998
3.95 | 20 ratings
In Elven Lands: The Fellowship
2006
4.13 | 8 ratings
Searching for the Songs
2007
3.03 | 11 ratings
Watching the Flags that Fly
2007
3.40 | 61 ratings
The Living Tree (Anderson/Wakeman)
2010
3.65 | 54 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2011

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

3.25 | 8 ratings
The Mother's Day Concert
2007
3.09 | 9 ratings
Live From La La land
2007
3.03 | 12 ratings
The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
2011

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

3.97 | 10 ratings
Tour Of The Universe
2005

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

2.17 | 9 ratings
The Deseo Remixes
1995

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

3.06 | 6 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
3.33 | 9 ratings
Shine - Mike Oldfield with Jon Anderson
1986
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
3.60 | 19 ratings
Open
2011
3.20 | 5 ratings
Race to the End
2012

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 267 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by ebil0505

5 stars While Jon Anderson is labeled Prog Related and I am not familiar with his other works so that may be justified, this is certainly an amazing Progressive Rock album. The cover alone is enough to send his message that this will be a spiritual, ritual, pataphsyical, whatever you want to call it journey. This album is the very essence of Jon Anderson and well represents what he brought to Yes. The music itself will drive away any bad feelings you may have (especially the intro Ocean Song) as Anderson traverses through a fantastical galaxy of musical wonder and emotion. It is every bit as pure as it is memorable. Not one moment of this album should be considered dull. There are certainly more prominent segments no doubt, but the rise and fall of moods and melodies are well balanced. Fans of Yes, even more specifically the way Anderson develops wordless vocal tunes or chants should definitely give this a listen. It is staggering to think that all these beautiful songs were written by a man who could not even read or write music. While I am not 100% sure on this fact, I like to believe it is true; it enhances the genuineness of the album.

If you have the chance, own this on vinyl because the artwork and story within the sleeve only multiplies the whole appreciation of Anderson's creative intellect.

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 Open by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.60 | 19 ratings

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Open
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Open hearts will always open doors"

Open is a 20 plus minute long track that was released (in digital form only) as a "single" in 2011. It is a Symphonic piece in four movements featuring orchestration as a central element. Jon wrote and recorded it in 2010/2011 and released it through iTunes in 2011. Perhaps the fact that it was a digital only release is the reason that not many people have heard about it, let alone heard it. I learned about its existence only recently (through this website) and as soon as I did I immediately opened iTunes and bought it. At the time I listened to it a couple of times but then left it waiting for some time before hearing it again now. It is a good composition that deserves several listens.

This music is by no means straightforwardly comparable to that of Yes, but it is nonetheless probably fair to say that it is somewhat closer to Yes (in both style and quality) than most other things in Jon Anderson's uneven solo discography. I'm not yet familiar with all of Jon's solo albums, though I've heard most of them. I would say that Open is one of Jon's best and most interesting solo releases, up to the standard of his better albums like Olias Of Sunhillow and Toltec.

As is to be expected, Jon's lead vocals are a very central element of this music. There is also some piano, some acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and various percussion instruments, and several backing vocalists, but all instruments take a back seat to the vocals and the orchestra. Thankfully the piece avoids sounding bloated and overly bombastic as is so often the case when orchestras are involved. Jon's innocent voice helps here and there are just enough other elements to keep the orchestra from being overpowering. The lyrics are very much in his characteristic style and he comes across a bit like a spiritual guru or mystic.

If you appreciate in particular those aspects of the music of Yes that are brought by Jon Anderson, you are going to like Open as here these aspects are kind of isolated and concentrated. A worthy addition.

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 Open by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.60 | 19 ratings

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Open
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Open, released as a single download only available on itunes in 2011, is Anderson's first genuinely epic tome recorded since his last Yes release, Magnification.

Although other reviewers have, rightly, pointed potential listeners towards that fine Yes release for pointers as to how they might like it, I would also make the point that his own wonderful solo release, Change We Must, which had a London Symphony Orchestra as an integral part, is also very much an influence on this latest opus, as is the exceptional Olias of Sunhillow. That Anderson is promising a sequel to that work is a mouth watering prospect!

What this single does, more than anything, is reassure us that Anderson's incredible voice has fully come through the ravages of ill health, and he fairly soars throughout. What is it about? Only he knows, as ever. Love, afterlife, Divine Mother, getting on, man. Actually, I shouldn't be sarcastic, because I have always really enjoyed the abstract, but loving, nature of the great man's lyrics, and here is no exception.

The playing throughout is accomplished, and the orchestration, especially, provides the listener with a wonderful symphonic suite. Think of Yes, but with the bombast stripped out (not always a bad thing).

