In light of Chris Squire’s passing, it seems only fitting to pay homage to his body of work with Yes. Rather than showcasing an entire album, I would like to include some of my favorite tracks. I really don’t recall hearing anything from the first two albums, Yes and Time and a Word.
From The Yes Album: I’ve Seen All Good People
This song was my first foray into Prog Rock. I remember being surprised with the way the song had two distinctly different feels and liked both. In my naive mind, I wondered why other bands didn’t do this more often.
From Fragile: Long Distance Runaround
To this day, my favorite part of this song is the syncopation. Before I ever picked up drum sticks, I recall trying to tap out the drum rhythm on my leg and failing miserably.
From Close to the Edge: And You and I
I’ll be honest, I vaguely recall this album. In looking through their discography, however, it’s the highest chart topper of all their works as it reached #3 in the US. Other albums charted higher in other countries, but I’m keeping the scope here in the US.
I’ve never heard anything from Tales from Topographic Ocean, Relayer, Going for the One, and Tormato (until today). I attribute this to my interest in other British bands (Queen, ELO, etc.) that I could hear on the radio. It wasn’t that Yes had stopped making good music, it’s just that the radio stations I could listen to weren’t playing 10-20 minute musical epics.
From Drama: Into the Lens:
Again, this is another song I vaguely remember. What stood out to me then was, “Hey, aren’t those the guys from The Buggles?” Yes, Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Downes provided vocals and keyboards on this album. The other thought was, “Good tune.”
From 90125: The entire 90125 album
Okay, I lied, this post will feature an entire album. I’m including the entirety of this album for the mere fact that it is what rekindled my interest in Yes. Although it didn’t start with the old regime, it still held three prominent members of the original band and that propelled them forward to intriguing new areas. The biggest draw to this album has to be my memories of driving late nights between my hometown and the Quad Cities in inclement weather (typically) and hearing various songs on this album played on WLS radio out of Chicago. FM radio in that area of the US at the time was just not friendly. I was immensely influenced by DJ’s like Larry Lujack and Little Tommy (although not late at night) and other WLS personalities. To this day (again), I listen to AM radio (when I listen to the radio). While the sound quality of FM or Satellite is far superior, there’s something comforting about AM radio. Yes, you can thank WLS. I find it amusing that my favorite song off the album was one of two that wasn’t released as a single – City of Love.
From Big Generator: Shoot High Aim Low
Following the smashing success of 90125, I was excited to receive Big Generator in the mail and nearly wore out my first copy of the cassette. I initially dubbed Love Will Find a Way as my favorite track off this disc, but Shoot High Aim Low supplanted it. I still credit Chris Squire’s performance in this video with my desire to obtain an acoustic bass. Added bonus: Tony Kaye on Keytar!
The album Union did absolutely nothing for me. While I had no issues with Yes (in its iteration at the time) or Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, & Howe (ABWH), I had no attachment to this album.
From Talk: Walls
This was the last Yes album that I purchased and I enjoyed it even though no one else I knew did. There was a great deal of this disc that resonated with me musically and lyrically. I wish that more people could appreciate it for what it was.
I wish that I could speak with any semblance of authority on the remainder of their recordings like: Keys to Ascension 1 & 2, Open Your Eyes, The Ladder, Magnification, Fly from Here, and Heaven & Earth. Sadly (and thankfully), my musical world opened up dramatically and I’ve been able to enjoy a vast array of other artists. Having said that, I still miss Yes’ contributions and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before I retrace my musical steps to uncover all these gems that I’ve missed to date.
Did any of these albums resonate with you readers?