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Asia is a Progressive Rock band formed as a supergroup in 1981 by King Crimson bassist and singer John Wetton, Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer, Yes guitarist Steve Howe, and The Buggles/Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. Nicknamed "The band that wouldn't die", every incarnation of Asia is known for its thick production style with anthemic hooks, heavy keyboards, densely packed backing vocals, lyrics about love and loss, and extremely fancy album covers.

Asia commercially peaked with their self-titled debut album in 1982, which contains most of the big radio hits that put them on the map. Subsequent sales declined, and personal drama caused a late 80s hiatus that put the group's future in doubt. Despite this, Asia regrouped in the early 90s with new members, and kept releasing new studio albums (along with enough live albums to make bootlegs damn near obsolete) with regularity for the next three decades. A significant era of that was fronted by replacement singer John Payne, who helped carry Asia into the new millennium by branching out into new directions with their sound and style. In 2006, John Wetton and the original lineup reunited and picked up where they left off in the 80s. As a show of thanks for his work, John Payne was permitted to keep using the Asia name on his own terms, with the only condition of having "Featuring John Payne" being added to it. Both lineups continued to tour and record as separate entities.

The reunion era tragically came to an end in 2017 with John Wetton's death, leading to Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal filling in the gap for their most recent live performances. At the time, Asia Featuring John Payne were working on their first albums of original material. In response, they took up the temporary name "Dukes of the Orient" out of respect for Wetton's passing. A new studio album that revives the AFJP name, titled Aviana, is currently in the works.


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 (Noted for "Go")
  • Then & Now — 1990 (Half compilation album, half studio album)
  • Phoenix — 2008 (Noted for featuring the reunion of the original lineup)
  • Omega — 2010
  • XXX — 2012
  • Gravitas — 2014

John Payne lineup

  • Aqua — 1992 (Noted for "Who Will Stop the Rain?")
  • Aria — 1994 (Noted for "Military Man")
  • Arena — 1996 (Noted for the title track)
  • Archiva 1 — 1996 (A compilation for previously unreleased songs and reworks of some Geoffrey Downes solo tracks)
  • Archiva 2 — 1996 (Ditto)
  • Rare — 1999 (The soundtrack to David Attenborough's "Salmon: Against the Tides", along with a handful of songs made for a video game that never got finished)
  • Aura — 2001 (Noted for "Wherever You Are" and "Ready to Go Home")
  • Armada 1 — 2002
  • Armada 2 — 2003
  • Armada 3 — 2003
  • Silent Nation — 2004

Asia Ft. John Payne (a.k.a Dukes of the Orient) lineup

  • Military Man
  • Recollections: A Tribute to British Prog — 2014 (An album for covers of progressive rock hits)
  • Dukes of the Orient — 2018
  • Freakshow — 2020
  • Aviana — TBD

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: It was a longstanding tradition for their album titles to begin and end with the letter A — Asia, Alpha, Astra, Aqua, Aria, Arena, Archiva (1 and 2), Aura, and finally the trilogy of Armada releases. Even a few of their compilations and live albums could get in on this, with Aurora, Andromeda, Anthologia, and America. Then in 2022, John Payne revealed in an interview that a new album from his branch of the band will be called Aviana, revisiting the tradition after almost two decades.
  • The Atoner: The speaker of "Forgive Me" seeks mercy, possibly from a higher power, after a crime he committed gets broadcasted to the public.
    Life's not hard/Now I'm on TV, this sudden twist of fate/I am direct salvation/Just send in your donation/I can promise that you'll be safe/Forgive me world/I'm just a man who lost his way
  • Badass Back: A borderline example. During the Aura sessions, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta was an early candidate for inclusion on the album. John Payne recalled a story where Vinnie dropped a cigarette during a take, put one drumstick under his arm while bending over to pick it up, and put it back in his mouth - all while still playing without skipping a beat.
  • B-Side: "Ride Easy" was on the flip side to some of the 45rpm singles for "Heat of the Moment".
    • "Daylight" and "Lying to Yourself" were also the B-sides to Alpha's lead singles.
