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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
Import
Atlantic UK 1998
Audio CD$5.82
$3.50 (used)
Song of SevenSong of Seven
Import
Atlantic UK 1998
Audio CD$35.30
$20.99 (used)
Change We MustChange We Must
Remastered · Import
Esoteric 2013
Audio CD$10.82
$26.84 (used)
Earth Mother EarthEarth Mother Earth
Relaxation Co. 1997
Audio CD$1.16
$0.98 (used)
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JON ANDERSON shows & tickets


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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)

3.94 | 270 ratings
Olias of Sunhillow
1976
2.72 | 103 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.34 | 80 ratings
Animation
1982
2.35 | 59 ratings
Three Ships
1985
2.61 | 69 ratings
In the City of Angels
1988
2.37 | 49 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.08 | 66 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.19 | 34 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.45 | 51 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
0.00 | 0 ratings
From Me To You
2008
3.41 | 62 ratings
The Living Tree (Anderson/Wakeman)
2010
3.66 | 55 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2011

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Sheffield 1980
2006
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)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Everybody Loves You
1980
3.06 | 6 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Surrender
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Boundaries
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Cage Of Freedom
1984
0.00 | 0 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
3.00 | 1 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
3.60 | 19 ratings
Open
2011
3.20 | 5 ratings
Race to the End
2012

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 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
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— 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.

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 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.

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 Cage Of Freedom by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Cage Of Freedom
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
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.

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 Hold On To Love by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Hold On To Love
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars While I still think that "In the City of Angels" is a very Pop Rock album from JON ANDERSON, very eighties influenced in musical style and production, it is a good album, anyway. And the best song from this album (in my opinion) was released in the Side One of this single / EP in 1988, along with a very commercial promotional video clip on which even Chris Squire appears briefly "playing" a contra- bass. In fact, it was thanks to that video clip, which I watched on TV once, that I listened to "Hold On To Love" for the first time in the late eighties.

"Hold On To Love" was composed by Anderson with Lamont Dozier, who is one of the persons in the trio of composers (Holland-Dozier-Holland) who composed a lot of songs for several Motown Records artists in the sixties (one of them were THE SUPREMES, a trio of female singers) and even THE BEATLES played and / or recorded some of their songs. The production of this song in particular is very good, with very good session musicians playing the song with very good arrangements. The song does not sound as a Motown song in musical style, but it is very good for my taste, even if it is a bit commercial. It has some very good keyboard arrangements which for me are the best part of the song.

"In a Lifetime", another song composed by Anderson and Dozier, is a ballad, a love song, which also shows some eighties music influences. It is maybe a bit "sugar song", but good, anyway.

By the way: Lamont Dozier also composed some songs with Phil Collins in 1988 for the soundtrack of the "Buster" movie, on which Collins had the main acting character.

"Sundancing (For The Hopi / Navajo Energy)" is a song composed by Anderson alone which has some New Age / World Music influences, sounding a bit similar in musical style to "Teakbois", a song which he was going to record for the "ANDERSON, BRUFORD, WAKEMAN, HOWE" album in 1989.

Three songs from the "In the City of Angels" album released in this single / EP, very eighites in production and style, but good anyway. Very well produced, sung, and recorded with very good session musicians. It is a very professional job, in my opinion.

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 Olias of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.94 | 270 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
3.41 | 62 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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