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Yes Classic Yes album cover
3.76 | 212 ratings | 36 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Heart of the Sunrise (10:32)
2. Wonderous Stories (3:45)
3. Yours Is No Disgrace (9:41)
4. Starship Trooper (9:26) :
- a. Life Seeker
- b. Disillusion
- c. Würm
5. Long Distance Runaround (3:25)
6. The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (2:37)
7. And You and I (10:07) :
- a. Cord of Life
- b. Eclipse
- c. The Preacher, the Teacher
- d. Apocalypse
8. Roundabout (live) (7:55)
9. I've Seen All Good People (live) (7:30) :
- a. Your Move
- b. All Good People

Total Time 64:58

Note: on the original LP release (1981), the live tracks 8 & 9 were included on a separate 7" disc (Atlantic SAM-141). The CD remaster (82687) appended them to the main disc, as did the original cassette version (K-450842).

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Anderson / vocals
- Chris Squire / bass, vocals
- Tony Kaye / keyboards (3,4)
- Rick Wakeman / keyboards (1,2,5-9)
- Alan White / drums (2,8,9)
- Bill Bruford / drums (1,3-7)
- Steve Howe / guitars

Releases information

LP Atlantic 19320 (1981)
CD Atlantic 82687 (1994 remaster)
CD Atlantic AMCY-6326 (2003 Japanese remaster)

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

(212 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

YES Classic Yes reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album is a compilation of among the best early YES songs, from "The Yes Album", "Fragile", "Close to the Edge" and "Going for the One". I find the choice of the songs very well made: "Heart Of The Sunrise", "Wonderous Stories", "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Starship Trooper", "Long Distance Runaround", "Fish", "And You And I", "Roundabout" and "I've Seen All Good People". All those tracks are excellent. The tracks mostly come from "The Yes Album" and "Fragile". It definitely gives the listener an excellent overview of what YES made during the early 70's! The 2 last tracks, "Roundabout" and "I've Seen All Good People" were recorded live.

My rating: 4.5/5

Review by Guillermo
4 stars A compilation of the most representative songs of the band until then, selected by Chris Squire, from YES`s most praised albums ("The YES album", "Fragile" "Close to the Edge"), with also one song from the "Going for the One" album. It also includes previously unreleased live recordings of "Roundabout" and "I`ve seen all good people", recorded during the "Tormatour" in late 1978, which were released as a bonus single included inside the L.P. cover. The C.D. also includes these two live recordings, added at the end of the C.D. tracks listing. The 1994 remastered C.D. also includes additional artwork by Roger Dean.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very comprehensive compilation of the classic YES era. There's not much anything special here for the collectors who are know with the band, except that there are two live songs on it ("Roundabout" and "I've Seen All Good People"), and if you have the original albums as precious vinyl ablums, this might be a good CD to your car for example. The longest epics are not here, if you miss them you should check out "Yesyears" boxed set. Also the material from the two first albums are presented on the "Yesterdays" compilation. By the way, Roger Dean's covers are once more quite nice!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This compilation is a great introduction to the band's career in music industry, spanning from "The Yes Album" (1971) until "Going For The One" (1977) album. Or it can be said since the band hired Steve Howe as guitar player. "Heart Of The Sunrise" (10:32) is a great track with inventive bass lines and soaring keyboard sounds - taken from "Fragile" album. "Wonderous Stories" (3:45) is an acoustic guitar based music featuring nice vocal by Jon Anderson - taken from "Going For The One" album. This compilation also features great tracks from The Yes Album: "Yours Is No Disgrace" (9:41) and "Starship Trooper" (9:26) plus two live tracks.

