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Yes - It Can Happen CD (album) cover




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2.87 | 38 ratings

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2 stars This ATCO single - - catalog number 99745 in the US, B9745 in the UK - - was released in June 1984 as the follow-up to the minor hit "Leave It." It peaked at #51 in the US and #92 in the UK. Like "Leave It," "It Can Happen" is written in the unmistakable style of Yes bassist Chris Squire, although in both cases he had plenty of songwriting help. Much has been made of the differences between the canonical version of the song, sung by Jon Anderson, and the "Cinema" version, first released on Yesyears in 1991, on which Squire is the lead vocalist. I'll limit my comments to mentioning my opinion that, corny as it sounds, they're both pretty good.

"It Can Happen (edit)"

The a-side of the single is an edit of the 90125 album track, which opens with a sitar played by Dipak (Deepak) Khazanchi. Like all but one 90125 song, "It Can Happen" was produced by former Yes vocalist Trevor Horn, and here he works his magic, bringing Yes into the modern sound of the 1980s without leaving any fingerprints. As far as I know, the single was created with just one edit, which removes the seventy-one seconds beginning at 3:12 on the album version. The splice is a no-brainer from a compositional standpoint - - plus, there was already an edit at 3:12 - - but it's done flawlessly.

This version was out of print until the 3-CD The Ultimate Yes: the 35th Anniversary Collection was released in 2003. As of late 2019, the edited version is still available for individual download on Amazon, iTunes, and presumably other platforms.

"It Can Happen (live version)"

I used to believe that this live version of "It Can Happen" had to be the same recording used on the 9012Live videocassette, released the following year. It's true that the video version is half a minute longer, but I just assumed that the single version was an edit. After all, I had it on good account that this b-side was recorded at the Edmonton during the second North American leg of Yes's 1984 tour, which is also the provenance of 9012Live. But then I actually heard the b-side. It's not the same. After wondering about the discrepancy for years, I finally discovered that there were two Edmonton shows and that the video is from the Friday concert. This b-side is probably from Saturday.

What makes the 9012Live recording of "It Can Happen" special is Anderson's improvised vocals during the breakdown section (beginning about 5:40) which precedes the outro. After Anderson repeats "you can mend the wires / you can feed the soul apart," he ad libs: "you can touch your heart, touch your soul, touch your life, 'cause deep down inside, deep down, you've got the power." Trevor Rabin then begins singing his "na-na-na" part from the fade of the studio version, and Anderson just keeps on going: "deep inside you have the power / feelin' lost - - feelin' lost and a-lonely / reach out, reach out" - - here Rabin hits the high note of his vocal line - - "reach out, 'cause you've got the power!" Those last five syllables introduce a fantastic new melody to the song, and he repeats it twice as Rabin and Squire chant the chorus: "it can happen to you, it can happen to me..." To me it's the highlight of the 67-minute 9012Live video.

But unfortunately that isn't the version on the b-side of this single. Here, during the breakdown, Anderson ad-libs similarly, but doesn't find the aforementioned melody. I wonder why they chose this recording for this single. Maybe the decision had something to do with licensing connected to the 9012Live concert film (which wouldn't be released for another sixteen months)? Or maybe it was "just a b-side;" the flip-side choice could've been a last-minute decision. Another interesting note: the b-side labels of both the UK and US releases indicate that this rendition was "produced by Eddie Offord and Yes;" Offord was not, as far as I know, involved with 9012Live.


"It Can Happen" is a nice art-rock number whose studio and live versions should be in the collections of any serious Yes fan. But in my estimation, the a-side of this single isn't essential, since the mix seems to be identical to the album version - - it's just a shortened version. And the b-side isn't as good a performance as the one on 9012Live. So I'd only recommend this release to serious Yes collectors.

patrickq | 2/5 |


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