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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, readers...
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JON ANDERSON Videos (YouTube and more)


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Survival & Other StoriesSurvival & Other Stories
Gonzo/Voiceprint 2011
$13.72
Olias of SunhillowOlias of Sunhillow
Atlantic UK 1998
$68.98 (used)
Song of SevenSong of Seven
Atlantic UK 1998
$24.99 (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)

3.94 | 398 ratings
Olias Of Sunhillow
1976
2.79 | 150 ratings
Song of Seven
1980
3.33 | 120 ratings
Animation
1982
2.50 | 94 ratings
3 Ships
1985
2.66 | 101 ratings
In The City Of Angels
1988
2.44 | 77 ratings
Deseo
1994
4.04 | 104 ratings
Change We Must
1994
2.28 | 56 ratings
Angels Embrace
1995
3.44 | 82 ratings
Toltec
1996
3.05 | 58 ratings
Earthmotherearth
1997
2.53 | 56 ratings
The Promise Ring
1997
2.95 | 67 ratings
The More You Know
1998
3.70 | 39 ratings
The Fellowship: In Elven Lands
2006
3.41 | 89 ratings
Anderson / Wakeman: The Living Tree
2010
3.70 | 82 ratings
Survival And Other Stories
2010
3.56 | 32 ratings
1000 Hands - Chapter One
2019

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

3.86 | 7 ratings
Live In Sheffield 1980
2006
3.55 | 11 ratings
The Mother's Day Concert
2007
3.12 | 12 ratings
Live From La La land
2007
3.14 | 22 ratings
The Living Tree In Concert Part One (Anderson/Wakeman)
2011

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

3.98 | 18 ratings
Tour Of The Universe
2005

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

2.16 | 11 ratings
The Deseo Remixes
1995
3.03 | 16 ratings
Lost Tapes Of Opio
1996
3.89 | 19 ratings
Searching For The Songs
2006
1.90 | 10 ratings
From Me To You
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Lost Tapes
2006
3.17 | 17 ratings
Watching The Flags That Fly
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
(The Autobiography of) Mississippi Hobo / Sonata of Love
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Never My Love / All of the Time
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Flight of the Moorglade
1976
3.08 | 8 ratings
Some Are Born
1980
3.00 | 1 ratings
Everybody Loves You
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
All In A Matter Of Time / Spider
1982
3.05 | 3 ratings
Surrender
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Boundaries
1982
2.35 | 3 ratings
Cage Of Freedom
1984
4.00 | 1 ratings
Easier Said Than Done
1985
3.47 | 9 ratings
Shine - Mike Oldfield with Jon Anderson
1986
4.00 | 1 ratings
Michael Oldfield / Jon Anderson - In High Places
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Is It Me
1988
3.12 | 5 ratings
Hold On To Love
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Whatever You Believe
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Far Far Cry
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jon Anderson / Kitaro - Island of Life
1992
3.28 | 10 ratings
Change We Must (single)
1994
3.25 | 5 ratings
Candle Song
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Maybe
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
State of Independence
2005
3.15 | 8 ratings
The Lost Tapes Sampler
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Give Hope
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Unbroken Spirit
2010
3.66 | 23 ratings
Open
2011
3.03 | 8 ratings
Race to the End
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
Brasilian Music Sound
2012
3.00 | 3 ratings
Makes Me Happy
2019

JON ANDERSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 1000 Hands - Chapter One by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.56 | 32 ratings

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1000 Hands - Chapter One
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic 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
3.56 | 32 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
3.12 | 5 ratings

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Hold On To Love
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq

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
2.35 | 3 ratings

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Cage Of Freedom
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq

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
2.79 | 150 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
2.00 | 1 ratings

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

Review by patrickq

— First review of this album —
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
3.03 | 8 ratings

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Race to the End
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by patrickq

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."

 Open by ANDERSON, JON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.66 | 23 ratings

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Open
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by Progfan1958

4 stars Here is Jon's 20 minute creation from 2011 that was released as a download only. It really shows his strength with long-form pieces, and definitely succeeds in capturing his musical vision. He does re-use some of the vocal melodies and structures he's visited before, but for the most part it's an all-new musical experience. Jon teamed up with his friend Stefan Podell to create a heavily symphonic piece with minimal rock instrumentation. It plays out in my mind as something of a Yes/Jon&Vangelis/Jon Solo hybrid, and I think it would be very suitable as accompaniment to choreographed dance. I don't know if it's ever been performed live, but it could certainly be something he might take to Yes/ARW and have them build it into a progressive rock "epic" similar to "The Gates Of Delirium" . Maybe Jon, Rick and Trevor could poach Billy Sherwood from Yes for the bass guitar parts and coax Bill Bruford out of retirement for the drums ? ;) If only....
 Olias Of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.94 | 398 ratings

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Olias Of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 211

Jon Anderson is a British poet, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, but he is better known for his work as the front man and one of the founder members of Yes. He was also one of the main composers of the group. However, he is also known because his very extensive and somehow interesting solo career and also because his collaboration with various bands and musicians. So, despite his solo career and member of Yes, Anderson collaborated with Vangelis on Jon & Vangelis project with several albums, with his colleagues of Yes, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and Alan White, and also with many other artists and bands, such as King Crimson, Iron Butterfly, Vangelis, Mike Oldfield, Giorgio Moroder, John Paul Jones, Tangerine Dream, Milton Nascimento, Dream Theater and Glass Hammer.

