Tuesday, January 31, 2017

John Wetton dead at 67

John Kenneth Wetton
June 12, 1949  - January 31, 2017

John Wetton, bassist for King Crimson and many other bands, passed away this morning in his sleep after a long battle with colon cancer. Wetton was 67 years old. 

In his early career, Wetton was in several different bands. Some of his early bands included Mogul Thrash, Renaissance and Family. Shortly after his brief stay in Family, Wetton joined prog rockers King Crimson as their bassist and lead singer. While still successful at the time, the three albums that followed the band's iconic debut album received lukewarm responses. With Wetton, King Crimson released a trio of well received albums- Larks' Tongue In Aspic (1973), Starless and Bible Black (1974) and Red (1974). Wenton was with the band until guitarist and founding member Robert Fripp announced the split in 1974 (the band would reunite years later but Wetton didn't rejoin). 

After the split of King Crimson, Wetton joined Uriah Heep in 1975- replacing bassist Gary Thain. Wetton would record two albums with the band- Return to Fantasy (1975) and High and Mighty (1976)- before leaving in 1977.  From 1977 to 1981, Wetton was in the short-lived supergroup UK and briefly joined Wishbone Ash for their 1981 album Number the Brave. Wetton also started a solo career- his debut being 1980's Caught in the Crossfire. It wasn't until 1981 when Wetton found himself working with Yes guitarist Steve Howe, ELP drummer Carl Palmer and Buggles/Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. This new band would become the supergroup Asia- who achieved commercial success with the release of their self-titled debut, which featured the hit single "Heat of the Moment." Asia would split in 1986 but reunited on/off over the years since 1989. In 2007, Wetton's health started to decline due to a heart condition- which Wetton attributed to his battle with alcoholism. In May 2015, Wetton underwent surgery to have a cancerous growth removed. Earlier this month, Wetton announced he would not be taking part in Asia's 2017 tour with Journey, with current Yes bassist Billy Sherwood filling in for him. 

Wetton is survived by his wife Lisa, his son Dylan, his brother Robert and his mother Peggy. 

It's sad to hear about Mr. Wetton's passing. He was an immensely talented bassist and it's amazing to look at his long list of credits. The man left us with some great music.

May he rest in peace. 

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