Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


In English, yes is a single word indicating agreement or permission. In a congress, parliament, or other legislature, yea (pronounced like "yay") is often used instead when taking a vote, or listing how members voted. Informal versions of the word include yeah and yup.

The popular music group Yes is a progressive rock band that formed in London in 1968. Although the composition of the band has changed many times over the years, founding members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire may be considered the core of the band. Anderson performed on all but one album while Squire has performed on all official Yes albums. Rick Wakeman, on the other hand, has joined and left the band at least four times.

Band members, roughly in order in which they joined the band:

The early 1970s Yes recordings are generally considered to be their best, and in this period they were at the leading edge of progressive rock whilst simultaneously enjoying great commercial success. Despite many lineup changes, occasional splits and the huge changes in popular music, the band has endured for over 30 years and still retains a strong international following.

The classic Yes sound was defined on their third, fourth and fifth albums, recorded in 1971-72. It features complex classically-influenced arrangements, unusual time signatures, virtuoso musicianship, dramatic dynamic and metrical changes and oblique, stream-of-consciousness lyrics.

During this time Yes developed their repertoire well beyond the standard 3-minute pop-song structure, composing lengthy multi-part suites that lasted 20 minutes or more and which alternated vocal verses with atmospheric instrumental interludes, frenetic ensemble passages and extended guitar, keyboard and bass improvisations. The most recogniseable sonic features of this 'classic' period are Anderson's distinctive high-register lead vocals, their strong vocal harmonies, Wakeman and Howe's often thrilling solos, Bruford's powerful polyrhythmic drumming and the thunderous sound of Squire's famous Rickenbacker model 4001 stereo bass.

Squire still owns and plays this instrument, which he purchased in 1967, and it was only the third Rickenbacker 4001 ever imported into Britain from the United States -- the first was bought by Paul McCartney. Squire's unique sound was achieved by a technique known as 'bi-amping' -- splitting the stereo signal from his bass (which divided the signal from the pickups into dual high and low frequency outputs), and then sending the low frequency output to a conventional bass amplifier and the high-frequency output to a separate lead guitar amplifier. This produced a tonal 'sandwich' that added a growling, overdriven edge to the sound while retaining the Rickenbacker's powerful bass response. Squire (who is self-taught) was also one of the first rock bass players to successfully adapt electronic guitar effects such as tremolo, phasing and the wah-wah pedal to the instrument. The rhythm section of Squire and Bruford was widely considered one of the best in rock music at this time.

Their first two Yes LPs (recorded with the lineup of Anderson, Banks, Bruford, Kaye and Squire) mixed original material with covers of songs by their major influences, including The Beatles, The Byrds and Simon & Garfunkel;. The departure of Peter Banks in 1970 and his replacement by gifted guitarist Steve Howe (ex Tomorrow (band) gave Yes a new edge. The group's emerging style coalesced on their next LP, the superb The Yes Album, which for the first time consisted entirely of strong original compositions by the band; it was also the record that united them with long-serving producer and engineer Eddie Offord; his studio expertise was a key factor in creating the Yes sound and his production work still sounds exciting and fresh after more than three decades, especially on the recent remastered CD versions of these records.

In 1971 original keyboard player Tony Kaye left to form his own group, Badger (band). He was replaced by the dazzlingly talented Rick Wakeman, who had just left The Strawbs and was already a noted studio musician with credits including David Bowie and Lou Reed. The classically trained Wakeman was a performer whose musical skills were on a par with the technical bravura of progressive rock's leading keyboard player, Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake & Palmer; (whose previous band The Nice was another strong influence on the early Yes.

As a soloists, Wakeman proved to be a perfect foil for Steve Howe and he also brought two vital new additions to the group's instrumentation -- the Mellotron and the Minimoog synthesiser. Surrounded by banks of keyboards, his flowing blonde hair and sequinned cape provided a strong visual focus on stage, although they later became the object of ridicule in some quarters.

The first recording by this 'classic' lineup of the group (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman) was a dynamic ten-minute interpretation of Paul Simon's America. It was both the end of one era -- their last non-original track -- and the beginning of another, showcasing all the elements of the new Yes sound in place.

With Wakeman on board, Yes now entered their most fertile and successful period, cutting two highly acclaimed LPs. Fragile (1971) went Top Ten in America, and Close To The Edge (1972) was also a huge seller. Yes enjoyed enormous commercial and critical success around the world and became one of the most popular concert attractions of the day. They also notably benefitted from the tremendous advances in live music technology that were taking place at that time, and they were renowned for the superb quality of both their sound and lighting.

Fragile also marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with artist Roger Dean, who designed the group's logo and their acclaimed album covers, as well as their light shows. Some consider the album Close to the Edge to be the high point of the whole progressive rock genre. Fans of this era commonly describe themselves as "Troopers", after the 3-part track "Starship Trooper" from The Yes Album.

Shortly after the release of Close To The Edge, at the height of the band's success, Bill Bruford stunned fans with the news that was quitting to join King Crimson; he was replaced by former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White who debuted on their next release, the three-record live collection Yessongs, recorded on their hugely successful and critically lauded world tour in late 1972 and early 1973.

Yessongs raised the benchmark for rock album packaging to a new level -- it was a hugely ambitious project and undoubtedly a major gamble for their label, Atlantic Records. It was one of the first rock triple-album sets, featuring live versions of all-original material from the previous three studio albums. Presented in one of the most lavish album packages to date, Roger Dean's artwork spread across a triple gatefold cover, and continued the cosmic-organic design concepts of the two previous albums. Capturing the group at their best, with show-stopping performances and near studio quality sound throughout, Yessongs remains one of the very best live albums ever recorded and -- much to Atlantic's relief -- it sold in huge quantities.

