John Wetton who sadly passed away on January 31st of this year after a long subsequent battle with colon cancer, is been a hard way to start 2017. I can remember 17 years ago when I was in Corpus Christi, Texas with my Mom and I went to Wherehouse Music which is defunct and buying the King Crimson 4-CD box set entitled, The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame which covered from 1969 to 1984. And it was there I heard his voice on the second CD set which covered 1972 to 1974.
I was completely hooked hearing his voice. It had a soulful and raw sound in his vocals along with his bass playing. His breakthrough came with King Crimson after being in bands/artists such as Family and Mogul Thrash. But it was time with Crimson that struck me like a lightning bolt. From pieces such as The Great Deceiver, Lament, Easy Money, One More Red Nightmare, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (Pts. 1 & 2), Red, and Book of Saturday, he wasn’t just a singer, but he could Bass with some virtuosity and bringing the sounds to a whole new level.
While Crimson disbanded in 1974 after the release of their seventh studio album, Red which among supporters including The Mars Volta, Tool, and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, he would work with bands and artists as a session musician such as Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, Atoll, and Wishbone Ash. But he would achieve success in the progressive super group, U.K. featuring Crimson alumni Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson (Roxy Music, Frank Zappa), and virtuoso guitarist Allan Holdsworth.
Then in the 1980s at the height of Album-Orientated Rock and Arena Rock with another super group that would get commerciality with Asia. Now while I’m not a gigantic Asia fan, I do respect the accomplishments and creativity they brought to the table with the release of their mind-blowing debut 35 years ago and then Wetton’s solo career. But for Wetton, his time with King Crimson will be one of my favorite time periods when he was in the band.
The music and legacy will live on for years and years to come. He will be in the heat of the moment, a sole survivor, the great deceiver bringing One More Red Nightmare, and the king of the Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. John Wetton, Rest in Peace. Thank you for an amazing journey you brought to us to the old and younger generation you have stowed upon us. Keep the angels rocking in heaven.