Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Celebration of Jon Anderson on His 67th Birthday

Jon Anderson (born John Roy Anderson on 25 October 1944) 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.

It is a commonly-held misconception that Jon Anderson sings falsetto, a vocal technique which artificially produces high, airy notes by using only the ligamentous edges of the vocal cords; however, Jon Anderson does not sing falsetto. His normal singing (and speaking) voice is naturally above the tenor range. In a 2008 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jon stated, "I'm an alto tenor and I can sing certain high notes, but I could never sing falsetto, so I go and hit them high." He is also noted for singing in his original Lancashire accent.

In 1962 Anderson joined The Warriors (also known as The Electric Warriors) where he and his brother Tony shared the role of lead vocalist. The Warriors appearance in the film "Just For You", 1964, performing playback of "Don't Make Me Blue". Featuring: Tony Anderson (vocals), Jon Anderson (backing vocals), David Foster (bass), Ian Wallace (drums). Featured on Spanish TV:

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. He stayed with the group until 1980. This is 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".

Anderson is responsible for most of the mystically-themed lyrics and concepts which are part of many Yes releases. The lyrics are frequently inspired by various books Anderson has enjoyed, from Tolstoy's War and Peace to Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha. A footnote in Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi inspired an entire double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973).

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 (ABWH), 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 (1991) 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 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 BenoƮt David, the lead vocalist in Yes tribute act Close to the Edge.

Throughout 2009 and 2010 Jon Anderson has toured the USA and Europe both solo and with former YES band mate Rick Wakeman. Anderson and Wakeman released the critically acclaimed album 'The Living Tree' in 2010 on Voiceprint Records. On May 24, 2010 Jon shared the stage with the 112 member Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra and 60 member student chorus, which was shown on HDNet.

In the spring of 2011 Anderson toured the northeast US to full capacity audiences – the tour was a major success, with more summer dates currently being scheduled. June 14, 2011 marks the official release of Jon Anderson's new album 'Survival & Other Stories' on Voiceprint Records.
2011 interview and acoustic performance for television:

Happy Birthday To Jon Anderson - A Bit Of Groovy!

-Sources: Wikipedia  YouTube and http://jonanderson.com