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Yes Yes album cover
3.29 | 1605 ratings | 121 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1969

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Beyond and Before (4:50)
2. I See You (6:33)
3. Yesterday and Today (2:37)
4. Looking Around (3:49)
5. Harold Land (5:26)
6. Every Little Thing (5:24)
7. Sweetness (4:19)
8. Survival (6:01)

Total Time 38:59

Bonus tracks on 2003 Elektra remaster:
9. Everydays (single version) (6:23)
10. Dear Father (early version #2) (5:51) *
11. Something's Coming (7:08)
12. Everydays (early version) (5:18) *
13. Dear Father (early version #1) (5:31) *
14. Something's Coming (early version) (8:02) *

* Previously unreleased

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / lead vocals, percussion
- Peter Banks / guitars, vocals
- Tony Kaye / Hammond organ, piano
- Chris Squire / bass, vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums, vibes

Releases information

Artwork: Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes (LP - UK & Europe) and by Haig Adishian w/ David Gahr (photo)

LP Atlantic - K40034 (1969, UK)
LP Atlantic - SD 8243 (1969, US) W/ different cover from European editions

CD Atlantic - 7567-81447-2 (1989, Germany)
CD Atlantic - 7567-82680-2 (1994, Europe) Remastered by Joe Gastwirt
CD Elektra - 73786-2 (2003, Europe) Remastered by Dan Hersch & Bill Inglot w/ 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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YES Yes ratings distribution

(1605 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

YES Yes reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Ambitious psych or proto prog that should not be too highly regarded as this is their first one and the band will get much better at it in the very near-future. A good thing to do is to invest into Yesterdays as the best tracks from this one and their second one are gathered into one good compilation. Really, the most interesting numbers have been picked up one that good compilation, but also added their version S&G's composition of America. This debut album was released on the Atlantic label, but with different artworks on each side of itself - the pond, the US getting a better deal, than the European black artwork.

Among the better tracks on this album are Looking Around and the 6-mins Survival, both heavy-handed on the organ, courtesy of Tony Kaye. Some tracks are rather too soft for the group (as if not a natural speed for them), namely Sweetness and Yesterday & Today. There are a few covers on this album as CSN's I See You and the Beatles' Every Little Thing, but it's not like they revolutionized the original version either. Not exactly a memorable debut album, but definitely worth investigating, at least through the Yesterdays release. I round this album up to the superior unit, hence three stars, partly out of respect for the group's immense early career.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If I compare this first yes album to the first GENESIS, well, YES was quite in advance!! Just hear the complexity and refinement of those beautiful songs!! "I see you" is absolutely catchy! "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness" are tender ballads that cannot be forgotten! "Looking Around" with a beautiful organ sound. The guys jammed quite fast and well on "every little thing".

The keyboards that makes the whole simple but efficient: organ Anderson's voice is particularly soothing. For 1969, this was a huge album!

Review by daveconn
3 stars On their eponymous debut, the band's brand of muscular psychedelia is already distinctive. ANDERSON's precious voice, the sinewy rhythms of Squire and BRUFORD, BANKS' dexterous guitar and KAYE's austere keyboards offer clear indicators of a style that would evolve into their subsequent masterworks. However, there are some growing pains in evidence: the harmonies are occasionally strained and some of the softer tracks ("Sweetness", "Yesterday and Today") sound dated. Despite arriving at a unique style that mixes airiness with explosive playing, Yes didn't create this music in a vacuum. Bits of PINK FLOYD (particularly in their cover of THE BEATLES' "Every Little Thing") and other sci-fi rockers pop up in their music, tempered by the psychedelic harmonies of CS&N and THE BYRDS (whose "I See You" gets a terrific treatment here). While their first album didn't chart or generate a hit, some of the songs are well worth hearing: "Beyond and Before" and "Looking Around" are dynamic and inventive, "Harold Land" is a fine piece of musical storytelling (an early example of ANDERSON's lyrics before he abandoned form), and "Survival" offers a taste of the impressive arrangements to come.

Viewed from the vantage point of their later music, "Yes" is still rough around the edges, but the band's enthusiasm and artistic aspirations already set them apart as something special.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The boys were just warming up and to be honest this is not a bad album at all. Naive is a good way to describe it but songs like "Survival" and "I See You" set the tone for the good times ahead. The distinct sound of Yes is immediately apparent and with Peter Banks and Tony Kaye in the starting line up it mattered little to the obvious direction they were about to embark on. There are the hints of creativity, perfectionism and plain boldness which unfold in the near follow up studio releases. This is better than just for completionists and makes a solid start for Yes fans.
Review by Moogtron III
4 stars I know, this is their first album and they've improved so much on their writing, production skills, originality etc ever since. But what a wonderful debut this album makes. Lovely melodies, great harmonies already, and what an enormous amount of energy is being released on this album. Too much coffee being drunk, as Bill Bruford once said? Well, the record is intense, for sure. Influences from the Beatles, Byrds, Vanilla Fudge and Buffalo Springfield are obviously there (this record has a lot in common with " Again", Buffalo Springfield's second album), but never mind about that: what a fantastic listening experience this record is. Not as complex and adventurous as The Yes Album, Fragile and you name it. But never mind about that: this record helps you fall in love with life again. Try listening to this record and NOT feel good at the same time.
Review by Guillermo
4 stars I really like this album. Every member of the band played very good. In this album I can hear better than in "Time and a word" Peter Banks`s skills as a guitarist, as his guitars are better mixed in this album. Tony Kaye also shines, particularly in "Harold Land" with a very good organ and piano arrangement, and also in "Looking around". I don`t know why both Banks and Kaye are underrated sometimes. Bill Bruford shines in his drums, particularly in "Harold Land" and in his jazz drums for "I see you". Chris Squire with his "dynamic" bass, and Jon Anderson singing is more pop rock. I like all the songs from this album, particularly "Yesterday and today" (which has some influence from the 60s music from the Beatles), "Harold Land" (the best of all), "Looking Around", and "Survival". The vocals by Anderson, Squire and Banks are very good, and I think that Banks had a better voice than Howe for backing vocals, without diminishing Howe`s talent in Yes.
Review by Muzikman
5 stars The Yes debut is mightily impressive. Today it seems even more creative when one looks back at their recorded history and how they continually developed with each album. This is where their foundation was set and everything that happened subsequently comes back to this fine recording.

Jon Anderson and Chris Squire melded their vocals in sparkling fashion in all of these songs. The melody and rhythm of tracks like "Every Little Thing" and "Dear Father" are an indication of what fruit the future would bear for this legendary band. Their ability to mix progressive sounds with pop would prove to be their strongest asset and it still is today.

The freshness and clarity of the sound on this version is outstanding, just as every other remaster I have heard thus far from the Yes catalog is. With a generous helping of bonus tracks (six), the listener gets a glimpse of different versions of tracks while listening to the developmental stages of each like never before. That can be the most rewarding aspect of bonus tracks when they are chosen with discriminating care as they are on this CD. This is the best place to start if you are purchasing all the remasters, although I did it in a different order, the impact was just as powerful.

Review by chessman
3 stars Of course, the original vinyl album cover just had the logo, Yes, in red, against a black background. The cd remaster has the above cover. I had the original, bought about 1976, and I now have the cd. I have always rated this album highly. It is far superior to some of their later work. On this debut, the band show their hippy-poppy pyschedelic roots, but with plenty of melody and power. In some ways it sounds dated, very sixties, in others, it sounds quite modern, an interesting and attractive blend! "Beyond And Before" is an excellent opener, powerful and upbeat, Chris Squire immediately stamping his trademark sound on the track. Jon Anderson sounds as if he has been doing it for years, and the rest of the band are all up to scratch. Sometimes, I think, it is forgotten, in the wake of Howe and Wakeman, just how good the 'originals' were! Neither Peter Banks nor Tony Kaye were short on talent themselves! I always liked Banks' bluesy, sixties style, and Kaye filled out the sound nicely, with much dexterity on occasion. Bruford is Bruford, no more need be said about one of the top rock drummers of all time. I always loved "I See You". It is redolent of flower power and love to me, with a wonderful melody and tight playing. Nice guitar work from Banks here. "Yesterday And Today" is good too, short but sweet, again a love song. Side one of the old vinyl finished with "Looking Around", another powerful piece. Excellent organ here from Kaye. "Harold Land" sounds a little dated maybe, but is well written and evocative of the casualties of war. Not flower power in sentiment by any means. "Every Little Thing!", the Beatles song, is given the Yes treatment here, back in the days when they were doing covers. And they have given it some needed spice here, with plenty of oomph and power again. Very nice. "Sweetness" is what the title suggests, very sixties and sweet, but extremely listenable. A lovely melody here. The album ends with "Survival", which starts at a fast pace, then quietens down ready for the verse. Nice keyboards here again, and some good harmonies. Thus ends the first album by Yes, and, whilst not quite up to their classic period, (Fragile - Going For The One), it is certainly a worthy addition to any collection. Yes fans who don't have it will find it different, but still sounding like Yes. A good debut.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A brilliant debut album by YES, which should please those listeners who like the music of the 60's. CHRIS SQUIRE's familiar bass sound is already present, and as it's accompanied with BILL BRUFORD's drumming, they create a wonderful rhythm section which is pleasant to listen to. "I See You" was previously been recorded by THE BYRDS, and this band had some influence on YES, as they adopted their strong multi vocal harmonies to their sound. Also "Harold Land" is a pretty anti-war folk song, which haven't been on many re-releases, but maybe "Survival" is my biggest favorite on this album. Recommended if you are into this kind of stuff!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having followed the band's progress until today, it's good to reflect back on how it was like when their debut album hit the road. This was not my first album with the band as I knew YES name quite late, i.e when "Fragile" was released. I only knew this album later because I was so amazed with the beauty, the energy and the beautiful compositions of "Fragile". When I finally knew this album, I loved some tracks and I always repeated the songs more than two times when I played this album. They were: "Harold Lands", "Every Little Thing", "I See You" and "Yesterday and Today".

Let's put things into perspective and have it a reasonable comparison with another band - which I believe the appropriate comparison was King Crimson whom at the same year released "In The Court of The Crimson King". ITCOTCK in a way was musch more progressive in musical quality with track like "21st Century of Schizoid Man". Secondly, all music of KC was original while Yes still covered The Beatles. And at the same year Genesis released "From Genesis To Revelation" with original music. So, this debut album from YES deserves only three stars not to undermine that this was the foundation where the the band music direction was leading to. Obviously. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

Review by The Crow
2 stars The first Yes's album... And I have some mixed feelings every time I hear it!

This is not a bad work, but the sound of the instruments is bad, and I don't like the Jon Anderson's singing here. His voice seems afraid, without the power and sensitive feeling of later releases... He is like insecure, and his smirred vocals doesn't help to mend the weak production of the album.

Nevertheless, this record is interesting to know how the Yes's music increased its quality in a short lapse of time... Tony Kaye's keyboards had to be clearly surpased by the Wakeman's ones in the future, but they are not bad here anyway. And although I really miss the Steve Howe's guitar playing too, the usual experimental Yes's guitar passages are also here, like in I See You... And so are some of the Yes's trademark facts, like the strong Chris Squire bass playing, the good Bill Brufford's durms, the pop influences (Sweetness, Every Little Thing...) and the love for long instrumental passages (Harold Land, I See You...)

I have an unofficial Yes album wich is called "Sweet Dreams", and it has early Yes songs from "Yes" and "Time and a Word" played live on little places with a little audience... And these versions are very much better than the studio's ones! They are strongest, bravest... Songs like Sweetness, Looking Around, and the Every Little Thing's cover sound great in that album!

Best tracks: I See You (the most progressive and experimental track of the album...), Looking Aroung (a catchy song, with a fine keyboard's riff...) and Every Little Thing (good cover, with this odd western introduction...)

Conclusion: I think that Yes's "Yes" is not a bad album... But if you are not a Yes's fan, you'll hardly find something really interesting here. And of course, this record is not the right place to start with this band, because it offers not the real power of this great band. I suggest you to start with the albums they made with Steve Howe in the line-up... Specially "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge"! This debut is only for fans or collectors.

My rating: **1/2

Review by Zitro
2 stars Warning, while this album is from Yes, this is NOT a progressive album! It is instead a fresh and nice 60s album with lots of beatles influences. While the members here are very talented, they do not show off, nor play in the way you may expect. Chris Squire does not play his bass as lead instrument, bruford does not play highly complex rhythms, and Anderson sings a little differently than I am used to. The two early members (kate and Banks) do a good job in leading the music, yet are no Wakeman and Howe. The 2 beatles covers are interesting, yet no better than the originals. The real highlight of this album is Survival which is the only progressive rock song of the album and has many musical changes while being just 6 minutes long. The vocal harmonies in that piece are gorgeous.

My grade : D

Review by Progbear
3 stars A modest start for what may well be the most influential British progressive rock act. On tracks like "Survival", one can hear them attempting to grasp for a more symphonic rock sound as suggested by King Crimson's IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, coupled with the band's own influences. Obviously the Beatles and the Byrds are the biggest influences here, as cover versions of "Every Little Thing" and "I See You" clearly show. Peter Banks' guitarwork is pure FIFTH DIMENSION (the album, not the group!) and the vocal harmonies are very Byrds-ian as well.