Their next studio album, "Tales From Topographic Oceans" marked a sea-change in the band's fortunes, polarising fans and critics alike. Although extended compositions were by now a Yes hallmark -- the title track of Close To The Edge took up the entire second side of that album -- Topographic Oceans was an obscure concept piece sprawling across four sides of a double album. Athough it was a solid commerical success, it earned mixed reviews and left many feeling that the band was beginning to overreach itself.

Frustrations over the album's drawn-out recording and increasing inter-personal tensions led Wakeman to quit at the end of their 'Topographic Oceans' world tour in late 1973. This set the pattern for the group's soapie-like personnel history, with members coming and going several times and lawsuits flying in all directions.

Wakeman was replaced by Swiss musician Patrick Moraz for their successful return to form Relayer in 1974. The group toured through 1975-76 and each member recorded their own solo album, but these mostly demonstrated that in the case of Yes the whole was indeed greater than the sum of the parts. Moraz was unceremoniously dumped in 1976 after Wakeman was convinced to return to the fold and he performed on their next two albums. "Going For The One" (1977) was surprisingly successful in spite of being released at the height of the punk rock era in Britian, by which time Yes were being held up by adherents of punk and New Wave as epitomising the most bloated excesses of early Seventies dinosaur rock. Ironically, Yes would outlast almost all the groups of that era as well.

Table of contents
1 Band members
2 Discography
3 External link

Band members

After the Tormato album (1978), the band split, with Anderson and Wakeman leaving. In a bold attempt to reinvent themselves, and to the great surprise of most fans (and the dismay of some), Squire recruited studio pop duo Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn, best known by their pseudonym The Buggles, who had an early Eighties hit with 'Video Killed The Radio Star'.

The Drama album that resulted from this line-up has its fans (named "Panthers" after a feature of the album's artwork), but most Yes followers missed Anderson's unique lyrics and vocal style. Another split left the band effectively dead for some time. Horn went on to become one of the most successful producers of recent years, with credits including Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Grace Jones, Tom Jones and The Art Of Noise.

Later in 1980 after the release of the Drama album, Squire and White teamed up with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page to form a power trio dubbed XYZ (Ex-Yes-Zeppelin). Though producing some powerful and inspired music, the supergroup (not surprisingly) fell apart due to the age-old problem of 'creative differences', and Squire and White once again found themselves out to sea. Early in 1981, a prodigiously talented young jazz-rock guitarist from South Africa named Trevor Rabin (late of the band Rabbitt) shopped his solo material to an A&R executive at Atlantic Records, who suggested that he meet Squire and White.

Initially dubbed Cinema, the resulting quartet comprised Squire, White and Rabin, with long-departed Tony Kaye returning on keyboards. They played Anderson some of their new music, with the result that Anderson joined the band, at which point common sense prevailed and the Yes name was resurrected. The resulting album, 90125 (produced by Horn), was a radical departure from their earlier sound. It was simpler and harder, with modern (for the time) electronic effects. The song 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' from this album was even a hit in discos, resulting in the band's only number one single. Fans of this line-up are called "Generators", from this line-up's second album, Big Generator.

From this point, the band's history became very messy indeed, with two versions of the band existing at the same time, and legal battles ensued. The Yes name was now owned by the 90125 line-up (known colloquially as YesWest and based in the USA), but without Anderson, who had again defected and formed Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (known as YesEast and based in Britain). There were the inevitable law suits, but this was followed by a remarkable rapprochement that resulted in the album Union and a world tour which united all eight members in a shortlived "mega-Yes". After the seemingly inevitable split, the 90125 line-up released its final album, Talk.

Proving teh thruth of teh old adage never say 'never again' the band surprised and delighted fans by reforming with the classic '73-'74 line-up of Anderson, Squire, White, Howe and Wakeman for a live performance in the Californian town of San Luis Obispo. The resultant live recordings were released, together with new music, on the Keys To Ascension albums, considered by many fans to be their finest music since their 1970s zenith. The sessions proved so productive that the group subsequently released anotehr CD of outtakes called "Keysstudio", most of which was on a par with the 'official' albums.

Wakeman has left and rejoined the band twice since, temporarily replaced by Russian keyboard player Igor Khoroshev (although never a full member of the band) and later by the multi-instrumentalist and Chris Squire collaborator Billy Sherwood. Sherwood's influence seemed to take the band back in the direction of the 90125 lineup, particularly with the AOR oriented album Open Your Eyes. Sherwood left the band before the recording of the 2001 orchestral release Magnification, with the return of Wakeman following in 2003 and a world tour, including their long-awaited return to Australia after more than 30 years absence.


Material marked * was released under the band name "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe", because the band name "Yes" was then owned by Chris Squire. However, the material has the distinctive Yes sound and is considered by many to be as much a product of the band as any other release.

Sleeve artwork for many of these albums was done by Roger Dean, who also designed the band's logo.

The Yes Atlantic Records catalog has undergone at least two remasterings and re-releases on CD. The initial CD releases appeared in the late 1980s, and the first remasters were released in the mid 1990s, with dramatically improved sound and much original album art restored. In 2003 a further remastering effort was begun by Rhino Records, this time including more original art, extensive booklet liner notes, and rare bonus tracks.

External link