Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Rock band formed '68. Along with Emerson, Lake and Palmer and others of that ilk, and with several classically-trained members, they combined instrumental fluency with electronics and thick vocal harmonies to make 'classical rock', a commercial success but critically regarded as pretentious and empty. Vocalist Jon Anderson (b 25 Oct. '44, Lancashire), bassist Chris Squire (b 4 March '48, London) recruited guitarist Peter Banks (who'd previously played with Squire in Syn), Tony Kaye on keyboards, Bill Bruford on drums; began gigging in London and opened for Cream farewell concerts late '68. LPs on Atlantic began with Yes and Time And A Word '69--70; Banks left (released The Two Sides Of Peter Banks on Capitol '73), replaced by Steve Howe; with Anderson as primary composer and Kaye introducing synthesizer The Yes Album '71 scraped into top 40 LPs in USA. Kaye left, replaced by composer/keyboardist Rick Wakeman (b 18 May '49, London) ex- Strawb and experienced session player: he played mellotron, harpsichord, clavinet etc as well as standard keyboards; Fragile '72 was a top five LP in USA incl. hit 'Roundabouts' (single edited for length). Close To The Edge '72 reached no. 3 in USA, their best showing; Bruford left to join King Crimson, replaced by Alan White (had played with John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, others) for live three-disc Yessongs '73, two-disc Tales From Topographic Oceans '74 (with lyrics by Howe and Anderson based on Shastric scriptures). Wakeman had already begun making solo albums, left, replaced by Patrick Moraz for Relayer '74; Wakeman returned for Going For The One '77 and Tormato '78, all these except Yessongs were top ten LPs. Wakeman and Anderson left, replaced by team of Geoff Downes and vocalist Trevor Horn for Drama '80. Anderson, White, Kaye and Squire re-formed with Trevor Rabin on guitar to make 90125 '83 prod. by Horn, top five LP incl. US no. 1 hit 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart'. 9012Live '86 was recorded on tour, concentrating on solos by band members, followed by Big Generator '87. The original quartet re-formed but could not call themselves Yes, so called their album Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe '89; fans could choose between the principal Yesmen not called Yes or a later lineup called Yes. The lineups were combined on Union '91. Open Your Eyes '97 closed a lot of eyes, with Anderson, Howe and others, closer 'The Solution' drifting around the timewarp for 23 minutes. Keys To Ascension 1 And 2 were live albums from '96.
Moraz made Refugee '74, 'i' '76, Patrick Moraz '79; Howe made Beginnings '75, Steve Howe Album '80; Squire made Fish Out Of Water '75, White Ramshackled '76. Anderson solo LPs were Olias Of Sunhollow '76, Song Of Seven '80; teamed with Vangelis as Jon and Vangelis (see Aphrodite's Child) '80--81; Horn and Downes had success in UK as Buggles '80 (see Trevor Horn). Wakeman's instrumental LPs on A&M were commercially successful, incl. The Six Wives Of Henry VIII '73, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth '74 (based on Jules Verne, made live with the London Symphony Orchestra and narrated by actor David Hemmings), Myths And Legends Of King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table '75 (ice pageant with huge forces), soundtrack to Ken Russell film Lisztomania '75 (with Roger Daltrey), No Earthly Connection '76 with scaled-down English Rock Ensemble, soundtrack White Rock '77 (about Innsbruck Winter Games), Criminal Record '77 (with Squire and White), Rhapsodies '79 and more in the New Age direction, CDs now on Griffin, incl. Country Airs, the biggest seller on the UK Coda label '88.