10 Essential Songs & Performances From The Band U.K.

U.K. Songs

Photo: By Owen Renn (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0326) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh this is going to be a good one. One of the greatest super groups ever formed also became one of the shortest lived. We are talking about the band U.K. The band was formed in 1977 and released the first of only two studio albums in 1978. The group consisted of some of the greatest musicians to ever grace the concert stage and studio room floor. The four members of U.K. who recorded the band’s first album were Alan Holdsworth on guitar, John Wetton on bass and vocals, Eddie Jobson on keyboards and Bill Bruford on drums.  Terry Bozio replaced Bill Bruford on the band’s second and final studio album. If you’re not familiar with any of these musicians, below is a brief description of the other bands each of these great players worked in.

Alan Holdsworth was a member of Soft Machine for one album, and a series of multiple tours. He was also a member of the band’s Tempest, Tony Williams Lifetime, and Pierre Moerlen’s Gong. He recorded albums with many other artists such as Jean Luc Ponty, Stuart Hamm, Stanley Clarke, Bill Bruford and many more. Alan Holdsworth also released 12 solo albums and three live solo concert records. Alan Holdsworth is regarded as one of the greatest and most innovative guitarists of all time. Alan Holdsworth passed away in 2017.

John Wetton was a member of, or at least played on recordings by the bands King Crimson, Asia, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Steve Hackett, Brian Eno, Peter Banks, Phil Manzanera Wishbone Ash, and his final band Icon. His early recordings included work with Mogul Thrash, Gordon Haskell, Family and Larry Norman. John Wetton also released six solo albums. John Wetton released double the amount of solo material in a live setting with the release of over 14 live solo albums. John Wetton was one of the most productive musicians in classic rock history. Sadly he passed away in January of 2017.

Bill Bruford was an original member of the band Yes from 1969 to 1973. The following year he joined King Crimson and recorded 16 albums with the group. He has played on more progressive rock records than almost any other musician. He had released a series of solo albums under his own name. Like Alan Holdsworth, Bill Bruford is regarded as one of the most influential progressive rock musicians in musical history.

Eddie Jobson was a keyboardist and violinist who also performed with Frank Zappa, Roxy Music and Jethro Tull. Jobson also released his own solo material and played on numerous albums by other artists.

Terry Bozio is most known for his work in Frank Zappa’s band. However, Terry Bozio also formed his own group called Missing Persons in the early 80’s that featured his wife Dale on lead vocals.  Out of all the musicians who were a part of the band U.K. Terry Bozio was the busiest studio musician of the entire group. The man played on hundreds of albums throughout his career and is considered to be one of the finest drummers of all time.

As you can see, the band U.K. featured the best of the best. It’s sad that the band only released two studio albums. Their first record which featured Alan Holdsworth will always be regarded as one of the greatest classic progressive rock albums ever released. This article takes a look at some of the best tracks released on their two studio albums along with some choice concert performances from their live albums. If you unaware of this band, don’t touch that dial.

# 10 – Mental Medication

There is no better way to open our top 10 U.K. Band Songs list than with the great Alan Holdsworth penned track “Mental Medication.” The song was the closing track on the band’s debut album and the only studio record Alan Holdsworth played on. This one could easily be number one on the list, but we couldn’t wait to get to it, if that makes any sense.

# 9 – Danger Money

Another U.K. song we could not wait to get to was the heavy progressive rock song “Danger Money.” The great U.K. song was the opening track on the band’s second album. The second album featured Terry Bozio replacing Bill Bruford on drums. Alan Hosldworth had also left the band and so the group had become a trio featuring John Wetton, Eddie Jobson and Terry Bozio.

# 8 – Nothing To Loose

The great track “Nothing To Loose,” was the first single released from the Danger Money album. Music critics have often ignored the band’s second album. That’s a shame because although Holdsworth and Bruford were gone the trio of Wetton, Jobson, and Bozio still made a fantastic record. Just take a listen to this great song.

# 7 – Starless

Before hardcore progressive rock fans start screaming at us, YES! we know “Starless,” is not a U.K song. It is in fact a King Crimson song that was originally released on King Crimson’s Red album. However, in 2011, the band U.K. reunited, toured and released a great live album entitled Reunion – Live in Tokyo in 2013. The reunited U.K. band consisted of original members John Wetton and Eddie Jobson. The band brought on musicians Alex Machacek on guitar and Marco Minnemann on drums. Listen to the track at 9:45 and you will hear why we have chosen this one.

# 6 – Caesar’s Palace Blues

Listen to Terry Bozio’s drumming on this track and try to tell us he is not one of the best drummers you have ever heard. The classic track “Caesar’s Palace Blues,” was originally released on Danger Money. It was one of the band’s most often played songs in concert. This version is from their 1979 live album.

# 5 – Nevermore

I can listen to Alan Holdsworth play guitar all day long, and night after night. This is simply stunning music. “Nevermore,” was released on the band’s debut album. It was the record’s third track on side two.

# 4 – Thirty Years

This U.K piece is the closing track on side one of the band’s debut album. One of the musical compositions that just leaves you speechless.

# 3 – Alaska / Time To Kill

The U.K. songs “Alaska,” and “Time To Kill,” may have their own track numbers but they were a connected musical suite from the band’s debut album U.K.

# 2 – Night After Night

The live track “Night after Night,” which was also the title of their 1979 live album was one of only two songs from the live record that was not released on the band’s two studio albums. This is simply a killer performance.

# 1 – In The Dead of Night

The opening suite that consisted of three songs or pieces entitled “In The Dead Of Night,” “By The Light of Day,” and “Presto Vivace and Reprise,” remains the ultimate U.K. performance on record.

 U.K. Albums on Amazon

 

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