Remember When Asia Topped the ‘Billboard’ 200 with Their Self-Titled Debut, Which Became 1982’s Best-Selling Album

British prog-rock supergroup Asia burst on the music scene in 1982, and the band’s self-titled debut album ascended to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on this day, May 15.

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The band brought together Emerson, Lake & Palmer drummer Carl Palmer, longtime Yes guitarist Steve Howe, ex-King Crimson singer/bassist John Wetton, and keyboardist Geoff Downes, who’d played with The Buggles and Yes.

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As popular as their previous groups had been, none of the musicians in Asia had ever had a chart-topping album in the U.S. before.

Asia’s Chart Success

The Asia album wound up spending nine non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. After a two-week stint at the top of the chart in May, it was replaced at No. 1 by Paul McCartney’s Tug of War for three weeks. Asia then returned to the top spot for a seven-week run in June and July.

Powering the album’s chart success were a pair of hit singles—“Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell,” which peaked at No. 4 and No. 17, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. Both songs were co-written by Wetton and Downes.

More About the Album

Music videos for those two singles got into heavy rotation on MTV, helping to bolster Asia’s popularity. The clips were directed by the popular video-making team of Kevin Godley and Lol Creme, who were both founding members of the band 10cc.

The music on the Asia album combined prog elements with a decidedly ’80s pop and arena-rock sheen. The record was produced by Mike Stone, whose previous credits included Queen’s News of the World and Journey’s Escape.

[RELATED: John Wetton’s Widow Shuts Down Critics of New Asia Lineup: “He Wanted the Music to Live On”]

Another standout track on Asia was “Sole Survivor,” also co-written by Wetton and Howe. The song reached No. 10 on Billboard’s mainstream rock chart.

Asia became the best-selling album in the U.S. for 1982, and went on to sell more than 4 million copies in the States.

Asia After Asia

Asia’s original lineup was only initially together for a few years. The band continued to tour and record with various lineups until 2006, when the original lineup four members reunited. The reunion lasted until 2013, when Howe exited the group to focus on Yes and solo projects. Wetton remained with Asia until his death from cancer in 2017.

Asia’s 2024 Tour Plans

In 2024, Asia that announced that it would be tour again with a new lineup led by Downes, and also featuring guitarist John Mitchell, singer/bassist Harry Whitley, and drummer Virgil Donati. The Heat of the Moment Tour currently is scheduled to kick off July 3 in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and run through a July 31 show in Milwaukee.

Focus, Curved Air, and former Wishbone Ash member Martin Turner will open the shows.

Tickets for Asia’s concerts are available via a variety of outlets, including StubHub.

Asia Track List:

  1. “Heat of the Moment”
  2. “Only Time Will Tell”
  3. “Sole Survivor”
  4. “One Step Closer”
  5. “Time Again”
  6. “Wildest Dreams”
  7. “Without You”
  8. “Cutting It Fine”
  9. “Here Comes the Feeling”

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