    • "Heart of Gold", "Obsession", and "Reality" were originally released as supporting songs for the CD singles that Aqua and Aria spawned. All three were later included on Archiva 1 & 2.
    • "Under the Gun" from the single release of "Wherever You Are", although it's commonly found on versions of Aura including it as a bonus track too.
  • Break-Up Song: One of this band's signature lyrical topics. "Only Time Will Tell", "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", "The Last to Know", "True Colors", "Too Late", "Someday", "Sad Situation", "Don't Come to Me", and "Alibis".
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The Pyramid With Eyes that appears on the covers of Alpha, Aura, and XXX.
  • Carpe Diem: "An Extraordinary Life" has this in the chorus:
    Go seize the day
    Wake up and say
    This is an extraordinary life
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: John Wetton was apparently distressed at the initial success of "Heat of the Moment". As Steve Howe once revealed, Wetton was the only member who hadn't had a taste of any mainstream success before, let alone the history-making levels of it that Asia's debut was achieving. The pressure to keep that momentum going hit him the hardest. This stress triggered a domino effect where Wetton became more reserved and introverted, which aggravated his drinking problems to the point where it got him temporarily fired, and then forced out Steve Howe upon his return. In many respects, the rapid success of "Heat of the Moment" nearly led to the band unraveling as a whole.
  • Changing Chorus: In "Heat of the Moment", the final chorus just repeats "Heat of the moment." Also, the second chorus omits the line "Telling me what your heart meant"
  • Chronological Album Title: Archiva 2, plus Armada 2 & 3.
  • Climactic Music: "Open Your Eyes" builds up to a truly grand, powerful conclusion that sent Alpha (and for over two decades, the original lineup) off on a high note.
  • Concept Album: Aria is said to be one, describing the life of a man from childhood to old age. Geoff Downes once explained to a prog rock newsletter that "Anytime" was an early childhood memory, "Are You Big Enough" is adolescence, "Desire" was the protagonist's first sexual experience, "Sad Situation" was their first breakup, etc.
  • Continuity Nod: "Emily" contains the line "And am I doing well? I guess only time will tell".
    • A brief one in "Tomorrow the World" with the line "Don't walk away, and please don't cry".
  • Cover Album: Recollections by the "Featuring John Payne" version of the band, covering various other prog rock bands' songs.
  • Cover Version:
    • "Don't Call Me" by Johnny Warman on Aqua.
    • "Don't Come to Me" by Eddie Schwartz and "Showdown" by Electric Light Orchestra, both on Archiva 2.
    • "The Hunter" by GTR on Anthology.
    • "The Exodus" by Ernest Gold on Rare.
    • "Wherever You Are" by Wax and "Ready to Go Home" by 10cc, both on Aura.
    • "Orchard of Mines" by Globus on Phoenix.
    • "Neurosaur" by Erik Norlander on Military Man.
    • Live in Moscow featured covers of "Starless" and "Book of Saturday", both originating from John Wetton's King Crimson days.
    • Furthermore, the live album Fantasia (which came early into the original lineup's reunion) had a setlist that read like a love letter to the careers of each member. In order of appearance: "Roundabout" (Yes), "Intersection Blues" (Steve Howe), "Fanfare For the Common Man" (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), "In the Court of the Crimson King" (King Crimson), and "Video Killed the Radio Star" (The Buggles).
  • Cyberspace: The subject of "Reality", where a person heads into a blissful virtual reality world as an escape from their mundane city life.
  • Darker and Edgier: "Darkness Day" is an uncharacteristically grim song that deals with the apparent end of the world, with heavy allusions to the Christian rapture included. It even opens with a foreboding choir that sounds like a religious chant, driving the spiritual imagery home even more.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Artist Roger Dean, already known for his work designing Yes' albums, would always go the extra mile to make sure the packaging on Asia's albums, both inside and out, looked captivating enough to demand the largest poster sizes they can get. Ditto with Rodney Matthews' artwork for Aqua, Arena, and Archiva 1 & 2.
