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Yes America album cover
2.97 | 58 ratings | 4 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A:
1. America

Side B:
2. Total Mass Retain
On "Atlantic Oldies Series"
2. Your Move

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Steve Howe / guitars, vocals
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards
- Chris Squire / bass, vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums

Releases information

US 1972 Atlantic 2899
US Atlantic Oldies Series OS-13141 with "Your Move"
BRA Atco ATCS 10036
JPN Atlantic P-1161A with picture sleeve
NZ Atlantic ATL109

Thanks to Eetu Pellonpää for the addition
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YES America ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

YES America reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
2 stars "America" is a song composed by Paul Simon and originally recorded by Simon and Garfunkel in the sixties. YES was performing their own arrangement of this song live since 1970-71, when the line-up of the band was Anderson-Squire-Bruford-Kaye-Howe. Both Anderson and Squire liked Simon & Garfunkel`s music, so I think that it was the reason why YES did their arrangement for this song in the early seventies.

YES` "Full Lenght Version" of "America" originally was released in "The Age of Atlantic" album in July 1972, but it was recorded by the YES` line-up of Anderson-Squire-Bruford-Wakeman-Howe, in early 1972. It has been said that Wakeman didn`t like this song, so Bruford played the keyboards, but I don`t know how true it is. Anyway, the "Full Lenght Version" for this song is much better than the edited version included in this single in 1972. I heard it for the first time in YES`"Yesyears" Box Set which was released in 1991. This single version is obviously edited very much, so the arrangement of the full song is lost for the single version, so it is not very good, in my opinion. The "Full Lenght Version" is much better, and was released for the first time in a YES album in 1975 in the "Yesterdays" compilation album.

I think that the versions of "Total Mass Retain" and "Your Move" released as B-sides for this single in different times are only the titled parts of the longer songs from which they were taken ("Close to the Edge" and "I`ve Seen All Good People", respectively), as I don`t have any of these singles. But being "America" the main song of these singles, I think that it was good to comment about the quality of this "single-edit" version.

Review by baz91
3 stars In their early days, Yes used to do mainly covers of songs, by adding more and more to the song until it was barely recognisable. A great example of this is their take of 'Every Little Thing' by The Beatles, released on their eponymous debut album. In my mind, Simon & Garfunkel's 'America' is the last cover they ever did.

The song, which was originally three and half minutes long, was stretched to a whopping ten and a half minutes by Yes. It is this version that I shall review first.

Besides the lyrics, this version is completely unrecognisable from the original. There is a 2:30 intro instrumental, a 3:30 jam in the centre, and a 1:00 instrumental outro for starters. The jam ITSELF is as long as the original song. Amazingly, with it's ten minute length, Yes's version does not include all the lyrics from the original (it misses out the verse 'Toss me a cigarette...'). Yes's version is however, a prog rock masterpiece. All of the arrangements are fantastic, the instrumentals are awesome. The jam is so much fun, just listening to the band let themselves go for 3 minutes. A truly 5 star song, and much better than the original.

The first version I heard of this song, was the single version, which was released on the remastered 'Close to the Edge'. The song is cut down to just over 4 minutes by getting rid of the intro instrumental and the lengthy jam. Without these instrumentals, it's hard to see what Yes were trying to do, and the song is rather confusing and clumsy, and doesn't feel like a prog rock masterpiece at all.

The B-sides to this single: Total Mass Retain is a brief snippet from Close to the Edge. Much like you get short demos of video games, this very much feels like a demo for the song. It does however sport some of the most progressive music ever recorded in 3 minutes and is notable for that. Whilst not really working as a standalone song, this would definitely tempt me into buying the record. Your Move is the first half of I've Seen All Good People from The Yes Album. I love this track for it's fantastic lyrics, and brilliant melody, although you feel a bit empty when you realise that the 'All Good People' section is missing.

If I ever saw this single for a decent price, I'd probably buy it as a collectible, but the music contained on it is nothing to shout about when compared with the originals. The full length America, is a standalone masterpiece though.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Retain the total mass!

Even though it was released in 1972 - the same year as the otherworldly Close To The Edge album - Yes' version of Simon & Garfunkel's America really sounds as if it came out of an earlier age. Recording covers of other people's songs was something that Yes did several times in their early days with Peter Banks as the band's guitarist. Both the self-titled 1969 debut album and the 1970 follow-up Time And A Word included a couple of covers each, including songs originally done by The Beatles and Ritchie Havens among others. Of course, Yes did their own thing with these songs and they often ended up quite different from the originals. By the time of The Yes Album in 1971, however, Yes had moved beyond this phase of their career and now focused exclusively on their own material. The evolution of the band continued on Fragile and Close To The Edge, taking them further away from their roots and towards ever greater heights of originality and musical progression. In this context, the release of another cover song was a bit of a throwback.

Yes' version of America was first released on a multi-artist, label sampler compilation album called The New Age Of Atlantic in 1972 and had a running time of ten and a half minutes. This single, by contrast, holds only an edit of the song which runs for just over four minutes. The full version of the song is clearly more interesting than the edited version and develops the song further from the Simon & Garfunkel original. The superior, full-length version of the song later re- appeared on the Yesterdays compilation in 1975 together with songs taken from the band's first two albums. As noted above, I think the song fits well with those earlier songs. The single edit has since been made available on the Yesyears box set in 1991 and then again as a bonus track to the 2003 remastered CD version of Close To The Edge.

The latter CD reissue also has among its bonus tracks the b-side of the America single, Total Mass Retain. This is a snippet of the brilliant Close To The Edge. While the album version of this epic song is one of the greatest pieces of music ever created, this heavily edited version does not work so well taken out of its context. My advice is to stick with the album where you get the total mass of the song retained.

In conclusion, even though the music here is absolutely excellent, as a single considered, this is not successful. Both sides of this single feel truncated and are somewhat awkward choices for the single format.

Latest members reviews

3 stars A surprising single released by Yes in 1972. A cover of a great Simon and Garfunkel tune which I think outdoes the original. As you can tell by the organ sounds, this is a Rick Wakeman number. I did not first here this until I obtained a copy of YESTERDAYS and it was a big suprise to me how much I e ... (read more)

Report this review (#733609) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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