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JON ANDERSON

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Jon Anderson biography
John Roy ANDERSON - Born Oct. 25, 1944 (Accrington, Lancashire, UK)

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 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.

See also:
- Anderson - Bruford - Wakeman - Howe
- Anderson/Stolt
- Anderson-Ponty Band
- Jon & Vangelis

With the exception of "Olias of Sunhillow" however, r...
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JON ANDERSON discography


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

3.95 | 428 ratings
Olias Of Sunhillow
1976
2.81 | 165 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.33 | 131 ratings
Animation
1982
2.53 | 104 ratings
3 Ships
1985
2.66 | 111 ratings
In The City Of Angels
1988
2.46 | 82 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.02 | 116 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.31 | 61 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.42 | 88 ratings
Toltec
1996
3.06 | 61 ratings
Earthmotherearth
1997
2.56 | 59 ratings
The Promise Ring
1997
2.95 | 70 ratings
The More You Know
1998
3.73 | 44 ratings
The Fellowship: In Elven Lands
2006
3.43 | 95 ratings
Anderson / Wakeman: The Living Tree
2010
3.69 | 88 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2010
3.53 | 55 ratings
1000 Hands - Chapter One
2019

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

4.10 | 10 ratings
Live In Sheffield 1980
2006
3.67 | 12 ratings
The Mother's Day Concert
2007
3.13 | 15 ratings
Live From La La land
2007
3.19 | 24 ratings
The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
2011

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

4.02 | 22 ratings
Tour Of The Universe
2005

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

2.22 | 12 ratings
The Deseo Remixes
1995
3.03 | 16 ratings
Lost Tapes Of Opio
1996
3.95 | 20 ratings
Searching For The Songs
2006
2.18 | 11 ratings
From Me To You
2006
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Lost Tapes
2006
3.26 | 20 ratings
Watching The Flags That Fly
2006

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

4.00 | 4 ratings
(The Autobiography of) Mississippi Hobo / Sonata of Love
1968
4.33 | 3 ratings
Never My Love / All of the Time
1968
5.00 | 4 ratings
Flight of the Moorglade
1976
3.21 | 11 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
3.22 | 4 ratings
Everybody Loves You
1980
4.50 | 4 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time
1982
2.46 | 5 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
1982
3.24 | 6 ratings
Surrender
1982
3.22 | 4 ratings
Boundaries
1982
2.56 | 5 ratings
Cage Of Freedom
1984
4.33 | 3 ratings
Easier Said Than Done
1985
3.50 | 9 ratings
Shine - Mike Oldfield with Jon Anderson
1986
4.33 | 3 ratings
Michael Oldfield / Jon Anderson - In High Places
1987
4.50 | 2 ratings
Is It Me
1988
3.18 | 7 ratings
Hold On To Love
1988
5.00 | 1 ratings
Whatever You Believe
1988
5.00 | 2 ratings
Far Far Cry
1990
3.75 | 4 ratings
Jon Anderson / Kitaro - Island of Life
1992
3.39 | 12 ratings
Change We Must (single)
1994
3.67 | 6 ratings
Candle Song
1994
5.00 | 1 ratings
Maybe
1998
4.00 | 2 ratings
State of Independence
2005
3.22 | 8 ratings
The Lost Tapes Sampler
2006
4.50 | 2 ratings
Give Hope
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Unbroken Spirit
2010
3.68 | 27 ratings
Open
2011
3.06 | 11 ratings
Race to the End
2012
4.33 | 3 ratings
Brasilian Music Sound
2012
3.88 | 8 ratings
Makes Me Happy
2019
5.00 | 1 ratings
Go Screw Yourself
2020

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.53 | 55 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jon Anderson will forever be associated with Yes, titans of the genre this site is dedicated to. His was the voice which first got me into serious progressive music all those years ago in the heady mid-70's.

He has also released a number of solo albums, and it is fair to say that most people reading this will state that nothing has come close to topping the first one, Olias of Sunhillow, although my personal favourite is Change We Must.

1000 Hands is a project gestating for something akin to 20 years. Only Gabriel seems more pedestrian in completing new work.

