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The Universal Masters Collection: Classic Asia

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Album Review

Quite a few prog rock veterans got the hint upon the dawn of the '80s — long and winding epics were out; streamlined and focused compositions were in. And the first to reap the rewards of this stylistic shift was the prog supergroup Asia. Comprised of members of King Crimson (singer/bassist John Wetton), Yes (guitarist Steve Howe), ELP (Carl Palmer), and the Buggles (keyboardist Geoff Downes), Asia threw all the indulgences of their past bands out the window, and scored a few surprise pop hits during the early '80s. Although unable to sustain its success, the group did pen several tracks that were embraced by the then-burgeoning MTV, and the 2002 compilation Universal Masters Collection collects all the expected favorites. Included is (of course) their biggest/most recognizable hit, the number one "Heat of the Moment," as well as such other standouts as "Only Time Will Tell," "Don't Cry," and "Open Your Eyes." If you're looking for an Asia summary without having to wade through their inconsistent albums post-Asia, then Universal Masters Collection will do quite nicely.


Formed: January, 1981 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When they appeared in the early '80s, Asia seemed to be a holdover from the '70s, when supergroups and self-important progressive rockers reigned supreme. Featuring members of such seminal art rock bands as King Crimson (John Wetton), Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Carl Palmer), and Yes (Steve Howe), as well as Geoff Downes from the Buggles, Asia did feature stretches of indulgent instrumentals on their records. However, they also could be surprisingly poppy, and that is what brought them to the top of...
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The Universal Masters Collection: Classic Asia, Asia
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