A native of England, Geoff Downes went to Leeds School of Music. Upon moving to London, he met Trevor Horn. Working together on commercial jingles, they formed the group the Buggles. They recorded their first album and released it in 1979, sparking a hit with the song "Video Killed the Radio Star." The video for that piece has the particular distinction of having been the first video played on MTV, a fact that has certainly earned Downes at least one spot in the annals of musical history.
Next up for Downes was a particularly unusual twist of fate. When Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left progressive rock stalwart Yes, Brian Tate, who managed both bands, contacted the Buggles to see about bringing them in as the replacements. The two groups hit it off and Downes and Horn became the newest members in the perpetually changing lineup called Yes. The group released the Drama album with this lineup, and went out on tour. However, musical times were changing and older fans were not so willing to accept a Yes without Anderson, so the group broke up.
Like a phoenix rising from the ash, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes hooked up with Carl Palmer and John Wetton to form Asia. Their first album planted them firmly on the musical map, netting them a couple of hits and a best-selling tour. As lineup changes much like those that haunted Yes began to strike Asia, Downes was the only constant in a sea of change. He has done some solo work and another Buggles album, but Asia remains his primary focus. ~ Gary Hill