The album features a cast of thousands, but is notable for having former Yes cohorts Howe, Squire, Rabin, Wakeman, and White involved. For those eager to see any classic lineup reunited, it must be said that this is the closest Howe will get to Jon these days.

It is an eclectic mix of music, but what does really strike one is just how good that wonderful voice still sounds. Anderson plays about with his familiar interests, namely spirituality, Native American sounds, the cod reggae heard here on First Born Leaders and once presented to embarrassing effect on Teakbois from ABWH, choral and orchestral arrangements.

It is a tad too diverse in my opinion to succeed wholly, although there is much to enjoy. The "Now" suite of music is split into three parts, and might have worked better as a whole piece, because it evokes some lovely sounds and arrangements, with Anderson really sounding as good as he ever has done. The album closing sequence gives you goosebumps, with Howe shining on classical guitar. Oh, what might have been, eh?

Ramalama is a fun track, full of grooves. The choral arrangements backing Anderson on First Born Leaders at the denouement absolutely rescue a track which commences with aforementioned cod reggae.

The other famous Anderson, Ian of Tull fame, plays a lovely flute backing track on Activate, and this together with some lovely string and choral pieces bring what would have been a somewhat rambling piece of lyricism in the first part to life. The track is almost 9 minutes long, and the closing half is nothing but a joy, full of life, sound, and a vibrant celebration of music and life.

In varying forums and reviews, the greatest criticism has been reserved for Makes Me Happy, an extraordinarily weird piece of pop music dedicated, naturally, to Janeeeeeeeeeeeee. The video accompanying this really has to be seen to be believed to appreciate the extent of how years of imbibing smelly weed can turn the mind upside down. Joking aside, my view here is that the track does, actually, make me smile, and that isn't such a bad thing, is it?

In much the same vein, only Anderson could really pull off a track such as I Found Myself. It is another love song, and the words will be familiar to any long time fan. Think of If Only I Knew from The Ladder, and you will be very close, but this does feature some fine violin, pulsating bass lines and pretty choral effects.

Twice in a Lifetime is a curious track, at once baroque, then something akin to a sea shanty at times. The violin playing on this is deeply moving, and it is here that I believe Anderson could have been far more adventurous, certainly given the time it took to realise this work. For this song would have been quite gorgeous had it been performed with a full symphony orchestra, rather than the bits and pieces it has. As it is, it is pleasant, but not a great deal more than that.

The other single release from the album is WDMCF, an acronym for Where Does Music Come From? This is another sort of maddening track for me. There are some wonderful vocal arrangements, more orchestration, and it was born from his chanting of a morning (as you do. A cup of tea normally does me, but it takes all sorts), but, again, this could have been so much more. It directly segues into the title track, 100 Hands (Come Up), and this, again, cries out, as with the previous tracks, for a full symphonic arrangement and live performance. It is far too bitty, the jazzy piano and double bass solos especially simply sounding completely out of place. There is a personal bias here. I have always loathed trad jazz, especially its pretentious sound patterns dressed up as improvisation, and this track sails too close to that particular wind for my liking. However, when the violin, keys, oboe, brass, and voices soar towards the end, the result is stunning, and a very frustrating shout out for what could have been.

To summarise, an album which has taken so long to produce should not sound, as much of this does, rushed. There are some lovely highlights, but they are too few and far between. In fact, that could almost be a narrative on Jon's entire solo career, and proves to me that old adage that great bands are made of a collective of genius, working closely together for a common goal. Thus Yes. Far greater together than apart.

I can only award this 3 stars. Good, but utterly non-essential. A shame, really.

 Change We Must by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.02 | 116 ratings

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Change We Must
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars To many listeners this album is a highlight in the rather uneven solo discography of our beloved YES-vocalist. I agree. The songs were skilfully arranged for a chamber orchestra, and the result is very balanced, elegant and nowhere near the usual cheesiness so often present in pop meets art music kind of crossover albums. The richly nuanced arrangements never get too pompous and they work extremely well together with Jon's voice which is as good as ever on this album.

