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Rest In Peace John Wetton plus Jon and Vangelis remastered

John Wetton
John Wetton

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

Geoff Baillie and Jamie McQuinn lead the tributes to John Wetton, prog bassist. Mark and Kevin review teh remastered Jon and Vangelis songs on the new Vangelis Box Set Delectus and Mark brings us another vinyl/CD review. Another packed episode!

  • How much of John Wetton’s story do you know?
  • How do the Jon and Vangelis songs sound on the new re-masters?
  • Are the 1980s elements too much?

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

Nick Baker’s excellent blog post about John Wetton

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Close to the Edge analysis by Greg Dietz (pdf)

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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

24 replies on “Rest In Peace John Wetton plus Jon and Vangelis remastered”

Nice tribute to John Wetton. Did you see this?

For the 2 pence, when you spoke about how using the YES bubble logo might have been a move to get attention, I thought of this from Oscar Wilde, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Seems like a management move to me. Now the poster I just found online says “ARW: An Evening of YES music and more.” Pretty much how Jon and ABWH would bill the shows in the past. Peace at last!

So great that you were able to play some songs from Jon & Vangelis! Jon sounds so young! I think part of that was the production, plus the fact that he was younger then!

I have the DVD that Wetton clip is from. Love the stripped back versions – it’s sad that theyre clearly miming!

Could I suggest that this new vinyl collectors segment should maybe have its own podcast instead of being part of YMP? I’ve always loved every second of every YMP podcast – until the last two podcasts. Sorry. I know it’s a lot of hard work by Mark, but for me, this new segment is changing the feel of the show. I’ve always enjoyed all Mark’s other contributions, but YMP is the wrong platform for that segment in my opinion. Love everything else. And thanks for doing YMP for the last few years, its a real highlight at the end of each week.

I agree with you Denis. It’s a geek out too far for me. Who cares about what’s scratched in the run off bit of the LP. Like Geoff, I just use FF. One thing that was of note though is that there are these audiophile pressings at 45rpm. I’m curious though. Markgave it a glowing review then said he was going to look to buy one. How then did he get to hear how good it was?
If though, as he said, there are a lot of listeners who approve of this segment, then it should continue and we’ll have to put up with it. Perhaps Mark will tweak it to make it more concise.

Good Afternoon. I have been a long time listener, but have not commented very much. I just wanted to provide a little feedback concerning this new segment. I agree with Denis and had the same thought while listening to this episode this morning. This should be a separate podcast. The information sounds fascinating if you are into that, but I am not. I appreciate what Mark is doing, but this it too far off the path of Yes Music.

Anyway, I appreciate all the Kevin and Mark do. Each episode is welcome and intensely listened to. Just wanted to give my “two pence”.

Thanks, Charles in Mansfield, TX, U.S.A.

How did I hear it? They had one at a local record store I go to….I know the owner and asked him to play it….he had an open one that had been played twice by the store…it sounded fantastic. I didn’t buy it though because I didn’t have the 50.00 at that moment.

I enjoyed the review of the Jon and Vangelis material. Will the box set contain a remastered version of Page of Life? Well besides that obvious omission in the review here are a few of my thoughts:

I think Mark Anthony Kay’s review is pretty spot for the most part. Jon and Vangelis has always had ‘hit or miss’ output for me. As somebody who bought all these LPs soon after their release back in the day, I can tell you that Vangelis’ keyboards sounded dated to me even back then. This is especially true of Short Stories. However some of Jon’s best singing of his career can be found on Jon and Vangelis releases.

Yes, a definite improvement in song writing and arrangement as they released more LPs. Short Stories in particular sounds like it was written and recorded within a span of mere *days*. Very good point that the song arrangements are very similar. The sequencer knob twiddling on Curious Electric was boring even when I was an Atari addicted teenager. Mr. Cairo is a huge improvement especially in arrangement (with a few clunkers thrown in). What gives Jon and Vangelis an immortal legacy in my music collection is Private Collection. In my view Private Collection is a masterpiece in every sense of the word. I would not add, remove or change a single note of music. Vangelis invested some time and/or money in his sound quality and it really paid off – nothing sounds dated. It is perfect as it stands – I have loved Private Collection since the first moment I heard it over 35 years ago and I have never tired of it. Page of Life? Well I still don’t know what happened there ….

