ASIA – in March of 1982, the debut and self-titled album of this Progressive Rock supergroup was released unto the world… with a little help from Geffen Records. Being a sophomore in high school in ’82, I had my musical tastes ranging from Judas Priest to The Electric Light Orchestra with Cheap Trick, AC/DC and Foreigner in between. KISS of course, ruled my teenage planet. So when I first heard ASIA being played on my favorite FM radio stations, I instantly took a major liking to their sound. My infatuation with ELO and The Moody Blues made it very easy for me to embrace ASIA as a young teen… I can thank my late sister Christine for getting me “into” the Moody Blues.
Learning very quickly, that YES guitar great Steve Howe was in ASIA, just gave me the hint that this supergroup was to be reckoned with. I knew of some YES songs, thanks of course to FM once again. I did not own a YES album at all, back in ’82… yes, I do look back in disbelief over that one. It seemed as if everyone else I knew, had at least one YES album to boast of back then. With Carl Palmer on drums, I was familiar with his name being equated to the legendary Progressive Rock band – Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Once again though, I did not own a single Emerson, Lake and Palmer album in 1982 either.
When I learned that bass guitarist John Wetton was formerly with the incredibly diverse King Crimson, it was once again, a Rock Music history lesson for me. What took the Rock and Roll cake for me, upon learning quickly about the members of ASIA, was that Geoff Downes was half part of the New Wave sensation called – The Buggles! Just about every kid I knew, back in 1980, had heard the song – Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. Heck, Video Killed The Radio Star was actually the very first music video that MTV aired on August 1, 1981! Now, if that isn’t Rock and Roll history… then I don’t know what is!
Well, with all of the ASIA band history aside, it was actually very fun for this sixteen year old in 1982, in becoming more informed about other great Rock bands, that were an indirect part of the formation of ASIA. For the life of me however, I just could not believe how astoundingly textured, layered and inspirational the songs sounded on this very first ASIA album. The bonus was that this debut ASIA album Rocked my ears off of this sixteen year old too! I singled out the song – Sole Survivor… very quickly. I must have dropped the turntable needle onto that Sole Survivor song… more times than I could ever imagine! That section of vinyl that Sole Survivor represented on the album, was for certain, the most worn!
Despite the FM airplay that Sole Survivor, Heat of the Moment and Only Time Will Tell received back in 1982 and into the years ahead, I never wavered away from playing them, in their entirety, on my turntable. As it stands to this very day in 2010, my favorite song from this ASIA album is Wildest Dreams. I like to reminisce about the ultra Classic Rock albums of the past, especially the one’s that made the biggest impact on my music loving life. ASIA is an ultra Classic Rock album for me. I can remember losing my thoughts, amidst the Progressive Rock brilliance of this amazing album. As I look back upon this ASIA album now, it was like music therapy for me as a sixteen year old.
Why I feel this ASIA album has stood the test of Rock Music time, is simply two words: quality musicianship. Once the quality is instilled, the rest seems to always fall into place, regardless of what project is being discussed. The songs on this ASIA album soothed, inspired and yes, as I stated before, Rocked me. I did realize at the time, back in 1982, what a profound Rock Music family tree that ASIA embodied. What I did not realize back in 1982, was that I would carry the same ecstatic feelings and emotions for this ASIA album so many years later into my life… and then be writing about it for the whole world to read in 2010, in an unbelievably vast place called the world wide web.
LONG LIVE ASIA!