Some of the songs are recycled from older albums, although I was originally - when reviewing this for a prog magazine in 2014 - only familiar with 'Hearts' from the Yes album 90125 (1983) and the Jon & Vangelis hit 'State of Independence'. The latter opens this album and features some use of a children's choir. There are also three piano- centred instrumentals, credited to Jon Anderson and David Tolley. Pretty nice, surprising move in a vocalist's album.

The greatest highlights are the romantically beautiful and yet not syrupy 'Chagall Duet' with French soprano Sandrine Piau, the intimately delicate 'Candle Song', originating from the final Jon & Vangelis album Page of Life (1991), and, most of all, the lovely, lovely title song 'Change We Must'. Its uplifting deep emotion indeed makes me feel some of the universal love that Jon is known for, and the same kids' choir is the cherry on top.

For those Jon Anderson fans who appreciate art music and delicacy, this album is a must, but undoubtedly some prog listeners may find it a bit too soft. The Esoteric Recordings' re-release features a 5-minute interview with Jon on this album and the title track's shortened single version.

 Olias Of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 428 ratings

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Olias Of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Psychedelic Paul

5 stars JON ANDERSON needs no introduction, but the longstanding frontman of YES deserves an introduction anyway, so here goes..... He was born in Accrington, Lancashire in 1944. Anderson was a member of his brother's band, The Warriors, during the mid-1960's and he joined YES bassist Chris Squire's band, Mabel Greer's Toyshop in 1968. They changed the name of the band to YES later that same year. He was the lead vocalist on all but one of the YES albums from the first self-titled album in 1969, through to the "Magnification" album in 2001. The only exception was the 1980 "Drama" album which featured Trevor Horn on vocal duties. Jon Anderson was also the frontman on the "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe" album, a YES album in all but name. He had a long-lasting musical partnership with Vangelis, recording four sophisticated albums of Electronica together as Jon & Vangelis:- "Short Stories" (1980); "The Friends of Mr Cairo" (1981); "Private Collection" (1983); & "Page of Life" (1991). He joined with fellow YES member Rick Wakeman in 2010 to record "The Living Tree" album. Jon Anderson's most recent collaboration was the "Better Late Than Never" (2015) album with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings. This album, "Olias of Sunhillow" (1976), is the first of Jon's fifteen solo albums, with his latest album "1000 Hands: Chapter One", released as recently as 2019. His second album "Song of Seven" (1980) is also in the progressive mould, before he branched out into other avenues of music, such as regular Pop/Rock and New Age albums. "Olias of Sunhillow" is a concept album, recorded at a time when the concept album was King in the weird and wonderful world of Progressive Rock. The album tells the story of an alien race looking for a new world to colonise, following the destruction of their home planet in a volcanic catastrophe. Jon Anderson wrote all of the music and lyrics, and played all of the musical instruments featured on the album, so this really IS a solo album, in the true sense of the word. Let's don the flares, Afghan coat and platform shoes now as we travel back in time to those halcyon Prog-Rock days of the mid 1970's.

The album opens in dramatic style with the the sound of rumbling waves in the instrumental "Ocean Song". We then hear the exotic sound of a synth, which somehow conjures up images of the mystical East with its oriental vibe. This acts as a prelude to "Meeting (Garden Of Geda)", a buoyant and uplifting song that sounds like a more melodic and harmonic version of YES. The lyrics tell a story of a spacecraft embarking on a journey to escape a doomed planet:- "There stands Olias to outward to build a ship, Holding within all hope we retain, The frame will be so built to challenge the universe." ..... This is "YES lite" without the constant changes of tempo, sudden key changes and crashing chords that we've become so accustomed to over the years from classic YESSONGS. The "Olias of Sunhillow" album is still very much in Progressive Rock territory, but it's gentle and melodic Prog-Rock with a New Age oriental feel to it. Our journey across the universe continues now with "Dance Of Raynart, a beautiful instrumental number, featuring the gentle sound of a harp combined with mesmerizing keyboards. This leads us into "Olias (To Build the Moonglade), a passionately uplifting song full of optimism, as the alien colonists begin building their spaceship. Onwards now to the mysteriously titled 7-minute-long, three-piece suite,"Qoquaq �n Transic"/"Naon"/"Transic Tö". It's a gorgeous-sounding oriental instumental, opening to the sound of gently melodic swirling synths. This transposes into "Naon", a bright and breezy happy-clappy New Age chant, before returning to the redolent sound of the oriental synth in "Transic To". Our space colonists now embark on their journey across the universe with "Flight of the Moorglade", to close out Side One. This is an ebullient and uplifting song which is positively aglow with optimistic exuberance. Just take a look at these inspiring lyrics:- "The first to venture, First to gain, Exploring daylight, Clearer than the Talloplanic view." ..... No idea what the "Talloplanic view" is, but it sounds good and the joyfully intoxicating music is guaranteed to put you in jubilant mood and high spirits, without the aid of any alcoholic beverages.