Their only symphonic conceit, really, was via Tony Kaye's biting Hammond organ work. It adds a texture to the band's sound that would be lost with only just guitar, though Banks fills up the space well with his crisp playing. Jon Anderson's distinctive voice shows that they were something special already at this early stage, and even through rather dated psychedelic numbers like "Harold Land" one could expect to hear great things in their future.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The great problem of progressive rock, in Brazil, with the discography either of proto-prog and early-prog is chronological, since first albums for bands that reached knowledge in the 70s were released after their mid-careers and most succeeded works. One can number several reasons but the matter is that around 1970, labels were more interested in the international mainstream pop-rock like Creedence, Santana, Bread or Carpenters and as ever to supply the internal market with our own popular or pop-folk music (national artists respond for 75% or more of the market).

When the wave of progressive arrived, around 1971, Brazilian labels released progressive band's most actual efforts forgetting that they had a musical past; for instance, the first Yes album released here was "The Yes Album", first Floyd was "Atom Heart Mother" and first Genesis was "Nursery Cryme" - according to a brief research I did. It was obvious that in some moment the almost forgotten past had to be fetched up.

I was aware of "Yes", circa 1974, and I can't remember if it was by means of a tape or a LP. When hearing this album I noticed that it should be a great deal back in 1969 but after more than five years it sounded oddly puerile, with a psychedelic touch already looking out-of-date. Being then with the mind aimed to stuff like "Fragile" or "CttE" I wasn't very impressed and I confess that except for random hearings of some tracks I lost contact with "Yes" until recently.

It was entertaining to re-hear this album after those years; I still don't appreciate too much Anderson's voice but he seemed contained, giving more space to musical abilities of other members - and they were great, even considering their unripeness and timidity. For me Yes members' musicianship had always been their highest point - even the line-up was not the classical one; however Kaye and Banks are above-average players.

Just like 30 years ago I do prefer the covers 'Every little thing' and 'I see you'; the Lennon & McCartney song received a royal treatment that exploited all possibilities of its tune and the result is much more interesting than the Beatles 1964 recording; the Byrds cover at least matches the original record, a simple song, a bit psychedelic, very pleasant. One may say I am biased, since Beatles and Byrds are my preferred classic rock bands - but I cannot simply erase my memory and throw my taste away. The other songs attract me more now than in the 70s with special care to 'Survival' and 'Lookin around', both very progressive and agreeable. Other songs are hearable once you want to listen to the album as a whole. One single with the covers or one EP with the four better tracks could be appealing - but that's the CD era and the most probable is to pile 2 or 3 past albums in one disk.

This is really a good work, but not necessarily essential. Total: 3.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars It's kind of hard to believe this is the band that was less than a year away from serving up "Astral Traveller" and "Time and a Word", and half of the group that would deliver Close to the Edge a couple years later.

Although the debut Yes album is largely a peace n' love, jazz meets psychedelic affair, there are plenty of indications this was not an average group of players. Anderson’s distinctive voice hits the listener less than a minute into “Beyond and Before” and doesn’t let up.

Chris Squire established himself as a unique and innovative bassist throughout, particularly on the mildly anti-war ditty “Harold Land”. Other than that one, a cover of the obscure Beatles tune “Every Little Thing”, and the crystal fog of “Survival”, this is pretty much a collection of fawning love songs. Some are almost embarrassingly, especially the McGuinn and David Crosby-penned “I See You”.

“Yesterday and Today” is an uncharacteristic piano and acoustic guitar-driven love ballad that has a nice sound to it, but is largely forgettable. Likewise the spacey and mellow “Sweetness” would have sounded closer to a Byrds track were it not for Anderson’s vocals.

“Looking Around” is probably the closest to the classic Yes sound that developed fully shortly after Tony Kaye and Peter Banks departed. The barely restrained bass, esoteric drums from Bill Bruford, and the choppy, unpredictable chord progressions approach the early 70s sound of the band, although at less than four minutes this feels grossly undercooked.

The closing “Survival” features plenty of seductive bass and keyboard interplay, but otherwise is also not all that memorable.

Melody Maker critic Tony Wilson found enough promise in the band’s sound to name them, along with Led Zeppelin, a band “that would make it”. Seems prophetic now, but undoubtedly his judgment was based more on the group’s live performances than it was these studio tracks. An interesting set of tunes that give an early glimpse into what would be one of the premiere defining bands of the progressive genre, but definitely not essential to the casual collector. Three stars.


Review by Chris H
4 stars Ahh the start of many good things to come. And what a start it was! thsi is an excellent album, which opens the gate for their greatest works which come in the future.

"Beyond And Before" and "I See You" are two of my favorite Yes tracks of all time. Great riffs, tight drumming, thought-provoking lyrics. "Yesterday And Today" is another solid track which fits into the mold of the first two, however it is a little watered down. "Harold Land" and "Looking Around" are two sleepers, good but not great. "Sweetness" is an excellent ballad, which Jon on top of his game. '"Survival" and "Every Little Thing" have some good riffs but not much else. In my opinion they knocked this abum out of 5-star territory.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I am usually not very enthusiastic about the first works of giants from the seventies (late sixties in this case). I have to admit though that this "Yes" one, is a noticeable exception. The core trio (Anderson, Bruford and Squire) is very present and well supported by Kaye and Banks. The opener "Beyond And Before" has already all the ingredients of a classic YesSong : great vocals, good background guitar and of course the great bass playing from Chris. A very melodic tune full of poetry. The extended "I See You" is too jazzy for my taste. The second part sounds like pure impro. Quite dispensable. "Yesterday & Today" is a folky-jazz little tune. A bit better than the previous track, but far from being a highlight. With "Looking Around", we got another very good YesTrack. Beautiful vocal harmonies, vigorous keyboards and a very good rythmic section. An abrupt end though (they could have made it longer ...). "Harold Land" is another well elaborated song : emotional voice from Jon and great backing vocals as well (it is in the vein of "Time & A Word" on their next album). A very interesting track. A long psychedelic instrumental intro starts "Every Little Thing"; then we get a few seconds of "Day Tripper" and then the cover song effectively starts. An OK track. As the title indicates "Sweetness" is a ... sweet tune. Full of innocence and quietness. Good vocal harmonies and really smooth. Listen to it while you are angry to cool down! The more elaborate "Survival" closes the album. Very nice accoustic guitar play and wonderful vocals. Jon is already at his best and sounds like he will do for another ... 40 years or more. In many aspects this album announces the great work to come and paves the way for the masterpieces we all know. Three stars.
Review by hdfisch
2 stars This debut by famous Prog legend Yes had been a fairly good, nice to listen though not really stunning record still much in 60's psychedelic pop vein. Even the longer songs on here like "I See You" which is a well-done cover version of this Byrds-song or "Survival" are still quite far off in quality from their later work, yet a pleasant listen every now and then and together with "Harold Land" more or less highlights of this disk. Though this ain't certainly yet the typical band's sound which they would become famous for later on I've to say I prefer this album to most of their bombastic later stuff, in particular to their releases beyond "Relayer". Anyway in my opinion it's fully sufficient having two studio albums from them (CTTE + Relayer) in collection possibly added up with a fine compilation like Classic Yes and an excellent live album like Yessongs unless you're a dedicated fan of pomp prog. Thus I would say this one is for sure not to be considered essential, only fairly good and rather a collector's item for fans of this band. **1/2 really!!
Review by Chicapah
3 stars It's the sweltering summer of '70 and I'm hanging out at Tommy Cline's house. He's the drummer in my band and we all practice almost daily in his parent's stifling garage. He's also the guy who turned me on to King Crimson and Jethro Tull, just to name a few. We're discussing the merits of The Byrds and he jumps up suddenly, grabs an album and says "Man, you gotta hear these guys play 'I See You!' It's great!" Tommy's right. It's incredible. So begins my infatuation with Yes. Once again my dear friend (God rest his soul) had introduced me to a group that didn't sound like anyone else in the world.

The album starts with an alarming wakeup call from Chris Squire as his bass notes jump right out of the speakers at you, demanding your undivided attention. His composition, "Beyond and Before," clearly displays the love of vocal harmonies that brought him and singer Jon Anderson together in the first place. It has a sophisticated arrangement that is pretty advanced considering their level of experience and the song, while not mind-blowing, is an impressive starting point. Their take on Jim McGuinn and David Crosby's "I See You" is staggeringly good. I get the feeling from listening to this adaptation that the group started out to be a blend of cool jazz with a rock mentality and here they succeed. Peter Banks' smooth guitar licks paired with Bill Bruford's deft drumming is excellent. Again, this was the first song I ever heard from Yes. It knocked me out that fateful afternoon and I can honestly say that it's still a killer nearly four decades later. "Yesterday and Today" is nothing more than a pop ballad sung over some nice piano noodlings. It sounds like other flowery tunes of that day and it could've easily been covered by a group like The Mamas and The Papas. "Looking Around" is the best original song on the album with Tony Kaye's Hammond organ setting a powerful pace. The three part harmonies are adventurous (but sometimes shaky pitch-wise) and the end is abrupt but it's still a memorable offering. In contrast, "Harold Land" is the weakest tune. It starts well but soon gets bogged down in an unimaginative melody and loses its initial momentum. Next is "Every Little Thing," a Lennon/McCartney song I've always liked. In much the same spirit that Vanilla Fudge put their individual stamp on "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by the Supremes, Yes completely revamps this catchy tune while keeping its integrity intact. After a noisy but interesting opening they dive right into the song and deliver the tightest track on the album complete with pristine harmonies. Here they make a very good tune become great. "Sweetness" follows and it's another average but trendy love song (probably included to appease some hit-seeking record executives at Atlantic). "Survival" is a fine closer in that it features an adventurous arrangement based on several intertwining musical themes. It's not a classic by any means but it does display rudimentary elements of the progressive traits the band was just starting to explore.

The photograph on the cover speaks volumes. This wasn't a collection of grinning cover boys or a pack of sneering punks bent on searing your eardrums, this was a confident and convinced group of gifted musicians that knew exactly what they wanted to accomplish with their music. The juxtaposition of these five young men surrounded by what looks like a graveyard for outdoor antiques is quite appropriate and symbolic. As debuts go there have been better and a whole lot worse than this album. But when I first heard it on Tommy Cline's record player long ago I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Yes was going to carve out their own, unique niche in modern rock and roll.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I've always liked the YES debut and thought it quite successful as first albums go. Compared to other debuts, it is not as good as Floyd's Piper masterpiece (thanks to Syd), but I think it's better or equal to debuts by Rush, Zeppelin, and Genesis.

Banks may have been no Steve Howe but he wasn't exactly a slouch either. Along with Bruford and Squire the musicianship is already pretty top notch. The songs are not quite prog yet but as pop songs they are good and not simplistic. I think the band exudes great confidence in their material here as well they should. And I think that given the time frame, they got a very good crisp sound on this release.

Harold Land and Survival are my favorites but there really isn't a lousy track anywhere, heck even the covers are nicely jazzed up and fun. That's why I recommend this first album to people, it is fun music with a nice touch of psychedelia and good playing. I don't feel the same about Time And A Word, that's an album I have never been able to get into. Strange because a lot of people sort of lump the first two together as being similar but I like the first much better.

It's no CTTE or Fragile, but it is a good start that all Yes fans should own. 3.5 stars.

Review by fuxi
3 stars Yes' debut album is not essential in any way. On some of its tracks the band sound undisciplined and immature. Nevertheless I find it a highly enjoyable album. The main melody and wintry imagery of "Beyond and Before", the opening track, has always appealed to me. "Looking Around" is based on a gorgeously rousing, march-like Hammond organ tune. "Every Little Thing" packs far more punch than the original version by the Beatles and opens with an exciting, two-minute jazzy jam which provides the first evidence of Bill Bruford's incomparable talent.

The most recent re-mix of the album (as of June, 2007) also contains, among other things, the original studio version of Leonard Bernstein's "Something's Coming", which was recorded during the same sessions. It's perhaps the most convincing performance of the lot. The band sound incredibly together, and the piece foreshadows the cinematic scope of later Yes cover versions, especially "America", which is similar in mood.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

This is a good album, not a great one but a nice way to launch an astounding carreer! What we have here is a band of still fresh students coming together to produce an album that remains fresh and enegertic to this day. I don't listen to it all the time but when i play it, it's always a source of pleasure as there are some beautiful and sweet songs on it. This is not yet the classic YES line-up as we have here PETER BANKS on guitar and TONY KAYE on keyboards (mainly Hammond). But some of the classic sound we all associate with classic YES is already here, thanks to the unique pounding style of the bass of CHRIS SQUIRE , already highly recognizable here and the fragile tone of the voice of JON ANDERSON.

There are two official covers for this album (the same goes for TIME AND A WORD), a black one with a YES logo pre-Roger Dean and another one with the the young men posing in front of some greek-style building .What we can notice already is that JON ANDERSON looks like he is already in charge as the other 4 stay well behind him like a bunch of back-up musicians.

PETER BANKS is an underestimated guitarist, i think as he shows some brilliance on this album with tasteful jazzy solos like on I SEE YOU. BILL BRUFORD already shows signs why he will become one of the greatest drummer in all rock and jazz music later on. The songs here all have a feeling of freshness and total innocence, especially the sweet ballads of JON AMDERSON like YESTERDAY AND TODAY and SWEETNESS.

We even have 2 covers of the BYRDS and the BEATLES covered in a psychedelic-jazzy way well in yhe style of the time. The classic YES sound is not yet totally present yet, but already can be heard in the best track of this album:SURVIVAL, a beautiful track opening the way of the good things to come.

Overall, a good albeit mot great, but pleasant 3 STARS means a good album? right? so let's go for 3.