  • Determinator: They didn't get called "The band that wouldn't die" for nothing. The fact that the band even made it to the 90s at all is a sign of this. Vanishing record sales, rifts between band members, world tours being reduced to a handful of club dates, and the inability to even find a new record label for a few years would've been enough to break many other bands apart for good. But through it all, Geoff Downes led the charge and kept Asia alive at all costs. He and the various lineups around him still gave it their all on every release to make what they believed in, mainstream success be damned.
  • Didn't See That Coming: While on tour in 1990, arrangements were made for Asia to appear on a Japanese TV show. The band expected it to be some sort of rock music program, but what they actually walked into was a talent show for Japanese pop bands, for which they were the judges. John Wetton had an amusing recount of the experience:
    Wetton: That was the most bizarre thing I've ever done in my life. We were looking at each other saying 'Is this happening?' We walked into the studio, and it was like walking straight onto Wheel of Fortune, with the most bizarrely dressed girls running about. So we came out of there and everyone was dumbstruck, looking at each other and saying 'Did that happen?'
  • 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: The vocals for "Innocence" from Armada 1 don't kick in until about 1:20 into the song's run.
    • "Gravitas" starts off with close to 3 minutes of instrumentals before any vocals begin.
  • Epic Rocking: "Free", "Sleeping Giant/No Way Back/Reprise", "Parallel Worlds/Vortex/Deya", "Gravitas", and "Fourth of July" all hover in the 8-minute range. "The Day Before The War" is just a bit over 9 minutes, and "Give Another Reason" finally cracked the 10 minute mark. But eclipsing them all is "The Bridge" from Armada 2, which clocks in at a whopping 20 minutes and 56 seconds.
  • Ethereal Choir: "Darkness Day" features a haunting one in the song's intro, sounding almost like a dark church hymn at first.
  • Evolving Music: Some Asia songs have been through quite a journey. "Military Man" started as a shelved Geoff Downes demo in the late 80s, sung by GTR vocalist Max Bacon. In 1994 it was re-recorded and released on Aria, with thicker production and a slightly slower beat. Then in 2009, Asia Featuring John Payne re-recorded it again for their debut EP of the same name with a similar sound.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Rare lives up to its name, being one of the harder to find Asia releases out there. The copies that do circulate around often sell for outrageous prices because of it.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Little Rich Boy" does this about a full minute before the song's actual coda.
  • 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.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: Can be found on "Crime of the Heart"'.
  • 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 1 & 2
  • God-Is-Love Songs: The phrase "God is love" is sung in the chorus to "End of the World".
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The chorus to "Al Gatto Nero" contains the Italian lyric "Di sento fortunato, si si el vero" (which roughly translates to "I feel lucky, yes it is true") for no apparent reason.
  • Greatest Hits Album: A surprisingly large amount of them for both singers' material.
    • For the John Wetton years: Then & Now note , The Very Best Of Asia: Heat Of The Moment (1982-1990), Classic Asia, Anthologia, The Best of Asia, The Definitive Collection, and The Asia Collection.
    • For the John Payne years: Anthology note , Axioms, The Best Of Asia - Archives 1988-1997, The Collection, Greatest Hits (2000), and Best of Asia (2008).
  • Green Aesop: Several songs on Silent Nation deal with environmental issues and the need to address the climate crisis before it's too late.
  • The Grovel: What "Prayin' 4 a Miracle" is about, where the narrator is expressing about 10 different flavors of regret for breaking up with his girl, and begging her to take him back no matter what it'll take.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: An inverted example. Asia's debut album was expected to perform modestly, but nobody involved had any clue just what kind of success it would actually achieve as a multi-million seller right out the gate. This is why the sales of Alpha were considered disappointing, despite it managing to go platinum.
  • 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.
  • The Illuminati: John Payne has long been fascinated by masonic themes and tales of secret societies, and as explained by Erik Norlander, he and Payne channeled that into the writing of "The Monitors".
  • In Name Only:
    • The song "Gypsy Soul" was made to be a John Wetton solo piece for the soundtrack of Sylvester Stallone's Over the Top. But the soundtrack's release labels it as an Asia song, despite Wetton being the only member involved in it.