We enter "Solid Space" now with the opening of Side Two. We're in full Symphonic Prog mode here with this rousing and restorative piece of music. It's a surging, tympanic and superlative song, bursting with glorious optimism. Okay, that's enough adjectives for now, so onwards we travel through space to "Moon Ra"/"Chords"/"Song of Search". Yes, it's another three-piece suite (no, not two armchairs & a sofa). "Moon Ra" is another New Age chant. If we weren't travelling through space, then this is the kind of jolly and vibrant song you might hear New Age revellers chanting as they dance around a tree (possibly naked) by the light of a silvery moon. This leads us onto "Chords", which, not surprisingly, is a song full of bright and uplifting, reverberating major chords to elevate the spirits up into the stratosphere and beyond. The three-piece suite concludes with "Song of Search", a hauntingly atmospheric piece of instrumental music to transport you to a higher plane of musical existence. This is soothing and sophisticated melodic prog that reaches the places that other prog-rock albums can only aspire to. We drift gently back to Earth now with the closing song on the album, "To the Runner", a joyous and jubilant hymnal melody. The music is all aglow with some positively inspirational and spiritual vibes. If only they played music in church as good as this, it might be enough to turn an atheist into a religious devotee!

You don't HAVE to be a YES fan to enjoy this album, because "Olias of Sunhillow" is a gently melodic and harmonic departure from the sound of YES, but if you ARE a fan of YES, then the familiar sound of Jon Anderson's voice may be enough to inspire you to go out and buy the album. It's still Progressive Rock, but it's Prog-Rock given a New Age oriental twist, in true Jon Anderson style. If I could choose just one word to describe the beautiful music contained within this marvellous album, it's Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.53 | 55 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Finally, after 9 years, Jon Anderson, the vocalist for Yes (at least most of the time) released his 16th full length solo studio album "1000 Hands ? Chapter One" in March of 2019. Jon has also invited over 50 musicians to help him out with this one so that he can concentrate on his vocals and composition. Among these musicians are several past fellow Yes members Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Allan White and Trevor Rabin. Other musicians include Chick Corea, Steve Morse, Pat Travers, Ian Anderson, Edgar Winter, Jean Luc Ponty, the Orlando Symphony Orchestra and so many others. The album consists of 11 tracks with a total run time of over 50 minutes, and according to the title, I would imagine there will be more chapters to this project.

Anyone that feared that Jon's voice would not be able to carry a new album needs not worry as his voice is as strong as ever. So are his compositional skills. As I expected, most of the tracks on this album depend on world music influences, but in amazing ways, and the songs on this album will lift you up out of any bad mood because of their positive and spiritual feel. Using tribal rhythms and traditional world sounds, this album will elevate you. On "First Born Leaders", Jon utilizes the choral group "Voices of Lindahl" to back him up effectives on the choruses. "Ramalama" uses an infectious groove and rhythms that will make you want to get up and dance. He becomes his own background singer on this track utilizing voice loops quite effectively to enhance the rhythms even more. The 8+ minute "Activate" moves to an acoustic sound with guitar and flute interspersed with natural sounds. As the track continues, additions of violin and shimmering keyboards continue as layers of music continue with very little percussion. Later, Jon increases the tempo smoothly in his singing and the instruments follow along until a regular beat is reached and more percussion is added. Everything reaches a huge climax and then ends on a soft and glowing feeling.