Mark wondered why I’d not responded to your post so for the sake of balance, I’d like to know in what way you found Vangelis’ sound dated back then. He was using cutting edge technology. It’s true that Short Stories is somewhat quirky but Mr Cairo is as you imply, a great album because it is a continuation of the feel of Short Stories.

Thanks for mentioning Page of Life, I’d not listened to it for years. It lacks the experimental feel of their earlier collaborations but a fine album all the same. I don’t see why it would need remastering, nor the others come to think of it. As I said in a comment below, it’s a shame that Heaven and Hell is not included in this set of reissues, it is a fine album. Did you buy it?

Hey Jeremy. In all fairness I should really remove the word ‘dated’ from my music vocabulary. All I can say is that I have never liked a lot of keyboard sounds that Vangelis was coming up with in Short Stories – it sounds like not enough time was taken to integrate them well into a full sound. Here is an example that comes to the top of my head, Each and Every Day from Short Stories opens with a ‘French Horn’ sound that sounds very artificial because it is accomanied with only a small bit of piano. It is too sparse of an arrangement, and that fake ‘french horn’ sound is not enough to carry the song. But that same sound can be found in Horizon (it pops up here and there throughout the song), which is a much fuller arrangement and so the sound works much better because it is better integrated into the whole of the song for me. I understand if you don’t agree but I hope you at least understand what I mean by ‘dated’ in this case.

Heaven and Hell? Oh gosh I have not listened to that thing in ages. I bought it on cassette sometime in the early 80s, so I am sure I have it stashed among the boxes in my attic somewhere. I barely remember anything about it except for one bit that sounded like Navajo chanting. I am not a huge fan of Vangelis’ work – I do consider Private Collection to be a masterpiece of music, but other than that I prefer his late ’80s work (Direct, The City) over his 70s output.

Thanks for the clarification j&r. With that adjustment to your wording no one can argue with that. If it’s a subjective thing then that makes sense. Some of his sounds are a bit naff.
I’ve not analysed the music for its arrangement. I listen to it as it is and let the ambiance rather than thinking it would be better if they’d done this or that.
Short Stories is an odd album and does sound a bit like you said, that they are playing about in the studio for a couple of days. I love it though in spite of that. For me there is a sparkle, a magical feel, a very positive vibe.
I like your comment on H&H, I’d not thought of Navajo chanting before, for me it was more like monks so I listened to it again and get what you mean, especially with the drum pattern.

Not to be rude, but MAK’s segments are rendering this podcast unlistenable.

1) The vinyl segment seems interminable, with MAK rattling off dead vinyl matrix information and highly abstract assessments.

Opinions on vinyl releases are so highly subjective as to be pointless. A little bit of lurking in Steve Hoffman’s music forums, where long-winded discussions/arguments regularly erupt on this sort of topic, reveals that audiophiles and vinyl fans are a contentious, confused bunch and there is no such thing as a perfect, definitive issue of any album.

It seems pointless to discuss because there will always be someone who’ll disagree along the lines of, “Yeah, well, the original 1981 Japanese vinyl with matrix number EAJ-88772566-B that was pulled from stores after a month because of a printing error was found on the sleeve is the best especially when played on my [long winded description of a sound system and listening space],” or some similar dopey opinion.

2) Describing Jon and Vangelis as “ambient” shows a remarkable misunderstanding of ambient music. MAK would do well to explore the differences between Eno’s early ambient work and how it is markedly different from its contemporaneous electronic brethren like Vangelis and Tangerine Dream (and others). The two genres are not interchangeable.

His notions on this matter in particular come across like a naïve, ill-informed “rawker” fanboy as opposed to someone doing a reasonable, informed review of this sort of music. It’s like a reading a restaurant review written by someone that knows nothing about Thai food who notes how the Pad Thai is like KFC because they both feature chicken.

3) I think it’s foolish to complain about Vangelis’ patch choices (or as MAK inelegantly put it, “keyboard, synthesizer stuff”). Of course they sound like ’80s keyboard sounds: they were created on synthesizers from that era during that era. More often than not, during the period in question, Vangelis relied heavily on his CS80 which became the source of his signature sound for a while. These “sci-fi” sounds, these “very ’80s” sounds”, these “bad haircuts”, were used by him to rather great effect in film soundtracks like “Blade Runner”, “Chariots of Fire”, and “Opéra Sauvage” and helped to make Vangelis a much, much more successful and sought after soundtrack composer than Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson . . . I’m just saying . . .