Review by Prog-jester
2 stars YES bear their likings on their sleeves – no wonder, this was only a debut album, and BEATLES still were alive and kicking. It’s ridiculous when someone receives “a clone” tag only because of few related tunes and arrangements (attitudes? approaches?), like QUEEN were flamed for being a LED ZEP clone (?) or MARILLION were hated for copying (???) early GENESIS manner. History knows better and now YES still a huge and influential band in Prog world. This is true, but in 1969 they were just another good- playing ambitious band with some nice songs in their debut album. This one is mostly of Proto-Prog fans interests and can be recommended to them wholeheartedly. Amen.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A good demo

Yes' first album is a somewhat rough and ready affair, giving little indication of what was to come. With no Rick Wakeman or Steve Howe on board yet, the Anderson/Squire/Bruford core is completed by Tony Kaye on organ and piano, and Peter Banks on guitar. The band evolved from Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a group which all but Bruford had been a member of at sometime. Clive Bailey of that band is also involved here, co-writing some of the tracks. Bruford was not directly known to the other members when he joined having responded to an advertisement in the pop weekly Melody Maker. Anderson and Squire's collaboration resulted mainly through a shared interest in the development vocal harmonies. In retrospect, while that interest is obvious here, it has some way to go in terms of development.

This, the band's first album consists mainly of original material, with just two cover versions of songs by The Byrds and the Beatles. As with so many albums of the period, the vastly under appreciated influence of Vanilla Fudge can be heard in the way these cover versions take the song and completely transform it.

For me, the best track by far is "Survival", a wonderfully constructed piece which was so far ahead of its time it was likely to meet itself coming back! The song is an excellent example of early prog, being a six minute track with several time and mood changes and a great vocal performance by Jon Anderson. It has a passing resemblance in terms of structure and perhaps sound to the Moody Blues track "Question", which came slightly later, but is more widely known by virtue of the fact that it was a hit single.

The rest of the tracks have a much less refined feel to them, in part due to the immature nature of the arrangements and in part to the songs themselves. This album is more about the potential it contains than the content as such. The cover of the Byrds "I see you" for example has that distinctive Yes sound combined with a brave interpretation, but the track sounds more like an advanced demo than the completed article.

The songs are generally straight forward in terms of composition (apart from "Survival"), with tracks such as "Yesterday and today" and "Harold Land" being much simpler than the prog epics which would soon follow. Today they inevitably sound rather dated, but we must bear in mind that this album was recorded almost 40 (yes 40!) years ago.

In all, Yes' first album is a satisfactory demo for what lay ahead. There is little here to make this album essential, even to Yes fans, but it is a key part of the band's history.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Yes" is the eponymously titled debut full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act Yes. The album was released through Atlantic Records in July 1969. Yes formed in mid-1968 and toured the UK early on playing both covers and original compositions. They signed to Atlantic Records in early 1969 and the 8 tracks on the debut album were recorded in April and May 1969. The album was not a commercial success upon release, although it did receive a fair amount of positive reviews from critics.

"Yes" features six originals and two covers of "Every Little Thing" by The Beatles and "I See You" by The Byrds. Both covers are re-arranged and fit in well with the original material. The overall style on the album is technically well played and slightly psychadelic rock with the occasional progressive edge. The 6:01 minutes long closing track "Survival" is the most progressive track on the album, but the remaining tracks also feature ideas and elements which point in the direction that Yes would pursue on subsequent album releases. They are just delivered here in a more simple and subtle fashion.

Most of the trademarks of Yes future sound are already in place here though. The intricate organ/piano and guitar work, the dominant and busy basslines, the fusion influenced drumming, and Jon Andersonīs and Chris Squireīs phenomenal vocal harmonies (guitarist Peter Bankīs also sings harmonies and of course also deserves a mention here). Anderson was already this early on a world class singer with a distinct sounding voice and delivery, and when complimented by Squire/Banks there is magic in the air...

The album features a detailed and organic sounding production job, and although Yes still had a way too go before reaching their peak, this is a good quality debut album which shows a lot of promise. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Sure, it's a sweet and chipper snap-shot of late '60's rock-- but it's also an outstanding start to what will later become the Yes sound. Although only a few of the here songs could be described as ambitious-- they are all performed earnestly and with fine attention paid to detail; certainly enjoyable if not epic with a fine mix of moods and colors.

The music itself sounds very much a product of its era, with Kaye's organ and Bank's guitar dating the songs with a touch of psychedelia. Each of these players leaves the band soon (and are often forgotten when those other guys join)-- but do a fine job getting the party started. Bank's guitar has a nice mix of soft noddling/heavy jamming, such as in I See You, where he delivers a jazzy, characteristic solo juxtaposed to noisy outbursts. Very enjoyable. Yes' key members, Squire/Bruford/Anderson, shine as well, especially for those who appreciate the band's later releases since with this debut we can really see where their talent started out. Perhaps most impressive, is the group's tremendous vocal harmonies which, led by Anderson's very strong leads, layer this album with class.

A great album, especially considering it is a debut; while a little old fashioned it will certainly appeal to fans of the band and maybe those who found themselves disliking their later bombast.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars No

OK, I dislike Yes immensely.

And it's Jon Anderson's fault.

Don't get me wrong, they wrote plenty of decent music, as a band - the main problem I have always had is getting past the vocals, which absolutely ruin the experience for me.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I find the lack of variation in the sound of the vocals incredibly irritating after just a few minutes - not to mention the lack of originality. It reminds me so strongly of Buffalo Springfield/CSNY in the harmonised sections that, when I've tried to listen to a Yes album in the past, I've usually stopped before I reach halfway, and gone back to the originals to refresh my ears.

Rant over, hopefully the Yes fans will now have stopped reading - because you know what's coming; I'm going to tear the album to pieces to establish a) it's progness, b) stuff I like and c) mostly stuff I dislike - and I'll try to reason it out as best I can. After 30-odd years, I'm never going to be converted, and after reading so many rave reviews, I can still only wonder why - as, presumably, Yes fans will wonder at my distaste for this staple of Prog Rock.

The debut album from this Prog supergroup is called, rather unimaginatively, I feel, Yes (they also called their 3rd release The Yes Album - go figure). This, to me, puts them in second place to King Crimson all by itself - not to mention the immediate influences that jump out at you, such as the Beatles and the Byrds - both of whom are also covered on this album.

So the album kicks off with a typical slice of late 1960s/early 1970s boogie rock, driven by a single-note guitar rhythm and thick Hammond, providng a nice, typical sound. Then we get some Byrds/CSNY style harmonies decorating a rather stodgy melody and predictable psychedelic lyrics. The bass stands out as being a little unusual in places, but apart from this, there's nothing here that really stands out from other, better bands of the time - small wonder that this album failed to chart on release. The breaks for the a capella harmony sections are rather clumsy, and the bass rings through as being out of tune in places - and the harmonies themselves grate as the simple progressions repeat themselves. Banks' guitar playing here is similarly unremarkable - but it's a nice enough song, if rather drawn out at the end.

The cover of The Byrds' I See You has a nice jazzy intro, but then it's spoilt by, guess what? Yup - the vocals! Utterly appalling performance from Anderson, in which he displays a complete lack of understanding of the McGuinn/Crosby original with a flat barking delivery that spits out the words with none of the original subtlety. This once charming psychedelic pop song is then spun out into an indulgent jazzy improv, which is actually quite nice in and of itself - but feels rather tacked on.

Then Banks gets hung up on a short melodic phrase which kinda ruins proceedings - until a heavier section shows its head. Clearly, at this point the band want to be playing music that sounds like the stuff coming out of the progressive music scene, but this rambling, haphazard mess just doesn't have it. Then we're back to the song, in which, if anything, Anderson sounds flatter than ever - I don't mean in pitch, I mean in the delivery, which is as convincing as the acting in Friends.

At this point, it's worth recalling the Scottish band, Clouds, who were a part of the scene that Yes (formerly Syn), ELP (formerly The Nice) et al emerged from (and, BTW, Hendrix was an almost integral part of). Their 1968 album, Scrapbook is worth a visit by any fan of Prog; Listen to the constant shifts in groove on tracks such as The Carpenter and swings from solid rock to quasi-jazz to pure 1970s rock grooves - but also listen to the complete honesty in delivery, especially in the vocals. Also listen to the orchestrations in tracks like The Colours Have Run, and the 7-minute Waiter, There's Something in my Soup - all of this seems to pre-empt the direction that Yes would later stretch to breaking point, in a microcosm.

Next up is the unremarkable song Yesterday and Today, (incidentally the name of an export-only Beatles album) a soft, balladic type of song underpinned by simple guitar strumming and piano chords which seem to hang mainly around chord pairings.

Then there's the more uptempo and strikingly Cloudsalike Looking Around a pleasant foot-tapper with heavy bass and a couple of changes. This is mainly a groove rocker though - and there are plenty of better groove rockers from 1969 or earlier - I'd recommend Spooky Tooth's It's All About (1968).

Another groove rocker opens side 2 - the rather plodding Harold Land - which meanders around in its own happy space for a while. I prefer more darkness in my rock, and less predictability.

Then there is the unspeakable cover of Every Little Thing, for which this album should be instantly disowned by music lovers everywhere. If that phrase doesn't completely irritate you by the end of this song, then you obviously have different tastes to me ;o)

This is followed by a number which would be saccharine sweet and super-sickly if it wasn't for the downright insincerity of Anderson's vocals. This song is unremarkable - except in that it'll make you think of the Byrds at their worst.

Survival closes off this collection with another remarkably Clouds-sounding number (see - it was worth me telling you about them earlier!). This is about the closest that this album gets to proper prog, as it's full of dynamic and texture changes, it's 6-minutes+, and genuinely explores a cool texture world.

This is all ruined at 2:15, when Anderson starts to bleat on about life having begun or somesuch trite nonsense. His voice is in stark relief to the cool music - this may be down to the production, but not entirely. Again, the notes are bleated out with little or no variation in dynamic or any form of expression that suggests anything else other than the vocals being delivered - or some other such sterile term.

Collectors only

In short, an album with moments of great music, longer periods of dull and directionless dross, and (what seems to me at any rate) eternities of vocals that appear to sit on a single note and issue the lyrics rather in the fashion of a dalelk - but also an album made by a band with a great deal of potential, and the ability to keep a decent groove running.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
3 stars Yes started out with a very good album that gave very few hints of where they were going to go. Squire's prominent bass and the emphasis on vocal harmonies are about the only things that Yes would take forward with them into their epic career. (Strangely enough, the much worse Time and a Word had far more elements of Yes music. They just didn't get them to work until the The Yes Album.) The music is firmly stamped in the psychedelic genre and there is a jazzy feel to several of the tracks that Yes abandoned early on. Bruford's work is more conventional than you would be used to, Kaye adds much less to the mix than he would on later albums and Peter Banks's guitar parts are rough and raw compared to what he would put out after leaving Yes. Still, this is a very likeable work. I quite enjoy the first six tracks (although be aware that some have a very different opinion of Harold Land.) My only quibble is with the last two. Sweetness is an early and awful example of what happens when Yes lets Jon dominate a track. This is still in the '60's, so Jon is singing about love instead of harmonic convergence (the reference here is to Holy Lamb off of Big Generator), but it sucks at least as badly. Survivor gets a lot of good press and I've never understood why. The lyrics are pretty good, and Kaye is awake and at the wheel on this one (heck he and Banks do some shadowing work in the opening that foreshadows what Howe and Wakeman would do so brilliantly on tracks like Roundabout [but in reverse, as Banks is shadowing Kaye, not the other way around]). But when you get to the meat of it, it's another syrupy vocal extravaganza like Sweetness, although this time with good harmonies and an edge. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that Survivor is an ok track but not really my cup of tea.

Anyhow, I'll give this 3 stars. Nearly all of this is good, but there is nothing stellar, almost nothing progressive and a rough edge that Yes would need time to refine.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Proto-Yes

This debut album by my all time favourite band is good, but quite rough. This music is similar to Deep Purple's first three albums and had Yes only made two albums they would probably be in the Proto-Prog category and be as obscure today as bands like Cressida and Spring. Deep Purple too had a habit of recording heavily rearranged Beatles songs on their albums - great fun.

The trademarks in Jon's vocals and Chris' bass are in development and would evolve considerably over the next two albums. This album has mostly historical value, but for fans it can have considerable listening pleasures as well.

A good debut album, by a band that was soon to become (one of) the greatest of all time.

Review by russellk
2 stars For a band that progressed to the very pinnacle of modern music, this is most definitely an underwhelming beginning.

More than that. It's actually cringe-worthy in places. YES were yet to find anything that set them apart from the squirming mass of psych-jazz bands of the late 60s. Other bands from that scene did this sound far better. It is only with the song 'Survival' that anything worth salvaging appears from this rather pointless debut.

So, what have we got? Competent musicianship married to a distinct lack of compositional skill and a stark lack of confidence. Prog rock was built on an arrogance, a belief that one could stretch the borders of rock, but this (barely) proto-prog album album stays firmly within quite narrow confines. The songs don't really go anywhere, and many of the arrangements (Harold Land is all the example you need) are so ponderous it's no wonder. Lots of swirly organ music with no climactic moments. Interesting but unadventurous vocal harmonies, conservative arrangements and rather naive jazz moments make up the bulk of the album - along with poorly thought out covers of BEATLES and BYRDS songs. I'll acknowledge that the jazz improv on 'I See You' is excellent, but it does nothing for me, seeming dreadfully out of place. Regrettably, the lyrics to this album actually make sense most of the time, and are unimaginative and mundane. Most disappointingly of all, this album does not reflect the imagination with which they approached their live work at the time.