While it's true that the track "Makes Me Happy" is a bit corny, it still makes you happy. I suppose that he can be allowed one cringe-worthy song but who else but Jon Anderson can make you feel embarrassed for him and happy at the same time. Thank goodness that track is short and that he moves away from cragginess to a more lush and lovesly "I Found Myself" where he shares vocals and uses vocal effects along with the lead instrument being a violin. "Twice in a Lifetime" keeps things simple with violin and accordion giving the track a European/Romanian sound. This turns orchestral during the instrumental break. "WDMCF" uses vocal layering to create some nice harmonics and adds some programmed beats and orchestral instrumentation, adding organic percussion later. Another track exceeding 8 minutes follows in "1,000 Hands (Come Up)". As the previous track flows into it with a lovely piano interlude. This piano turns jazzy after a quick drum passage. A moderate drum pattern is established and the piano and other traditional percussion like steel drums add into this lyric heavy first section. The tropical jazz sound continues through an instrumental break that features a violin solo. The choral group featured previously joins in again later.

Jon's solo albums are usually far from the progressiveness of "Yes", and many times tend to fall far from the mark of true excellence that this album achieves. While it is true that this album is not really progressive (it is Prog-related after all), it is still quite an amazing album and is proof that Jon still has a great voice and is also an amazing composer. There are a few minor weaknesses, but it is infectious and beautiful, and it has a lot of positive energy, which is something we are used to as far as Jon Anderson is concerned. When he is free to express himself the way he wants to in his solo music, the spirituality and postiveness shine through even more. Sometimes, that works to his detriment in his solo albums, making them sound cheesy, but that is not the case with this album. This is the Jon Anderson album I have been waiting for, but since it lacks in progressive traits, for the purpose of this site it gets 4 stars, but personally for my own purposes, I would give it 5. Excellent album.

 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.53 | 55 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I encountered Yes with Close to the Edge (1972), from there I went backwards in their discography and then became a close follower until Tormato (1978) which marked for me their downfall and in between I acquired Jon Anderson´s first solo release Olias of Sunhillow (1976) which is still my favorite Anderson solo project , but not over his Yes masterpieces.

Jon Anderson always presented me with a controversial issue: great composer & good lyricist but a hard to love, at least for me, vocal register and sadly, more than once, I actually think it twice to listen to him or Yes for the same reason.

This collection of songs which is going to be an ongoing one as far as I understand named 1000 Hands- Chapter One (2019), really fits the collectible tag and in some way that is what it aims for. An eleven track album displaying an All Stars guest list playing alongside Mr. Anderson´s musical ideas and vocals.

Music composition wise his well known late solo musical language prevails and some minor brushes with his past one , no big surprises from there, but the merge of different rhythms and styles on a single album and of course the before mentioned collaborator´s performances.

Some very good moments (track 4 -Activate & track 11- Now and Again), good acoustic arrangements all over but some other moments are not so enticing or memorable.

3 PA ´s stars.

 Hold On To Love by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
3.18 | 7 ratings

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Hold On To Love
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A nice, catchy, jazzy single from In the City of Angels, "Hold on to Love" was written by Anderson and Lamont Dozier, one of the greatest pop and R&B songwriters of all time. Dozier, who was part of the Holland?Dozier?Holland team, co-wrote sixteen US #1 songs.

"Hold on to Love" isn't exactly US #1 material, but it's much more chart-friendly than most anything Anderson recorded before or after. Oddly, Anderson supposedly quit Yes earlier the same year because the band had gone commercial ("be gone, you ever-piercing power play machine / cutting our musical solidarity ... for too long I have danced to your destiny..."), and yet In the City of Angels, and "Hold on to Love" in particular, represented Anderson's most mainstream music since he recorded as Hans Christian in the late 1960s.

But I digress. Epic 651514 2, the release specified here on Prog Archives, was a three-track CD single released in Europe, although apparently it was not a promo. It contained the album versions of "Hold on to Love," "In a Lifetime," and "Sundancing (For the Hopi/Navajo Energy)." A standard commercial single was released in throughout Europe and North America, as well as in Japan and Australia, with "Hold on to Love (edit)" b/w "Sundancing." The edited version of "Hold on to Love" fades out about 50 seconds early; otherwise it sounds like the same mix.

