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Jon Anderson (1944)

John Roy Anderson

Type :  


Jon Anderson is an English singer-songwriter and 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 artists such as the Greek musician Vangelis, among others.


  Early life and childhood
Jon Anderson was born John Roy Anderson in Accrington, Lancashire, England, to Albert and Kathleen Anderson. His father was from Scotland whilst his mother was of Irish ancestry. Anderson dropped the "h" from his first name in 1970.

Anderson attended St. John's Infants School in Baxenden, Accrington. There he made a tentative start to a musical career playing the washboard in "Little John's Skiffle Group", which played songs by Lonnie Donegan, among others. Anderson left school at the age of fifteen and went through a series of jobs including farm hand, lorry driver and milkman. Anderson tried to pursue a football career at Accrington Stanley F.C. but five foot five inch Jon was turned down because of his frail constitution. He remains a fan of the club.

 Early career
In 1962 Anderson joined The Warriors , where he and his brother Tony shared the role of lead vocalist. He quit this band in 1967, released two solo singles in 1968 under the pseudonym Hans Christian, and then briefly sang for the bands The Gun and The Open Mind. One of Anderson's first producers at EMI was songwriter Paul Korda.

In March 1968 Anderson met bassist Chris Squire and joined him in a group called Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which had previously included guitarist Peter Banks. Anderson fronted this band but ended up leaving again before the summer was over. He remarks on his website that his time with the band consisted of "too many drugs, not enough fun!".

Anderson, Squire and Banks went on to form Yes with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Their debut album was released in 1969. Rick Wakeman joined in 1971, and Anderson stayed with the group until a 'bitter dispute' in 1980. This has been known as the 'classic' period of Yes. Jon was a major creative force and band leader throughout this period. He has described himself as the 'team captain' and was nicknamed by his bandmates "Napoleon" for his diminutive stature and leadership of the band. He is also recognised as the main instigator of a series of epic works produced by Yes at the time. He played an indispensable role in creating such complex pieces as "Close to the Edge", "Awaken" and especially "The Gates of Delirium", in spite of his limited instrumental abilities.

He rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983 which produced their most commercially successful album 90125 with newcomer Trevor Rabin. He departed again in 1988 over creative differences relating to the band's continued pursuit of major commercial success and mainstream radio play. In 1989 Anderson and other former Yes members formed the group Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe , augmented by bassist Tony Levin, who had played with drummer Bill Bruford in King Crimson. After the successful first ABWH album, a series of business deals caused ABWH to reunite with the then-current members of Yes, who had been out of the public eye while searching for a new lead singer. The resulting eight-man band assumed the name Yes, and the album Union was assembled from various pieces of an in-progress second ABWH album, as well as recordings that the "Yes proper" band had been working on without Anderson. A successful tour followed, but the eight-man line-up of Yes never recorded a complete album together before splintering in 1992. Many more personnel changes followed, but Anderson stayed in the band until 2008. He appears on all Yes albums except for their 1980 album Drama, and their 2011 album Fly From Here.

Anderson was fond of experimenting within the band and in so doing contributed to occasionally conflicted relationships within the band and with management. He originally wanted to record the album Tales from Topographic Oceans in the middle of the woods, and instead decided to put hay and animal cut-outs all over the recording studio. In another incident Anderson had tiles installed in the studio to simulate the echo effect of one's vocals in a bathroom.

Anderson last performed with Yes in 2004. A tour planned for summer 2008 with Anderson was cancelled when he suffered acute respiratory failure. The band have since announced a tour without him and he has been replaced by Benoît David, the lead vocalist in Yes tribute act Close to the Edge.

As of mid-2011, Anderson is collaborating with Rabin and Wakeman on a new Anderson-Wakeman-Rabin album, and likely some concerts in 2012. They're writing music, and Wakeman said he hopes the album is completed by the end of 2011. On tour, the group plans to perform Yes songs and new music. The group has unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Bruford to drum on the album.

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Name Duration Released
Anyway and Always 03:51 11/10/2010
House of Freedom 05:37 11/10/2010
Morning Star 04:30 11/10/2010
The Living Tree 04:03 11/10/2010
Just One Man 04:46 11/10/2010
Garden 03:23 11/10/2010
Forever 05:32 11/10/2010
23/24/11 06:24 11/10/2010
Naturemusic 11:44 1995
Prayersong 04:47 1995
Cloudsinging 05:37 1995
Angels Embrace 06:40 1995
New Fire Land 14:44 1995
Myo Maya 00:50 1995
Midnight Cello 04:00 1995
Shaker Loops 05:31 1994
Hurry Home 06:52 1994
State of Independence 05:37 1994
A View from the Coppice 02:46 1994
Candle Song 03:36 1994
Run On, Jon 02:46 1994
Chagall Duet 03:31 1994
The Kiss 03:51 1994
Alive & Well 04:43 1994
Change We Must 05:39 1994
Hearts 05:03 1994
Under the Sun 05:01 1994
Is It Me 04:25 1988
Sundancing 03:18 1988
If It Wasn't for Love 04:25 1988
Top of the World 05:25 1988
Hold On to Love 04:46 1988
Betcha 04:00 1988
It's on Fire 04:10 1988
New Civilization 04:31 1988
For You 02:51 1988
In a Lifetime 04:14 1988
Boundaries 03:20 1983
Unlearning 04:56 1983
All in a Matter of Time 03:06 1983
Surrender 03:53 1983
Animation 09:07 1983
The Spell 11:40 1983
Olympia 04:58 1983
All God's Children 04:25 1983
Much Better Reason 04:27 1983
Pressure Point 03:20 1983
Take Your Time 03:07 11/1980
Everybody Loves You 04:06 11/1980
Hear It 01:48 11/1980
Heart of the Matter 04:18 11/1980
Don't Forget 02:59 11/1980
Some Are Born 04:03 11/1980
For You, For Me 04:21 11/1980
Song of Seven 11:16 11/1980
Days 03:28 11/1980


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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Jon Anderson", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.