Yes was a British progressive rock band that was started in the late 1960’s by bassist Chris Squire and vocalist Jon Anderson. They’re still active today, but none of the original members (Anderson, Squire, guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford) are with the group, and only Steve Howe from the early-1970’s lineup is still performing with them. They’re known for their long compositions, mystical lyrics, and live sets. Most of their albums between 1971 and 1983 were best-sellers in the US.
I first heard them when “Roundabout,” from their 1971 album Fragile, went on heavy rotation at the FM stations in Chicago. Personnel at the time were Squire, Anderson, Bruford, guitarist Steve Howe (who joined before The Yes Album, released earlier that year), and keyboardist Rick Wakeman (who replaced Tony Kaye before recording commenced). It rose to #13 in 1972.
By 1980, the band had gone through multiple personnel moves, the most significant being the departure of Wakeman and Anderson, and in 1981, after recording their tenth studio album, Drama, the group disbanded. Squire and drummer Alan White (who had joined when Bruford left after recording the album Close To The Edge and before the supporting tour) started working with South African guitarist Trevor Rabin and former Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye in a band they named Cinema. Squire and Rabin split vocal duties between them, but the record label didn’t feel they were strong enough vocalists, so Squire contacted Anderson again. The preponderance of former Yes members led the label to suggest they readopt the name Yes. This new version of the band, more pop-oriented, issued 90125 (the catalog number of the album) in November 1983, and it became the band’s best-selling album. “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” the album’s first track, reached #1 on the Hot 100 and on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This is the official video from 1983.
Chris Squire died this past June, replaced by Billy Sherwood. Alan White said it was Squire’s wish for the band to keep going; they’ve planned a tour in Europe and the UK for this year. Details and a more complete history of the band can be found on their official website.
Yes, your Two for Tuesday, January 12, 2016.