To put it another way, I don’t hear anyone coming down on Steve Howe for his very ’70s guitar sound on Yes albums from the ’70s, but one could easily do so using this sort of narrow thinking.

Vangelis’ analog sounds are, to my ears, much preferable to the string-heavy digital sounds that Vangelis has settled into for the last twenty years or so.

I should also add that appreciation of these sounds has enjoyed a renaissance of late and have undergone a re-evaluation by modern synth players who yearn for the expressiveness that these analog instruments offer. Musicians will seek out the original equipment (look up Benge and Memetune Studios) or use VST emulators to achieve the same results.

As an example of this modern revival of these sounds, listen to the opening moments of this piece of new music and think about how its DNA traces directly back to Vangelis, his CS80, and “Blade Runner”:

Hi Sam and thank you for the comment. The Yes Music Podcast has always been simply ‘an exploration of the world’s greatest progressive rock band’, first of all by ‘one fan’ and now, with the addition of Mark, by ‘two fans’.

One of the best things about Yes fans is that we all have our own opinions and ways of looking at things. I have always been open to everyone’s views and we are all very welcome to contribute to the show. I was particularly interested in your take on Jon and Vangelis and how it differed from those on last week’s episode. Please feel free to record your views on the music we feature and send it in via the Speakpipe widget so we can play it as an alternative viewpoint.

It seems that the vinyl analysis segment is interesting to some (including me) and not to others and that’s absolutely fine – it won’t be possible to please everyone all the time!

Overall, I have always kept the podcast positive because that’s the overriding feeling which flows from Yes music for me. In the end, what we do here is meant to be about the music, about the band members and about some of the more interesting bits and pieces of Yes ephemera so I hope that’s what we can continue to do – be positive about a musical phenomenon which I have a feeling might outlast all of us!

Thanks for your reply, Kevin. I genuinely believe that you are a class act and I “get” the positivity thing to which you are working and I appreciate what you are doing for Yes music and its requisite fandom. Sadly, I’m of the opinion that MAK often drags the show down and this week I had to speak my mind about some of the things that he was inarticulately articulating.

Hello Sam,
How are you? Well…I’ve read your comments…and found them interesting to say the least. But since Kevin has responded so well I’ll keep my response brief..or as brief as possible. I’ve been in the music business for a long time…I’ve recorded albums and toured and have received many reviews over the years. And the lesson I’ve learned from all that is..your never going to make everyone happy…as much as we try sometimes…I’m not going to get into many specifics…but to call me an “ill-informed rawker fanboy”….you don’t know me …so I’ll forget that you said something that dumb.
Also I know for a fact that there are plenty of listeners to this podcast who enjoy my contributions and while they might disagree with some things that I say ..we still get along great and I look forward to speaking and conversing with them each week. I’ve always said …we have the best audience!!! So in closing..if my opinions on Vangelis don’t sit well with you…that’s fine..your entitled to your own opinion…as am I. As for the new vinyl analysis segment…it was an experiment and frankly I agree that it might not be the best thing to do on the YMP…so I do listen to our listeners.. like Denis, who explained his view without having to get insulting, that I appreciate. .and take into consideration.
So I hope you continue to listen but I’m telling you right now….I’m not going anywhere…and will continue to do my part to make this podcast the best it can be….for our fantastic listeners.

Mark Anthony K

To be clear, I didn’t *call* you an “ill-informed “rawker” fanboy,” rather, I stated that your *notions* [emphasis] on this matter in particular *come across* [emphasis] like a naïve, ill-informed ‘rawker’ fanboy as opposed to someone doing a reasonable, informed review of this sort of music.”

There’s a difference, you see. I think that you’d do well to understand the point that I was making about music specifics and your apparent misunderstanding of them as you go forward with your reviews.

In this way you’ll sound less like someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about who makes foolish (or, to use your word, “dumb”) proclamations and more like the person who boasts of being “in the music business for a long time” that your unsolicited CV claims.

I look forward to you living up to your purported experience in future podcasts.

Also . . . just to show that I’m not simply complaining . . .I’ll offer a suggestion to fix something:

The vinyl segment could possibly work if you were able to to do short side-by-side a/b audio comparisons of various releases in order to compare their qualities and support your opinions instead of simply droning on about them in abstract ways.

Unless I’m mistaken, if the samples are kept short and are for critical review purposes they’ll fall into ‘fair use’ in terms of copyright issues.