In summary, this is a record that few people would listen to if it wasn't for what the band subsequently became. History aside, there's really no reason anyone needs this record, especially since 'Survival', the only outstanding track, is included on compilations. Few memorable moments and fewer hints of what this band would become.

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Yes - 'Yes' 3.5 stars

A solid start.

The amount of criticism I can develop for this album is very minuscule. This was a generally liked album at the time, but lacked the exposure because of the juggernaut (Led Zeppelin) that took the world by storm that same year. Founding members Jon Anderson and Chris Squire created something beautiful from the start.

The Yes sound on this album is brought out through a team effort. Jon Anderson's vocal work is probably the most recognizable in all of music history due to the description of it being 'angelic' for his clarity in the higher registers. Co-founder Chris Squire decided to go against the populace and create melodious hooks rather than just sticking to the typical bass job. Recruit Bill Bruford would obviously become more recognized by his talents in the likes of King Crimson and solo-work, but he dedicated a solid performance on every Yes album due to his superiority in jazz leanings. Peter Banks guitar work was essential to the Yes sound to a degree of where it was during this period. Yes was not even close to a progressive band at this time, but was tons more sophisticated then the whole lot. Peter's eclectic guitar sound made a simple album given a lot more energy and diversity to it. Tony Kaye's work is the only criticism I could draw, it just wasn't too noticeable.

The album can be described as fast-tempo and upbeat. It is made up entirely of short songs that each have their necessary catchy moments and clever hooks. The debut album is very fitting for a party or a night at the bar after a tough day at work. Recommended for the prog fan that can take the occasional pop album and to virtually all Yes fans. A fine album indeed.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
3 stars Good beginning for Yes!Quite better debut in comparison with Genesis' debut.Eponymous Yes' album carries the spirit of the music from the 60s.It is influenced by rock & roll and psychedelic rock from the 60s.It is important fact that when this album was released,progressive rock genre had yet to be formed in its real sense.And this album is one of the first progressive rock albums of all time and has helped the genre shaped exactly.I want to mention the two cover songs onto the album - I See You from The Byrds and Every Little Thing from The Beatles.This songs are good enough,but it is normal,because they aren't works from this rookies (at that time) - Yes.Most of the songs are naive and simple,excluding the first and the last song - respectively Beyond and Before and Survival.They are really good songs.Harold Land contains some creative elements.This album is important moment for the shaping of the genre,but that's almost all about it.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Yes first album is quite pleasant and, given the time it was released, very promising and interesting. I guess most fans did not follow Yes discography chornologically and seeing this way, this CD may sound weak compared to such massive classics like The Yes Album or Close To the Edge. But thatīs unfair. It was s solid, good start for an young and unknown act. It was obvious the band wa still trying to find their sound, you can tell their influences here very clearly (notably, The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel). And yet, they were able to write good, different and interesting songs.

The centerpiece of the Yes sound here is Survival. This mini epic showed how strong and original songwriters they would become in a few years and itīs a good display of the groupīs tighness as a band. Jon Andersonīs trademark angelic vocals are already developed and are one of the highlights on this LP. Another personal favorite is Looking Around (great hammond organ on this one!). The bold arrangements for I See You is another good feature. Other than those, the remaining songs are nice, but just that. It was a tentative period and the group did release a strong debut for the time.

I have a soft spot for this first release. It is far from perfect: itīs more like a blueprint for bigger things to come. Itīs a chance to see one of the greatest groups of rock history on its infancy. And you can see they were special from day one.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yes was beginning to find their sound before The Yes Album, I believe, as elements of what they would become are scattered throughout this very good first recorded effort. Tony Kaye's keyboard work stands out a tad more on this album than on any other Yes release with him on board. Peter Banks shows himself to be a capable guitarist (even though he would not be long for the world of Yes). Chris Squire's bass work is not as prominent as it will be on most future records, but it definitely stands out. Bill Bruford's drumming throughout the record is not his best by far, but that may have something to do with the fact that half the music here is so mellow; he does get in some fairly exciting drumming on a few tracks, though. Finally, Jon Anderson's voice is youthful, cottony, and far from the maturity he will reach. This was the beginning of something good.

"Beyond and Before" The first song is a great opener, is my second favorite song here, and gives a good overall impression of the band's sound at the time. The vocal melodies are beautiful, the chord progression interesting, and the general musicianship very solid. It is a sprightly and cheerful five minutes; even if one were to pass on Yes's first album, he should have this song somewhere in their collection (as well as the final song).

"I See You" A fast-paced, jazzy rendition of a 1966 song by The Byrds, Anderson doesn't sound right at all singing this, and the silly rhymes don't make for a particularly good song. Banks engages in a quiet solo over Bruford's jazz-inspired drumming before giving his guitar some distortion to let loose on an extended instrumental section with the rest of the band.

"Yesterday and Today" Short, sweet, and simple, this ballad might be a tad too syrupy, but it's okay. The lovely instrumental section is a variation of the vocal melody.

"Looking Around" While this song still retains the pop-rock feel very early Yes had, the organ (especially in the brief introduction) intimate the band's future sound. But the music is rather muddled, and severely weakens an otherwise decent track.

"Harold Land" Again focusing on Kaye's organ and piano abilities, the happy introduction soon gives way to Anderson's vocalizations (and makes me think of how he would use this to great effect in the beginning of "Close to the Edge"). The verse sections are quiet and a somewhat melancholy. The vocal work from everyone is rather shoddy throughout, I think. The final section is a return to the happier (and better) introduction.

"Every Little Thing" Based on the band's collective inspiration taken from The Beatles, it is no surprise they decided to cover one of their songs. The rolling snare and electric guitar in the two-minute introduction makes me think of The Who during their early years for some reason. The song, I feel, goes on far longer than it ought to, even though Banks's guitar work is fairly enjoyable

"Sweetness" Another weak track, this one has Anderson at his most feathery again (as on "Yesterday and Today"). The melody and overall sound is pleasant, but there's just nothing special about this song.

"Survival" My favorite of this album, "Survival" is a song I really wish the band would do a modern live version of. This one qualifies for the tag of "progressive rock" more than anything else on this album. Squire's fat and fuzzy bass tone in the introduction is the most like what it would later be. There is plenty of ride cymbal, keyboard work, and a theme played on electric guitar. All of this fades out, leaving a quiet clean guitar with a lead played on an acoustic twelve-string over it. Anderson's voice is calm and gentle, as it has been on much of this album. The chorus is at once creative and very powerful, and shows the lovely vocal arrangements the band would carry throughout their career. The final moments are a reprise of the earlier guitar theme, and after Squire, Banks, and Kaye take turns playing it, the piece is over.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars It is the late 1969, and Yes have just released their first album. While this album does not reach the majesty of their future releases, it contains strong hints of what was to come.

The album starts strongly enough, with a catchy, up-beat rocker, 'Beyond and Before'. The song is one of the high points of the album, catching the users ears with a catchy tune and fun singing, but it is also an indication that Yes had not completely mastered the idea of prog just yet. (That would happen in 1971 with 'The Yes album').

The album trudges forward, and is filled with many decent tracks, but ultimately hinting at what was to come at the future. "Yesterday and Today" is a gentle song, showing that Yes knew how to do more than just rock out, and hints at some of their future ballads (such as Wonderous Stories and Turn of the Century). Every Little Thing (The Beatles) and I See You (The Byrds) are both covered on this album, and both hint at what would become Yes' best cover (America) by adding more instrumental parts and being made more Yes' own. Every Little Thing is particularly good of the two.

The lyrics had not yet developed to Jon Anderson's spacey flights of fancy that would appear on later albums such as Close To The Edge; there is no "A seasoned witch could rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace" here. The album has some hints of these lyrics in some places ("Time like gold dust brings mind down to level hidden underground", they sing in Beyond and Before), but is full of songs with more concrete lyrics. Harold Land is a good example of it, being one of the few Yes songs to include a narrative; this one about a soldier who goes to war and returns (which foreshadows Yes future epic, Gates of Delirium, which would also be about war).

The album closes on a strong track with Survival, which hints a bit more at the complexity that would come to the forefront of their music in time to come, and would later be mixed in with their 'Big Medley' during their 10th anniversary tour, becoming one of the only songs from this album they played once Steve Howe joined the mix for The Yes Album.

This album is close to a 2 star album, as there are few who would want to listen to it beyond Yes fans. I am going to bump it up to 3 stars, on the strength of it's timing - this is a good album to get to hear the development of the prog scene, but not essential. I am also considering the strength of this albums stronger tracks (Every Little Thing, Harold Land, Beyond and Before, Survival) in this judgment.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 2.5 Stars really

We can't expect many Prog bands to start their career with a Prog masterpiece (Unless we are talking about KING CRIMSON and a few others), a good example is GENESIS, their debut is a pretty decent POP release by a bunch of kids searching for a hit single, but at least they were coherent, they pretended to release a Pop album and released a Pop album.

In the case of the album under review, it's obvious that YES tries to make something transcendental, but I believe they fail miserably creating a hybrid that is not POP, Rock, Prog or even Psyche, what is worst, many of the tracks don't have feet or head, and that's a real problem.

The opener "Beyond and Before" is a good example of what I said in the first paragraph, not a ballad, not a frantic song, not Pop, even when it leans towards this genre, not Rock, even when Peter Banks makes a couple good Rock guitar sections and God knows what Tony Kaye pretends.

As many know, Jon Anderson's voice annoys me, but thee is always Chris Squire to support him with outstanding backing vocals, don't know if it's because Peter Banks, but the vocals in this track are simply horrendous, seem out of tone and if the vocalists would had never practiced together, because sound totally out of time, ruining the track even more.

"I See You" is a cover version of a song by THE BYRDS, nothing special either, but at least this time the jazzy interplay between Peter Banks and Bill Bruford save partially the track, because despite their efforts, the keyboards sound out of place and the vocals even worst.

"Yesterday and Today" is a soft ballad without any pretension, but at least the we know what the band pretends and they seem to achieve it, a soft poppy rack with a simple but beautiful melody, the piano at the end is delightful and even the vocals sound better.

I can't understand why a band capable of recording an excellent Prog track as "Looking Around" seems incapable of repeating the formula, lets be honest, this the first time I listen the real YES. Tony Kaye is impeccable and even advanced for 1969, and the rhythm section works perfectly......Incredibly I love the vocals, but most important, the structure is extremely interesting, with radical changes and impressive arrangements. If only the whole album was as good as this...

Please, somebody tell me what this guys were thinking about when recording Harold Land? Not only the Flower Power thing sounds outdated today, but the song is boring from start to end, what a disappointment.

"Every Little This" is a good Beatles Cover, probably the best one ever done after this track, but still not convincing, but at least it's nice to listen it for nostalgic purpose, something that doesn't happen with "Sweetness", a track that should had never been recorded, lack of transcendence and boring from start to end.

Before ending the album, YES included an excellent song, "Survival" is a good classical track by the band, not remotely the best they have done, but in the context of the self titled debut, seems like a masterpiece. Good closer.

Now, rating "Yes" is a real problem, a couple tracks are outstanding, at least enough to consider the album average, but on the other hand, I rated better debuts like ELP'S with three stars and "Yes" is not remotely in that level.

So despite "Looking Around" and "Survival" I will have to go with two stars.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Unlike many fans and critics, I am particularly fond of the early YES - "The Bruford period" - and among these first two albums are usually brutally overlooked.

Yes debut was a surprisingly mature work for 1969 and I can almost hear all key ingredients of the giant of prog rock to come. Of course, Howe's guitar would later become one of the symbols of the band sound while none could deny the Wakeman's attractive virtuosity on the keyboards. But for me, Tony Kaye was a damn good organist on this brilliant debut, while Banks provided some fine, even if rare, guitar slices and picks. Anderson/Squire leadership did an excellent musical arrangement and their songwriting is very decent, if not highly sophisticated yet. Bruford was and still is one of the best drummers out in the world, bar none.

Of course, you cannot deny this was the work of novices and paying tributes to their idols is a normal thing for a young band. But what YES did with THE BEATLES' "Every Little Thing" and especially with THE BYRDS' "I See You" was more than that: these are examples of early experimenting and progressing towards new musical landscapes, jazz or psychedelia. Bruford/Banks jazzy jamming in the latter is almost precursor to the coming age of fusion.

Of their originals, "Harold Land" and "Survival" are perhaps the strongest pieces containing excellent melodies and fine musicianship that was to characterize future progressive rock development. Kaye's organ is brilliant in the way you almost do not notice its presence in the music! Just compare this to the debut of GENESIS, VAN DER GRAAF, or any of THE NICE or MOODY BLUES albums of 1969 and you will hear what I mean.

The album was probably unlucky to appear during the year of the heavy rock boom (just remember first two ZEPPELIN albums!) so it was somehow overlooked. But do not miss this opportunity now when there is a remastered version with excellent sound available (+ several bonus tracks including 2 version each of brilliant BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD hommage "Everydays", "Dear Father" and particularly interesting "Something's Coming" theme from Bernstein's "The West Side Story").


P.A. RATING: 4/5

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars Yes is one of the most celebrated prog acts of all time. On PA, Yes is usually seen at the top row (if not the first entry) of the ''Most Popular Artists'' part on the top bar of the review area. However, Yes was not always a symphonic progressive band; they started of as a psych/pop band, and the debut is proof.

Yes isn't about tricky instrumental showcasing, complex song structures or obscure lyrical content just yet. Every song here aims at creating a pretty melody over lush soundscapes and hippie sentimentals. In essence, it's Yes at their most 60's-ish and for my money, a rather boring affair.