    • When John Wetton passed away, the "Featuring John Payne" version of the band were working on their first album of original material to release under that name. But then according to Payne, releasing it that way in the wake of Wetton's death would've been wrong. So instead they took up the temporary name "Dukes of the Orient", with two would-be Asia Featuring John Payne albums published under that banner as of 2020.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Earth-dwarfingly large ones are depicted on this unfinished album cover by Rodney Matthews.
  • Instrumentals: Only found in the John Payne era. "Aqua" (Parts 1 and 2), "Into the Arena", "Bella Nova", "The Mariner's Dream", "Ginger", "The Smoke That Thunders", "Armenia", the entirety of Rare, "Aura", "Bad Asteroid", and "The Bridge".
  • It Will Never Catch On: When Asia's representative first got ahold of the debut album, he said the logo was illegible, the cover was too dark, and he doubted that any of the songs would make a good single. Fast forward two weeks, and it becomes one of the top selling albums of the entire decade.
  • Just in Time: Asia was scheduled to play a highly publicized gig in Tokyo at the end of 1983, dubbed "Asia in Asia" to be the first MTV satellite broadcast in history. The problem? John Wetton had just been fired a week before, and there was no way to back out of the show. Desperate, Carl Palmer hastily called up his former Emerson, Lake & Palmer bandmate Greg Lake and asked him to fill in for Wetton. Lake agreed, and Asia went on to play the show with him on bass and vocals. Since they only had days to rehearse, Lake had to rely on a teleprompter to remember many of the lyrics. In his own words:
    Greg Lake: I did it as a favor to Carl. He called me up one night and said “Greg, man, I wonder if you could do me a favor?” I thought he wanted to borrow a guitar or something.
  • King of Beasts: A winged lion sits majestically on top of a waterfall on the cover of Arena.
  • Large Ham: Many have noted that John Payne sings in a more dramatic and operatic style than Wetton. If hearing it in his voice wasn't enough, just look at the way he chews the scenery in their video for "Seasons Will Change"!
  • Lead Bassist: John Wetton and John Payne in their separate lineups.
  • Leitmotif: A few distinct keyboard melodies appear many times throughout tracks 1-16 of Rare.
    • The first one is a fast paced, aquatic keyboard theme which appears in "The Waterfall", "The Gods", "Under the Sea", and "Downstream" (which also contains a reprise of "The Waterfall" in its entirety.)
    • The second one is a slightly more relaxed piano movement used for "The Journey Begins", "The Journey Continues", "The Reservation", and "The Journey Ends".
    • A minor recurring piece that resembles a horror movie stinger can be heard in "The Seasons" and "The Moon".
  • Letters 2 Numbers: "Prayin' 4 A Miracle".
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: A non-human example. Most of the songs on Archiva 1 & 2 were originally stored away in a box at Electric Palace because they weren't deemed worthy enough to include on the last few albums. But while the guys were taking the 1995 holiday season off, a water pipe burst in the studio and badly flooded the place. They returned after New Year's 1996 to find thousands of dollars of equipment destroyed. However, that box with the archived tapes in it was found intact amongst the damage. Realizing the luck of the situation, the band went and arranged to have the tracks officially released later that year, with a handful of B-sides and reworked Geoffrey Downes solo songs to fill the remaining CD space. Had that water pipe not broken, these songs might not've seen the light of day for a lot longer, if at all.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Innocence" and "Rise" are relatively light on lyrics, with the former having only 20 lines in 7 minutes.
  • Live Album: Hooooo boy does this band love them. As of 2021, Asia has released thirty-five official live albums, ranging from standard concert recordings to stripped back, MTV Unplugged-like acoustic performances of their hits. This band has so many live albums to pick from, there even exists multiple best-of compilations solely for these live recordings!
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Asia, Alpha, Archiva 2, Rare, Dukes of the Orient, and Freakshow all end with their lengthiest tracks, though it can be a close call for some of them.
  • Loudness War: Started creeping up to a minor extent in the mid 90s, but it wasn't until Aura onward when the volume dial took a noticeably hard right.
    • Averted with the Armada releases, all being very well mastered compared to the rest of the 2000s albums around them.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Rock And Roll Dream", "Too Late", "Are You Big Enough", "Valkyrie", and "Till We Meet Again".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Ghost in the Mirror" sounds upbeat musically, but lyrically it's downright harrowing.
