Jon Anderson is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable voices in progressive rock as the lead vocalist and creative force behind Yes. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the ground-breaking album 'Fragile' as well as the series of epic, complex pieces such as ‘Awaken’, ‘Gates of Delirium’ and especially ‘Close to the Edge’ which were central to the band's success. Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group's biggest hits, including ‘I've Seen All Good People’, ‘Roundabout’, and ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’. Anderson also had great success with a series of albums he did with Vangelis, and most recently released the critically-acclaimed solo album entitled 'Survival and Other Stories'.
Jon was born John Roy Anderson in Accrington, Lancashire, England, on October 25, 1944 to Albert and Kathleen Anderson, dropping the “h” from his first name in 1970.
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 Anderson, and then briefly sang for the band The Gun. In March 1968, Anderson met bassist Chris Squire and joined him in a group called Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which included guitarist Peter Banks.
Anderson, Squire, and Banks went on to form Yes, with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. Their eponymous debut album was released in 1969. Amongst the line-up changes (Rick Wakeman would replace Kaye in 1971 and Alan White would replace Bruford in 1972), Jon stayed with the group until 1980, and this period is now known as the classic period of Yes. Jon was a major creative force and band leader throughout the period and is recognized as the main instigator of the series of epics produced by Yes at the time.
Yes released 11 critically acclaimed albums (including one live album 'Yessongs' and one early compilation 'Yesterdays') between 1969 and 1979, including such classic titles as 'Fragile' (which contained the band's first hit “Roundabout”), 'Close To The Edge', 'Tales From The Topographic Oceans', 'Relayer' and 'Going For The One'.
Jon rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983, which produced their most commercially successful album '90125' with newcomer Trevor Rabin. After a second album 'Big Generator' and several world tours, Jon departed again in 1988 over 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 (Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye), 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 ‘Yes proper’ 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. Although many more personnel changes followed, Anderson would remain with the band until 2004. The '90125' line-up recorded one more album in 1994 titled 'Talk'. The 'classic' line-up (Anderson, Squire, Wakeman, Howe, White) reformed with 'Keys To Ascension’ (1996) and 'Keys to Ascension 2' (1997).
Wakeman was replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on 'Open Your Eyes' (1997) and 'The Ladder' (1999), along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The album 'Magnification', released in 2001, marked the second album Yes recorded with an orchestra, the first being 'A Time And A Word' in 1970. In 2002, Rick Wakeman returned to the band to celebrate their 35th anniversary with a major worldwide tour, which concluded in 2004.
Outside of Yes, Jon would record four celebrated albums with Oscar winner Vangelis, each of which sold over a million copies worldwide. As well as releasing a number of very successful solo albums, he has collaborated with several other artists, such as Mike Oldfield, Kitaro and former bandmate Rick Wakeman, and contributed to a number of different film soundtracks, including ‘St Elmo’s Fire’, ‘Legend’ and the re-release of the classic Fritz Lang movie ‘Metropolis’.
Most recently, he formed a new ensemble with jazz violin legend Jean-Luc Ponty in the summer of 2014, and their album and DVD entitled ‘Better Late Than Never’ was released in 2015 and followed by a tour. Jon also teamed up with Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings, Transatlantic) release a critically acclaimed album, ‘The Invention Of Knowledge’, in June 2016.
Jon Anderson's official website: www.JonAnderson.com