There are still elements of future Yes glory here like Chris Squire's bass sound (especially on ''Harold Land'') and Yes's stellar vocal harmonies. It's not terribly bad; in particular, three of the last four tracks (''Harold Land'', ''Every Little Thing'' and ''Survival'') are quite stellar. However, songs like ''Sweetness'' and ''Yesterday and Today'' are too pretty for my tastes and the others are strictly non-essential in my eyes.

This album is reserved for the Yes-nut curious enough to figure out where they came from, or the bored Yes fan (like myself at one point) to acquire every album. It's an overall non- essential album.

Review by Negoba
4 stars what the Flower People Say

Progtologists have long known that their beloved musical form had its roots in psychedelic rock, and yet the exact move from hippies to prog-heads has been a point of controversy for decades. After much debate, the missing link has been identified, and its name is YES. Not just the band, but the debut album itself, with its low budget cover art, heavy jazz influence and plenty of flower power. Some have claimed this album inspired Spinal Tap's first hit, though this author is fairly certain that entire band is based almost entirely on Deep Purple.

In all seriousness, this album may be the best example of "proto-prog" that exists. As Yes went on to be perhaps the main standard bearer of the prog genre, it is natural to look at their early work for the music form's roots. As it turns out, Yes produced some of the best psychedelic rock out there. Where rock and roll in general, and psychedelic rock specifically, could be quite loose and musically inconsistent, Yes' debut album displays great talent, honed compositions, and great consistency. If, like me, you like psychedelic rock, this is a near masterpiece. The harmony vocals are strong. The interplay of organ and guitar is superb. I would argue that what really sets this album apart is the jazzy playing of Bill Bruford. Already he's clearly far ahead of his peers, and the incorporation of his more complex rhythmic sense was integral in what was to come.

When you're starting place is already better than virtually every peer, it's a good sign of things to come. And the seeds that are on this album are obviously what were developed into one of the signature sounds of the progressive rock movement. Chris Squire's bass sound is already in the forefront, active and an integral part of the arrangements. The use of multiple textures, often within the same song, is performed with ease. Many of Jon Anderson's signature melodic choices are already in place. There are places where the organ clearly looks forward to the more active role it will play. Peter Banks' guitar is extremely well done, but is rooted more in rock n roll than replacement Steve Howe's. (This change may have been THE key in the evolution of the Yes sound.)

I'm a hippie at heart and I really love this album, as you can see. YES is going to hold interest for any prog fan, but for those who love 60's music and prog, this is a must have.

Review by thehallway
3 stars YES is what a debut should be. It didn't shake the earth like 'Court of the Crimson King', yet it wasn't (immediately) disregarded as another group of hippies trying to copy the Beatles. The album is harmless and fun, but with a strange sort of presence that is at first, hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it's the flower-power vocal harmonies that don't quite mix with the famously jagged basslines, or the detuned, strictly-jazz drumming style that doesn't quite blend with the hard- edged rock organ. I believe, that what grabs the listener's attention and makes them think "hmmmm, interesting...", is the whole mis-matched diversity of the band, and the album as a result.

Yes IS a diverse record indeed, but not in a particularly impressive way. It's diversity isn't as intentional as ELP's 'Works Volume II', or as roundedly effective as Led Zep's 'Houses of the Holy'. It's simply a melting pot of styles and influences; rushed in places, quirky yet innocent, with sloppy production. But for yes fans who can now regard the band's career as a whole (with the knowledge of what was to come 3 years later), these irritations can be forgiven and put down to it being Yes's first attempt at music making. Especially as there are those shining moments which seem to predict the future of the band: the structure of 'Survival' for instance, with it's "smoky jazz club" introduction. Or the instrumentation of "Harold Land", where each verse's decoration lends itself to the story being told with a professionalism that is worlds apart from the pop sensibilities of 'Sweetness' or 'Dear Father'. What Yes does as an album, is create a beginning. It starts the climb up the progressive mountain, which, although makes it clearly inferior to the records which dominate the peak (CTTE, Tales, and Relayer), it can still be seen as having more potential than those albums on the other side of the mountain. If the "peak" lies in the middle, then the albums before it can be forgiven, but what excuse does 'Tormato' have for being so poor?

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The 1969 debut by Yes has a distinctly West Coast feel with the Crosby, Stills & Nash-style harmonies of the spirited BEYOND AND BEFORE among others, and the 7-minute cover of The Byrds' jazzy, raga-influenced I SEE YOU. The latter is notable for Peter Banks' guitar improvisation, with Bill Bruford's drums providing the sole accompaniment, midway through the song. Jon Anderson's YESTERDAY AND TODAY is a straightforward love-ballad, enlivened by some pleasant electric piano. Keyboardist Tony Kaye then plays some mean Hammond on LOOKING AROUND and HAROLD LAND, but these are really little more than pop songs. HAROLD LAND reminds me of early Genesis for some reason; they had released their debut album earlier in the same year and, of course, 1969 was a significant year for progressive debuts.

The album's second cover version, The Beatles' EVERY LITTLE THING, almost tops the 6- minute mark and includes some heavy jamming with Banks throwing in a few cheeky 'Day Tripper' motifs for good measure. It sounds fresh and spontaneous, not words I would normally use to describe Yes, and it's one of the album's highlights. SWEETNESS is another dreamy little ballad that includes the immortal line: ''She puts the sweetness in and stirs it with a spoon''. Fortunately Jon Anderson redeems himself with the album's tour de force, SURVIVAL. Chris Squire's rousing bass intro gives way to a jazzy groove that has Bruford supplementing his drums with some sparkling vibes. The main part of the song builds in intensity, from subdued verses to a vigorous chorus... splendid stuff. Ok, so this doesn't come close to any of their monster albums but it is a nice collection of songs with some progressive leanings. Good, but definitely not essential.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 5/10

Yes' debut album is completely in the shadow of the other immense works of the band, and for a good reason.

In 1969, when Progressive Rock had found it's masterpiece, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", this new genre was starting to blossom. One of the first examples is the debut album by legendary act Yes. Like many debut albums at the time, this album can't help being immature, innocent, and inconsistent, but they are loads of innocent sounding albums of that era that truly capture the essence of youth and innocence. Sadly, this album fails to do so, not completely, but in many points.

Only a band like King Crimson and their debut album can really capture what Progressive Rock was all about, and what it still is. It was the ideal album, of immediate maturity. However Yes was not like that; the progressive influences are here, because of slower passages, keyboards, and noticeable jazz influences, in the musicianship and also in the melodies. There are still vague hints of psychedelic rock aftermath, which makes this debut actually a transition between the musical evolution of Psych and Prog. The musicians are very immature sounding, it really feels like they were playing for the first time: Jon Anderson sounds very amateurish in particular, and is a lot of times accompanied vocally, which puts him a bit in the shadow. The only musician I can sense actual instant talent here is Chris Squire on bass, giving pretty impressive bass lines. As for the rest, they still have to mature quite a bit.

No one can deny that they are precious and catchy moments here, like the opener "Beyond And Before", or even better "Looking Around", incredibly memorable. But I'm not uncomfortable in saying that some songs here are just pretty bad; the Beatles cover "Every Little Thing" is really annoying, and I never actually was a fan of the original song either; both "Sweetness" and "Survival|" feel absolutely unnecessary and empty, despite being eleven minutes together. "I See You", the second track of the album, has a good atmosphere, however the melody is not appealing to me at all, and the worst part is that it's not forgettable, it easily gets stuck in your head.

A mediocre album I didn't really enjoy much, and thought it wasn't the glorious album Yes deserve to have as a debut.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Yes started out as a conversation between Anderson and self-taught bassist Chris Squire at a bar where Anderson was essentially the janitor. Both had been in various bands previously, but with little or no success. Anyway, the two discovered that they had similar music interests; both loved rich vocal harmonies, but more than that, both were interested in the idea of fusing rock, pop, jazz, and folk with classical music (well, with their relatively simplistic understanding of classical music, anyway), of all things. The two hit it off well enough that they decided to get together and, sure enough, form a band.

After a bit of scouring, the two of them came up with the following cast to round out the ensemble; keyboardist Tony Kaye, who had a solid, if somewhat boring, organ and keyboard style (he wasn't really big on the tinkly piano and keyboard parts that would pop up a lot in Yes' later work); Peter Banks, a terrific lead guitarist with a good tone and a feel for jazz (actually, there wasn't much scouring involved here, as Banks and Squire had been together in a band called The Syn previously); and drummer Bill Bruford, who had, surprise surprise, a wonderful familiarity with jazz technique to go with traditional rock drumming.

Now, given that Yes has gone down in history as the quintessential prog rock group, you'd expect the debut to be a genre-defining album along the lines of In the Court of the Crimson King, right? Well, you might expect that, but you'd be wrong. Elements of their future style can certainly be found, primarily in the extended introductions before a number of the songs, but Close to the Edge this is certainly not. But that doesn't make it bad!! After all, who ever said that "conventional" music was automatically inferior to complex pieces? For one thing, the two short ballads, "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness," are simply beautiful. Anderson takes a much more traditional approach to singing on these songs than he would again for many years, which puts off several fans, but it's entirely possible that even if you hate Anderson's voice, you'll get a kick out of his singing on these songs. Heck, on the BBC Sessions, you can even hear the announcer say before "Sweetness," "This man has a lot of soul in his voice"! And, of course, the melodies are very pretty.

Another distinguishing feature of this from the "classic" albums is the presence of cover tunes, both of which rule. "I See You" is a jazzy version of the Byrds song of the same name, with some great guitar noodling and lots of energy accompanying a wonderful melody. Even better is the total demolition that the group does to the Beatles' "Every Little Thing," from Beatles For Sale. Originally, it was a cute pop song with nice vocal harmonies and a good melody - here, the introduction is a blood-thirsty prog-jazz monster, giving absolutely no hint of the actual nature of the song itself (in fact, one might even be thrown off by the quotes of "Day Tripper" here and there). And fortunately for all, the vocal harmonies are able to do some justice to the original ones, so even if the beginning scares you, solace can be taken in the main part of the song.

The other four songs are forces to be reckoned with as well. My longtime favorite is the side- one closer, "Looking Around." The organ riff is superb, the guitar groove is firmly set in place, and Anderson does a fabulous job with the non-trivial vocal melody. The best part of the song for me, though, is certainly the middle-section, with Jon belting over the descending organ line and creating the illusion that his part is descending too although it isn't.

The other three are nearly as good, though. The opening "Beyond and Before" has a booming opening riff courtesy of Squire's bass (his work on this album is typically phenomenal, and certainly was a giant factor in the Melody Maker declaring Yes to be one of two groups "most likely to make it" based on this album, the other group being Led Zeppelin), eerie three-part harmonies, and a mild dose of the deconstructionistic tendences that would dominate their later work. Same goes for the closing "Survival," the closest thing to a progressive composition to be found on this album. I for one consider the introduction to the piece terrific - the bassline is eerie, and the rest of the intro, while not incredibly complex, is untrivial while remainging interesting. And the main body, while meandering a bit at times, picks up steam and focus near the end of each verse leading into the chorus.

Finally, there's also the slightly-inferior-but-still-quite-good "Harold Land," the story of a young man scarred inside by the ravages of war. The strangest feature of it, overall, is the vast dynamic between the bouncy and happy introduction and the sad, ominous main melody, but it's not like the song only has novelty value. Anderson isn't able to do a great job in making us feel for Harold, but his vocals are certainly pasable on the track, and the lyrics aren't bad either.

All in all, this is certainly an album, worth having, especially since it can be found easily for less than $10. Besides, even if you hate progressive rock (of course, if that's the case, why on earth are you here?), it would be a shame not to own something by these guys, and since Yes was a fully professional and exciting group from the very beginning, this may as well be it.

Review by stefro
2 stars The old cliche of rock criticism says that, usually, the first two albums are the best most rock groups have to offer. For one of progressive rock's atypical acts, however, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, who as we all know are forever branded the 'atypical' prog-rock group by non-fans and various other music critics, started out with this slightly underwhelming, self-titled slab of proto-prog rock that was released to minor critical acclaim in 1969. Featuring Jon Anderson(vocals), Tony Kaye(keys), Peter Banks(guitar), Chris Squire(bass) and Bill Bruford(drums), 'Yes' failed to hit the commercial peaks of their later releases but did show that they were a group with promise who were willing to experiment with structure of rock music in a way that garnered them a lot of industry attention, thus insuring that they didn't go the way of many other similar bands and disappear after just one album. Soundwise, the group were peddling a faster but similar kind of symphonic rock to their fellow luminaries Procol Harum, just with wilder guitars and less emphasis on catchy melodies. Excepting a couple of tracks, notably the sweet-toned 'I See You' and the swirling, organ-coated psych-rock of 'Survival', this is very much a rough and formative album, displaying a bunch of musicians who have obvious ability but, at this juncture at least, are not too sure how to use it. Die-hard Yes fans might find more to cherish than your average progger, but in the grand scheme of things Yes' debut is, all things considered, pretty mediocre. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yes debut was released in 1969, and for it's time it's really a good album! Being based on jazzy-psychedelic rock, there are plenty of what will be their symphonic prog signature very soon.

Musicians play really excellent, as for debut, and I especially like rhythm section. Anderson's voice has it's specific timber, still not in full though.Strongly influenced by psychedelia of that time, music shows some trends to be more keyboards based and epic,than average band of the time.

For me this album sounds as good starting point - still no own sound or good compositions could be found there, but every musicians and team in whole shows their capability. For sure, more album for band fans, it still stay higher than many of their post 80-s albums in my book.

