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Asia is a Progressive Rock band formed as a supergroup in 1982 by King Crimson bassist and singer John Wetton, Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, and The Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes — the last of whom was responsible of keeping the band name afloat during the various lineup changes, including the switch between John Wetton and John Payne as lead vocalists. At present, up until 2017 with John Wetton's death, both lineups have continued to tour under the same band name, with John Payne's own lineup (with a new keyboardist) referring to themselves as "Asia featuring John Payne".



John Wetton lineup
  • Asia — 1982, noted for "Heat Of The Moment", "Only Time Will Tell", "Sole Survivor", "Wildest Dreams", and "Here Comes The Feeling"
  • Alpha — 1983, noted for "Don't Cry" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes"
  • Astra — 1985 (their first without Steve Howe)
  • Then & Now — 1990 (half compilation album, half studio album)
  • Phoenix — 2008
  • Omega — 2010
  • XXX — 2012
  • Gravitas — 2014

John Payne lineup

  • Aqua — 1992 (with Carl Palmer and Steve Howe as "guest" musicians)
  • Aria — 1994
  • Arena — 1996
  • Archiva Vol. 1 — 1996
  • Archiva Vol. 2 — 1996
  • Rare — 1999
  • Aura — 2001
  • Silent Nation — 2004


Tropes of the moment.

  • Album Title Drop: "Into the arena we climb, we look to the sky,..." from the title track of Arena. Also Silent Nation in the song of the same name.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming — Several of their album titles begin and end with the letter A — Asia, Alpha, Astra, Aqua, Aria, Arena, Archiva (Vol. 1 and 2), and Aura, plus their live album America and the compilation album Anthologia.
  • Break-Up Song — "Only Time Will Tell"
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The Pyramid With Eyes that appears on the covers of Alpha, Aura, and XXX.
  • Cover Album: Recollections, with the John Payne lineup covering various other prog rock bands' songs.
  • Cover Version10cc's "Ready To Go Home" from Aura. Also GTR's "The Hunter" from Anthology.
  • Design Student's Orgasm — Their album covers designed by Roger Dean. The covers for Aqua, Arena, and Archiva were designed by Rodney Matthews.
  • Dystopia — "Wildest Dreams" is about a nation slowly turning into a dystopia. The video for "Go" takes place in a futuristic one. Fighting and overcoming another one is the subject of "Rise"
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Gravitas" starts off with 2 1/2 minutes of instrumentals before the vocals come in.
  • Epic Rocking: "Free", "Sleeping Giant/No Way Back/Reprise", "Parallel Worlds/Vortex/Deya" and "Gravitas" all hover in the 8-minute range, and "The Day Before The War" is just a bit over 9 minutes.
  • Femme Fatale: The woman who appears in the "Don't Cry" video.
  • Flying Seafood Special: A winged dolphin in space on the cover of Aqua.
  • Futuristic Pyramid — Incorporated into the background of the Astra album cover, and appearing in the video for the song "Go".
  • Giant Spider: On the cover of Archiva Vol. 1 & 2
  • Greatest Hits AlbumThen & Now is partly this and partly a studio album. Anthology is a John Payne lineup compilation album that also includes covers of songs from the John Wetton lineup.
  • King of Beasts: A winged lion sits majestically on top of a waterfall on the cover of Arena.
  • I Am the Band — Geoff Downes and John Payne were essentially Asia during the 1990s, with Geoff being the only constant between the John Payne and John Wetton lineups.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Quite a few of their album covers feature Asian-style dragons.
  • Lead Bassist: John Wetton and John Payne in their separate lineups.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: "Prayin' 4 A Miracle".
  • Loudness War: Started creeping up to a minor extent in the mid 90s, but it wasn't until Aura and onward when the volume dial took a noticeably hard right.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Rock And Roll Dream", "Too Late", "Are You Big Enough", "Valkyrie", and "Till We Meet Again".
  • Non-Indicative Name — Asia is a rock band that started in Britain. However, one of their former band members, Aziz Ibrahim, is of Pakistani ancestry.
    • Also Alpha is the band's second album, while Omega is hardly their final album.
  • Not Christian RockAura.
  • One-Woman Song — "Kari Anne".
  • One-Word Title — "Daylight", a B-side from Alpha; "Go" and "Wishing" from Astra; "Someday" from Aqua; "Arena", "Heaven", "Never", "Falling", and "Words" from Arena; "Alibis" from Phoenix; "Gravitas" and "Valkyrie" from Gravitas.
  • Pegasus: On the cover of Then & Now.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech — "U Bring Me Down" from Arena is this in song.
  • Revolving Door Band — They even had musicians join and leave without ever recording.
  • Sea Monster: On the cover of their 1982 self-titled debut album.
  • Shout Out: "A.L.O." from the Archiva albums is a shout-out to John Payne's previous band, ELO Part II.
  • Sole Survivor — One of the songs from Asia.
  • Spoken Word in Music — "Countdown To Zero" from Astra has an ominous voice speaking during the bridge section and the ending, telling the powers-that-be to not start the countdown.
  • Title TrackAqua, Aria, Arena, Aura, Silent Nation, and Gravitas.
  • Title-Only Chorus: A few of their songs have this, such as "Valkyrie" and "I Would Die For You".
  • To the Tune of: "Heat of the Moment" is basically an arena rock reworking of The Buggles's "Video Killed the Radio Star", especially the verses and the distinctive opening riff, which is nearly identical to Geoff Downes's keyboard playing at the end of "Radio Star"'s bridge.
  • Wipe That Smile Off Your Face — The people on the cover of Silent Nation have no mouths.
  • You Are Not Alone: From the chorus of "Wherever You Are":
    Every time you think of home,
    Remember that you're not alone
    And we'll be with you heart and soul wherever you are.

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