As I said, it's a great compilation but I would suggest you to purchase each individual album as Yes music is much better enjoyed on album by album basis - not in the form of compilation. But if you never heard Yes music, this represents a good feature of their music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Yours progressively, GW

Review by Australian
3 stars "Classic Yes "was among my first progressive albums and I purchased it along with '90125' and The Ladder' with some of my Birthday money long ago. The three of these albums brought along a great era of music for me and it inspired by to get 'Close to the Edge', 'Relayer' and the rest from the 70's. I personally think this album would be better if it had a song from' Drama', maybe 'Tempus Fugit' to give the listener a taste of everything. Sadly "Classic Yes" has fallen into shadows as I'd just rather listen to the original studio albums. There is a collector's incentive to "Classic Yes" as it includes live version of "Roundabout" and "I've Seen all Good People." There is an interesting section at the end of "I've Seen all Good People" where each member has a short solo. In the End "Classic Yes" is good for a beginner to Yes and for potential collectors of Yes. I find it interesting that only eigth albums in all of Yes's history haven't charted in the UK. Yes's 'Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection' ranked a very high number 10 in the UK which is a testament to the bands ongoing popularity. Good, but non-essential
Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Yes probably best exemplify the impact of the 80s on the rock-god dinosaurs of the generation that preceded the 80s vidiot phase of music. The members of the band changed partners like dancers in a square dance in the wake of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman’s departures during the recording of 1980’s Drama release. Steve Howe and Geoff Downes took their newly-acquired collaboration skills off to form Asia; Alan White and Rick Wakeman hooked up with Jimmy Page to kick off the latest supergroup flop XYZ; Jon Anderson put out his family-and-friends collection Song of Seven; and Trevor Horn returned to his MTV ‘roots’ as a songwriter and producer for such forgettable acts as Frankie Goes to Hollywood and The Art of Noise. You pretty much needed a scorecard to keep track of who ended up where.

Atlantic Records managed to recoup a pound of flesh through all these changes by patching together various concert tracks for the Yesshows live album, and shortly after released Classic Yes with the help of Chris Squire.

The first thing to note about this album is the name: these is not necessarily the ‘Best of’ Yes, nor is it really an anthology, but considering the selection of songs included here ‘Classic’ is an apt title. Clearly the label had a challenge on its hands in selecting the playlist – with Yesshows still on record store shelves, it was unlikely fans would stomach another double album, so including many of the epics like “Gates of Delirium”, “Close to the Edge”, or anything from Tales From Topographic Oceans was probably out of the question. Despite the modest commercial success of Tormato and, to a lesser extent Drama, nothing from those albums could really be considered ‘classic’. And the Yesterdays compilation from the band’s early work was still available, so none of those songs made much sense either. Actually, in that light, the songs that ended up here were probably about the only ones that could have logically been included.

I have the original vinyl version, which shipped with a plainly-labeled 7” single containing the live versions of “Roundabout” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”. I’m not sure exactly which tour these came from, but both are pretty faithful renditions, although the band actually seems to have been in a hurry to play “Roundabout”, as it’s execution borders on perfunctory.

The rest of the album is made up of original studio recordings, so the quality is quite good. These songs are all from The Yes Album and Fragile, except for “And You And I” from Close To The Edge and “Wonderous Stories”, which was still in light rotation on many FM radio stations coming off the Going For The One release a couple years prior. I really can’t think of too many other songs that would have made any more sense than these, with the possible exception of the single edit of “Soon” from “Gates of Delirium” that was added to the re-mastered release of Relayer several years later. That would have sounded nice here.

This is a decent collection of the band’s more accessible and better known works, and in that respect is a very good entry point for those wanting to get into Yes. Combine this with Yesterdays and you have a very decent sampling of the band. If those both appeal to you, then you can start walking through the back catalog and relive the Yes story yourself. If not, at least you’ll have mostly experienced the magic of Yes without having to break the bank or work too hard to find all those other albums. Three stars only because compilations are rarely essential.


Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I purchased the CD version of this compilation somewhere in 1997 or so. At that time, I was reconstructing my YesCatologue on CD. From their early days, I had YesSongs and was quite satisfied with it. From there on, I bought every single YesRecord (till GFTO). When I saw this CD, I had a look at the tracklist and I found it quite catchy so, I decided to buy it. It was a journey back to the past that I was experiencing. Discovering those great studio tracks ages after I started to love them in 1973 with "YesSongs" (for the majority of the songs represented here - the exception being "Wonderous Stories" form GFTO). Since the sound quality of "YesSongs" was rather poor, I was really charmed by some superior studio tracks (you can read my "YesSongs" review for more details). The only song that does not belong here is "The Fish" but fortunately it lasts only for about two minutes. The single CD format is not the best one for a Yes compilation (no epic to be found here of course), but the track selection is really great. I would recommend it to you if you are willing to enter into their most creative period. Four stars.
Review by ghost_of_morphy
4 stars If you need to buy a compilation that has these songs on it, shame on you. This entire collection is culled from the four best albums that Yes has ever released and which you should already own and cherish. That said, this is the CD I'd give to somebody who'd never heard of Yes (or who only heard Owner of a Lonely Heart.) All of the songs on here live up to the word "Classic" and the two live tracks are great (especially I've Seen All Good People.) In a perfect world, I suppose that Wondrous Stories and Heart of the Sunrise would be replaced by Close to the Edge and/or Awaken, so we'll give this one four stars.
Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
3 stars I originally purchased this as an LP when I first started listening to music. Back then, the last two tracks were on a 7-inch single that came with the album. Although I no longer have this album, I still remember it fondly and gave it quite a few spins. I ended up selling it when I had acquired all the earlier albums that the songs on this compilation came from.

This is a decent selection of some of Yes' best material from the early 1970s, but it's main problem is so much was left out. My guess is the record company (or whoever had the power) decided it only wanted one LP and not some multiple-LP set. You can only fit so much on one LP, so to put as many songs on it as possible, the shorter items were chosen. So no Close to the Edge, no Starship Trooper, nothing from Tales from Topographic Oceans, etc.

I guess it served its purpose back in 1981 as an introduction to the classic Yes. Nowadays, if you can find it real cheap you might want to consider it as a good purchase for an introduction to 1970s Yes. I personally would recommend getting The Yes Album or Close to the Edge instead. If you don't like those, there's no sense in buying anything else. If you do, chances are you'll be getting a lot more from Yes. I don't think this compilation is essential at all, but it's got a good selection of songs. Three stars.

Review by Matti
5 stars Another "Classic ---" compilation came to my mind after writing about "Classic [Wishbone] Ash". While I'm a bit embarassed to have quite many compilations in my reviews list as I try to pick items with less reviews, I allow myself to add this beauty (which, in fact, must be one of the most rated compilations in PA). Not only does it contain a fantastic selection of YES from The Yes Album to Going For The One, it has also one of my dearest cover art. Could be the best of Roger Dean's fantasy landscapes with Relayer and Drama.

Chris Squire was the architect of this selection, and I think he did a great job in the limited space of a single LP (the last 2 live tracks were added on a separate 7"). The only way to get something from Topographic Oceans and Relayer too, would have been cruel excerpts of epic works. It rightfully excludes also Tormato and Drama. Could it be titled CLASSIC Yes if it didn't so? As for my finding of 70's YES, I'm not sure how many of the classic albums I found AFTER buying this compilation, but anyway this includes almost exactly my favourite tracks: 'Yours Is No Disgrace' and 'Starship Trooper' from The Yes Album, 'Heart of the Sunrise' from Fragile, 'And You And I' from Close To The Edge. 'Long Distance Runaround' and 'Fish' from Fragile are nice additions to bring more variety. Pretty little 'Wonderous Stories' naturally pales in comparison if you think of 'Awaken' or 'Turn of the Century' from Going For The One, but thank god it's not 'Parallels' or the title track.

To whom this is recommendable is a tougher question. Well, to anybody who doesn't own the studio albums and who will be satisfied to just a narrow selection of some of the best prog music in the universe. ;)

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Oh, well, Yes first ´best of´ package. I can´t say I like it, although all songs are excellent. Yes is one fo those groups you can´t really understand their work without hearing the whole piece. I mean, at least from The Yes Album until Going For The One. I must confess I had this album for a short time, when a friend gave me in the early 90´s. At the time I still had no Yes album in CD. But the moment I heard those songs I knew I had to have the original albums. Those classics have no meaning for me without the other tracks.