In other words, if you're know and like 4-5 Yes classic albums and searching for more, don't move ahead, better return to their roots, you will find there better music, than on band's later works!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Would I consider this a "good" album if they weren't YES ? Or is it a good album regardless the fact that they are the YES? This is often the problem with a debut album, specially when the listener (me) buys it AFTER having loved things like The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge. Keeping the absolute value of the music separate from the feelings is not easy.

Well, after thinking a lot, this album has some goods inside. Jon's voice is already Jon's voice. If you like his voice and this kind of choirs and vocal arrangements this is a YES album and it's better than most of Jon Anderson's solo works.

The use of the volumes on the guitar is NOT an invention of Steve Howe. I have the impression that Peter Banks has invented a guitar style and when Howe came to replace him he had to play in that way. And he liked it. So now when I listen to him I think to Howe's guitar even if it contains a lot of Banks.

Tony Kaye pays a tribute to the period. His keyboard playing is not very original. The jazzy part of "I See You" sounds like the Doors for example.

Squire is already the Fish and Bruford is and will ever be Bruford.

About the songs, I'm not sure of what is a cover and what is not. "Yesterday and Today" is something that I'm used to skip, even if I have to say that some passages are not so bad and the acoustic guitar work has something of early Genesis.

"Looking Around" could be a "Nice" song, in the sense that it reminds to the NICE. Great guitar and bass work on this track.

There are forgettable moments here and there. The intro of Harold Hand is one of them. The rest of the song is not so bad, but neither good. Jon seems to be in search of a tecnique. There's too much "vibrato" in his singing, like he's trying to sing like Demis Roussos. Later he will be Jon Anderson and nobody else.

"Every Little Thing" has an anticipation of what the YES will become. One of the few tracks that have already the YES trademark. It's a pity that the reminder to the Beatles and the melodic line jeopardize a so good intro. Specially because the guitar solo is surely not bad.

"Sweetness" is the only song that I knew before buying the album. Why did you buy it? You may ask... well it's not a masterpiece, but this is YES music and I like it. Of course I don't pay attention to the lyrics..."She knows what to say to make a sunny day..." it's not Shakespeare for sure.

"Survival" it's a good closer. Finally the Fish can "swim" and there's room for all the band. 1:20 minutes of YES music before the fadeout/fadein gives start to a different song. I suspect it was a long track that has been cut in this way to make it fit in the album's length. Only in this way I can see a sense.

Now it's time to answer to the initial question. Is it a good album? I don't know how many times I have listened to it and my feelings are still controversial. It's non-essential for sure. I think it's mainly a collector item with some spare good moments. I would round it up to 3 stars, but I prefer to keep the rating low and address potential new listeners to the most rated YES albums. I don't regret for the money spent, but there are better albums to start with YES.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Yes' debut album is more proto-prog than the symphonic sound we have come to know from them. But this was 1969, and the band was just developing. With Peter Banks and Tony Kaye in the group, you can also hear much of the sound that would define Flash in a few years.

The keyboards are a bit too laid back, and often buried in the mix, and Jon Anderson's falsetto sounding vocals are sometimes grating, but Banks, Chris Squire and Bill Bruford were keeping the music interesting.

Survival (a Jon Anderson composition) is the closest thing to what would become the classic Yes sound, but there are little hints here and there in the rest of the music.

As a debut album, it doesn't compare to King Crimson's or ELP's, but it has value.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars The debut, self-titled album from Yes definitely isn't extraordinary, but it does display the band's potential for writing interesting music. This music is lightly progressive, and just good music in general. "Beyond and Before" is very uplifting and almost psychedelic poppy rock song that is sure to put anyone in a good mood. The music definitely has the creative sound of Yes, but it's mostly hidden behind a normal late-'60s English rock sound. "I See You" is a rocker with a nice swing to it and is very dance-able, and also includes a nice jazz inspired jam about half way through. I occasionally get a Canterbury Scene sound from this album. "Yesterday and Today" is an absolutely beautiful ballad, especially when compared to the ballads that Yes would make later in their career that aren't nearly as good. "Looking Around" is another psychedelic rock song and is very straight forward, but is also quite catchy and sounds like a much improved version of any song by The Who. "Every Little Thing" is an interesting Beatles cover, and I'm not familiar with the original but I found this track to be heavily Canterbury and psychedelic influenced and is really quite good and shows great guitar work. "Sweetness" is another soft ballad kind of tune, and although it isn't as good as "Yesterday and Today" it still manages to set a lovely mood with fantastic vocal lines, and the song as a whole has a Procol Harum feel to it. "Survival" starts off sounding like one of the better Jimi Hendrix tunes available, but gets jazzy before turning acoustic. This is probably the most experimental and progressive song on the album and is fantastic example of what is to come on Yes' later classic albums.

I think this album is frequently overlooked for not being as wildly experimental or progressive as later material, but I consider this to be some of the best Yes material available. It definitely is less experimental, but it's so very catchy and I feel like anyone could find this album very enjoyable if given a chance.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The first album by Yes finds a couple of key elements of the band's music already firmly in place - in particular. Jon Anderson's voice has almost reached the angelic falsetto he would become known for, whilst Chris Squire's distinctive and unique bass playing is already there.

However, the band were still figuring out their own identity and had not yet hit upon their classic sound, with Anderson and Squire still honing their songwriting chops. The presence of a couple of cover versions from key hippie-folk-psych pioneers - the Byrds and the Beatles - show that the band were still at a stage when they were trying to emulate and live up to their inspirations rather than strike out into uncharted territory.

That said, the album does have its charms; in particular, the rowdier tone of Beyond and Before (hailing mainly from Peter Banks' more boisterous guitar sound) makes it an interesting entry to the Yes discography. Indeed, it's impressive how far along they had come already - though The Yes Album is stronger than this, you can more or less see how that developed from the seeds sown here.

An intriguing enough album, especially for those who want to see the roots of the band, but nothing those who aren't already hooked on Yes' classic albums need to bother themselves with as a first port of call: explore their peak, then come back to take in this early effort.

Review by penguindf12
5 stars Boy oh boy, this is really something. Early Yes is incredibly underrated. They have such a RAW feel that vanished after "The Yes Album"... not that their later stuff isn't the best there is! Anyway...

This debut album is wonderful. Peter Banks & Tony Kaye really add a grit to the sound - the harmonies have never been tighter, and all the other elements - Bruford's jazzy flourishes, Chris Squire's bass - are in place. Let's see here...

"Beyond & Before" really sets the pace - Chris' bass heralds the beginning of something great with a high D. The lyrics are a blueprint of what later Yes would say, but a bit more lost in hippy-dippy nonsense than usual. No matter - those are some great riffs, and how! I love the distant piano that appears now and again.

"I See You." Wow. Just - wow. It speeds along at a nice clip. Listening to this, I wonder why Banks was ever replaced. He could PLAY. His jazz licks are incredible, and he certainly chunked those chords harder than Howe ever did (and I like Howe)! The drum/guitar break in the middle is scary good. It's times like this where you start to believe Bruford saying he thought Yes was a jazz group at first! They pull out with another monster riff.

"Yesterday & Today" isn't quite as good as the others, but still good. Jon Anderson doing a straight love song has never sat entirely well with me. But ah, that is a nice piano! And Bruford does a pretty good job on tuned percussion. Simple but subtly beautiful.

WHAM! "Looking Around" ROCKS. THOSE RIFFS. THOSE VOCALS. GET UP, SING! One complaint - the ending section is kinda lame, and a bit static - certainly anti-climactic. Ah well!

I love "Harold Land." It moves through a number of excellent moods, from Big Picture Country Western to pseudo-funeral march. Is that a Mellotron I hear? Very excellent. I wave my hand sadly when I hear it.

"Every Little Thing" is the best Beatles cover in existence. Who else but Yes would start with a two minute apocalypse jam, quoting "Day Tripper," before singing a note? And those harmonies! Exquisite.

Some people don't like "Sweetness." I am not one of those people. Sure, it's kinda slow, and the lyrics are so sugary they could kill a man, but that's a mean 12-string strum I hear. Wobbly EQ floats to the right - Anderson's voice cracks deliciously in the pre-chorus. So, despite its lovey-dovey "shortcomings," it's pretty easy to find something here to dig.

"Survival." This is it, guys. Wah-bass? 12-string interlude? Multiple sections? Kinda Stravinsky-ish? GOOD lyrics? Yup. I yelled this at the top of my lungs once before in self-consolation.

Worth every penny.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Everything has a beginning...

Anderson, Squire, Kaye, Banks, Bruford were a superstar line up and the excitement generated by their playing was one of the high points of the early 70s as prog came into being. 1969 was an essential year for prog with the release of the new Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis and of course King Crimson's "In The Court of the Crimson King" which perhaps invented the genre as we know it today. Yes were disciples in amongst all these changes and had not quite found their feet as the indispensable prog giants that would release masterpeices such as The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge. This then was their starting point and it was not a prog album but one that was nevertheless full of infectious melodic songs.

A lot of it was inspired by the 60s, The Beatles, and the British invasion that rocketed up the charts. Music was changing with the advent of Vietnam, Woodstock and Neil Armstrong's penultimate giant step. Yes had discovered a spacey psychedelic sound but it is one that is grounded in simple time sigs and rhythms. The incomparable Peter Banks has some chops of course but it is quite subdued here apart from the odd embellishment on certain tracks such as Beyond and Before. The band indulge in cover versions, something that they would not repeat often. I See You belongs to The Byrds and does not sound any better here. Every Little Thing is a little known song from The Beatles that has stood the test of time as being a highlight of this album. Yesterday and Today is catchy and Anderson has a young undeveloped high falsetto. The sugar sacharinne sweetness of er... Sweetness is trite, as is the equally soft billowing flower power nonsense of Harold Land. It perhaps more represents the flower child craze of the late 60s and is as outdated as panel vans and love beads.

The highlights are encased in two tracks. Looking Around has some wonderful moments and is very listenable, especially the instrumental virtuosity of the members, but you have to wait to the end of the album to find an excellent track. The closing number is undoubtedly the best track and defines the Yes we would come to know and love. Survival clocks in at 6 minutes and features some delightful Banks guitars and the irrepressible Bruford and Squire rhythm machine.

Enough said, except that this is definitely NOT the starting point to discover the brilliance of Yes.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars In my high school days, I took a deep interest in exploring the roots of heavy metal, and my searches brought me right into the heart of psychedelic rock and acid rock. This fertile breeding ground of new sounds was largely responsible for giving birth to both heavy metal and progressive rock. Among many bands that pushed toward new ground in rock music, my cassette racks included Cream, the Yardbirds, early Pink Floyd and Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, Jefferson Airplane and so on. As such, my ears were already well primed for the fabulous sounds of the late sixties.

Jump from 1988 to 2011 and find me just discovering the genius of the music of Yes. Oh, I knew about Yes from the videos from 90125 that got played on late night video shows back in 83/84 and I even had The Yes Album on cassette once. But it was Fragile and Close to the Edge that really got me excited about this band. I had to get all their studio material and that of course brought their eponymous debut into my hands and ears.

Let me say now (finally) that this album really impressed me from the start and still gets among the most plays (top 6 perhaps) of all my Yes albums. There are three things that totally knocked me out and made this album a stand out piece of work for me.

First, the vocal harmonies are fantastic. I love vocal harmony ' not just two or three voices of differing timbre singing the same note ' but voices actually singing different notes in a chord together, achieving a vocal chord if you like. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson is joined by bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Peter Banks to create a powerful version of what Simon and Garfunkle were doing in their more relaxed acoustic setting. Indeed, Chris Squire spent some years singing as a choirboy and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of his influence in the vocal department.

Next, the strong jazz sound coming through the psychedelia. Three reasons here. Drummer Bill Bruford was strongly influenced by jazz drummers and claimed to have believed that he was joining a jazz group (Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes by Chris Welch). His drumming here is very much jazz flavoured, and I love it even though too much jazz turns me off. Then there's Peter Banks who alternates between scratchy fuzzy notes and chords and very smooth and clean solos and chords that fit right into a jazz climate. And then there's Jon, who claims Frank Sinatra as an influence. Though his voice is quite high in register and very different from Frankie's, there are times you can really here him going for that cool, jazzy effect: 'Grocery store, ten bucks, just making change for plastic cherries,' (Everydays cover, bonus track).

Finally, the overall sound is really good on the re-mastered version, very clear, though with emphasis on the bass while Tony Kaye's organ seems to be left in the background often. This disk also comes with bonus tracks and the above-noted Everydays and a West Side Story cover of Something's Coming fit right along with the overall sound of the album.

For a band that was hitting the stage with a sound that was fresh and exciting, Yes really managed to do something different from the standard flair of the time.

