Since John Wetton’s passing in January 2017, his family, friends and management have been working on finding a fitting tribute to such a remarkable man and iconic artist. The result of this labour of love is a box set entitled “An Extraordinary Life”, dedicated entirely to John’s solo career. The project has the full support of John’s wife, Lisa, and his son, Dylan, who are wholly involved with compiling the contents.
The set will include definitive, remastered editions of each of his six solo albums, with bonus tracks and artwork selected by John towards the end of his lifetime, and in some cases expanded to two discs:
1. CaughtintheCrossfire 2. BattleLines
An Extraordinary Life will also feature a lavish hardback “coffee table” book written by one of John’s friends, the journalist Nick Shilton. Nick has interviewed dozens of John’s collaborators, peers and associates, both in and out of the music business, as well as friends from his childhood and through all eras of his career, collecting a multitude of exclusive, poignant and wonderful stories along the way.
This box set - a “must have” for every John Wetton fan - will also feature high resolution video tributes as well as unique bonus material. The Official John Wetton website will launch a dedicated webpage entitled “An Extraordinary Life” which will become an ever-evolving digital gathering place for the inner circle of John’s fans.
An Extraordinary Life will be completed during 2019 and initially be exclusively available via Burning Shed ahead of a wider scale retail release. The Burning shed store is now at https://burningshed.com/store/john-wetton
Coinciding with John’s 70th birthday today, Asia begins a 28 date USA tour as special guests of Yes on their Royal Affair Tour, which will premiere tonight in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy and John Lodge from the Moody Blues will also be on the bill. Asia’s new line-up comprises Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes Billy Sherwood, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and a special guest appearance by Steve Howe. John Wetton’s great friend Roger Dean will have an exhibition at each show, including iconic Asia artwork.
To celebrate John’s birthday, and as a teaser to the box set, we release a never before heard fly- on-the-wall of an early Asia rehearsal, recorded exactly 38 years ago today on June 12, 1981. Ricky Nelson has lovingly nurtured this Holy Grail recording, and has created a collage slide-show of rare photos through the decades to remind you of John’s genius. The question arises – what song did this morph into?
Further, Ricky has curated a special video recording of John’s last ever tour singing Asia songs, with the Rock Meets Classic arena tour in March 2015, where John delivers a supreme performance, one of his finest ever versions of “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”. This will be a special release today at 12noon UK time from John’s twitter page [see below].
Dylan Wetton says: “This is helping me come to terms with the loss of my Dad, and is opening my eyes to his genius. It is truly a labour of love”.
Lisa Wetton says: “When you open your box set for the first time, you will know that every person involved with its creation was touched deeply by John Wetton. You will be playing the music that revealed his personal life story, and you will be perpetuating a legacy that was meant to be a shining light for everyone. The physical light may have flickered out on January 31, 2017, but there is an extra radiant star aglow in the firmament today. It is my hope that when you listen, you will still feel the warmth from that light, and hear the Lion roar for generations to come”.
Official Website: www.johnwetton.co.uk
Remembering John Wetton Twitter: https://twitter.com/officialjwetton
Remembering John Wetton Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1377795682293955/
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See post here in the Official ASIA FB Group!
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Wetton early this morning. There is so much that could be said about John’s “extraordinary life,” but Carl and Geoff wonderfully capture the feelings of the entire Asia family.
CARL PALMER STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JOHN WETTON
“With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant. John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music. As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of ASIA to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle. For those of us who knew him and worked with him, his valiant struggle against cancer was a further inspiration. I will miss his talent, his sense of humor and his infectious smile. May you ride easy, my old friend.
GEOFF DOWNES STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF JOHN WETTON
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart, that I have to report we have lost my dearest friend, brother, bandmate and long term musical collaborator, John Wetton, who has passed away after a long and tenacious battle with cancer. He will be remembered as one of the world’s finest musical talents, and I for one of many was wholly blessed by his influence. It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions – out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony – unreal. He was literally a ‘special one’.
