It must be a chore keeping a super group together. They always seem to have a short life, but as the old adage goes, “the candle that burns the shortest also burns the brightest”. When you combine multiple people who are as equally creative as they are talented, you can’t help but have strong opinions of the direction songs and performances should go. Everyone wants to do it their way, and everyone thinks they have the right answer to make the songs great. And the thing is, each one of them is right in their own way.
U.K. was a British band that formed in 1976. They were a lesser-known supergroup but no less impressive than many others. They were definitely one of the most talented. They only released three albums in their short history, one of those being a live album, and had a personal change between the first and second album. But all of their albums are amazing. My personal favorite is their eponymous debut.
Consisting of John Wetton, formerly of King Crimson and Uriah Heep, on vocals and bass, Allan Holdsworth, a virtuoso guitarist who had been a member of Tempest, Soft Machine and Gong, keyboardist and violinist Eddie Jobson who came from Roxy Music and Frank Zappa’s band, and Bill Bruford, who was the former drummer for Yes and King Crimson, UK’s music was complex, with many rhythmic changes and challenging time signatures. Their songs focused mainly on the music with long instrumentals and only short vocal passages. They were a band that was all about playing music that was as enjoyable to listen to as it was difficult to play. Some called this self-indulgent. Others, like me, called it incredible. By definition, it was called progressive rock.
Before U.K. could release a second album, Allan Holdsworth would leave the band, followed soon after by Bill Bruford. The equally talented Terry Bozzio, who came from Frank Zappa’s band, took the place behind the drum kit. Interestingly, nobody replaced Holdsworth on guitar. Rather, the band became a trio , with Eddie Jobson playing all the lead parts on either keyboards or Electric violin.
Eventually, creative differences between Eddie Jobson and John Wetton would split the band apart permanently, but not before they would release their third and final live album.