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Legendary Yes singer Jon Anderson’s grand and glorious solo album, 1,000 Hands, is quite unlike any other record — it’s an event, one which the singer’s loyal legion of fans across the globe have been wildly anticipating for three decades.
“I’ve spent long periods of time making some records, but I’ve never taken a journey quite like this one,” says the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. “To say that 1,000 Hands has been a long time in coming would be quite an understatement, but I’m thrilled that it’s finally a reality and that my fans will now be able to hear it. And I think they’ll be delighted to hear music that’s timeless. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Anderson began the album (originally called Uzlot — “it means a lot of us”) nearly 30 years ago, working with a group of musicians that included Yes drummer Alan White and bassist Chris Squire. However, due to his heavy touring commitments, Anderson had to put the record on the back burner.
“Before you knew it, I started getting involved in other projects and tours, and years went by,” he explains. “I would listen to the tapes from time to time and think, ‘This could have been a great album! One day I’ll finish it.”
In 2017, Anderson and Grammy-nominated producer Michael T. Franklin got the album back on track. Setting up shop in Franklin’s Solar Studios in Orlando, Florida, Anderson laid down backing vocals to his original lead tracks, and Franklin called in an astonishing array of rock and jazz luminaries to fill out the songs: fellow Yes alum Steve Howe, Ian Anderson, Jean-Luc Ponty, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Steve Morse, Rick Derringer, Jonathan Cain, and the Tower of Power Horns are just a few of the guests on 1,000 Hands.
“That’s where the title 1,000 Hands comes from, all of the brilliant musicians who played a part in making the record,” Anderson says. “Michael acted like something of a casting director, bringing so many great players. It was really exciting to hear the record open up and become what I had always envisioned.”
Anderson’s celestial voice — one of the most recognizable sounds in rock — is in stunning form throughout 1,000 Hands, an album that features some of his most breathtaking compositions.