But John was much more than a gigantic and unique musical talent. He was a supremely intelligent man, marked with his great observations and wisdom about life; all couched within his wicked sense of humour. The wit was dark and deep, only fully perceptible to those on his same wavelength. I was fortunate enough to be able to be on that wavelength, and discover that we had much in common. Many of his personal life experiences were reflected in his lyrical contributions to the songs. His heart was always in the music. That was John, through and through. It was always about – the music.
As a person, he was fiercely loyal, loving and generous, particularly to those he cared about. But he could be as stubborn as a mule or as gracious as a nobleman, depending on the mood that grabbed him on any particular day. There were some who couldn’t read his brilliant mind and complex personality. Some found him charming, others infuriating. But however you found John, there was no denying his rare talent as a musician and songwriter was second to none.
Both of us having been brought up with similar backgrounds in provincial England, we shared a love of many things – sport, and in particular – football, English church music, current affairs, comedy, literature, you name it….pretty much everything that 2 kids from the sticks were exposed to in our youth.
Our planets seemed to be immediately in alignment when we first met in early 1981. There was a laddish camaraderie that grew between us as we became as close as two non-related brothers could be. He was an avid reader and film enthusiast, something he pursued with great interest. This helped inspire him to some wonderful lyrics to the literally hundreds of songs we composed together. Back then, we immediately hit the ground running as we composed much of the debut ASIA album together and forged a formidable partnership which lasted right up until now. It was a wholly natural process for us, whereby we could knock out 2 or 3 songs in an afternoon. They were always greeted with our gentlemanly handshake and smiles once we had wrapped up another one in the bag.
Above all else though, his passion for life was to the fore. The battles he endured throughout were immense and well documented. Firstly with alcohol, which he so resolutely overcame, then open heart surgery and finally cancer, which sadly was to take his life in the end. He once observed to me that this disease is a “merciless assassin”. Just another example of his perception and the descriptive language that he was so richly blessed with. He took all of these battles on board with great bravery and almost a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude, tinged with his inimitable wry wit.
To say I will miss my him greatly is beyond understatement. He was such an inspiration to me. We were planning another album, but sadly he was not well enough to complete it. I feel heartbroken about this, as I knew John thought it was to be one of our finest albums to date. I remain as proud as ever of our Wetton/Downes writing partnership. I am hoping one day that I will be able to finish it, and that it will be appreciated by all those who loved his and our music, and most importantly, a legacy he would have been proud of.
Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the World will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on – the music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops.
Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother.
Please join me in sending our sincerest thoughts and prayers to Lisa, Dylan and the entire Wetton family at this difficult time.” Comment on this.
Happy 71st Birthday, John Wetton
Phoenix, the first studio release of Original Members since 1983.
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John Wetton 1949-2017
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Where the seeds of the reunion were planted!
New Website www.johnwettonlegacy.co.uk
New Instagram @johnwettonlegacy
Today we are honoured to announce the launch of a new website and Instagram account to celebrate John Wetton's Legacy.
We invite all fans to contribute and help the site evolve into a living, breathing testimonial to John, interactively sharing your memories of John and his music.
Visit the new website for progress reports on the new box set / coffee table book, An Extraordinary Life, which is continuing apace despite the Coronavirus pandemic. We will soon start taking pre-orders.
Thanks to Geoff Downes for launching the website and to Steve Hackett for launching the Instagram.
Dylan Wetton says “As a young kid, sharing your father with the world, might feel like losing part of him. Growing up, you learn that sharing is the highest form of love and that love multiplies going from soul to soul. So, it is with great pride that I share my father with you, through the music and the words of this boxset.”
Lisa Wetton adds “John was more than a master musician/songwriter. His humanity through his willingness to tell his story of personal struggle inspired everyone he touched. His enduring legacy is just as much about the man, as it is about the wonderful body of music. He will always be a guiding beacon in my own life”
We will be releasing the boxset pre order link through social media and the website once we have finalised all the components. It will be available exclusively through www.burningshed.com.
Stand by for some never before seen footage of John, to be posted on the new Instagram.
Happy Birthday John!