Whether or not the band Asia would have broken as big as they did without MTV’s help is debatable. Nonetheless, the visual image of seeing Steve Howe of Yes on guitar, John Wetton of King Crimson on bass and Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake & Palmer all playing together in a new band was striking. Rounding out the band was Geoff Downes who had also played in Yes and the band The Buggles.
Like all super groups formed of legendary musicians, the original lineup did not last for long. Steve Howe left Asia after recording the band’s second album. John Wetton left the band after the group’s third record. Over the years the band went through numerous line up changes and reunions. From 1982 to 2014, the band released fourteen albums. Most rock fans that followed the band during their early years would probably be surprised to hear that the band actually released that many records. Our top 10 Asia songs list will attempt to list some of their most definite songs and maybe some surprises. Let us know if we missed any of your favorites.
# 10 – Words
We open our top 10 Asia songs list with a track from the Arena album. The record was released in 1999. This is a very different sounding band at this point in time. Geoffrey Downes was the only remaining member from the original band. We have chosen this song because it’s important to define the lineup changes that the band went through over the years. The band in 1999 also consisted of John Payne, Michael Sturgis, Elliott Randall and Aziz Ibrahim.
# 9 – Eye To Eye
The Asia song “Eye To Eye,” was released on the band’s second album entitled Alpha. The Alpha record was released in 1983. All four members of the original band were still on board at the time of the album’s recording.
# 8 – Who Will Stop The Rain
Continuing our top 10 Asia Songs list we turn to a song entitled “Who Will Stop The Rain,” from an album in which was the first record the band released without the services of John Wetton. For many Asia fans that band should not have been called Asia without the lead vocal sound and bass playing of John Wetton. That is subjective and we will leave it at that. On the Aqua album, John Payne was brought in to replace John Wetton. The song “Who Will Stop The Rain,” should not be confused with the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Who’ll Stop The Rain.”
# 7 – Gravitas
We have included the song “Gravitas,” because it was the title track from the last album John Wetton ever recorded with the band before he passed away. The album was released in 2016. John Wetton rejoined Asia in the 2000s and recorded four more albums with Asia before his final record. This is a beautiful and mesmerizing piece of music.
# 6 – The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
The tender power progressive rock ballad was released on the band’s second album entitled Alpha. The song “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” was placed as the second track on the album. The song was written by John Wetton.
# 5 – Days Like These
In 1990, the band Asia released an album that contained one side of new studio tracks and another side that was a greatest hits sort of compilation. The album was entitled Then and Now. One of our favorite new Asia songs on the album was the track “Days Like These.”
# 5 – Go
The last Asia song on this Top 10 Asia songs list that was not released on the band’s first two albums is the Asia song “Go.” The song was released on the band’s 1985 Astra album. The song “Go,” was the album’s opening track and once again featured John Wetton on lead vocals. It was John Wetton’s last appearance on an Asia album until he reunited with the band thirteen years later.
# 4 – Don’t Cry
The Asia song “Don’t Cry,” was the lead single from the band’s sophomore album Alpha. The song was a top 10 hit for the band peaking at number 10. It has never been easy for progressive rock bands to score songs on the Billboard hot 100, let alone the top 10. Asia was one of the rare progressive rock bands that found themselves to be very successful on the commercial front with their first two albums.
# 3 – Heat Of The Moment
The song “Heat of the Moment,” was the track that broke the band and became one of the most played videos on MTV when the channel was first launched. It was a moment in time when rock fans for the most part celebrated with open arms the arrival of a new progressive rock band like Asia.
# 2 – Only Time Will Tell
How could you not fall in love with the song’s great opening synthesizer line? “Only Time Will Tell,” was the follow-up single to “Heat Of The Moment.” The song “Only Time Will Tell, was a top 20 hit for Asia as it peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Geoff Downes and John Wetton.
# 1 – Soul Survivor
The great Asia song Soul Survivor may not have had the commercial success that Asia’s first two singles had such as “Heat Of The Moment,” and “Only Time Will Tell,” had, but in our eyes, it was the band’s most progressive moment on their debut album. It is also hands down our favorite Asia song of all time.
Updated August 9, 2022
Top 10 Asia Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com©
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