Ok, if you´re new to Yes, this is a good starting point. It has some of their best known numbers, but it is also missing many others. Being cheap is the only reason I can recommend this album. Other than that, go get their classics 70´s stuff. It may be more expensive, but you´ll get much more satisfaction also.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A Classic compillation album, from one of the dinosaurs of prog rock!

Well, this review will actually be short compared with the ones i use to write, since it's always easier to review a compillation album than a studio album, and even easier when you know from head to feet and viceversa the music featured.

And yes that is the case, several years listening to Yes' music have not passed along, since i first listened to them i knew that would be a band i will like.

This compillation of a kind of best of, features 9 extraordinary pieces of Yes music in their 70s era, that is why the name of Classic Yes. Here what we will find are 9 songs that any Yes fan know perfectly, songs that describe their music and what they have done to progressive rock, so in my opinion this is a strong compilation album, which is worth listening and recommendable for both a Yes fan or a Yes newbie who is looking for increasing it's love for the band.

Just for mentioning some tracks here, Heart of the Sunrise, Starship Trooper, And You And I and a couple of live versions of the classics Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People.

As i said previously, a strong compilation, and recommendable. 4 stars!

Enjoy it!

Review by progkidjoel
5 stars Yes - Classic YES review

By Progkidjoel

Classic YES is possibly the best starting point for a new listener to the band which held the benchmark for Prog throughout the 70's - What you get it some of their most solid tracks from three of their best albums, for a great price and remastered lovingly. Although not one for the YES fan of years, as I said before, this is the best starting point for a begginer. It includes what many people consider to be YES' most iconic tracks (Other than Close To The Edge) and includes a kickarse live version of ROUNDABOUT, which challenges the original for musicianship.

I consider this to be the easiest to reccomed prog compilation for any listener - Any listener new to YES, that is.

If you're trying out prog, or YES, grab this one and don't think twice.

Keep proggin'!


Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was my introduction to Yes. Apart from "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and to a lesser extent "Roundabout", I had never heard any of their music. The first time I listened to this, "Heart Of The Sunrise" blew me away and "Wondrous Stories" bored me to tears. The two live songs here("Roundabout", "All Good People") didn't really sound good for something recorded in the late 1970s. Overall it was a good introduction to the band.

This collection made me want to get into the band's 3 most popular albums(TYA, Fragile, CTTE), but made me skeptical of anything that came after(and to a certain extent before). If I were to change anything it would be to replace the live songs with the studio versions; and switch "And You And I" and "Wondrous Stories" with "Siberian Khatru" and "Don't Kill The Whale", respectively. "Wondrous Stories" is such a wimpy, unmemorable song. I can't believe this was a hit. I thought everyone was listening to punk at the time. Apparently not. The most popular song of 1977 was Debbie Boone's "You Light Up My Life", so "Wondrous Stories" isn't far off.

This would be 5 star stuff if the changes I wanted were made. But as it is, it's still a good compilation and a great place to start for a newbie. Although, once you get all the 1970s albums you will rarely listen to this again. Nothing essential, great introduction. 3 stars.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Classic Yes was one of my first, if not the first, recollections of hearing Yes. I remember being completely fascinated by the artwork of Roger Dean which was a great companion to the music featured on this compilation. All these first experiences really bring a feeling of nostalgia whenever I revisit this album, which is why it's now an important part of my album collection.

You really cannot go wrong when compiling a collection from the classic Yes years of 1971-72. I think that whoever compiled this album made a decent job and even if the addition of Wonderous Stories makes no sense in the great scheme of things, it adds charm to the already well-balanced compilation. One might question the addition of Chris Squire's Fish (Schindleria Praematurus), but just listen to the combo track of Long Distance Runaround / The Fish off Yessongs and it will hopefully make a bit more sense.

I like the idea of hearing Heart Of The Sunrise as an album-opener and not its conclusion, as it's positioned on Fragile, and it makes me wonder why it wasn't placed as such on the original studio release? Maybe it has to do with Yes being a commercial act that always put their hit material in the beginning of the album, but now I digress. I miss a few tracks like South Side Of The Sky, Sound Chaser and the live version of Perpetual Change. Even though I love both Close To The Edge and Gates Of Delirium, I can clearly see why those tracks wouldn't make much sense on a compilation album and therefore have no problem with their absence.

