John Wetton

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Not to be confused with athlete John Whetton.
John Wetton
John Wetton playing bass live.jpg
John Wetton playing bass live
Background information
Birth name John Kenneth Wetton
Born (1949-06-12) 12 June 1949 (age 66)
Willington, Derby, England
Genres Progressive rock, hard rock, pop rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, producer
Instruments Vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1965–present
Labels E.G., Atlantic Records, Geffen, Universal Records, Island, Eagle, Avalon, EMI, King Records, Frontiers
Associated acts Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, UK, Jack-Knife, Wishbone Ash, Asia, Phenomena, Renaissance, Qango, Brian Eno, Ayreon
Website Official website
Notable instruments
Fender Precision Bass
Zon Legacy

John Kenneth Wetton (born 12 June 1949) is an English singer, bassist, and songwriter.[1] He was born in Willington, Derbyshire, and grew up in Bournemouth. He rose to fame with bands Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash.[1]

After his period with King Crimson, Wetton formed UK, and later he was the frontman and principal songwriter of the supergroup Asia,[1] which has proved his biggest commercial success. Their self-titled debut album sold 8 million copies worldwide and was Billboard magazine's No. 1 album of 1982. He later formed the duo Icon with Geoff Downes (ex-Yes, ex-Buggles) and since the 1990s has had a successful solo career releasing a large number of studio and live albums.

Wetton has had a long career as an in-demand session bass player and has collaborated with many members of progressive rock bands such as Yes (including Steve Howe, Bill Bruford, Geoff Downes, Alan White, Billy Sherwood and Peter Banks) and Genesis (Steve Hackett).


Wetton grew up in Bournemouth and was in a number of early bands with Richard Palmer-James, on bass and vocals, including, The Corvettes, The Palmer-James Group (formed with Alec James), Tetrad, and Ginger Man.[2] A key early band was Mogul Thrash and work with Family and various sessions followed.[1]

Wetton's first big break came when he joined Wimborne, Dorset, musician Robert Fripp in his new line-up of King Crimson in 1972, allowing Wetton to come to the fore as a lead singer and composer. Palmer-James also worked with the band as a lyricist. Wetton remained with the band until Fripp unexpectedly disbanded it in 1974. Wetton continued to work on various projects, often with Palmer-James or Crimson drummer, Bill Bruford. Wetton and Bruford formed UK, the band emerging out of a failed King Crimson reunion, other band members included guitarist Allan Holdsworth and keyboard violin wizard Eddie Jobson.[1]

Wetton released his first solo album, Caught in the Crossfire, in 1980 after the break-up of UK. He then started working with Steve Howe, who had recently been in Yes. They went on to form Asia.[1] with whom he worked until the mid-1980s. Wetton left the band and re-joined on two occasions.

The 1990s saw Wetton out of Asia and focusing on a solo career. In 1999, a failed Asia reunion resulted in Wetton forming the short-lived progressive rock group Qango with Carl Palmer, John Young, and Dave Kilminster. The group performed several shows in the UK and recorded one live album, Live in the Hood, before disbanding when Wetton and Palmer returned to their solo projects.

In the early 2000s, he re-united with Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes for iCon. In 2006, an official reunion of the original Asia line-up (Wetton, Downes, Howe, and Palmer) finally occurred. The studio album titled Phoenix, the original band's first since 1983's Alpha, was released in April 2008 and peaked at No. 73 on the North American Top 200 albums charts.[3] The original line-up released two more studio albums, Omega and XXX before Howe departed in January 2013. With new guitarist Sam Coulson, Asia released Gravitas in March 2014. Wetton and the band are currently touring in support of this new release.

Wetton has done extensive work as a session musician with acts such as Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry and Phil Manzanera.[1][4] More recently, he has worked on several projects with Billy Sherwood and been part of a U.K. reunion with Eddie Jobson.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "My Own Time: The Authorized Biography of John Wetton", by Kim Dancha, 1997
  2. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2014-06-05. 
  3. ^ Billboard magazine, April 2008
  4. ^ "JOHN WETTON discography (top albums), MP3, videos and reviews". Retrieved 2014-06-05. 

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