'Olias Of Sunhillow' is the debut studio album of Jon Anderson and was released in 1976. It was one of the five solo albums released by the five members of Yes in 1975 and 1976, during a hiatus after the release of their seventh studio album 'Relayer', in 1974, along with Chris Squire's 'Fish Out Of Water', Steve Howe's 'Beginnings', Patrick Moraz's 'Story Of I' and Alan White's 'Ramshackled'. It became to be the most successful of Yes' solo efforts, reaching # 8 in the UK charts and breaking into the US top 50. It's perhaps the best musical work of all those albums of Yes' members.

'Olias Of Sunhillow' is a conceptual album inspired by the writings of Vera Stanley Alder, an American portrait painter and mystic woman which wrote several books on self-help and spirituality and that also founded the World Guardian Fellowship. So, Jon Anderson has developed the entire story around the idea of the interstellar exodus from the planet Sunhillow, and wrote the album around a narrative based on the character of the spaceship's architect, Olias. 'Olias Of Sunhillow' tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world due to a natural catastrophe. Olias is the chosen architect of the glider Moorglade, which will be used to save his people to their new home. Ranyart is the navigator of the glider and Qoquaq is the leader who unites the four tribes of Sunhillow to realise the entire exodus.

The album's concept cover was inspired by the art of Roger Dean of Yes' album 'Fragile'. It depicts a tiny planet breaking apart and a glider escaping into space. 'Olias Of Sunhillow' sleeve features a series artworks by the English artist David Fairbrother Roe, who was also known because the produce of the artwork, posters and tickets for the famous Isle Of Wight music festivals from 1968 to 1970 and also due to the art for books and albums of other bands.

'Olias Of Sunhillow' has eight tracks. The concept, the songs and the lyrics are all by Jon Anderson, and all vocals and instruments are also performed by Jon Anderson (lead and backing vocals, guitars, harp, synthesizer and percussions).

Jon Anderson's solo debut album is an impressive and unique conceptual album with a very mystical and otherworldly atmosphere. All tracks float into each other and make a continuous and very pleasant flow. The music often borders on New Age, but without becoming too boring and too sweet. The arrangements consist of lots of overdubbed vocal harmonies by Anderson, who also plays some harp here, percussion, acoustic guitar and loads of very Vangelis inspired synthesizer work. The compositions vary between acoustic and structured songs, more free floating and almost spacey passages and then to parts with atmospheric themes that build up and are repeated for several minutes to create a very hypnotic effect. Personally, I think the sound of the album is so unique that it's hard to compare it with anything else. The acoustic passages can of course remind of some Yes' songs like the first part of 'I've Seen All Good People' and 'Wonderous Stories' but the sound as a whole, is very original and unique. Some slight eastern influences can also be litened on some parts of the album. The music here is a seamless combination of acoustic instruments, guitar, sitar, harp, many types of percussions and synthesizers. As simplistic as that description is, add many layers of Jon Anderson's voice, in melody and harmony, and you have a timeless treasure. By today's standards this isn't such an amazing accomplishment. However, in 1976 it was a brilliant revelation to achieve such a cohesive final balance.

Conclusion: 'Olias Of Sunhillow' is the album closer to the original sound of Yes of the five solo albums released by the members of the band at the time. Despite its differences, we can say that there are several songs that could easily fit in Yes' own musical catalogue, and also the lyrics continue to mine the mystical musings of the band and that Yes fans had come to enjoy. However, 'Olias Of Sunhillow' isn't the missing Yes' album that some might hope to be. As I said before, 'Olias Of Sunhillow' is the closest album to Yes' sound and is also the most original album, with 'Story Of I' of Patrick Moraz, of the all solo projects of Yes' members. On it, Anderson plays a lot of different musical instruments and the vocals are great as usual, or even better than in Yes. All in all, this is a very exotic, hypnotic, complex and fascinating album, created by one of the most complex and brilliant minds of the progressive rock music in the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Olias Of Sunhillow by ANDERSON, JON album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.94 | 398 ratings

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Olias Of Sunhillow
Jon Anderson Prog Related

Review by shantiq

4 stars Yesterday I went to a record fair and picked up a piece of vinyl I had not seen since i was 18 in 1976. Title is OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW by Jon Anderson of Yes. It comes in a green sleeve with a booklet with the storyline depicted therein. A goblin-fest with childish images and graphics to boot. The music is excellent. But the text looks like he boiled all of Tolkien works in a heated spoon and mainlined that whilst holding a pen waiting for the Muse to strike. And it/she struck him good. It got me thinking that if anyone wanted to place the birth of prog around a Whiter Shade of Pale 67/8 this here opus might be the apex of the genre; can only go downhill past that post. How do you outprog that? Any ideas? For me the organ/synth-rich soup offered here; and again a very fine soup it is; coupled with the goblin infestation; the knights; the damsels in the tower, the Glastonbury relishes ladled on makes it a contender for the Proggest prog ever progged. Show me otherwise but this here says to me "More prog you die" and yes A Great listen ...
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