This probably would not appeal greatly to those yet to appreciate the joys of Anderson's solo material, or his Vangelis collaborations. For the rest of us, though, this single is a wonderful late career addition to a fine body of work, and is highly recommended.

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 The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman) by ANDERSON, JON album cover Live, 2011
3.03 | 12 ratings

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The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars The Living Tree comes alive

This is the live version of the Anderson/Wakeman album The Living Tree, enhanced by stripped-down versions of classic Yes songs. The songs from The Living Tree sound somewhat better to me in a live setting, they feel somehow more alive. And the fact that they are interspersed with well-known Yes songs like And You And I, Long Distance Runaround, and South Side Of The Sky, as well as the lovely The Meeting from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album, makes this live recording overall more interesting than the studio album.

Like on the studio album, the only performers here are Jon and Rick, so don't expect a band performance. The focal point is Jon's distinctive voice and Rick's characteristic playing. Since there are no electric guitars, no drums, bass, or harmony vocals, these versions are rather "naked". Jon sings and plays acoustic guitar while Rick's primary instrument is the Classical piano. However, it is not a completely acoustic performance as there are also some other, non-acoustic, keyboard instruments being used. The latter are given a somewhat stronger presence here than on the Living Tree studio album, which adds a somewhat greater variation in sounds.

Why this album is subtitled Part One I don't know. Can we expect a second part I wonder? This live album is thoroughly pleasant and you can feel that both performers enjoy themselves on stage. However, though better than the studio album, these undemanding performances are by no means essential.

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 The Living Tree (Anderson/Wakeman) by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.40 | 61 ratings

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The Living Tree (Anderson/Wakeman)
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Anyway and always

When neither of them were no longer members of Yes, it was natural for Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman to do something together. It was also not too surprising that they opted for a format that put Anderson's distinctive voice and Wakeman's characteristic playing sharply in focus. The result is a very stripped-down affair that is very nearly completely acoustic, dominated by lead vocals and Classical piano. There are no Moog-synthesiser or electric guitar solos, not even any drums or bass guitar. As such, this is not a (progressive) Rock album. This means that, even though Jon's voice and Rick's playing are both supremely distinctive and instantly recognisable, and that the album features the characteristic Roger Dean art work, The Living Tree cannot be compared to a Yes album (and it can certainly not, like the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album, be counted as a Yes album in everything but name). And, of course, making a Yes(-like) album was clearly not the intention here.

What we have here is a thoroughly pleasant set of undemanding songs driven by grand piano and vocals. While listening to these songs you get the feeling that they came easily to Jon and Rick and that they had a pleasant time recording them. It is an enjoyable listen, but it is not an album that lends itself to many repeated listens. I can recommend this only to serious Yes fans and to devoted followers of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman in particular. The general Prog fan can safely pass by.

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 The Promise Ring  by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.45 | 34 ratings

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The Promise Ring
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars I like Celtic music. I have a number of vinyls of early Clannad, some albums by De Danann, Alan Stivell, and some "minor" folk artists like "Veronique Chalot". I also like Jon's voice and this album has both.

I want to start from track 3: "Timing of the Known". I don't know, and I don't think that's a traditional song, but it can give us a clear idea of how strong the folk roots of Joa Anderson are. With a keyboard and a guitar instead of the fiddle and leaving the percussion as they are, this song could fit into Olias of Sunhillow. It's something that I've never realized before.

We won't find in this album dark or sad songs like "The Trees They Do Grow High". It's all made of happyness, flowers and good sentiments, as usual in Jon's solo works. There are songs which sound like Christmas carols, as in "3 Ships" and of course, nothing really progressive.

I quite like this album but its limit is in the fusion of the two styles (folk and Jon) which doesn't work perfectly so at the end this is nor a regular Anderson's album neither a folk one.

For die-hard fans.

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 Watching the Flags that Fly by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.03 | 11 ratings