  • Male Gaze: The music video for "Go" is full of it. The first we see of the female protagonist is her sleeping in a swimsuit-like leather outfit, with the camera getting a focus on her backside for good measure. The futuristic armor she gears up into is totally legless, and leaves a portion of her butt visible. Reaches almost comical levels in the song's bridge when, despite being on the run from some kind of police force, she still has time for a straight-up shower scene in the aforementioned leather one piece, complete with a close-up to the crotch, and the camera making it very clear she's not wearing a bra.
  • Medley: Geoff Downes performed one of Ready to Go Home/Free on Armada 2.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Some of the more low-profile releases like Anthology, the Armada albums and some of the CD singles would have this, consisting of just the band's logo on a white background with the title beneath it.
  • Miniscule Rocking: As the soundtrack to a TV documentary, about a third of the songs on Rare don't even reach the 1:30 mark.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: An unclear case in "Suspicion", where the song's narrator is becoming wary of how his spouse isn't around for him anymore while being seen with another man. It's possible that she wasn't outright cheating, but as per the title of the song, it's left up in the air for the narrator.
  • New Sound Album: Arena was a notable departure from the band's usual sound. Motivated by the lack of attention Aria received before it, the band opted to try something new and bold for the followup. This took the form of a more acoustic approach, incorporating elements of reggae, Latin and Middle Eastern style instrumentation. Its opening track, "Into the Arena", sounds like it could've come straight off a Santana album. Traces of this new sound also stuck around for Aura some time later.
    • Rare was another big departure. It's a diverse instrumental album of ambience and electronic sounds where the songs almost never exceed the 3 minute mark, and they often don't use a proper rhythm section. Some of the more mellow cuts like "The Journey Begins" and "Under the Seas" almost sound like Enya instrumentals. In contrast, "The Game" was the closest Asia ever came to a full-blown heavy metal song. It's undeniably the least representative album of Asia's whole catalogue.
    • Freakshow adopted a more jazzy style into its sound, being the group's first album to feature a saxophone in many tracks.
  • 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.
  • Obsession Song: "Obsession".
  • Ode to Youth: "Innocence" from Armada 1 is sung from the point of view of a father encouraging their child to navigate and learn about the world at their own pace.
  • One-Woman Song: "Kari-Anne".
  • One-Word Title:
    • "Daylight", a B-side from Alpha
    • "Go" and "Wishing" from Astra
    • "Someday" from Aqua, plus one of it's B-sides "Obsession"
    • "Anytime", "Desire", "Summer", and the title track from Aria, with its bonus track "Reality"
    • "Arena", "Heaven", "Never", "Falling", and "Words" from Arena
    • "Tears" and "Ginger" from Archiva 1
    • "Showdown" and "Armenia" from Archiva 2
    • "Downstream" from Rare
    • "Awake", "Free", and the title track from Aura
    • "Innocence" from Armada 1
    • "Midnight" from Silent Nation, plus its bonus track Rise
    • "Heroine" and "Alibis" from Phoenix
    • "Emily" from Omega
    • "Faithful" and "Judas" from XXX
    • "Gravitas" and "Valkyrie" from Gravitas.
    • The title track to Freakshow.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: For the most part, Armada 3 is a spoken word album featuring an extended interview with Geoff Downes and John Payne. But every so often, live acoustic performances of Asia songs will Fade In, play for a minute, and then fade back out to let the interview continue.
  • Pegasus: On the cover of Then & Now.
  • Power Ballad: "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", "Crime of the Heart", "Feels Like Love", "On the Coldest Day in Hell", "Heroine", "Ever Yours", and "The Closer I Get to You".
  • Production Foreshadowing: Between 1979 and 1981, John Wetton had a brief stint with French art rock band Atoll, in which a demo song called "No Reply" was produced. Although it was shelved at first, it was arguably a crucial blueprint for the style, production and sound engineering that Asia would go on to make a career out of shortly afterword. It sounds so close to something off the debut album, that some bootlegs outright mislabel it as a proper Asia demo. Later, it finally saw the light of day as a bonus track on re-issues of the album Rock Puzzle.