I could start a discussion on how this and that track could have easily substituted some of the material on this record, but this type of talk only strengths the argument against all type of compilation albums. If you want to hear what Yes were all about, then I suggest you listen to their original studio albums. This compilation gives a solid first bite for anyone who has previously never heard Yes, but remember that you're only seeing a very biased retrospective of their music. Luckily it's not a bad thing in the grand scheme of things, especially since the music here is so good!

***** star songs: Heart Of The Sunrise (10:32) Yours Is No Disgrace (9:41) Starship Trooper (9:26)

**** star songs: Wonderous Stories (3:45) Long Distance Runaround (3:33) Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (2:35) And You And I (10:07) Roundabout (live) (7:23) I've Seen All Good People (live) (7:00)

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Great songs but can't recommend it

Still remember that afternoon back in 1981, when I was walking in front of a record store in my native Lima, immediately a strange but at the same time familiar art cover caught my eyes, it was a YES album that I didn't had. In those days you could only find disco music in Lima, so without listening or even checking the song list, bought the LP.

I was alone in the car, so threw the record to the passenger's seat and didn't checked it until I reached my home, where I placed it in my old Dual turntable and started to listen...Let's be honest, the music was great, but there was a problem, I had all the tracks in other albums and even in a couple of homemade cassettes prepared to be listened in my old Pioneer KP-500.

God, I felt robbed?Why should I pay for songs I already had. To make it worst, the only interesting songs which are two never released before live versions of Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People were mentioned as sold in a separate record that wasn't available in Perú.

That was the drop that spilled the cup, placed the album in an empty LP package (which I never listened again) and immediately framed the art cover for my room (The only valuable thing of the album). That day I decided I would never buy a compilation without checking the songs first and had some previously unreleased material.

Well, that's more or less what I have to say, the album has seven good songs that I would had never bought, so if you are a YES newbie who wants to become familiar with their stuff, buy YESSONGS and if you are already familiar with the band, get the original albums, where the songs are performed in the order that makes sense, don't waste your money in this unnecessary album that only helps the label to make money.

I won't go with one star because the songs are too good, but won't go with more than two, because I don't recommend anybody to buy this sort of "Best of Yes" that isn't worth it's cost.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Classic Yes' - Yes (75/100)

What is the problem with best-of compilations in progressive rock? It's certainly not that progressive bands aren't deserving of them, or even that there isn't a use for them; after all, a go-to record filled with choice cuts from a vast discography can be perfect for someone otherwise daunted by the prospect of going in blind. The real problem, I believe at least, is that record executives (or whoever else is in charge) will often find the songs with the most immediate gratification, some sort of expression that manages to convey a facsimile of the band's essence in the most concise way their discography provides. Almost always in progressive rock, this results in flurries of radio edits, where a gorgeous ten minute epic might be sliced into some three minute echo of itself - seriously, it's like taking a lion, shearing his mane, pulling out his claws, muzzling him, and forcing him to star on a morning kid's TV show. Yes proved they could circumvent this common issue when the eight minute "Roundabout" ate up the radio waves, and Classic Yes is a welcome exception. Perhaps it's become outdated in an age where we can find a recommended song online freely, but Yes' second best-of compilation is still deserving of praise for maintaining its integrity, and actually providing an accurate reflection of Yes' progressive period. While I'd recommend starters The Yes Album or Fragile as good places to begin, Classic Yes is an effective guide for the entry- level fan; in that regard, it accomplishes what it set out for.

