The Best Of Jon And Vangelis
December 2, 2019 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Yes singer Jon Anderson and Greek synth pioneer Vangelis did a few albums together in the 1970s and 80s before releasing the compilation The Best Of Jon And Vangelis. It's a pretty good overview of their time of collaboration, although certainly people will have favorite album tracks not featured here. Side A: Italian Song, I'll Find My Way Home, State Of Independence, One More Time, A Play Within A Play posted by hippybear (17 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
All the reports are that much of their first album together, Short Stories, was improvised directly to recording with no rehearsal. Much of their other material was also likely done this way, as Vangelis was really playing hard with the "speak the language of Music" sort of mindset at the time.
posted by hippybear at 7:54 PM on December 2, 2019

Also, I used the full-length album tracks here, not the shorter versions found on the actual Best Of album.
posted by hippybear at 7:54 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also, I don't know what I did wrong with the markup, but The Friends Of Mr Cairo is watchable as just a video link, not a title link.
posted by hippybear at 8:18 PM on December 2, 2019

[Fixed the link]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:24 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Jon and Vangelis' "Private Collection" (which included Italian Song and He is Sailing from hippybear's links above) was the go-to study album in my college dorm room way back in the 80s, and after we were done studying, we would just leave it on and fall asleep to it. It is exceptional music for these activities, especially the 20+ minute long Horizon, which transports me even to this day.
posted by vverse23 at 8:28 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I feel like I personally dared this post into existence. But I've been a Jon Anderson fan going all the way back to Roundabout. When I moved up to the California Central Coast, I was delighted to discover that Jon had semi-retired to a house just up the road from me and even more delighted when he made a semi-comeback by performing at small clubs in the area. And I still have my semi-authorized membership card for the Friends of Mr. Cairo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:01 PM on December 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

Here's the official music video for Friends Of Mr Cairo.
posted by zaixfeep at 10:39 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

But I've been a Jon Anderson fan going all the way back to Roundabout.

I've seen Yes a few times but my most recent memory of Jon is him playing what looked like a giant pepper grinder during the Open Your Eyes tour, which was a tour de force by everyone on stage and entirely great and that album was also pretty great for a late Yes album.

I find the Jon and Van stuff mystifying because it is so oddly formless but also so well executed. I can't believe that Friends Of Mr Cairo was unplanned, but State Of Independence... yeah, that's totally being made up as it goes along. And it's great!
posted by hippybear at 10:44 PM on December 2, 2019

I love Friends Of Mr. Cairo so much.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:56 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's the official music video yt for Friends Of Mr Cairo.

I do prefer the 12m runtime of the full track to the under 5m of the video. It's a deeper song, truly.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's the story of the State of Independence:

most of the music we did was first take from the backing track point of view and the shape of things and I just told him to put the microphone on and he said, 'Cool.' And he was recording and he went to the piano and I started singing...A couple of days later I started doing the lyrics and I went in and sang it and by then he'd done all the arranging and it was finished after two or three sessions.

This song became a bigger hit with Donna Summer and later Chrissie Hynde.
posted by eye of newt at 11:16 PM on December 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

Excellent, Outside of This (Inside of That) has now replaced my previous earworm. Much better.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:23 AM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

So much excellence! I was doing Other Things with my life in 1982, so missed Donna’s version. No excuse for missing the Hynde version, though! Thanks so much, eye of newt, for sharing these versions. I know what my painting theme music will be today.

(Jon’s vocals are still my favorite, though. How is a song lush and spare at the same time?)
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 5:47 AM on December 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Brian Eno has said on numerous occasions that Donna Summer's version of State of Independence is his favourite track.

I'm sure I saw a video on YouTube about Vangelis' incredibly sophisticated but very complicated controller setup, but I can't find it, so here's an interview in French from 1982
posted by Grangousier at 5:28 PM on December 4, 2019

I hadn't heard that before about Eno's love for State of Independence.

I kinda prefer the version by Moodswings with Chrissie Hynde, where they renamed it "Spiritual High" for some reason. (single version) - (full 3-part album version including instrumental intro, the vocal section, then a closing with MLK's "I Have A Dream" mixed in.)
posted by dnash at 11:23 AM on December 5, 2019

And the song I'd add to this "best of" list would be So Long Ago, So Clear. (I dunno how anyone listens to this one with dry eyes.)
posted by dnash at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I often wonder what life is like in the alternate universe in which Vangelis accepted Jon's invitation to join Yes.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 1:39 PM on December 5, 2019

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