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Jon Anderson’s Song of Seven – 303

Song of Seven
Song of Seven

Produced by Preston Frazier, Bill Govier, Wayne Hall and Michel Arsenault.

In a week where Kevin is not well, we still manage to review Song of Seven separately. Mark also steps into the breach with a review of an epic Rick Wakeman album – Return to the Centre of the Earth – as well as a special 2 pence – thanks Mark!

  • What is the follow up to Olias of Sunhillow like?
  • Is it prog?
  • What did Jon get up to outsode Yes?

Listen to the episode then let us know what you think!

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Song of Seven:

Fred Barringer’s re-imagined Tormato covers:

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and

9 replies on “Jon Anderson’s Song of Seven – 303”

Just for the record, IMHO – Song Of Seven: Meh. Return To The Centre Of The Earth: OK idea, nice try, bloated and repetitive, epic fail. Interesting how a “so-so” Jon A album and a second tier Wakeman album got paired up, though.

I do like Fred Barringer’s ideas for Tormato: the “Arriving UFO” one would be my pick – it seems to have a bit more tomato ‘flavor’ to it!

Looking forward to a fully revivified team next week – hope you’re feeling better, Kevin.

Greetings Joseph,
Great to hear from you. Yeah I’m sure next week things will be back to normal. As for the Wakeman album…I really enjoyed it…but that’s just me I guess…compared to a lot of his 80’s and 90’s output (there are some real stinkers) this is brilliant. And yes Song of Seven is far from Olias ..I only really like the title track.

Kevin & Mark, I really enjoyed the latest episode. I’m going to have to pull out Song of Seven and give it a spin. It has been many years since I have listened to it. As far boxsets, I would like Yes to do something similar to what King Crimson have done with their super deluxe boxsets of each album with multiple live shows, studio outtakes, 5.1 mixes and video. I have really enjoyed the Crimson sets and it would be great to see the same from Yes if the material is available. Kevin, hope you feel better soon.

So today while re-staining my Gazebo I listened to the full Song of Seven album and I have to say I was surprised.. at how much I actually enjoyed it! There was a very nice balance of song types, decent (if a little dated) production and musical instrument diversity and great singing songs. Not a must have mind you, but far away one of the better solo albums from Jon—especially when measured against what was to come in later decades. I always felt Jon does best when edited and collaborating. Same thing with Trevor Rabin for that matter.

PS) I hope you feel better Kevin, thanks for the episode under less-than-ideal circumstances.

First of all I have to wish you Kevin a speedy recovery and thanks for getting out the episode on schedule.
I enjoyed your review of Song of Seven. While I’m amazed that you’ve not until now bothered to listen to it, I was slightly envious that you had the delight of listening to such a great album for the first time. (Are you really a fan of Yes? How incurious of you not to have done so for the last 37 years!!)
The last time I saw Jon was on the tour for the album in December 1980. Without any fancy staging or lighting, his gig was amazing. I was blown away by his charisma and sheer musicality. It was a few days after the murder of John Lennon and I went up to the stage and handed to Jon my RIP tribute. A bit cheesy in retrospect but Jon took it and did make his own comments about it.
A few days later I was at the Yes Drama gig at the same venue (City Hall, Newcastle) but the impact and atmosphere were so much less than Jon’s performance.
Song of Seven is a marvellous record. It is one of those rare albums which having listened, makes one want to listen again. It has a beautiful uplifting impression. I know it is mostly due to the title song which is pure Jon magic. Anyone who says otherwise has a heart of stone. (sorry J C but you are a rocker first of all 🙂 )
Mark, how can any album by Rick get a 10/10? You’ve never scored a Yes album that highly! Then again, they’re not your favourite band. By the way the river that runs through London is not as you pronounced. Where was you brung up?

Ah, Song of Seven. I first heard this album only a couple of years ago, and I like most of it just fine, but this is the first sign we have that Jon Anderson’s solo albums will be all over the place. “Some Are Born” is a great song, but it sounds an awful lot like Supertramp to me (specifically “Give A Little Bit”), while one of the songs on side two reminds me of a whimsical Moody Blues song. The more cosmic and hippyish parts are easily the best, but the two songs on side two that ape old rock and roll records are just awkward. Not only does Jon’s voice not fit very well, but they have a late-70s vibe to it I don’t care for: you know, the sound of too many session men jamming aimlessly, plus unnecessary sax solos. It’s also the beginning of Anderson’s endless trying on of any style that catches his attention, whether it suits him or not……. Madonna ‘reinvents herself’, Bowie is ‘a chameleon’, Anderson is indiscriminate. You could say he’s being nicely eclectic in his solo career, but you could also say he lacks artistic direction. He seems willing to tackle any genre, whether it suits his voice or his lyrical style. Oh well……

With respect Charles, unless you first listened to this album in its context, you can’t compare it to later music. At least Jon followed his heart rather than being a cynical manipulator like the talentless madonna. In case you were hiding under a stone for 40 years, this album was made in 1979/80 hence its late 70s vibe. Some would call it authentic if not trailblazing.

I always liked Song of Seven. Not as good as Olias, but a fun album. IMHO none of Jon’s subsequent solo albums were this good. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to parley this album in to a successful pop song career. Also glad that none of these ideas ever made it in to a Yes album.

Song of Seven has been one of my all time favourites ever since buying it soon after it’s release. I agree entirely with Jeremy North’s summation above. I even prefer it to Olias. People who knock it seem to be doing so on the basis that they are expecting a prog album. It’s not. It’s a great uplifting album with more catchy hooks than you can shake a stick at which also contains possibly Jon’s greatest prog track.
Similarly the first couple of Asia albums are great 80’s stadium rock albums. Looked at in this light rather than what is expected of the rock greats who played on it, it’s fine. The difference is that the Asia albums are very much of an era and sound quite naff now whereas Song of Seven sounds as fresh to me now as it did in 1980.

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