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John Anderson

John Anderson

John Roy "Jon" Anderson (born 25 October 1944) is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician best known as the former lead vocalist in the progressive rock band Yes. He is also an accomplished solo artist and has collaborated with musicians such as the Greek musician Vangelis, amongst others.1970sIn 1970, Anderson appeared as a featured guest singer with King Crimson on the track "Prince Rupert Awakes", recorded on their Lizard album. The tune was outside the range of the group's then-vocalist, Gordon Haskell. He also co-wrote the song "Pearly Gates", which appears on Iron Butterfly's January 1975 album Scorching Beauty. In September 1975 he appeared on the Vangelis album Heaven and Hell and in the following year released his first solo album Olias of Sunhillow, in which he performs lead and backing vocals, guitars, harp, keyboards, sitar, flutes, mandolin, koto, percussion, and other instruments. In 1979 he composed the score for a ballet, Ursprung which was part of a grouping of three dance works, collectively entitled Underground Rumours, commissioned and performed by The Scottish Ballet. The choreographer was Royston Maldoom, the theatrical set and costume designer was Graham Bowers, and the lighting designer was David Hersey. The principal dancers were Andrea Durant and Paul Russell. In 1979, while Yes was on a hiatus, Anderson started recording again with Vangelis; this resulted in the first Jon & Vangelis album, Short Stories (1980).


Following Anderson's departure from Yes in March 1980, the singer began work on his second solo album, Song of Seven, which appeared in November, followed by a major British tour with The New Life Band. In 1981 he appeared on Rick Wakeman's concept album 1984. He also released an album with Vangelis in July 1981 called The Friends of Mr Cairo. The album produced two singles: "I'll Find My Way Home" and "State of Independence"; the latter was a bigger hit for Donna Summer than for Jon and Vangelis, getting to No. 14 in the British Charts. The album was also notable for the title track, which was an ode to classic Hollywood gangster films of the 1930s and '40s, with voice impressions of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre and James Stewart which paid homage to the classic film noir The Maltese Falcon. In 1982, he released Animation and in 1983 he appeared on Mike Oldfield's "In High Places" from the album Crises as well as another song called "Shine". In the same year he also appeared with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. During this year, he tried to form a trio with Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, but it did not come to fruition.In 1984, Anderson appeared on the song "Cage of Freedom" from the 1984 soundtrack for a re-release of the Fritz Lang silent film Metropolis. In 1985, his song "This Time It Was Really Right" was featured on the soundtrack for the movie St. Elmo's Fire. He also sang "Silver Train" and "Christie" on the film soundtrack Scream for Help. Along with Tangerine Dream, he appeared on the song "Loved by the Sun" for the 1985 film Legend directed by Ridley Scott. Anderson released a Christmas-themed solo album, 3 Ships, at the end of 1985.The 1986 film Biggles: Adventures in Time features a song sung by Anderson. During this year, he recorded some demo tracks that would later be reworked. He and Vangelis also started writing new songs and recording demos for another album. Though the album was not made, they performed live together on 6 November 1986.The last three years of the 1980s saw him singing (and briefly appearing in the music video) on "Moonlight Desires" on Gowan's album Great Dirty World in 1987. He recorded the album In the City of Angels and also sang on "Stop Loving You" on the Toto album The Seventh One in 1988, and in 1989 he recorded an album that would later be released as The Lost Tapes of Opio. He also sang on the songs "Within the Lost World" and "Far Far Cry" for the Jonathan Elias album Requiem for the Americas.