Hey Sam,

I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Jon and Vangelis. ..I appreciate that you love their stuff…but I don’t like all of it. ..I don’t think that I have to.
And this whole thing about me not knowing what I’m talking about. ..well again your opinion…by the way thank you for the suggestion about the audio samples…I’ll talk to Kevin about it and see what he says.

Sam, I like your frankness though it may seem harsh on MAK. I guess that he’s a bit obsessive, but given that Kevin has embraced his inclusion into the podcast my thinking is that his input has helped Kevin to keep it going by sharing the load.
I agree with all of your points. There is a lot of revisionism going on. I thought Vangelis was remarkable back in 1975 when I bought Heaven and Hell. His sound was cutting edge. Even before that with Aphrodites Child, it was remarkable.
Mark’s subjectiveness is useless unless one can apply the filter. I admire his passion but anyone who has a regard for Kiss has to be humoured rather than taken seriously. He’s a nice guy so we have to give him a bit of slack as long as he doesn’t try to take the mantle from Kevin who steers the ship very much as the Jon Anderson positivity role.
Mark should rein in his segments to show deference to the host and the listeners but equally bring to our attention the little nuggets which are relevant to Yes music.

Hey Jeremy,

Haha…wow…you won’t let the fact that I like Kiss go will you…you seem to forget that I like many other bands…Rush…Yes….King Crimson. ..Genesis..David Bowie..etc…I’m not surprised that you agree with Sam…you should go for coffee with him..haha. But for some reason your comments never seem to bother me…I feel they still come from a good place…even when your trying to insult me.
Obviously our opinion on Vangelis differ…but that’s not a bad thing. ..if you have loved him from the start…great! ! But I don’t…there are some things I like…like Private Collection…and I did say that I feel that he is one of the best soundtrack written. ..but it seems people have forgot that. Oh and it’s interesting that Joe and rosemary agreed with my opinion and you have nothing to say about that….so I guess not everyone shares your views.
Anyways let’s get back to positive stuff. I hope you continue listening Jeremy.

Hey Mark, you know I’m only teasing you about Kiss. I know you love a lot of great music by proper bands. We all have our guilty pleasures 🙂 I’d never insult you, you’re far too nice and I respect you unequivocally.

Of course it’s ok that our opinions differ on Vangelis, just a shame that you’re missing out haha. He is a great composer of film music as you said. It is his ability to evoke a wistful mood that I love. A perfect match for Jon to create a fabulous sonic landscape.

I’ll always listen so don’t worry about that brother. Now I’m going to have a few words with Joe and Rosemary.

Hello Jeremy,
Thank you for your response. It makes me very happy that you are a longtime listener and will continue to listen. Your comments and opinions are part of what make this podcast so great and enjoyable to do. And to show that I value your opinion and that of the listeners. ..I’m going to sit down and take a serious listen to some of the Vangelis albums you spoke of…maybe a re listen is in order.

Well that was an indeed bumper show. The first and hopefully not last to contain actual songs (that’s tracks to you Kevin 🙂 ). Pity that both were from the same album.
I’ve loved J&V right from the start. I infer that you’ve never heard their first collaboration on Heaven and Hell. Released in !975 so it was probably written during the time when we thought Vangelis was going to join Yes so in and around the time Yes was writing Relayer. So Long Ago So Clear is as beautiful a song as Jon ever sung before or since. I’m surprised that it has never been mentioned here. Very much in the mold of “Soon” which was probably written around the same time.
The J&V segment was great, though I disagree that one has to be ‘in the mood’ to listen to it. I find it so uplifting. Short Stories, of all it’s quirkiness is enthralling. Very dreamy. Same for Friends of Mr Cairo apart from the rather out of place School Boogie. It is all pure magic. I’m not at all surprised that Mark’s older and wiser sister played it to death. I know I did.
Private collection for me at the time it came out seemed a little on the feminine side but listening to it again tonight I see your point thinking it was a more developed album. Horizons is indeed a great piece. It joins together with the rest so it hardly seems like a separate song. Beautiful.

I think you should listen to Heaven and Hell and review it. Kevin in particular, I think your musical intrigue will be piqued by the various styles he employs including voices. It is a tour de force though not without its idiosyncrasies. Yes it may sound like it was from the mid 70s but guess what …


Sorry but I omittedt to thank Jamie and Geoff for the John Whetton tributes and especially the latter for the comprehensive explanation of his links to Yes and its members down through the ages. Thoroughly appreciated by this listener.

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