    • Supporting this, Wetton also produced the first demos for "Here Comes the Feeling" and "Eye to Eye" with Atoll, which also show up as Rock Puzzle bonus tracks. However, the latter doesn't sound much like the version that appeared on Alpha just yet.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In 1989, a talent agent named Neil Warnock invited Asia to reunite and tour with the Beach Boys after the song "Kokomo" put them back in the spotlight. John Wetton and Carl Palmer agreed to join, while Geoff Downes was preoccupied working with Greg Lake at the time. Alan Darby and John Young filled in for him and Howe for most of the tour.note  To their surprise, the audiences still recognized most of the songs that hadn't been played in years, and the tour gained them some of their biggest crowd numbers since 1982. This helped them realize Asia still had some life left in it, which led to the John Payne era reigniting the group's productivity a few years later.
  • Radio Song: "Voice of America".
  • Rearrange the Song: Countless Asia songs have gone through their own musical voyages over the years.
    • "Midnight Sun" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" first appeared during the band's original 1982 tour, to help fill concert space with only one album's worth of material to perform. The latter sounded very different from the revamped version made for Alpha the following year.
    • "Summer (Can't Last Too Long)", "Kari-Anne", and "I Would Die For You" all came from demos for Wetton/Downes, another musical project during the hiatus. Then "Finger on the Trigger" was first made during the project's revival in the 2000s, appearing on Icon II: Rubicon, and mostly re-recorded for Omega.
    • During the band's hiatus in the late 80s, Geoff Downes was working on a side project called Rain, where many Payne-era tracks can trace their origins to. Songs like "Who Will Stop the Rain?", "Someday", "Military Man", and various Archiva cuts note  were first recorded by the group with Max Bacon on vocals, although none of them made it past the demo stage at the time. John Wetton even got involved at one point, with versions of "Someday" and "Boys From Diamond City" being recorded with him on vocals, though they've yet to be released. Once Asia entered the 90s, only then did most of these demos turn into finished songs.
    • "Love Under Fire" was originally sung and co-written by Greg Lake, as part of another late-80s side project with Geoff Downes called Ride the Tiger. This and several other recordings were shelved for a while until receiving a proper release in 2015.
    • "Heaven on Earth" and "Desire" were originally unreleased demos made by John Payne and Andy Nye in the mid 80s, with the former being titled "Wasteland" with different lyrics. The latter sounded significantly more hair metal-like than the finished version on Aria.
    • "Satellite Blues" originates from Vox Humana, a 1992 solo album from Geoff Downes. That album also had the first official releases for "Tears" and "Moon Under the Water", sung by Max Bacon and Steve Overland respectively. When it came time to prepare the Archiva releases, these three songs' vocals were replaced with John Payne's own dubs, effectively re-branding them as Asia tunes.
    • "A.L.O." came from a demo that John Payne intended to use for Electric Light Orchestra, originally titled "Quest For the Key". It laid dormant until 1996, when a finished version was made to fill space on Archiva 1.
    • "Over and Over" was originally an outtake from the debut album, composed by Steve Howe. It later got resurrected into a complete song for Phoenix in 2008.
    • During the Alpha sessions, a demo called "Jodie" was made, but was shelved and never fully finished. 25 years later, it finally found a home on Phoenix in its new form of "Alibis".
    • Asia is very fond of making acoustic versions of certain songs. "Two Sides of the Moon", "Long Way From Home", "Silent Nation", and "I Will Remember You" are just some of the tracks to get full blown acoustic re-recordings, usually for bonus tracks or CD singles.
    • Asia Featuring John Payne's first studio release was a 2009 EP called Military Man, which had re-recordings of the titular song, "Long Way From Home", and the cover of "Neurosaur".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: A bit of a pattern in the band's lyricism. "The Heat Goes On", "The Last to Know", "U Bring Me Down", "Don't Come to Me", "The Last Time", and "There Was a Time" each contain something of a rant against someone who's wronged the narrator(s) in various ways.
