Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Neglected Hits - Don't Cry - Asia

As you may have guessed from several of my other posts, I love me some music of the '80s. What isn't as evident from this blog (if you're reading it chronologically that is) is my love of progressive rock. So imagine my surprise to find out that there was a supergroup of progressive rock musicians who made a bunch of '80s styled rock with pop hooks. Their name: Asia.

The band was made up of the four dashing gentleman you see above:
John Wetton: Bass and Vocals - Previously from King Crimson, Family, and other bands
Steve Howe: Guitars and backing vocals: Previously from Yes
Carl Palmer: Drums and percussion: Previously from ELP
Geoffrey Downes: Keyboards and backing vocals: Previously from The Buggles and Yes

Their debut, self-titled album in 1982 was massively successful, going 4x multi-platinum in the states and yielding two hits: "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time Will Tell." Those two songs are about all you'll ever hear from them considering their follow up, Alpha was not as successful, but still managed to go platinum.

Alpha did however yield a top 10 hit with the song "Don't Cry." I heard this song exactly once on the radio when a local station was doing a bit of a gimmick and playing different songs by different bands that shared the same title. The result was them playing Guns N' Roses' "Don't Cry," Asia's "Don't Cry," and Seal's "Don't Cry." It was an interesting mix to say the least...

Anyway, it's a really poppy song that relies on a heavy hook in the chorus to sell itself. Unlike the previous hits by Asia, there's not really a noteworthy instrumental performance unless you count the intro that layers Downes' keyboards with Howe's stinging guitar and is hammered home with Palmer's powerful drum fills. Outside of that, it's pretty by the numbers, but man does that chorus have a strong draw.

Surprisingly, "Don't Cry" was actually a bigger hit on the Billboard charts than "Only Time Will Tell," but you'll hear the latter much more than the former since Asia's self-titled record is the only one history seems to remember. Under normal circumstances I'd probably cry about it a little but...well, that would defeat the point of the song...

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