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Watching the Flags that Fly
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is an official release from a collection of demos that Jon Anderson recorded after ABWH finished their tour in 1990, with the original aim that these songs could be recorded for the second ABWH album. But, as Anderson himself explains in the liner notes, the other members of the band were really not involved in the songwriting and in the recording of these demos as they were elsewhere working on other things. So, Anderson anyway started working in these demos with the help from other people (including some roadies). Most of these demos have been previously released in some bootlegs, but it is a good opportunity to listen to them in this official release by Anderson. "Take the Mountain to the Water" was the only song from these demos to be later re-recorded for the second ABWH album (which apparently was going to be titled as "Dialogue"), but as history shows, the second ABWH became part of the "Union" album from Yes in 1991 when Anderson and Chris Squire decided to join both bands (ABWH and Yes) in that album which really wasn`t as good as many people could expect. The version in demo form from this song is different in arrangements to the version which was released in "Union". But in a similar form as these demos were done, the songs which appear on "Union" under the ABWH band name were really recorded by Anderson with the help from a lot of session musicians like Jimmy Haun and Tony Levin and others, as the liner notes of that album show. And as long as I know, the only other song which was later re-recorded and released for an official release was "Is It Love?" which was recorded by Anderson for Jon and Vangelis` first version of their album ttled "Page of Life" (1991), apparently without Vangelis involvement, essentially being an Anderson`s solo recording. All these demos are very well recorded and mixed, but they really sound as demos, being not very polished and without more elaborate arrangements, with a very basic instrumentation using keyboards, vocals and drum machine plus some guitars in some songs. Some of them still sound in style like being recorded in the eighties, and most of them are ballads in style. In general the songs are good and this album is a good release by Anderson.

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 The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman) by ANDERSON, JON album cover Live, 2011
3.03 | 12 ratings

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The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars The whole 'going acoustic' from Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman isn't new. They did it back in 2006. Not just the concerts, they also released a new studio album after that called The Living Tree (2010). Both musicians don't need presentations. They were Yes pillars and every Progger know that.

In 2010 Anderson/Wakeman went on tour to support their studio album. They were basically playing Yes songs with new arrangements and also their new songs. The result of that tour is the live album The Living Tree In Concert Part One (2011). The album was released by Gonzo Multimedia and it's something quite unique. Rick Wakeman is the main man on the album, playing beautiful pianos and complementary keyboards. Jon Anderson fills his role quite well. Although his voice seems weak sometimes and his acoustic guitar playing isn't that great.

Old Yes songs like 'And You And I', Long Distance Runaround' (a big and positive surprise), 'Southside' and even a reggae version of 'Time And A Word' are really great and fun versions. In the other side we also have great original songs like 'Living Tree (Pats 1 & 2)', 'Morning Star' (this one's great) and 'The Meeting' (from Jon's first solo album). The rest of the album fall on the ballad side of things, which can be boring sometimes.

In general a 3.5 stars album with many great moments of two Prog legends. Just don't expect a lot of Prog in here, cause you'll not really find.

Key tracks: And You And I & Morning Star

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 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.93 | 267 ratings

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Olias of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On Olias of Sunhillow, Jon Anderson's contribution to the treasure trove of Yes-related solo albums produced during the band's mid-1970s hiatus, Anderson layers both conventional instruments and his own voice to produce a lush, symphonic underpinning for a saga inspired by Roger Dean album covers. The sort of voice-as-instrument multitracked experiment heard on here had a prequel in the form of We Have Heaven on Fragile, but whereas that was a brief, quirky experiment, here Anderson expands them form into sustained, sedate, and blissful space journeys, and proves himself an adept multi-instrumentalist at that.

If you're coming to this straight from listening to Yes you may find it a bit jarring, because whilst you can here echoes of the Yes sound here and there for the most part it's in a sonic universe of its own, but for my part I think this one is a real grower. It took a while before it grew on me, in fact, but now the mysteries of Moorglade are opening up to me I think it's a fine piece of work.

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 Earth Mother Earth  by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.01 | 33 ratings

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Earth Mother Earth
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by BORA

4 stars It's fair to say that Anderson displays a deep spiritual/esoteric devotion at every opportunity. This album largely follows that line with the emphasis here on Nature and the environment.

Starting off with an engaging, somewhat folkish piece is an instant hit with me - not that I listen to much Folk at all. "Time Has Come" is not typical for Anderson, but executed in a splendid manner and makes me want to hear more of that approach. Simple, yet effective and achieves it's aim of drawing immediate attention.

What follows is a bit of a disappointment after such start. Typical meandering pieces speckled with his usual angelic instrumentation. Musically, it fails to captivate however pleasant it may be in the right mood.

Then suddenly track 11 "Whalewatching" wakes me with a powerful guitar strumming that commands my attention again. Here, he drives his message through with gentle aggression (well, somebody had to come up with such term...). Curiously, the song goes out with a Celtic- like chant that surprisingly blends in well as an outro. (This chant is so haunting that I tend to sing it out loud on my walks at the beach, ready to be surprised by something out of the ordinary. It appears to be an effective call, inviting unseen realms to be present.)

Well, these two track pretty much are of the only interest to me here. If Anderson were to put together an album with similar songs, it would feature amongst my very favorites.

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