  • Religion Rant Song: Subverted. Despite the title being "No Religion", the song itself is about a man stretching himself thin from making sacrifices for the sake of his failing love life, making more references to London restaurants than any organized religion.
  • Re-release the Song: When Asia decided to cover a GTR song for Anthology, it's no coincidence that the one they picked, "The Hunter", was the only one Geoff Downes had a hand in first writing.
  • Revolving Door Band: Across the 13 1/2 note  mainline studio albums alone, Asia has gone through at least three drummers and seven guitarists. A large ensemble for sure, but the door really starts revolving once you account for the eight guest guitarists and five guest drummers credited on the records in addition to them. There were even a handful of guest bass players at one point or another. Then there's an extra guitarist and three extra drummers if you throw in the Archiva duology and the new Anthology (re)recordings; and all of that still doesn't even include all the other touring musicians who joined and left without ever recording at all.
  • Right-Hand Cat: When John Payne first joined the band, he would often have his cat named Eric around, to the point where he brought him along for his first meeting with them. He even included a cheeky note to Eric in the sleeve to Aqua, in which he recalled an incident during the album's recording where the cat took an 80 foot leap off a church and sustained harsh injuries, but made a full recovery.
  • Rock Star Song: "Rock and Roll Dream".
  • Sampling:
    • Mac Miller and Chiddy Bang sampled a portion of "Open Your Eyes" for their song called... "Open Your Eyes".
    • The intro of "Countdown to Zero" samples the Deep Note.
  • Sea Serpents: On the cover of their 1982 self-titled debut album. Since there's a large pearl next to it, it's presumably a reference to the line in "Heat of the Moment" about "catch a pearl and ride the dragon's wings"... but it appears to be aquatic and has no wings.
  • Shout-Out: "Voice of America" was John Wetton's big salute to the American bands he grew up listening to, such as the Beach Boys and Journey. Supposedly, the song's vocal harmonies were even made to sound like a Beach Boys tribute.
    • "Enough's Enough" seems to reference Stenka Razin, a 17th century revolutionary who led a rebellion against the Russian nobility.
    • "A.L.O." from Archiva 1 is an acronym for "Asiatic Light Orchestra", a cheeky reference to John Payne's stint in ELO Part II.
    • American baseball legend Joe DiMaggio gets one in Gravitas's "Joe DiMaggio's Glove".
  • Sole Survivor: One of the songs from Asia.
  • Something Blues: "Satellite Blues" from Archiva 2.
  • 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.
  • Take That!: On Armada 3, the interviewer asks Downes and Payne about how as more albums get made, it becomes harder and harder to choose what songs will make it to a live set. In his own words, "Because otherwise you'd be up there for 5 or 6 hours a night", to which Payne remarks "Yeah, not everyone's Bruce Springsteen".
  • Title Track: Aqua, 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.
  • Translated Cover Version: A Spanish version of "Ready to Go Home" exists, titled "Estoy Listo Para Ir A Mi Casa" as a CD single.
  • Uncommon Time: "Sole Survivor" includes some measures in 7/8 to create a sudden jumpy effect in the beat.
  • Wipe That Smile Off Your Face: The people on the cover of Silent Nation have no mouths.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: John Wetton claims to have no idea what the song "Go" means. Quoted from "A Complete and Authorized Asia Biography":
    Wetton: That is the only song that I can't explain what it's about. "Go" was just an elite experiment. I can give you a million reasons why we wrote "Voice of America" and "Rock and Roll Dream" but I have absolutely nothing to say about "Go".
    • However, Geoff Downes offered a theory about that in the same book, suggesting it was about Wetton's reaction to the "Asia in Asia" event
    Downes: Yeah, there may have been a few things on the album. He was obviously upset by the whole thing - there could well be... veiled comments.
  • Writer's Block: Briefly happened to the band at the turn of the millennium. John Payne revealed in a 2004 interview that since the band was never paid for their work on a recent live album/DVD (most likely referring to America: Live in the USA), combined with the record label that published Aura going bankrupt, the group's creative motivation was badly disrupted for a time. It wasn't until they decided to move to California that the songwriting started coming back to them.
  • 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.