Earlier today the music world learned of the passing of the great John Wetton who is most famously known for his musical contributions with Progressive Rock legends King Crimson and the chart-topping Power Rock band Asia. He was 67 years of age and it would be colon cancer that would take him from us. The images that I have shared below come from an appearance at the venerated B.B. King Blues Club and Grill where Asia was performing. It was a fantastic show and John sounded in such good form and appeared to be in promising health after dealing with some publicly announced bouts with illness.
As is my usual case with these sort of posts, I keep it to personal recollection more than repeating the full artist history that is well noted on their Wikipedia entries and I must admit to you all that I never much followed King Crimson as a band when I was growing up. Back then I didn’t consider myself much of a “Prog” guy but I did enjoy the tunes by Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer that I heard because my parents enjoyed them. Well, my Dad as least did. Mom was more of a Renaissance listener and that was a very good education as well. That being said I remember when the Rock radio stations of the time began playing this monster of a tune with “Heat Of The Moment” by a band called Asia. It blew so many young Rock fans minds and everyone I knew had this on LP and kept our local record stores owners very happy. I bought mine at a long shuttered place called The Record Factory and I think I still have it somewhere. I tended to stop playing my vinyl after a couple of apartment moves and after the turntable died and never got replaced. The Asia self-titled debut was an amazing thing to listen to and I loved the incredible tone of Mr. Wetton on each and every track.
Wetton was set to appear on the upcoming “Cruise To The Edge” this February and was bringing Asia to the fans on the first leg of the Journey tour but he released a statement from his manager a couple of weeks ago citing how his medical professionals had advised against both of these things. I’m sure when his worldwide fans had read that update that they hoped for his best and that it wouldn’t be the last that they were hearing from him. Sadly it would be. He was a fascinating musician and I am glad that I finally was able to see him perform. We have his music to keep close to us for as long as we are on this plane ourselves and while I cannot even imagine Asia continuing on without him, I close with a couple of lines from his exceptional song “Extraordinary Life”
“A perfect day – Or so I say – From where I’m standing
This roller-coaster ride – Fate will decide – The ending – Love everlasting
Or lost on the way – The smiles – And the frowns – The ups and downs
Of fortune turning – The twists and turns – The lessons learned – The bridges burning
Nights to remember- And never forget
Go, seize the day – Wake up and say – This is an Extraordinary life
Enjoy today – Come what may – This is an Extraordinary life”
Thank you John Wetton for sharing your extraordinary life with all of us. May you Rest in Peace.
Official Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wetton