"Hold on to Love" has an interesting structure. Following the first verse is technically the pre-chorus, but inasmuch it begins with a repetition of "hold on to love," it appears to be the chorus. The next distinct section seems to be the bridge, but repeated listenings reveal that it's actually the chorus proper. The real bridge comes later. It's hard to tell exactly what Anderson and Dozier each brought to the song. Dozier is thought of as a lyricist, but the lyrics are more Andersonian than the music.

"Sundancing (For the Hopi/Navajo Energy)" is a vaguely "world music" song akin to "Teakbios" from Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, which is not a good thing in my opinion. Lyrically it echoes "In the Big Dream" and "Fist of Fire" from that same album (e.g., "come alive the singers out of the sun / come alive the dancers out of the moon / come alive the passion...").

"In a Lifetime," the other Anderson-Dozier composition, is a saccharine adult-contemporary song that, I think it's entirely fair to say, is about as un-progressive as a song can be. Plus it's a cloying panderfest. However, when assigning a star rating to a single, I'll increase the rating if the b-side is good, but I usually won't penalize the single if the b-side is poor (which is certainly the case here).

Bottom line: "Hold on to Love" is good, but certainly not great. It's one of Anderson's stronger solo songs. Yes and Jon Anderson completionists may want the single edit; it has been released on a few compilations, but as far as I know it's not widely available. For everyone else, the version on In the City of Angels should suffice.

 Cage Of Freedom by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.56 | 5 ratings

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Cage Of Freedom
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Jon Anderson has contributed some very good songs to soundtracks and other multi-artist albums, like "Far Far Cry" and "Within the Lost World," from Jonathan Elias's Requiem for the Americas: Songs from the Lost World (1989), and the masterful "Loved by the Sun" (1985, with Tangerine Dream, from the Legend soundtrack). But he's turned in some duds, too, like "This Time It Was Really Right" from the soundtrack to St. Elmo's Fire (1985). Then there's this song, from Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis, the 1984 restoration/edit of the 1927 Fritz Lang film.

Anderson writes or co-writes almost everything he sings, so "Cage of Freedom," written by Pete Bellotte (lyrics) and Giorgio Moroder (music), is a rarity. While Bellotte and Moroder wrote the majority of Metropolis, Billy Squier and Freddie Mercury co-wrote the songs on which they sing. And while Moroder produced the album, Mercury and Squier co-produced their songs, and Pat Benatar and Loverboy used their regular producers alongside Moroder. The fact that Anderson isn't included in the production credits seems odd, but for all I know the issue was that he was signed to a non-CBS record contract. I should point out, though, that the closing couplets of "Cage of Freedom" ("Big brother, is there a bigger one watching you / or is there one smaller...") sound like they were contributed by Anderson, and they aren't included with the printed lyrics included with some editions.

The lyrics are thematic, addressing the issue of self-imprisonment, which has been discussed in the psychological literature since at least since the 1960s. Some emphasis is placed on the notion that the individual under self-imprisonment necessarily plays two directly opposed roles: jailer and inmate.

"Cage of Freedom" is not progressive rock. I wouldn't even call it art rock or art pop. It's synth-pop, and it's as good as any representative of 1984 MTV-friendly pop/rock. It's electric guitars and vocals over a synth-and-drum-machine backing. It fits right in with 1984 hits by the Cars, Rod Stewart, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Corey Hart, and Queen. The mood of the music is a bit ambiguous, which suits the lyrics.

"Cage of Freedom" is nothing like Yes, even 1980s Yes, but it's also nothing like most of Anderson's solo output. But judged as 1980s synthesizer soundtrack music it's pretty good.

(P.S.: the b-side, "Worker's Dance," is an instrumental credited to Moroder. It appears to be incidental music from Metropolis which was not included on the album. It's nice, standard-issue 1980s dance music.)