Review by admireArt
4 stars Before they became " Symphonic Gods", Yes was a Rock band without the Roll; to mean non-mainstream exactly styled compositions.This debut release did not pass unobserved as you would have noticed on the back cover of the vinyl version. Printed was the comment; of Melody Maker (a "respectable" British "Rock" underline "Rock" magazine ) betting on the most promising band launches in; no other than: 1969; the year at the time. Now we know; this "Year" will turn to be no common year. No it was the turning path in all sorts of ways. Prog got a shape and name, just like that! Year of The Whosīs: "Tommy", Beatlesīs: Abbey Road, Milesīs Davis: "In a Silent Way", people realising Hendrixsīs "Electric Lady" will turn to be his last (alive at least!) work. To make things even better;.. The King arriveth... KCsīs "In the Court of the Crimson King" . All of them OVERSHADOWED by a 4-Headed Monster that will errupt into the scene and mark its enourmous space for years to come; no; not Yes; their time will come 4 years later;.. The enourmous loved/hated Led Zeppelin. So 1969 was an amazing year. A tough one to survive in this "Biz". I had, because of physical/time circumstances (I was 8 at the time;became a "declared" audiophile around 1972. So I myself met Yes in their super-top shape "Close to the Edge". But out of that experience I went directly to their first work. Who are these guys? Where do they come from? Logical questions with logical answers. Work number one. So without any expectations I dug in. Yes "1" is the perfect balanced composition wise Yes songs we all know; but in the raw. It could have turned anyway really. From track 1; you understand the importance of the Chris Squire bass work in this Yes and the next. The instantly structured and original language; made me forget "The Edge" completely. That was a relieve. Unpretensious (considering Jon Andersonsīs tendencies towards x-treme-sweetness);.... to put it lightly more like the Beatles than Symphonic Yes; without sounding like them. Considering I went from Top-Progarchive album for years to come to a band that was just stating they had a voice and people should be aware of it.. The stakes were quiet high and yet; they survived into the collective consciousness of millions. Wow! 4 Stars

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Yes' - Yes (67/100)

Everybody starts somewhere. Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman were both a couple of years away from joining Yes, and progressive rock had barely started. Yes' self- titled debut, along with its follow-up Time and a Word have never received a fraction of the attention their successors would foster, both then and now. It's surprising that so many Yes fans (including myself until recently!) have never bothered to check them out. Yes wouldn't begin to unlock their potential until The Yes Album, but the debut certainly deserves more recognition than its earned. Yes is a solid psych rock album, with strong melodies and tight musicianship; what more could a listener ask for?

There is a sense here that Yes are piggybacking on the tailends of the dwindling hippie movement. Unlike their more timeless prog classics, Yes feels very much a work of its time. With the notable exception of King Crimson (who set the standard for proficiency in the genre), progressive rock was nearly indistinguishable from psychedelic rock at the time. 1969 was saturated with melody-driven bands that tried to bring a heavier approach to psych rock with the use of distorted guitars and thick organ playing, and Yes were no exception. Two included covers (of The Beatles' "Every Little Thing", and the Byrds' "I See You") reinforce the idea that Yes were still at a stage of emulation over innovation. I think the thing that's missing most in retrospect is Steve Howe's unique fingerstyle, but it's also clearly a case of a band needing time and experience before making a bolder statement.

Compared to their contemporaries, Yes had already distinguished themselves as a technically proficient act on the self-titled. I hear that seeing King Crimson perform compelled Yes to brush up their skills and push the envelope; whatever the case, it worked to their benefit. Jon Anderson's vocals are already strong and distinctive, and his high-register delivery works really well with the 'flower power' atmosphere and melodic songwriting. Surprisingly, the musician who impresses me the most here is Peter Banks, a guitarist that time seems to have forgotten under the shadow of Yes' canonical riffmaker Steve Howe. If Howe was based in classical music, Peter Banks has a clear love for jazz. Although the rhythm guitars have a biting distortion and buzz of hard rock, his leads are clean, thick and jazzy. In combination with the in-vogue London psych rock direction, Banks' jazz leads gave Yes' debut an urbane and cultured feel. I think Howe as a replacement brought something far more special to the table, but Banks' own contributions to Yes' career have gone sorrowfully underrated.

Yes' songwriting is solid and memorable on this debut ("Looking Around" and "Survival" both stand out), but it's clear that ambition and a forward-thinking attitude wouldn't come until later. The vaguely generic psychedelic hard rock sound feels indistinct and a little dry compared to the work they're known for, but Yes still started off on an above- average note with this one. Strong vocal harmonies, skilled guitarwork and fun songwriting are all present and accounted for; if you're one of the many Yes fans who have overlooked it, or simply have a passing interest in late 60's psychedelia, this album comes nicely recommended.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars I'm not sure what happened to me with this one. I used to own this and although I listened to it a few times I never really got into it and the first two YES albums always took a major backseat to the outstanding masterpieces that began with "The Yes Album" which is often cited as YES' first album. I used to believe that myself but incorrect it is. This is their debut album and is simply called YES. It's true I have never been a fan of their band name and even the band meant it to be temporary but that matters not when the music they have released is some of the best the world has ever heard. I recently got the remastered edition of this album and thought i'd revisit it simply because other than "Every Little Thing" I couldn't recall any of the songs. I was expecting this to be the 3 star album that I remembered it to be but something happens to me with YES albums. I swear that the tunes lay eggs in my brain and incubate there and when they hatch they burrow themselves into my DNA and change it to like the songs that I once didn't!

On this debut album I was immediately struck how good this band already sounds from the very first song. Not only is Jon Anderson and Chris Squire already fully developed in their trademark sounds but Peter Banks' guitar work has already established that guitar sound of expanding beyond the bluesy rock riffing and adding the nuances that Steve Howe would adopt when he joined the band. Bill Bruford displays his jazz-influenced drumming and while Tony Kaye is no Wakeman, for these sweet, melodic and unusual (for the day) songs he is more than adequate for the job. I wouldn't say this is a bad place to start with YES' music. It is the beginning and if you listen to all the later masterpieces first it may take you a long time to appreciate this debut. YES, i'm surprised i'm giving this 4 stars but there is not a bad song on here. Despite this not being as progressive and pompous as future releases there is some interesting variations on melodic songwriting going on here.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Released way back in 1969, this is the debut album for a band that was very unsuspecting that they (well some of them anyway) would be part of a band that would have a huge influence on the progressive rock movement that would soon come. At the time of this release though, they were a band trying to find a sound. The line up consisted of Jon Anderson (credited as John Anderson on the original credits), Chris Squire, and Bill Bruford, these were 3 of the members who would continue on to help make this band into the influential band they would become. Also in the line up was guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist Tony Kaye, who would end up leaving before the band got really successful.

I'm not sure at first, just what kind of sound they were trying to accomplish. They were sort of a psychedelic band with a very heavy rock edge, sort of a poppier Deep Purple. There were some tricky rhythms and hints to progressive style music, but, except for the beginnings of King Crimson, there really wasn't an official name attached to progressive music yet. So, they had a very sophisticated and heavy sound that would approach the popular sound that was evident at the time.

In this album, they even attempt a couple of covers; "I See You" which was a Byrds song co-written by David Crosby that had a definite psychedelia in the instrumental section of the song, and "Everything She Does" which was a heavy cover of The Beatles song of the same name which boasted a bombastic (for the time at least) introduction that snuck in a snippet of the guitar hook from "Day Tripper" before settling into the fairly decent cover of the song.

Jon's vocals are somewhat weak on the quieter passages of the tracks like "Yesterday and Today" and "Sweetness", and his delivery is a little insecure sounding. But on the heavier tracks like "Looking Around" and the excellent and dynamic "Survival", he sounds more confident. In fact, "Survival" is the best song on the album and probably is the closest to how the band would eventually sound.

As far as debut albums go, this one shows a band that is on the verge of something great and it isn't so bad when compared to other debut albums. But it is still a far cry from what they would become. This is an interesting album in the fact that you can see where the band started from and how they would develop. The sound was still unique as it ever was. There is still no doubt that it is Yes that you are listening to when you play the album. But you will notice a lack of the extended jams and progressive elements that are so ever present in later albums. Being a huge Yes fan, I tend to rate this album higher than I probably should in my own manner of rating, but I do feel comfortable enough to consider this a 3 star album, that it is good especially considering the time of the recording, but not essential as their later albums would become.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Edit: I've listened to this album a lot in the time since I wrote my first (2 star, mainly negative/lacklustre) review of this album and I've decided that it's worth a complete rewrite.

Anyhow, "Yes" is, obviously, the debut album by a band that we all know well enough to not necessitate an introduction. But is "Yes" really a "Yes" album in its truest sense? Not really, but at the same time...Yes (sorry, I'll stop now). As far as genre tagging goes, the first effort by Anderson-Squire & co. consists of often times jazzy, often times folk-y, psychedelic pop rock. So there's no symphonic grandeur to be heard here, but that isn't a bad thing, per se.

What this first Yes album lacks in sheer ambition it more than makes up for in charm and melody. Really, this is a very strong, cohesive collection of songs. Anderson and Squire's harmonies are tight throughout and, despite not singing about khatrus or topographic oceans, it's very obviously still in the style that they'd become famous for soon after. Bruford is right in his element, with plenty of jazz-heavy beats scattered throughout. Kaye and Banks, the oft-forgotten early Yes members, don't "shine" in their performances, but there really isn't any reason for them to. Their parts fit into the mould of the music perfectly and fit together into a really cohesive ensemble whole. But let's not forget about Squire's bass playing. It's no "Roundabout" here, but it's several steps above your average psychedelic pop bass lines. He really pulls off some cool licks throughout.

I've established that "Yes" is the product of five talented budding musicians who are great at working together as a unit, but how's the music that they make? Not too bad, unsurprisingly. While the album isn't particularly varied in style, and can be a tad monochromatic throughout, the melodies are top notch. I very often get lines from "Beyond and Before", "Looking Around", "Harold Land", "Sweetness" and "Survival" playing through my head, long after I've last heard the album. The vocal lines are really catchy, but not annoying in the slightest. It's an optimal balance, really. And if you're having trouble thinking of what the album's sound can actually be likened to, I very often hear sections that I feel are comparable to "Visions of Angels" off of Genesis' "Trespass".

So while "Yes" may not be the most terribly exciting album out there, it's still a very good compilation of musical ideas executed by a skillful bunch of artists. And just consider that only 2 years after this, most of them would be going on to record "Starship Trooper", and "Close To The Edge" only a year or two after that! The amount of growth that Yes has shown from this starting point is impressive, no doubt, but this one paved the way. Very good, very non-essential. 3 stars.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It was 1969 when one of the most iconic, unique and representative bands of progressive rock decided to release their debut album. Back then, the term progressive rock was not actually used, so despite some bands started making music that later would define this genre, people only listened to rock music and that was enough, they didn't worry about labelling bands or songs.

But well, right now we do label bands and songs, and we all know and love progressive rock, which is why we are here in Progarchives debating and reviewing music, because those giants like Yes created something that we will never forget, because that thing named progressive rock has changed our lives. So in 1969 the first Yes lineup gave us Yes, this self-titled debut albums that offers symphonic rock, psychedelic rock and even some pop rock. That mixture would later evolve into more mature sounds, more complex compositions and a true own Yes sound and style.

In this 8-track album we enjoy the first 38 minutes of Yes' magic in the history, with a soft Jon Anderson's voice, smooth Bruford drums, symphonic keyboards from Kaye, that amazing Squire's bass and of course, the nice elaborative guitars by Peter Banks, who would share his talent only in the first two albums and later be replaced by the Yes guitar man we all remember and love: Steve Howe.

This album marks the first steps of Yes, and that's why it is so important, though of course it is far from being one of the best Yes' albums, far, far away. It might also be considered as a proto-prog album, but that's it. In my opinion, it does not has any memorable songs, any unforgettable passages, it was the first attempt that lacked emotion and complexity, but fortunately they attempted it, otherwise, we would not have been blessed with their upcoming 70s albums that changed our life.

My final grade will be two stars, I like it but I've never loved it, and I hardly listen to it, however, it is one of the most important albums in this genre's history.

Enjoy it!

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 144

Yes was founded in 1968 by vocalist Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire. In May 1968, Squire met Anderson in a Soho nightclub, where Anderson was working with a band. As they had a common interest in vocal harmony they began working together. After a while, both decided they needed a new drummer and Bill Bruford was recruited from an ad in Melody Maker. As the previous guitarist Clive Bailey left the band, Peter Banks joined them and soon another new member also joined the group, the keyboardist Tony Kaye. After the entry of Tony Kaye, the band was complete and they adopted the name Yes. The name was suggested by Banks, with the argument that the word would be highlighted in advertising posters. According to Anderson, the name was accepted because it represented a very positive word.

'Yes' is the eponymous debut studio album of Yes and was released in 1969. It's considered as one of the first progressive rock albums in the history of the progressive rock music. Although Yes' debut album isn't exactly what they're remembered most for, but still is a decent piece of proto-prog. From quite obvious reasons this is also their most 60's influenced album. Two of the tracks, 'Beyond And Before' and 'Sweetness' dates back from the time when Anderson and Squire were in a band called Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Some of the Yes' trademarks can already been heard here, like the falsetto vocal harmonies and the powerful and distinctive bass playing of Squire. But, this is of course a much more basic and rougher album than their following symphonic progressive rock classics from the 70's.

