On June 10, 1981, a new rock supergroup officially came into being when former King Crimson bassist John Wetton, ex-Yes guitarist Steve Howe, his latter-day Yes colleague Geoff Downes and ELP drummer Carl Palmer announced the formation of Asia.
Wetton and Howe had been brought together by Geffen Records’ celebrated A&R head John Kalodner, the man who’d signed Foreigner, AC/DC and others to Atlantic. After Downes and Palmer joined them, the band started recording their debut album for Geffen at London’s Townhouse in the second half of 1981.
When it came out in March the following year, ‘Asia,’ produced by Mike Stone, was an astonishing success, spending nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, going quadruple platinum there and selling an estimated 10 million copies worldwide. As a reminder, here’s the Wetton/Downes song that was its lead single and became a top five US pop hit.