Members: Geoff Downes John Wetton Steve Howe Carl Palmer
Genre: Alternative rock
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Albums: Asia (1982); Alpha (1983); Astra (1985); Then & Now (1990); Aqua (1992); Aria (1994); Arena (1996); Archiva Vol. 1 (1996); Archiva Vol. 2 (1996); Rare (1999); Aura (2001); Silent Nation (2004); Phoenix (2008); Omega (2010)
Hits: "Heat of the Moment" (1982); "Only Time Will Tell" (1982); "Don't Cry" (1983);
Other: "Heat of the Moment" enjoyed a resurgence of popularity after being featured in the film The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Asia rose to fame in the early 1980s after a collection of members from disbanded progressive rock groups joined together to form the band. After an eventful 29 years that saw numerous lineup changes, the original four band members - John Wetton, Steve Howe, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer - reunited in 2006.
Wetton met Howe, who was the guitarist for Yes, in early 1981 and the two began writing songs for a new album. Soon after, the pair were joined by fellow Yes castoff Downes on drums, and Palmer on the keyboard. Asia's self-titled debut album was released in 1982 and featured two of their most famous songs. "Only Time Will Tell" reached number 17 on the charts, while "Heat of the Moment" made it all the way to number five and is still played fairly regularly on radios today. The success of their freshman album garnered them a wealth of airtime on the newly formed MTV and a sold out tour across the United States.
While their second album, 1983's Alpha, did not enjoy as much critical success as their first effort, it still featured a pair of popular hits and performed well on the charts. The most notable track, "Don't Cry," made its way into the top-10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" also broke into the top 40 and remains a fan favorite.
After Alpha, the band began to experience some inner turmoil. Wetton briefly left the band in the midst of the 1983 tour, but returned shortly after. Howe, however, walked away not too much later. The 1985 album Astra was not a success, and the new lineup disbanded soon after the record was released.
Except for a few performances, the band laid dormant until the '90s when they returned with some new faces. The new group released Aqua in 1992 and followed that with Aria two years later. While a significant rift was caused in the mid '90s, the for original members of Asia reunited for the band's 25th anniversary in 2006.
The original four band members released their first album since 1983 in 2008 with Phoenix. The group followed that up with Omega, which was released April 23 of this year, and although they have been through a number of ups and downs and many changes, the original band is back and better than ever.