Upon completion of the Big Generator tour in 1988, Jon Anderson teamed up with ex-Yes members Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford. The result was Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, released in 1989 and supported by a successful tour. Because of the separate existence of Yes (part of the band's name still being owned by Anderson), this alternate incarnation were forced to use their surnames as the band's name (after Chris Squire threatened legal action). Meanwhile, Yes began composing and recording material for their follow-up, while Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe did the same, beginning production at Miraval Studios in the South of France in April 1990. Bowing to record company pressure to resurrect the Yes banner, Squire and Anderson came up with the idea of merging both projects, which resulted in the 1991 album Union.Although the supporting world tour was a commercial and critical success, praised by fans and band as one of Yes' best ever, the album was not as well-received, resulting in sales figures equivalent to those of the ABWH album (750,000 copies worldwide). Union would turn out to be Yes' last studio album to have significant sales, though it did not match the popularity of 1987's Big Generator. One of Union's singles, "Lift Me Up", became Yes' biggest hit on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart, reaching the top spot and remaining there for six weeks in early 1991.A 4th Jon and Vangelis album, Page of Life, was released in 1991. In 1992 Anderson appeared on Kitaro's album Dream, adding both lyrics and vocals to three songs: "Lady of Dreams", "Island of Life" and "Agreement". He planned to release an Ancient America-influenced solo album called The Power of Silence in 1993, but it was not released due to issues with Geffen Records. He also toured South America with a band that included his daughters, Deborah and Jade. He appeared on the song "Along The Amazon" which he co-wrote for violinist Charlie Bisharat's album of the same name. He also recorded an orchestral solo album called Change We Must in 1993; it was released the following year.In 1994, Anderson released a solo album of Latino-influenced music called Deseo. There were plans to release a live album called The Best of South America, but it was not released due to management issues (though some copies were already released by Yes Magazine). Anderson sang on the 7th Level children's video game Tuneland. Also, his son Damion released a single called Close 2 the Hype, which featured him and Jon on vocals. The next year he released a solo album called Angels Embrace and spoke of a plan to tour and record in China, but this idea was soon abandoned in favour of focusing on work with Yes. In 1996, The Power of Silence was released under the title Toltec. This release included sound effects that were not on the original recording. Anderson also played a Mother's Day concert in San Luis Obispo.The year 1997 saw Anderson recording and releasing a Celtic-influenced solo album called The Promise Ring, around the time he married Jane Luttenberger. During their honeymoon, Earthmotherearth was recorded and later released, followed in 1998 by an album called The More You Know that Jon and Jane recorded in Paris, France, with Francis Jocky. Anderson appeared on the song "The Only Thing I Need" by act 4Him in 1999; it was recorded for a multi-group album called "Streams". Steve Howe's tribute album Portraits of Bob Dylan also featured a cover of the Bob Dylan song, "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands", with Jon's vocals. He also recorded with a band called The Fellowship on the album In Elven Lands, inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.


In 2000, Anderson and then-Yes keyboardist Igor Khoroshev worked on an album called True You, True Me. A tour was to commence in 2001, but due to Khoroshev's sexual assault charges during Yes's 2000 Masterworks Tour, the project was shelved. In 2002, Anderson started recording songs for a project called The Big If, which has not been released (as of 2010). In 2004, he appeared with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland. The concert was recorded but only released to the orchestra members. He also recorded live on XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C. on 1 April. This show was released on a DVD called Tour of the Universe in 2005, which incorporated visual effects. This release coincided with the release of Jon Anderson's single "State of Independence".Anderson's earlier albums Olias of Sunhillow and Song of Seven were re-issued in 2006. Animation was tardily released on CD to complaints about the professionalism of the sound. To some ears, a later pressing used a better master, although the label Voiceprint denies any differences between the pressings. In Elven Lands, an album containing Anderson's recordings with The Fellowship, was also released as were the first seven volumes of a box set called The Lost Tapes. Also in 2006, Anderson appeared with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (East Coast Troupe) during two 16 December shows in Philadelphia to play "Roundabout".In 2007, Anderson contributed vocals to an album Culture of Ascent by American progressive rock group Glass Hammer; and appeared as part of a vocal ensemble on the track "Repentance" from the Dream Theater album Systematic Chaos. During that year, Anderson also toured both the USA and England with The Paul Green School of Rock Music. Anderson's 1985 Christmas album 3 Ships was also released on CD with bonus tracks.The year 2008 saw an ambient album using Anderson's voice and bird song called From Me to You added to The Lost Tapes. Anderson appeared on the song "Sadness of Flowing" which he co-wrote for Peter Machajdík's album Namah and he made similar contributions to a re-mastering of Tommy Zvoncheck's album ZKG.In 2009 Anderson played on a European tour called "Have Guitar, Will Travel". Later that year, his 1997 album EarthMotherEarth was re-released with bonus tracks. Rather than just have Jon Anderson's name, it was released under "Jon and Jane Anderson". In The City of Angels and Change We Must were also reprinted during this year.

2010 to present

Anderson played a series of shows in Canada and the United States in 2010. He and Rick Wakeman began an autumn tour of the UK at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, on 9 October. A sample of Anderson's vocals from Mike Oldfield's "In High Places" is prominently featured in Kanye West's 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in the opening track "Dark Fantasy".In 2011, Anderson played a rendition of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" with the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA) Philharmonic of San Antonio. That same year, Anderson released a single-track album entitled Open, featuring orchestration by Stefan Podell.In late 2012, a site for Anderson's next concept album was launched, with the title Zamran Experience. It is to be a sequel of Olias of Sunhillow. The site features a preview video.On 28 March 2013, Anderson embarked on a 8-date Australia spring tour, 40 years since Yes' first tour down under in March 1973, followed by a one-off performance at a spring festival in Canada (Rouyn-Noranda, QC), a 4-date short Europe summer tour and 2 separate shows in fall 2013, one in Florida (Miami Beach) and the other in Iceland (Reykjavik) as his very first visit in this country.On 15 February 2014, Anderson has embarked on a 2-month North America tour including "Progressive Nation At Sea 2014" cruise performances.

Personal life

Anderson married Jennifer Baker in 1970, and they divorced in 1995. They have three children: daughter Deborah Anderson (b. 1970), son Damion Anderson (b. 1972), and daughter Jade Anderson (b. 1980). He married Jane Luttenberger in 1997.Deborah Anderson sang on her father's solo album Song of Seven, sang background vocals on Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, and more recently has sung for the French electronica band Télépopmusik on the album Angel Milk (released 2005); she also works as a photographer. Damion Anderson spoke the final lines in the Yes song "Circus of Heaven" which appeared on Tormato, and is also a musician; he released the EP Close to the Hype ("C2T Hype") in 1994 with his father (remixes). Jade Anderson's birth is celebrated in her father's song "Animation" on the album of the same name, and she sang back-up vocals on many of his later albums. She has released a solo album in Japan.Anderson became an American citizen after 25 years living in the country.

Health and spirituality

Anderson was a smoker in the 1960s and 1970s, but now prides himself on a much healthier lifestyle. In the mid-1970s, Anderson became a vegetarian, as did most members of Yes; however in an interview he stated, "I was a veggie for a while, but again I grew out of that. But I do eat very healthy." In an 16 August 2006 interview on The Howard Stern Show Anderson said he eats meat, mostly fish, on occasion. In the interview, he also stated he had a spiritual adviser that "helped him see into the fourth dimension". Before live performances, he often meditates in a tent with crystals and dreamcatchers, a practice he started in the 1980s. Anderson's religious beliefs are syncretic and varied, including respect for the Divine Mother Audrey Kitagawa. He has worked with the Contemporary Christian music band 4HIM: in 1999, his vocal was featured on the song "The Only Thing I Need", which appeared on a 'various artists' CD entitled Streams.One of Anderson's passions is painting, and he uses his art as another channel for his creativity and self-expression. His artwork is available to view on his official website. He lived in France with Jennifer Baker at a farm in Saint-Paul de Vence for over five years from the very late 1970s, becoming friend of painters Marc Chagall and André Verdet, nearest neighbours (inspiring some of his songs and musical themes). In 1990 he returned in France to record demos between Le Domaine de Miraval still in Provence at Le Val and Paris, this time with ABWH for the perspective of an hypothetical second album.On 13 May 2008, Anderson suffered a severe asthma attack which required a stay in hospital. According to Yes' website, he was later "at home and resting comfortably." Yes' planned summer 2008 tour was subsequently cancelled, with the press release saying, "Jon Anderson was admitted to the hospital last month after suffering a severe asthma attack. He was diagnosed with acute respiratory failure and was told by doctors to rest and not work for a period of at least six months." Further health problems continued through 2008. In September 2008, Anderson wrote that he's "so much grateful and so blessed...I look forward to 2009 for the "Great Work" to come." He started singing again in early 2009. In 2009, he returned to touring (solo) and continued touring in 2010 and the autumn of 2011, with Rick Wakeman for a UK tour (2010) and the eastern US (2011).

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