Asia PhotoFORMED: January 1981

When they appeared in the early '80s, Asia seemed to be a holdover from the '70s, when supergroups and self-important progressive rockers reigned supreme. Featuring members of such seminal art-rock bands as King Crimson (John Wetton), Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Carl Palmer), and Yes (Steve Howe), as well as Geoff Downes from the Buggles, Asia did feature stretches of indulgent instrumentals on their records.

However, they also could be surprisingly poppy, and that is what brought them to the top of the charts with their debut album, Asia, and its hit single, "Heat of the Moment." Alpha, their second album, also had a couple of hits ("Don't Cry" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes") but its follow-up, Astra, was a flop. The group disbanded in 1985, only to reunite in 1990 without John Wetton; Pat Thrall took his place.

After churning out a couple of new songs for a greatest-hits collection, the band hit the road, including two sold-out dates in front of 20, 000 fans in Moscow, of all places. Since then, they have toured sporadically and have released two albums, Aqua in 1992 and Aria in 1994. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide