Yes are an English rock band who achieved success with their progressive, art, and symphonic style of rock music. They are distinguished by their use of mystical and cosmic lyrics, live stage sets and lengthy compositions, often with complex instrumental and vocal arrangements. The band's current line-up since February 2012 consists of singer Jon Davison, guitarist Steve Howe, bass guitarist Chris Squire, keyboardist Geoff Downes, and drummer Alan White.
Squire formed Yes in 1968 with singer Jon Anderson. Squire and guitarist Peter Banks had played together in The Syn and then Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Anderson and later drummer Bill Bruford joined a later line-up of Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which evolved into Yes. Keyboardist Tony Kaye completed the first Yes line-up. Their early sets were a mix of original material and cover versions by other artists. In the 1970s, Yes reached their creative peak in the progressive genre when most notably Anderson, Squire, Howe, Kaye, Bruford, drummer Alan White, and keyboardists Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz were part of the band's line-ups, and produced what many critics consider their finest works: The Yes Album, Fragile (both in 1971), Close to the Edge (1972), Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973), Relayer (1974) and Going for the One (1977). The rise of punk rock at the end of the decade led to a decline in creativity and sales; in 1980, Anderson and Wakeman left the band and the album Drama featuring Downes and new vocalist Trevor Horn was released. The band disbanded at the beginning of 1981, with Howe and Downes subsequently creating Asia.
Yes reformed in 1982 with Anderson, Squire, White, original keyboardist Kaye and guitarist Trevor Rabin and adopted a more pop rock sound. Their sales peaked across the decade with 90125 (1983), which spawned the US number one single "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and Big Generator (1987). The tour in support of Union (1991), which amalgamated members of Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, was a commercial success that featured an eight-man line-up (instead of a quintet). Subsequent albums and singles have sold less well. The band toured worldwide between 1997 and 2004 that included their 30th and 35th anniversary shows. After a four-year hiatus due to health issues from Anderson and Wakeman, Yes resumed touring after replacing them with Benoît David and Oliver Wakeman respectively. In 2011 they released Fly from Here featuring Downes, who returned on keyboards after 30 years, and the following year David left the band due to illness and was replaced by Jon Davison from band Glass Hammer.
Yes are one of the most popular, influential and critically acclaimed acts in the history of the progressive genre, and have influenced bands such as Dream Theater and Rush. Nine of their twenty studio albums have reached the top ten in either the UK or the US charts, with two reaching the number one spot in the UK. They have sold 13.5 million certified units in the US.
Formation and breakthrough (1968–71)
In January 1968, bassist Chris Squire joined the rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop, with singer and guitarist Clive Bailey, drummer Bob Hagger, and guitarist Peter Banks. They played at The Marquee club in Soho, London where Jack Barrie, owner of the nearby La Chasse club, saw them perform. "There was nothing outstanding about them", he recalled, "the musicianship was very good but it was obvious they weren't going anywhere". Barrie introduced Squire to singer Jon Anderson, a worker at the bar in La Chasse, who found they shared interests in Simon & Garfunkel and harmony singing. That evening at Squire's house they wrote "Sweetness", which was included on the first Yes album. In June 1968, Hagger was replaced by Bill Bruford who had placed an advertisement in Melody Maker. Meanwhile Banks left Mabel Greer's Toyshop to join Neat Change, and classically-trained organist and pianist Tony Kaye, of Johnny Taylor's Star Combo and The Federals, became the keyboardist. The nascent band rehearsed in the basement of The Lucky Horseshoe cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue between 10 June and 9 July 1968.
Banks returned and became the fifth member, replacing Bailey as guitarist, on 26 July 1968. Anderson suggested that they call the new band Life while Squire suggested that it be called World. After renaming themselves as Yes! at Banks' suggestion, the first gig under the new brand followed at a youth camp in East Mersea, Essex on 4 August. Early sets were formed of cover songs from artists such as The Beatles, The 5th Dimension and Traffic. On 16 September, Yes performed at Blaise's club in London as a substitute for Sly & the Family Stone, who failed to turn up. They were well received by the audience, including the host Roy Flynn who became the band's manager that night. That month, Bruford decided to quit performing to study at Leeds University. His replacement, Tony O'Reilley of The Koobas, struggled to perform with the rest of the group on-stage. After being refused a year's sabbatical leave, Anderson and Squire convinced Bruford to return for Yes' supporting slot for Cream's farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 November.
After seeing an early King Crimson gig in 1969, Yes realised that there was suddenly stiff competition on the London gigging circuit, and they needed to be much more technically proficient, starting regular rehearsals. They subsequently signed a deal with Atlantic Records, and released their self-titled debut album that August. Compiled of mostly original material, the record includes renditions of "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles and "I See You" by The Byrds. Although the album failed to break into the UK album charts, in his positive review for Rolling Stone magazine, Lester Bangs complimented the album's "sense of style, taste, and subtlety". Melody Maker columnist Tony Wilson chose Yes and Led Zeppelin as the two bands "most likely to succeed".
Following a tour of Scandinavia with The Small Faces, Yes performed a solo concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 21 March 1970. The second half consisted of excerpts from their second album Time and a Word, accompanied with a 20-piece youth orchestra. Banks, who was dissatisfied with the idea of recording with an orchestra and the sacking of Flynn earlier in the year, left the group in May, two months prior the album's release. Banks later claimed he was fired by Anderson and Squire, and that Kaye and Bruford had no prior knowledge that it would be happening. Similar to the first album, Time and a Word features original songs and two new covers–"Everydays" by Buffalo Springfield and "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" by Richie Havens. The album broke into the UK charts, peaking at number 45. Banks' replacement was Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe, who is photographed with the group on the American issue despite not playing on it.
The band retreated to a rented farmhouse in Devon to write and rehearse new songs for their following album. Howe established himself as an integral part of the group's sound with his Gibson ES-175 and variety of acoustic guitars. With producer and engineer Eddie Offord, recording sessions lasted as long as 12 hours with each track being assembled from small sections at a time, which were pieced together to form a complete track. The band would then learn to play the song through after the final mix was complete. Released in February 1971, The Yes Album peaked at number 4 in the UK and number 40 on the US Billboard 200 charts.
Yes embarked on a 28-day tour of Europe with Iron Butterfly in January 1971. The band purchased Iron Butterfly's entire public address system which improved their on-stage performance and sound. Their first date in North America followed on 24 June in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada supporting Jethro Tull. Kaye performed his final show with Yes at the Crystal Palace Bowl that August. The decision was made after friction arising between Howe and himself on tour, and his reported reluctance to play the Mellotron and the Minimoog synthesiser.
Fragile, Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans (1971–74)
At the time of Kaye's departure, Yes had already found their new keyboardist – Rick Wakeman, a classically trained player who left the folk rock group Strawbs earlier in the year. He was already a noted studio musician, with credits including T. Rex, David Bowie, Cat Stevens and Elton John. Squire commented that he could play "a grand piano for three bars, a Mellotron for two bars and a Moog for the next one absolutely spot on", which gave Yes the orchestral and choral textures that benefited their new material.
Released on 26 November 1971, the band's fourth album Fragile showcased their growing interest in the structures of classical music, with an excerpt of The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky being played at the start of their concerts since the album's 1971–1972 tour. Each member performed a solo track on the album, and it marked the start of their long collaboration with artist Roger Dean, who designed the group's logo, album art, and stage sets. Fragile peaked at number 7 in the UK and number 4 in the US after it was released there in January 1972, and was their first record to reach the top ten in North America. The opening track, "Roundabout", was released as a shortened single that peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In February 1972, Yes recorded a cover version of "America" by Paul Simon. The single reached number 46 on the US singles chart. The track subsequently appeared on The New Age of Atlantic, a compilation album of several bands signed to Atlantic Records.
Released in September 1972, Close to the Edge, the band's fifth album, was their most ambitious work so far. At 19 minutes, the title track took up an entire side on the vinyl record and combined elements of classical music, psychedelic rock, pop and jazz. The album reached number 3 in the US and number 4 on the UK charts. "And You and I" was released as a single that peaked at number 42 in the US. The growing critical and commercial success of the band was not enough to retain Bruford, who left Yes in the summer of 1972, before the album's release, in order to join King Crimson. The band considered several possible replacements, including Aynsley Dunbar (who was playing with Frank Zappa at the time), and decided on former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White, a friend of Anderson and Offord who had once sat in with the band weeks before Bruford's departure. White learned the band's repertoire in three days before embarking on their 1972–1973 tour. By this point, Yes were beginning to enjoy worldwide commercial and critical success. Their early touring with White was featured on Yessongs, a triple live album released in May 1973 that documented shows from 1972. The album reached number 7 in the UK and number 12 in the US. A concert film of the same name premiered in 1975 that documented their shows at London's Rainbow Theatre in December 1972, with added psychedelic visual images and effects.
Tales from Topographic Oceans was the band's sixth studio album, released on 14 December 1973. It marked a change in their fortunes and polarised fans and critics alike. The double vinyl set was based on Anderson's interpretation of the Shastric scriptures from a footnote within Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi. The album became the first LP in the UK to ship gold before the record arrived at retailers. It went on to top the UK charts for two weeks while reaching number 6 in the US, and became the band's fourth consecutive gold album. Wakeman was not pleased with the record and is critical of much of its material. He felt sections were "bled to death" and contained too much musical padding. Wakeman left the band after the 1973–1974 tour; his solo album Journey to the Centre of the Earth topped the UK charts in May 1974. The tour included five consecutive sold out shows at the Rainbow Theatre, the first time a rock band achieved this.
Four members of the "classic lineup" were vegetarians.
Relayer, Going for the One, Tormato and the Paris sessions (1974–79)
Several musicians auditioned to take over for Wakeman, including former Atlantis and Cat Stevens keyboardist Jean Roussel, Eddie Jobson, and Greek musician Vangelis Papathanassiou. His replacement was Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz of Refugee, who arrived in August 1974 during the recording sessions for Relayer, which took place at Squire's home in Virginia Water, Surrey. Released in November that year, Relayer showcased a jazz fusion-influenced direction the band were pursuing. The album features the 22-minute track titled "The Gates of Delirium", which highlights a cosmic battle initially inspired by War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Its closing section, "Soon", was subsequently released as a single. The album reached number 4 in the UK and number 5 in the US. Yes embarked on their 1974–1975 tour to support Relayer. The compilation album Yesterdays, released in 1975, contained tracks from Yes' first two albums, the b-side track from their "Sweet Dreams" single from 1970 titled "Dear Father", and the original ten-minute version of their cover of "America".
Between 1975 and 1976, each member of the band released a solo album. Their subsequent 1976 tour of North America with Peter Frampton featured some of the band's most-attended shows. The 12 June show, also supported by Gary Wright and Pousette-Dart Band at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, attracted over 100,000 people. Roger Dean's brother Martyn was the main designer behind the tour's "Crab Nebula" stage set, while Roger and fabric designer Felicity Youette provided the backgrounds.
In late 1976, the band travelled to Switzerland and started recording for their album Going for the One at Mountain Studios, Montreux. It was then that Anderson sent early versions of "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories" to Wakeman, who felt he could contribute to such material better than the band's past releases. Moraz was let go, after Wakeman was booked on a session musician basis. Upon its release in July 1977, Going for the One topped the UK album charts for two weeks and reached number 8 in the US. "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One" were released as singles in the UK and reached numbers 7 and 25, respectively. Although the album's cover was designed by Hipgnosis, it still features their Roger Dean "bubble" logotype. The band's 1977 tour spanned across six months.
Tormato was released in late 1978 at the height of punk rock in England, during which the music press criticised Yes as representing the bloated excesses of early-1970s progressive rock. The album saw the band continuing their movement towards shorter songs; no track runs longer than eight minutes. Wakeman replaced his Mellotrons with the Birotron, a tape replay keyboard, and Squire experimented with harmonisers and Mu-tron pedals with his bass. Production was handled collectively by the band and saw disagreements at the mixing stage among the members. The album reached number 8 in the UK and number 10 in the US charts. Despite internal and external criticisms of the album, the band's 1978–1979 tour was a commercial success. Concerts were performed in the round with a £50,000-central revolving stage and a 360-degree sound system fitted above it. Yes earned a "Golden Ticket Award" for grossing over $1 million in box office receipts.
In October 1979, the band convened in Paris with producer Roy Thomas Baker. Their diverse approach was now succumbing to division, as Anderson and Wakeman favoured the more fantastical and delicate approach while the rest preferred a heavier rock sound. Howe, Squire and White liked none of the music Anderson was offering at the time as it was too lightweight and lacking in the heaviness that they were generating in their own writing sessions. The Paris sessions abruptly ended in December after White broke his foot while rollerskating. When the band, minus Wakeman (who had only committed to recording keyboard overdubs once new material would be ready to record) reconvened in February to resume work on the project, their growing musical differences, combined with internal dissension, obstructed progress. Journalist Chris Welch, after attending a rehearsal, noted that Anderson "was singing without his usual conviction and seemed disinclined to talk". By late March, Howe, Squire and White had begun demoing material as an instrumental trio, increasingly uncertain about Anderson's future involvement. Eventually, neither he nor Wakeman would participate in the finished album.
Drama and split (1980–81)
In 1980, pop duo The Buggles that was formed of keyboardist Geoffrey Downes and singer Trevor Horn acquired Brian Lane as a manager. The pair had a worldwide hit with the single "Video Killed the Radio Star", and were working in the same rehearsal complex as Yes. The duo already had a song called "We Can Fly From Here," which they thought would be suitable for Yes. A demo of the song was recorded in May 1980 with Squire's participation. To their surprise, the latter suggested they join Yes as full-time members. They accepted the invitation and appeared on the Drama album, which was released in August 1980. The record displayed a heavier, harder sound than the material Yes recorded with Anderson in 1979, opening with the lengthy hard rocker "Machine Messiah". The album peaked at number 2 in the UK and number 18 in the US. Their 1980 tour of North America and the UK received a mixed reaction from audiences. They were well received in the United States, and were awarded with a commemorative certificate after they performed a record 16 consecutive sold out concerts at Madison Square Garden since 1974.
After the Drama tour, Yes reconvened in England to decide the band's next step. They dismissed Lane as a manager, and Horn chose to pursue a career in music production. White and Squire were next to depart, leaving Downes and Howe as the sole members. They opted not to continue with the group, and went their separate ways in December 1980. A live compilation album of performances from 1976 to 1978, mixed in mid-1979 and originally intended for release in late 1979, was released as Yesshows that peaked at number 22 in the UK, and number 43 in the US.
An announcement came from the group's management in March 1981 confirming that Yes no longer existed. Downes and Howe reunited to form Asia with former King Crimson bassist and vocalist John Wetton, and drummer Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Squire and White continued to work together, initially recording sessions with Jimmy Page for a proposed band called XYZ (short for "ex-Yes-and-Zeppelin") in the spring of 1981. Page's former bandmate Robert Plant was also to be involved as the vocalist but he lost enthusiasm, citing his ongoing grieving for recently deceased Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. The group produced a few demo tracks, elements of which would appear in Page's band The Firm and on future Yes tracks "Mind Drive" and "Can You Imagine?". In late 1981, Squire and White released "Run With the Fox", a Christmas single with Squire on vocals and with lyrics by Peter Sinfield, which received radio airplay through the 1980s and early 1990s during the Christmas periods. A second Yes compilation album, Classic Yes, was released in November 1981.
90125 and Big Generator (1982–88)
In 1982, Squire and White teamed up with South African rock guitarist and singer Trevor Rabin in a new band called Cinema. Rabin had initially made his name with the band Rabbitt, subsequently releasing three solo albums, working as a record producer and even briefly playing in an early version of Asia. Squire also recruited another former Yes musician, Tony Kaye, whose approach to keyboards suited the new group. Despite the presence of three Yes musicians, Cinema was not originally intended to be a continuation of Yes.
Cinema subsequently entered the studio to record an album. Although Rabin and Squire initially shared lead vocals, Trevor Horn was brought into the project as a potential singer, but subsequently changed roles to become the band's producer. Horn polished the band's developing songs with modern studio effects and digital sampling using the Fairlight CMI and also played a prominent role in vocal arrangement (including contributing to the backing vocals). However, his clashes with Tony Kaye (complicated by the fact that Rabin was playing most of the keyboards during the recording sessions) led to Kaye's departure after around six months of rehearsing.
Meanwhile, Jon Anderson had released two solo albums since leaving Yes and had also achieved success with the Jon and Vangelis project. Having encountered Anderson at a Los Angeles party, Squire played him the Cinema demo tracks and subsequently invited him to become the band's lead singer. Anderson joined the project during the last few weeks of the sessions, having comparatively little creative input beyond adding his lead vocals and re-writing some lyrics.
At the suggestion of record company executives, Cinema then changed their name to Yes. Rabin initially objected to this, as he now found that he had inadvertently joined a reunited band with a history and expectations, rather than help launch a new group. However, the presence of four former Yes members in the band (two of whom were founding members—Alan White had replaced original drummer, Bill Bruford—including the distinctive lead singer) suggested that the name change was sound commercial strategy. The new album marked a radical change in style as the revived Yes had adopted a pop rock sound that showed little of their progressive roots. This incarnation of the band has sometimes been informally referred to as "Yes-West", reflecting the band's new base in Los Angeles rather than London.
Yes released their comeback album 90125 (named after its catalogue serial number on Atco Records) in November 1983. It became their biggest-selling album, selling over 6 million copies, and introduced the band to younger fans. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" topped the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart for four weeks, and went on to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the only single from Yes to do so, for two weeks in January 1984. Kaye's short-term replacement on keyboards, Eddie Jobson, appeared briefly in the original video but was edited out as much as possible once Kaye had been persuaded to return to the band.
In 1984, the singles "Leave It" and "It Can Happen" reached number 24 and 57 respectively. Yes also earned their only Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1985 for the two-minute track "Cinema". They were also nominated for an award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals with "Owner of a Lonely Heart", and a Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal award with 90125. The band's 1984–1985 tour was the most lucrative in their history and spawned 9012Live, a concert film directed by Steven Soderbergh with added special effects from Charlex that cost $1 million. Yes' mini-LP released in 1985, 9012Live: The Solos, earned Yes a nomination for a second Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for Squire's solo track, a rendition of "Amazing Grace".
Yes began recording for their twelfth album, Big Generator, in 1986. The sessions underwent many starts and stops due to the use of multiple recording locations in Italy, London and Los Angeles as well as interpersonal problems between Rabin and Horn, which kept the album from timely completion. Eventually Rabin took over final production, and the album was released in September 1987, reaching number 17 in the UK and number 15 in the US. Big Generator earned Yes a nomination for a second Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1988. The single "Love Will Find a Way" topped the Mainstream Rock chart, while "Rhythm of Love" reached number 2 and "Shoot High, Aim Low" number 11. The 1987–1988 tour ended with an appearance at Madison Square Garden as part of Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary.
ABWH and Union (1989–92)
By the end of 1988, Anderson felt creatively sidelined by Rabin and Squire and had grown tired of the musical direction of the "Yes-West" line-up. He took leave of the band, asserting that he would never stay in Yes purely for the money, and started work in Montserrat on a solo project that eventually involved Wakeman, Howe, and Bruford. This collaboration led to suggestions that there would be some kind of reformation of the "classic" Yes, although from the start the project had included bass player Tony Levin, whom Bruford had worked with in King Crimson. The project was contractually unable to take over or otherwise use the Yes name as Anderson, Squire, White, Kaye, and Rabin held the rights which dated back to the 90125 contract. The group became known as Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, which suited Bruford since he wanted to distance himself from the "Yes" name.
Their eponymous album released in 1989 featured "Brother of Mine", which became an MTV hit, and went gold in the United States. It later emerged that the four band members had not all recorded together; Anderson and producer Chris Kimsey slotted their parts into place. Howe has stated publicly that he was unhappy with the mix of his guitars on the album, though a version of "Fist of Fire" with more of Howe's guitars left intact appeared on the In a Word box set in 2002. ABWH toured in 1989 and 1990 as "An Evening of Yes Music" which featured Levin, keyboardist Julian Colbeck, and guitarist Milton McDonald as support musicians. A live album was recorded and released in 1993 titled An Evening of Yes Music Plus that featured Jeff Berlin on bass due to Levin suffering from illness. The tour was also dogged by legal battles sparked by Atlantic Records due to the band's references to Yes in promotional materials and the tour title.
Following the tour the group returned to the recording studio to produce their second album, tentatively called Dialogue. After hearing the tracks Arista Records refused to release the album as they felt the initial mixes were weak. They encouraged the group to seek outside songwriters, preferably ones who could help them deliver hit singles. Anderson approached Rabin about the situation, and Rabin sent Anderson a demo tape with four songs, indicating that ABWH could have one but had to send the others back. Arista listened to all four and wanted all of them, but Rabin would not agree to the request. The "Yes-West" group were working on a follow-up to Big Generator and had been shopping around for a new singer. Ex-Supertramp vocalist Roger Hodgson had already rejected the post; while he enjoyed working and writing with the group, he thought it unwise to attempt to pass off the resulting music as "Yes." The band had also been working with Kansas singer Steve Walsh and with Billy Sherwood of World Trade. Walsh only spent one day with them, but Sherwood and the band worked well enough together and continued with writing sessions. Arista suggested that the "Yes-West" group, with Anderson on vocals, record the four songs to add to the new album which would then be released under the Yes name.
Union was released in April 1991 and is the thirteenth studio album from Yes. Each group played their own songs, with Anderson singing on all tracks. Squire sang background vocals on a few of the ABWH tracks, with Tony Levin playing all the bass on those songs. The album does not feature all eight members playing at once. The track "Masquerade" earned Yes a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1992. Union sold approximately 1.5 million copies worldwide, and peaked at number 7 in the UK and number 15 in the US charts. Two singles from the album were released. "Lift Me Up" topped the Mainstream Rock charts in May 1991 for six weeks, while "Saving My Heart" peaked at number 9.
Almost the entire band have openly stated their dislike of Union. Bruford has disowned the album entirely, and Wakeman was reportedly unable to recognise any of his keyboard work in the final edit and threw his copy of the album out of his limousine. He has since referred to the album as "Onion" because it makes him cry when he thinks about it. Elias later stated publicly in an interview that Anderson, as the associate producer, knew of the session musicians' involvement. He added that he and Anderson had even initiated their contributions, because hostility between some of the band members at the time was preventing work from being accomplished. The 1991–1992 Union tour united all eight members on a revolving circular stage. Following its conclusion, Bruford chose not to remain involved with Yes and returned to his jazz project Earthworks.
Talk, Keys to Ascension and Open Your Eyes (1993–98)
In 1993, the album Symphonic Music of Yes was released and features orchestrated Yes tracks arranged by David Palmer. Howe, Bruford and Anderson perform on the record, joined by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the London Community Gospel Choir. The following Yes studio album, as with Union, was masterminded by a record company, rather than by the band itself. Victory Music approached Rabin with a proposal to produce an album solely with the 90125 line-up. Rabin initially countered by requesting that Wakeman also be included. Rabin began assembling the album at his home, using the then-pioneering concept of a digital home studio, and used material written by himself and Anderson. The new album was well into production in 1993, but Wakeman's involvement had finally been cancelled, as his refusal to leave his long-serving management created insuperable legal problems.
Talk was released in March 1994 and is the band's fourteenth studio release. Its cover was designed by pop artist Peter Max. The record was digitally recorded in its entirety by Rabin on 10 GB of hard disk storage on four Apple Macintosh computers running Digital Performer. It blended elements of radio-friendly rock with a more structurally ambitious approach taken from the band's progressive blueprint, with the fifteen-minute track "Endless Dream". The album reached number 20 in the UK and number 33 in the US. The track "The Calling" reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and "Walls", which Rabin had written with Roger Hodgson, peaked at number 24. Yes performed "Walls" on Late Show with David Letterman on 20 June 1994. The 1994 tour, featuring Billy Sherwood on additional guitar and keyboards, used a sound system developed by Rabin named Concertsonics which allowed the audience located in certain seating areas to tune portable FM radios to a specific frequency, so they could hear the concert with headphones. Following the tour, Kaye and Rabin left Yes to pursue projects.
In November 1995, Wakeman and Howe returned to the line-up and performed on two new tracks, "Be the One" and "That, That Is". The band then reunited for three shows in March 1996 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California which were recorded and released, along with the new studio tracks, that October as Keys to Ascension on CMC International Records. The album peaked at number 48 in the UK and number 99 in the US. A same-titled live video of the shows was also released that year. Yes continued to record new tracks in the studio, drawing some material written around the time of the XYZ project. At one point the new songs were to be released as a studio album, but commercial considerations meant that the new tracks were eventually packaged with the remainder of the 1996 San Luis Obispo shows in November 1997 on Keys to Ascension 2. The record managed to reach number 62 in the UK, but failed to chart in the US. Wakeman left the group following the album's release. He was disgruntled at the way a potential studio album had been sacrificed in favour of the Keys to Ascension releases, as well as how a Yes tour was being arranged without his input or agreement. In 2001, the studio material from both albums was combined and released on the single CD Keystudio.
Squire turned to a project named Conspiracy with Sherwood that included contributions from White. The two reworked existing Conspiracy demos and recordings to turn them into Yes songs and added new material. Anderson and Howe were less involved with the writing and production at this stage and expressed dissatisfaction about the situation later. Sherwood's integral involvement with the writing, production and performance of the music led to his formally joining Yes as a full member at the end of the sessions, taking on the role of harmony singer, keyboardist and second guitarist.
Yes released their seventeenth studio album, Open Your Eyes, in November 1997 on the Beyond Music label, who ensured that the group had greater control in packaging and naming the album. It was not a chart success; the record peaked at number 151 on the Billboard 200 but failed to enter the charts in the UK. The single "Open Your Eyes" managed to reach number 33 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The band's 1997 and 1998 tour featured only a few pieces from the album, and mostly concentrated on earlier material. The tour also featured keyboards from Russian keyboard player Igor Khoroshev, who had played on some of the tracks on Open Your Eyes.
The Ladder, Magnification, 35th anniversary tour and hiatus (1999–2008)
Khoroshev became a full-time member of Yes for their eighteenth studio album The Ladder, released in September 1999. This would be the last project that record producer Bruce Fairbairn would work on before his untimely death. Many fans were reminded of the band's 1970s sound largely because of Khoroshev's classically oriented approach, though White also brought in world music influences with Latinesque arrangements, and with multi-instrumentalist Randy Raine-Reusch contributing to the album's textures. Sherwood's role continued to be limited to backup vocals and backup guitar. One of the album tracks, "Homeworld (The Ladder)", was written for Relic Entertainment's Homeworld, a real-time strategy computer game and was used as the credits and outro theme. The band stated that they wrote the song not because the game's developers asked them but because they liked several aspects of the game itself. The Ladder peaked at number 36 in the UK and number 99 in the US.
The performance at the House of Blues in New Orleans on the 1999–2000 tour was filmed and recorded for the DVD and live album release, House of Yes: Live from House of Blues. This would be the band's last work with Sherwood, who left the band at the tour's conclusion in early 2000. That year, Yes embarked on the three-month Masterworks tour of the United States. Khoroshev left the band at its conclusion.
In 2001, Yes released their nineteenth studio album Magnification. Recorded without a keyboardist, the album features a 60-piece orchestra conducted by Larry Groupé; the first time the band used an orchestra since Time and a Word in 1970. The record was not a chart success; it peaked at number 71 in the UK and number 186 in the US, with total sales worldwide of around 50,000 copies. Yes toured with a symphony orchestra in 2001 with keyboardist Tom Brislin as Wakeman was occupied with his solo tours. Their performance in Amsterdam was released on DVD in 2002 and CD in 2009 as Symphonic Live.
Following Wakeman's announcement of his return in April 2002, Yes embarked on their Full Circle Tour in 2002–2003 that included their first performances in Australia since 1973. The triple compilation album The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection was released in July 2003, reaching number 10 in the UK charts, their highest-charting album since 1991, and number 131 in the US. On 26 January 2004, the film Yesspeak premiered in a number of select theatres, followed by a closed-circuit live acoustic performance of the group that was released as Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss later on. A 35th anniversary tour followed in 2004 which was documented on the live DVD Songs from Tsongas.
After the 35th anniversary tour in September 2004, Yes were inactive for four years. The band were unable to continue touring because of Anderson's health issues who, unlike the other members, was not interested in producing a new studio album after the low sales of Magnification. He claimed that recording one was not "logical any more," and no announcement was made regarding a release of the new material. A 40th anniversary Close to the Edge and Back tour was scheduled to begin in 2008 that was to feature Oliver Wakeman on keyboards, as his father was advised by his doctors not to tour. Anderson claimed that the band rehearsed four new "lengthy, multi-movement compositions" for the tour that was suddenly cancelled in May 2008 after he suffered an asthma attack and diagnosed with acute respiratory failure. Anderson said he "just needed a break, but the guys were upset about that."
Touring, Fly from Here, and new album (2008–)
In 2008, Anderson was replaced by Benoît David, a Canadian singer of Mystery and the Yes tribute band Close to the Edge. Anderson felt "disappointed" and "disrespected" by Yes' decision to tour without him and by the lack of contact with the other members since his illness. Anderson delayed Yes from doing any touring due to respiratory issues. In 2008, after four years, the remainder of Yes became tired of waiting and brought David with them in lieu of Anderson, with Oliver Wakeman on keyboards. Yes subsequently completed their 2008–10 In the Present Tour, with Asia and Peter Frampton supporting the band on certain legs. A number of dates in 2009 were cancelled as Squire required emergency leg surgery plus recovery time. 2011 saw the release of the live album and DVD, In the Present – Live from Lyon.
In August 2010, it was announced that new material had been written for Fly from Here, Yes' twentieth studio album. Howe dispelled rumours that Anderson was invited back to sing on the record, asserting that all studio recording was to be carried out by "the line-up that actually...does the work." Yes signed a deal with Frontiers Records and began recording in Los Angeles with Trevor Horn serving as producer. During the recording sessions, Wakeman was replaced by the returning Geoff Downes. Upon completion of recording in March 2011, and post-production a month later, the album was released worldwide that July. Fly from Here peaked at number 30 in the UK and 36 in the US.
In March 2011, Yes embarked on their 2011–12 world tour to support Fly from Here, with Styx and Procol Harum supporting select dates. In February 2012, David was replaced by Glass Hammer singer Jon Davison after contracting a respiratory illness. Davison was recommended to Squire by their common friend Taylor Hawkins, drummer for the Foo Fighters.
In March 2013, Yes began their 2013–14 Three Album Tour where they perform The Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Going for the One in their entirety. During the first North American leg, they led a progressive-rock themed cruise titled "Cruise to the Edge". A second cruise is scheduled for April 2014.
In August 2013, the fan campaign Voices for Yes was launched to get the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The campaign was headed by two US political operators: John Brabender, senior media strategist for Republican Rick Santorum's 2012 US presidential campaign, and Tad Devine, who worked on Democrats John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and Al Gore's 2000 campaign. Also involved were former NBC president Steve Capus and former Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs Sara Taylor. A documentary about the campaign is in production. On 16 October 2013, Yes failed to be inducted.
In 2013, the band expressed wishes to record a new album. In an interview published January 2014, Davison announced that Roy Thomas Baker will serve as producer. In the same month, the band's Facebook page released images of the band recording in studio.
- Chris Squire – bass, vocals (1968–1981, 1982–2004, 2008–present)
- Steve Howe – guitars, vocals (1970–1981, 1990–1992, 1995–2004, 2008–present)
- Alan White – drums, percussion, backing vocals (1972–1981, 1982–2004, 2008–present)
- Geoff Downes – keyboards (1980–1981, 2011–present)
- Jon Davison – lead vocals, guitar (2012–present)
- Jon Anderson – lead vocals, percussion, guitar, harp (1968–1980, 1983–1988, 1990–2004)
- Tony Kaye – keyboards, backing vocals (1968–1971, 1982–June 1983, October 1983 – 1994)
- Peter Banks – guitar, backing vocals (1968–1970; died 2013)
- Bill Bruford – drums, percussion (1968–September 1968, November 1968 – 1972, 1990–1992)
- Tony O'Reilly – drums (September 1968 – November 1968)
- Rick Wakeman – keyboards, piano, Hammond organ, Mellotron (1971–1974, 1976–1980, 1990–1992, 1995–1996, 2002–2004)
- Patrick Moraz – keyboards (1974–1976)
- Trevor Horn – lead vocals (1980–1981)
- Trevor Rabin – guitar, vocals, keyboards (1982–1994)
- Eddie Jobson – keyboards (June 1983–October 1983)
- Billy Sherwood – guitar, backing vocals (1994, 1997–2000), keyboards, backing vocals (1997)
- Igor Khoroshev – keyboards, backing vocals (1997–2000)
- Benoît David – lead vocals (2008–2012)
- Oliver Wakeman – keyboards (2008–2011)
- Former live members
- Tom Brislin – keyboards (2001–2002)
Covers and remixes
After the release of 90125, Yes released an extended single "disco" remix of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" called "The Red and Blue Mix" on cassette tape. A version of "Leave It" using scratching was on the b-side. This version was filmed and was an introduction video on a subsequent tour.
In 2005, DJ Max Graham remixed Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart," credited to Max Graham Vs. Yes. The song reached the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart.
Two characters in the film The Break-Up sing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" a cappella at a dinner. The song was included on the soundtrack album of music from the film.
There are several releases involving multiple members of Yes working outside of the band context. Those including at least three (current or former) Yes members are:
- 1973 : The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Rick Wakeman, with appearances by Squire, Howe, White and Bruford
- 1975 : Fish Out of Water, by Chris Squire, with appearances by Bruford and Moraz
- 1975 : Beginnings, by Steve Howe, with appearances by Bruford, White and Moraz
- 1979 : The Steve Howe Album, by Steve Howe, with appearances by Bruford, White and Moraz
- 1991 : The Classical Connection II by Rick Wakeman, including an archival track with Squire, Bruford and Howe
- 1995 : Tales from Yesterday, a Yes tribute album, with appearances by Howe, Banks, Moraz and Sherwood
- 1999 : Encore, Legends, & Paradox, produced by Robert Berry and drummer Trent Gardner, with 10 covers of ELP by multiple musicians including Banks, Khoroshev and Downes
- 2002 : Pigs & Pyramids-An All Star Lineup Performing The Songs Of Pink Floyd – track 3 "Comfortably Numb" performed by Squire, White and Sherwood, while Sherwood and Kaye appear on other tracks
- 2005 : Back Against The Wall, a Pink Floyd tribute, produced by Billy Sherwood, with Squire, Howe, White, Wakeman, Kaye, Sherwood and Downes, among others
- 2006 : Return to the Dark Side of the Moon, a Pink Floyd tribute, produced by Billy Sherwood, with Wakeman, Howe, Kaye, White, Bruford, Banks and Downes, among others
- 2007 : CIRCA: 2007, by CIRCA:, including Sherwood, Kaye and White; also including material co-written by Rabin
- 2007 : From Here to Infinity, a project led by Billy Sherwood including appearances by Kaye, Wakeman, Howe and White on a cover of Yes' "Starship Trooper"
- 2008 : Led Box: The Ultimate Tribute To Led Zeppelin, with Sherwood, Kaye, Wakeman and Downes, among others
- 2009 : Abbey Road: A Tribute To The Beatles, produced by Billy Sherwood, with Kaye, White and Downes, among others
- 2012 : Songs of the Century: An All-Star Tribute to Supertramp, a tribute album organised by Sherwood, with appearances by Squire, Kaye, Wakeman, Banks and Downes, among others
- 2012 : The Prog Collective, a project led by Billy Sherwood including appearances by Squire, Banks, Wakeman and Kaye, among others
- 2012 : The Fusion Syndicate, a project led by Billy Sherwood including appearances by Wakeman and Kaye, among others
- 2012 : A Spoonful of Time, by Nektar, with appearances by Howe, Moraz, Wakeman, Downes and Sherwood, among others
- 2012 : Who are You: An All Star Tribute to The Who, a tribute album with appearances by Wakeman, Banks and Sherwood, among others
- 2013 : In Extremis, by Days Between Stations, with Sherwood, Wakeman and Banks
- Yes: The Authorized Biography, Dan Hedges, London, Sidgwick and Jackson Limited, 1981
- Yes: But What Does It Mean?, Thomas Mosbø, Milton, a Wyndstar Book, 1994
- Yesstories: Yes in Their Own Words, Tim Morse and Yes, St. Martin's Griffin Publishing, 15 May 1996
- Music of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock, Bill Martin, Chicago e La Salle, Open Court, 1 November 1996
- Close To the Edge – The Story of Yes, Chris Welch, Omnibus Press, 1999/2003/2008
- Beyond and Before: The Formative Years of Yes, Peter Banks & Billy James, Bentonville, Golden Treasure Publishing, 2001
- Yes: Perpetual Change, David Watkinson and Rick Wakeman, Plexus Publishing, 1 November 2001
- Yes: An Endless Dream Of '70s, '80s And '90s Rock Music, Stuart Chambers, Burnstown, General Store Publishing House, 2002
- Yes Tales: An Unauthorized Biography of Rock's Most Cosmic Band, Scott Robinson, in Limerick Form, Lincoln, Writers Club Press, iUniverse Inc., 2002
- The Extraordinary World of Yes, Alan Farley, Paperback, 2004
- Bill Bruford: The Autobiography: Yes, King Crimson, Earthworks, and More, Bill Bruford, 6 March 2009, Jawbone Press, London
- Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Illustrated History of Prog Rock, Will Romano, 1 November 2010
- Yes, Paolo Battigelli; Armando Gallo, Roma, éd. Fratelli Gallo, 1985
- Progressive & Underground '67 – '76, Cesare Rizzi, Florence, Giunti Editore, 2003
- Fragile: La Storia Degli Yes, Chris Welch, traduction by Stefano Pogelli, ed. Stampa alternativa, 2009
- Yes, Un Sentiment Océanique Dans Le Rock, Lionel Daloz, éd. Eä, 23 November 2009
- Yessongs: Round About Jutesack, Michael Rudolf, Hannover, Wehrhahn Verlag, 2001
- Radiografía Del Rock Experimental. De La Psicodelia A La Actualidad Del Rock Progresivo, Sergio Guillén y Andrés Puente, Castellarte Editorial Multicultural, 2006
- Yes: Back from the Edge, Mike Mettler, Guitar School 3, no. 5, September 1991
- Classic Yes – Selections from Yesyears, April 1993
- Welch, Chris (2008). Close to the Edge – The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-132-7.
- Wooding, Dan (1978). Rick Wakeman: The Caped Crusader. Granada Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-0-7091-6487-6.
Media related to Yes at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Yes official YouTube account
- Yes (band) on Twitter
- Yes live photo gallery
- Yes fan forum message boards
- Review of Yes at Birmingham Symphony Hall, November 2011, Classic Rock Revisited
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