 Song of Seven by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.81 | 165 ratings

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Song of Seven
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by tdfloyd

4 stars Count me in as one who really enjoys this mans singing. If you judge this album on its 'progginess', well there really isn't any. This album is basically a pop rock album. The playing is very good with some of the players having well known pedigree. But the star here is Jon Anderson and his voice. Most of the lyrics upbeat and leave you feeling good when your done listening. I know the Olias fans will think I have gone deaf but this is his fav album for me. So for the rating, if one is to stick strictly by the PA rating, you could only give 'Song of Seven' a 1,2,3 due to its lack of prog on the album. I'm rating it on how much I like it and I'm giving it a strong 3 Rounded to 4.
 All In A Matter Of Time / Spider by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
2.46 | 5 ratings

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All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Taken from the album Animation, "All in a Matter of Time" was released with a variety of b-sides, including "Much Better Reason," "Surrender" (both from Animation) and "Spider," a non-LP track.

Since the single version of "All in a Matter of Time" appears to be the the same as the one from Animation, the main attraction here is "Spider," due to the fact that it was an out-of-print rarity for about 25 years. In fact, in the US, "Spider" is probably better known as the b-side to "Surrender." Anderson is credited as the songwriter of both sides of the single.

"All in a Matter of Time" was released as a single in several countries, including the UK, US, the Netherlands, and Canada. It didn't make the Canadian (RPM) or US (Billboard) charts. It's a nice enough tune, but its singsong vibe probably didn't help its marketability. On the other hand, from 1980 to 1982, Anderson hit #109 on Billboard with "Some are Born," and twice made it to the top 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 as half of Jon & Vangelis. In Canada, Jon & Vangelis had a national #1 pop single (yes, #1) with the harder-edged "The Friends of Mr. Cairo" in 1981. But "All in a Matter or Time" has a minimal amount of dissonance, musically and lyrically - - which makes it less interesting, at least to me. It does succeed in being inoffensive.

After the single went out of print, "Spider" was not commercially available until the 2006 CD re-release of Animation, which itself had been deleted from the Polydor catalog for many years. There's a reason "Spider" didn't make it on to Animation: after a fairly interesting, minute-long instrumental introduction, Anderson sings in free-verse of a thirteenth zodiacal sign, the Spider (or Greek "spider goddess" Arachne). So far so good - - the problem is that a child also reads the lyrics over Anderson's vocals. After another Anderson-only vocal section, the final section of the song is a return to the intro with a nice guitar solo, ending in a cold stop.

Beyond Anderson's reasonable argument that forces of evil must be opposed, the message of "Spider" is a bit unclear to me - - although that's nothing new when it comes to Jon Anderson lyrics! Unfortunately, the music here is as good as almost anything on Animation, so it's too bad it wasn't paired with more suitable lyrics - - or even included as an instrumental. It reminds me of a foreshortened pop version of Yes's "Awaken" - - and that's a good thing.

But overall, this is one for Jon Anderson fans and completists who don't have a recent copy Animation, which contains both of these songs.

 Race to the End by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.06 | 11 ratings

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Race to the End
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In the US, Vangelis's 1981 single "Chariots of Fire - Titles" was a big hit, reaching #1 on both the Cashbox and Billboard charts in 1982. It was one of 24 number-one instrumentals in the 60-year history of the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a top-ten hit in several other English-speaking countries.

As familiar as I was with "Chariots of Fire - Titles," and despite my interest in Jon Anderson's music, I never knew until today, while preparing this review, that Anderson wrote lyrics for the song, which in its vocal version is known as "Race to the End." A number of recordings of the Vangelis-Anderson composition were released in 1982, including one by Melissa Manchester and another by Vangelis's former bandmate Demis Roussos.

Since "Chariots of Fire" was the theme of a movie about the 1924 Olympics, it's been associated with the quadrennial games, and Anderson apparently released this version in connection with the 2012 Games. (His interest in the Olympics is also reflected in the title song of Yes's Going for the One (1977).) "Race to the End" is a download-only single with no b-side.

This is a well-composed, well-performed song. It's unlikely to be mistaken for progressive rock; it's not progressive, and it's definitely not rock. But it fits the Prog Archives criteria for three stars: "good, but not essential."

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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