Yes_______________Pg

As leg­endary band Yes get ready to cel­e­brate five decades of mind-ex­pand­ing, genre-break­ing music, Prog sits down with the key play­ers to look over the high­lights of a ca­reer un­par­al­leled in music.

Prog - - Contents - Words: Daryl Easlea Thanks to: Sharon Chevin and Chris Dean

Cel­e­brat­ing 50 golden years with the prog leg­ends.

Yes. From the joy­ful, en­abling pos­i­tiv­ity of their name on­wards, for 50 years they have been wel­com­ing fans across the globe into their won­der­ous uni­verse, and by do­ing so, they re­main one of the most loved of all prog groups. Even with the wel­ter of per­son­nel changes there have been across the years, there’s al­ways been a tremendous co­he­sion to the brand, and one that has adapted with the times.

Every­thing is part of a piece with Yes: the par­al­lel uni­verse they es­tab­lished with their ex­pan­sive run of al­bums be­tween 1970-1977; their blues and pop psych Soho roots; their re­birth in the 80s; and their con­stant pres­ence from then to the present day, re­gard­less of who ex­actly may be in the group. Al­though he trag­i­cally left us in 2015, founder Chris Squire’s pres­ence looms over Yes past and present, as he was the only per­son to have been in ev­ery line-up from 1968 un­til the time of his pass­ing.

Some­thing that strikes you clearly when writ­ing about Yes and their amaz­ing longevity is that it could be said that each suc­ces­sive ver­sion of the band has been one of the mem­bers’ solo projects. Of all the bands in their league – the ‘big six’ as Prog editor Jerry Ewing iden­ti­fies them – only Jethro Tull have stayed to­gether for so long in some form or other (the long­est fal­low pe­riod Yes have had has been five years out of that 50).

Yes may have trav­elled mil­lions of miles on their as­tral plane, but to cel­e­brate their an­niver­sary, their move ge­o­graph­i­cally – from their cra­dle at the old Mar­quee Club in War­dour Street in Soho to the Lon­don Pal­la­dium, where they held their 50th cel­e­bra­tion in March this year – is less than half a mile.

Yes are a band full of sto­ries and mini-sagas. As the twists and turns of the group have been well doc­u­mented else­where, Prog took this op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate with over half of the mem­bers, past and present, through all-new 2018 in­ter­views, look­ing back at nine glo­ri­ous episodes from across their 50 years.

KAYE: “Chris, Jon and Peter were firmly en­sconced at La Chasse. That lit­tle bar was where ev­ery­one went and where we met. It was a very fast grow­ing up time.” AN­DER­SON: “The first night I met Chris in La Chasse, we went to his flat and wrote three songs, one of which was Sweet­ness. It was such a trip at that time. He was so tall, with a very dry hu­mour. We both loved Paul Si­mon and Buf­falo Spring­field.”

KAYE: “In the be­gin­ning, we were play­ing sim­ple songs that Jon had writ­ten with David Fos­ter, as well as those sort of epics of other peo­ple’s num­bers. A lot of them weren’t that easy to play. We had to get it right. We all re­alised that play­ing a lot of gigs was the only way to do it.”

AN­DER­SON: “We re­hearsed like mad­men: al­ways happy to cre­ate a good show, never think­ing we would make records, just mak­ing some ex­cit­ing fresh music.”

KAYE: “Peter thought of the name – my com­ment was that you couldn’t put ‘the’ in front of it. All of the bands then had ‘the’ in front of them. I wasn’t en­tirely on board, but it didn’t take long for that name to stand out.”

AN­DER­SON: “We were de­ter­mined to make a great band, think­ing, ‘If we can be as fa­mous as Fam­ily, we’ll make it in Lon­don and univer­si­ties around the UK and that will be enough.’ We didn’t re­alise that there was a big world out there. We had a small amount of songs, so there were lots of long so­los!

But you have to start some­where. I think we played In The Mid­night Hour for an hour as an en­core!”

KAYE: “I wanted to be this crazy guy smash­ing the Ham­mond around, and of course Peter wanted to be Pete Town­shend. He was a bit of a hand­ful. One day I just heard that he was gone. I saw Steve play­ing with Bo­dast at the Speakeasy – he was an amaz­ing gui­tar player. I rec­om­mended Steve to the band and the rest is his­tory.”

STEVE HOWE (joined in the spring of 1970): “The dy­namic was amaz­ing. Each guy had so much to give and I could sense that. They had done these dy­namic and ex­cit­ing al­bums with lots of mu­si­cal cred­i­bil­ity. We felt good to­gether. They thought I was a bit of a hip­pie, but then, ob­vi­ously, I was.”

“They thought I was a bit of a hip­pie, but then, ob­vi­ously, I was.” Steve Howe

NOT SO SHABBXYXXCXHXICX:

YES LOOK­ING SHARP.

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