'Yes' has eight tracks. The first track 'Beyond And Before' written by Squire and Clive Bailey is a good opener for the album. It's a very interesting song with good drumming, a very nice distorted guitar work, and here, we can clearly hear the typical sound of the bass of Squire. The song has also some harmony and beauty, and represents the beginning of Yes' sound. The second track 'I See You' written by Jim McGuinn and David Crosby is the first song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Birds and I must confess that this is a brilliant version made by Yes of the original song. This is, for me, the really great surprise on the album. Banks is at his best and did a fantastic guitar work and the voice of Anderson goes beautifully on this song. The third track 'Yesterday And Today' written by Anderson is the shortest song on the album. This is a sweet and beautiful acoustic ballad with some nice acoustic guitar and keyboard sounds in the background of Anderson's voice. This is really a very beautiful song. The fourth track 'Looking Around' written by Anderson and Squire is a song that, despite be one of the first songs of the group, we can call it a typical classic Yes' song. It's a song with some musical progressivity and where Banks and Kaye have very good musical contributions. However, the vocal parts are the most memorable due to the great and nice choral work. The fifth track 'Harold Land' written by Anderson, Bruford and Squire is a truly progressive song that reminds me strongly some of the first songs of Genesis. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the first progressive songs ever made. It has everything that should have. It has a pretty vocal performance, nice guitar, great keyboards, good bass line and a fantastic drum work. This is one of the highlights of the album and one of my favourite songs too. The sixth track 'Every Little Thing' written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney is the second song on the album that wasn't written by the band. It's a cover of a song of The Beatles and is also a very good version of the original song. This is a track with great drumming work, a good bass line and fantastic guitar work that opens the song with a great solo. This is a song that shows the great capacity of the band to transform songs in their own way. The seventh track 'Sweetness' written by Anderson, Bailey and Squire is another sweet, nice and pretty ballad. It has good vocal performance, nice background keyboards and good drumming work too. However, this is one of the weakest tracks on the album. The eighth track 'Survival' written by Anderson is, in my humble opinion, with 'Harold Land', one of the two highest points on the album. This is, probably, the best song on the album. It has beautiful vocals, great bass, catchy keyboards, good guitar and nice drumming. It has also beautiful lyrics and great choral work. This is a wonderful musical piece and an excellent example of the early progressive rock songs. This is a great and perfect way to close the album.

Conclusion: 'Yes' is a good debut album of the group. Despite two of the songs are covers and only two other songs, 'Harold Land' and 'Survival', can be considered great, this is a very interesting debut musical work, because even the cover songs are good and interesting versions of the original songs. If we compare this debut studio album with other debut studio albums of some other great bands from the 70's, we can say that 'Yes' is better than 'From Genesis To Revelation' of Genesis, is as good as 'The Aerosol Grey Machine' of Van Der Graaf Generator but is far away from being as good as 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' of King Crimson. So, all in all, 'Yes' marked, definitely, a very decent and solid starting point for a band that would become one of the greatest progressive rock bands ever.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by patrickq
3 stars A strong debut that's fun to listen to. To use a cliché, the band was generally firing on all cylinders. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson hadn't quite gotten comfortable with the higher register, but sounds very good, especially when backed by the vocals of bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Peter Banks. Squire and drummer Bill Bruford are already playing at a professional level, and organist/pianist Tony Kaye plays competently. To my ears, the real star here is Banks. It certainly wasn't his guitar playing that would get him kicked out after their next album!

Yes opens with the psychedelic rock (or maybe art rock) of "Beyond and Before," a showcase for Squire's bass and support vocals. Also on Side One is the early classic "Looking Around." The other standout track is the Side-Two opener "Harold Land." Yes also includes two covers: "I See You," a fast-paced Byrds song, and the Beatles' "Every Little Thing," which actually eclipses the original.

Less successful are the softer originals "Yesterday and Today," "Sweetness," and "Survival." At some point starting in the 1990s, "Survival" began to appear of compilations as representative of this album, and Anderson later revived it for one of his solo projects. While it prefigures the more-complex Yes music to come, it exposes one of Anderson's relative weaknesses: his literal lyric-writing. He's much better when his lyrics are impressionistic. Also of note is "Something's Coming," a b-side now included on most CD reissues. This is a tune from West Side Story. Whereas the two cover songs on the album feature unique, original arrangements, much of the arrangement ideas for Yes's version of "Something's Coming" were copied from an earlier recording by another group (I've heard it on youtube, but I don't remember the band anymore).

I'll say that this self-titled debut album (1969) by Yes isn't quite as good as Time and a Word, released one year later. And I'll also say that the band made a quantum leap between Time and a Word and The Yes Album, released eight months later in 1971 - - a much easier claim. Furthermore, Fragile (1971), which itself represented a modest improvement over its predecessor, was followed in short order by Close to the Edge (1972), which is ranked here at Prog Archives is the all-time top progressive rock album ever.

So where does that leave Yes? How should we rate an album which was outdone by each of the four that succeeded it? In the rating system here, the five-star rating is reserved for only the best albums, which means Close to the Edge and possibly Fragile - - but not Yes. A four-star album is an "Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection," while three stars means "Good, but non-essential." The Yes Album is easily a four-star album, while Time and a Word possibly deserves four stars as well.* At this point, I'm tentatively rating Yes three stars, but I must confess I'm on the fence. Whereas that might ordinarily mean I should wait to post this review, I've given this rating more thought than most.


*possibly, but at present I rate it three stars.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars The debut album of Yes sounds now very pretty and sixties.

1. Beyond and Before (4:50) is a good ballad folk-rock. Guitar wah-wah, vocals in CSNY' style. Squire's bass immediately jumps. Rating 7,5/8.

2. I See You (6:33). Song written by the Byrds. It is much longer than the original, and the Byrds psychedelia is not present. The song is jazzed up. Anderson's female voice is dubbed but begins to peep alone, creating a strange sensation. Banks and Bruford solo all jazz. A lot of creativity but also a lot of confusion. Rating 8.

3. Yesterday and Today (2:37). Short melodic, acoustic song, where the celestial Anderson's contralto voice emerges for the first time, but the tone is not as high as it will be in the future. Good atmosphere but the pathos is missing. Rating 7+.

4. Looking Around (3:49). Conventional rock ballad with the organ in foreground. Good sound, but nothing more - The listener now begins to understand that the singer has just that voice. Rating 6,5/7.

End of A-Side.

5. Harold Land (5:26) opens B- side. Intro a minute and a half long, rambling, then a melodic ballad starts that alternates good moments with bad ones. Rating 6,5/7.

6. Every Little Thing (5:24). A new jazzy intro thanks to Bruford and Banks, then the music changes, and the Beatles' song is recognized, a song with a vague and insignificant melody that is covered here by rhythm and arrangement. It seems to witness a transformation, like distorting a beat, melodic song into a jazz-rock song. As always with Yes, you lose in feeling and pathos but you gain in musical emphasis, in visionarity. The cover is well centered, and since the original is a poor song, this cover gains us. The best song on the album. Rating 8+.

7. Sweetness (4:19). Sweet and melodic ballad where Anderson still sings on the low notes. The listener has become accustomed to his asexual voice, and does not yet know that in the future he will almost use falsetto. More engaging than the ballad of the first side. Rating 7.5

8. Survival (6:01). Blues-rock guitar, organ, then drums and bass, then acoustic piece and finally Anderson's voice. Personally, I regret this still neutral voice and on the low notes, almost warm, compared to the high note that will come. This is perhaps the song that projects Yes into the future, the less epigonic, more personal song. Bruford plays jazz-style drums again, and the melody is good this time. It is a bridge between the beat, the melodic song and the prog. Almost epic ending but then a short instrumental digression arrives. Rating 8.

Total Time: 38:59

Yes was still a long way from what King Crimson did in 1969, and also Van Der Graaf Generator. The listener hears a band that brings together beat, rock, jazz arrangements, which has great musical potential, especially the rhythm section (Bruford and Squire), and a singer with an asexual voice, which gives a whole sense of estrangement, even if still moderate, compared to the future. A group that does well when it expands the beat songs by 2-3 minutes, when it creates a jazz atmosphere, and when it has a singer who remains on low notes. A music that has yet to grow to become personal, but already has a quality: to make commercial a song format different from the catchy verse of a 2-3 minute refrain. Still naive but pleasant album.

Rating 7+. Yes reach three stars.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars Yes released their eponymous debut studio album in July, 1969, on the label Atlantic, an album rooted mainly in the tradition of psychedelic pop/rock - the dominant musical genre at the end of the decade, but gently hinting (and never fully revealing) what was about to storm the British rock scene in just some years' time.

Most progressive rock bands that started in the late 60s were off to an average-paced start, let's put it that way. Not achieving tremendous commercial success and not presenting their full potential with glorious decisiveness, many of these bands (like Genesis, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and Yes) quickly shifted styles and decided to go their own ways, rather than adjusting themselves to what was popular at the time - actually, didn't they all try to enter the mainstream with their debut albums?

But signing a deal with Atlantic for your debut album is a very impressive achievement for any new band/artist and this is certainly one of the reasons why this band gradually rose to glory in the 70s ? because they got the exposure, despite failing to make a significant impact on the charts or by selling tons of records in their earliest days.

Back to 'Yes': the line-up is, of course, consisting of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, Peter Banks, and Bill Bruford, and from all of them, I must say that Anderson and Squire make the best impression - one with its recognizable and absolutely memorable voice, the other with the masterful presence of his instrumental all throughout the album, and the beautiful backing/harmonizing vocals. This album is, however, not necessarily guitar-oriented and the style that the band display certainly does not allow Bill Bruford to show his genius. Tony Kaye is a decent keyboard player and does a good job for what would be expected from a psych pop/rock keyboardist in the late 60s.

The blend of sing-along choruses, sometimes cryptic lyrics, and uplifting themes is one of the elements that Yes definitely preserved in their later releases; However, 'Yes' does not contain the epic nature of the band's most acclaimed 70s releases, but it presents the capabilities of this young band, in the most pleasing of ways. Songs like 'Beyond and Before', 'Harold Land', 'Survival', and the two covers - 'I See You' and 'Every Little Thing' indicate a taste for experimentation and powerful writing, making this a really promising proto-prog debut. This should not come as a surprise, since Squire and Anderson practically wrote this album.

Review by Hector Enrique
3 stars With a sixties rock sound spiced with their own arrangements and textures, but still far from the world of adventures and interstellar fantasies that they knew how to build from the "Yes Album", the legendary Yes begin their musical adventure in the late sixties with the album of the same name.

Without bombastic or exaggerated instrumental flourishes, forceful pieces make up a good part of the album. Like the opening "Beyond and Before" and the raspy bass of Chris Squire complemented by the distorted guitar of Peter Banks, or the stealthy "I See You", a cover of The Byrds transformed into a very jazzy improvisation that Banks shares with the awakened percussion of the master Bill Bruford, also very active on the fast-paced "Harold Land" and, above all, on "Every Little Thing", a cover of the Lennon & McCartney duo, hammering his drums to give the song a unique vitality, crowned by some persevering backing vocals led by Jon Anderson.

And it is precisely the singer who tentatively begins to outline some of the distinctive elements of Yes: his high- pitched, crystalline voice, and his tendency to describe landscapes supported by gentle melodies, as with the beautiful "Yesterday and Today", or the fragile "Sweetness".

Although it was unthinkable at the time to foresee what Yes would become, there were some hints on their first album of the paths they would take a couple of years later, with "Looking Around" and the Hammond, inseparable companion of keyboardist Tony Kaye, and the metaphorical "Survival", a bucolic reflection between philosophical and mystical about the human stay on the planet, poetically described by Anderson.

Without being a dazzling debut, and maintaining a low profile that has failed to take off over time, partly because of the overwhelming success of their later works, and partly because practically none of the songs on the album have been part of the setlist throughout the British band's tours for years, "Yes" is an album well worth listening to and enjoying.

3/3,5 stars

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3 stars Yes' eponymous debut album is a competent one and already lays the foundation of the band's future progressive sound. The music is strongly influenced by the Beatles and psychedelic rock. Aside from Bill Bruford's co-writing credit on Harold Land, Jon Anderson and Chris Squire are the only band m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1480689) | Posted by Replayer | Saturday, October 31, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Of all the classic prog bands, Yes is probably the most famous one, and there's a reason for that: along with King Crimson, they were arguably the very first real "progressive" band in existence from the outset. However, whereas KC tended to have more of a jazz/avant-garde edge to their sound, Yes w ... (read more)

Report this review (#1450052) | Posted by cfergmusic1 | Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very solid first album, though not particularly indicative of the direction Yes would take as the years went on. When I was first getting into Yes, I heard many of these songs on the compilation album "Yesterdays". When I finally got around to getting the original albums, I found I enjoyed this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1145889) | Posted by mneil1968 | Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yes's maiden voyage is not an essential progressive album, but it is worth owning and listening to repeatedly for two reasons. 1) The absence of Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman here reveal the contributions that Chris Squire and Bill Bruford made to the original Yes sound. I mean no disrespect to ... (read more)

Report this review (#1100765) | Posted by Merrimack Mike | Friday, December 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After listening top Genesis first record from 1969 I continued to Yes first record from the same year and the differencies are remarkable. If Genesis started weak, this is a strong debut lp. Ok, Yes didn't sound like Close to the Edge yet, but they were already progressive and symphonic. What's perh ... (read more)

Report this review (#889188) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, January 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hey all progheads, time for yet another prog review. What is it now? Well, as the title suggests it is none other than Yes's self-titled debut, it was released in July 1969 I believe. What to say about it? Well, musically speaking it's a little rough around the edges and still not at that classic Ye ... (read more)

Report this review (#885602) | Posted by ProgMetaller2112 | Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I seem to be generous to debut albums, but they're often simply lovely, like this one. Yes! It was the first album I heard from Yes and despite its low rating it was this one, which learnt me that Yes is a wonderful band. I know all the songs like my own shoes. Yes shew the world something new, som ... (read more)

Report this review (#772434) | Posted by Glucose | Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In the second half of the 60' all those positive band names approached like Love, HP Lovecraft, It's a Beautiful Day and so did Yes. Also a lot of quiet neutral names did find their way (Caravan, Egg, etc.). Yes became one of the greatest names within the progressive rock genre and I find thei ... (read more)

Report this review (#755920) | Posted by the philosopher | Monday, May 21, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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