The classic rock world is once again in mourning, as John Wetton has died. The man who played with King Crimson, Roxy Music and most notably, Asia, passed away on Jan. 31. The legendary progressive-rock bass player was only 67.
Another one of the rock world’s stars has faded away. John Wetton, frontman of the progressive rock supergroup Asia, died in his sleep in the early hours of Jan. 31, according to the band (per TMZ.) John had been battling colon cancer, a fight he would sadly lose.
John Kenneth Wetton was born on Jun. 13, 1949 in Willington, Derbyshire. He would grow up in Bournemouth, developing an early love for music that would lead him into a career both on the stage and in the studio. He often played along with Richard Palmer-James, 69, a UK rocker best known for working with King Crimson. Those early groups included The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group, and Ginger Man.
He would pick up a buzz while playing with groups Mogul Thrash and Renaissance. John would also start his lengthy and noteworthy career as a sessions musician, working with the group Family in the studio.
John’s big break would come in 1972, joining Robert Fripp’s, 70, new line-up of King Crimson. John would spread his wings as a singer and composer, staying with the band until Robert disbanded it in 1974. Though John was now without a band, the breakup would ultimately allow him to reach his greatest commercial and mainstream success.
Joining Geoff Downs, 64, Steve Howe, 69, — both from the band Yes — and Carl Palmer, 66, — the “Palmer” in Emerson, Lake & Palmer – John would form Asia. The progressive-rock supergroup would find immediate success, selling eight million copies of their debut album. That first record would earn the honor of being named Billboard’s No. 1 album of 1982. Their biggest singles were “Heat Of The Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell”
John would leave the group, reportedly fired after the follow-up record failed to sell well. He would rejoin the group, on and off again, while working on his solo career. He would also work extensively as a session musician with artists like Brian Eno, 68, and Bryan Ferry, 71.
Our thoughts go out to John’s family, friends and fans during this time of loss.