Where Classic Yes earns the height of its praise is the fact that none of these tracks have been abridged or dumbed down in any way. "And You And I" would make a lovely three minute track, but there it is in its ten minutes-plus glory. "Heart of the Sunrise" is an epic unto itself, and here it is opening the album, with only the "We Have Heaven" outro excluded for flow's sake. The selections have been mostly plucked from The Yes Album and Fragile, but they extend as far as 1977's Going for the One. Considering the scope and aim of the compilation, they made some great choices, including ones I wouldn't have guessed. "Long Distance Runaround" is featured here as a decent, pop-oriented track, but it's followed by "The Fish", as it was on Fragile. I think "Going for the One" would have been a more interesting choice than the mellow "Wonderous Stories", but for the most part, the essence is captured. Of course, no best-of compilation of Yes could have been complete without "Roundabout", but instead of delivering it in its traditional form, Classic Yes offers a strong 1978 live rendition of the song.

Like I said, this and other best-of compilations have been rendered largely obsolete in the internet age, but Classic Yes represents one of the few times a prog comp was made true to the source material. For that, it's deserving of commendation. Cover art's not too shabby either.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Yesterdays II

I don't review compilations unless there is something extra that is not available on a band's regular albums. The present compilation is a borderline case in this respect because the only extras that you get here compared to the regular albums are two previously unreleased live tracks. On the original 1981 vinyl release of Classic Yes, the two live tracks came on a separate 7" disc that accompanied the LP which held the studio recordings. On later CD editions, the two live tracks were tagged on at the end of the same disc.

The two live tracks are Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People, both recorded in 1978 but on two separate occasions and in two different locations. These are both good and constitute worthy additions to a Yes fan's collection, but these particular versions are not exactly essential. Earlier recordings of both songs were included on Yessongs. Yet, the inclusion of these live tracks together with the nice Roger Dean cover art is what brings Classic Yes it's primary value.

When it comes to the seven studio tracks, these are of course all excellent but in every case better heard in their original album contexts. The selection focuses narrowly on the 1971-72 period with all but one of the seven tracks being taken from the trio of masterpieces The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge. That there is nothing from the two first Yes albums is easily forgiven as the earlier Yesterdays compilation had already focused on that early period, but the fact that there is nothing at all from either Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer, Tormato, or Drama, and only one song from Going For The One, is somewhat harder to overlook. Of course, there is only so much space on a vinyl LP which is a mitigating circumstance, but they could perhaps have expanded this into a double disc set.

Moving now from what isn't here to what is here. The Yes Album is well represented by Yours Is No Disgrace and Starship Trooper, two of that album's best tracks. Close To The Edge is similarly well represented by the wonderful And You And I. Heart Of The Sunrise is a perfect choice from Fragile but I think that Long Distance Runaround and especially Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) are somewhat odd choices for a compilation.

Progressive Rock is not very well suited for compilations and it is strongly recommended to go straight to the original albums from which these songs were taken (plus the live Yessongs). As far as compilations go, the four disc set Yesyears is a better choice than the present one.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nº 174

'Classic Yes' is a compilation of Yes and was released in 1981. Originally it was released as a single LP with a bonus 7 inch 33 1/3 RPM disc featuring live versions of 'Roundabout' and 'I've Seen All Good People' from 1978. However, this version was taken out of circulation in 2003. The Atlantic Records cassette tape has bonus tracks 'Roundabout' as the last selection on side one and 'I've Seen All Good People' as the last selection on side two. On the remastered CD version of 2004 everything has been compiled onto to the main disc, as on the original cassette version.

'Classic Yes' has nine tracks. The first track 'Heart Of The Sunrise' was released on 'Fragile'. It was written by Anderson, Squire and Bruford. It became as one of the best and most popular tracks played live by them. It's the best track on that album and it binds together the gentle and bombastic atmosphere and the fiery technicality that are portrayed on 'Fragile'. It also shows several aspects of Anderson's great vocal abilities. The second track 'Wonderous Stories' was released on 'Going For The One'. It was written by Anderson and is a typical Anderson's song. It's a beautiful ballad with great vocals and beautiful instrumental parts. It's the smallest song on 'Going For The One' and is fascinating how a band can be able to introduce so much complexity into a so short song. The third track 'Yours Is No Disgrace' was released on 'The Yes Album'. It was written by Anderson, Squire, Howe, Kaye and Bruford and is the first long track made by them. The lyrics are simple but musically we can see the progressivity on their music, especially due to the guitar and keyboard workings. The fourth track 'Starship Trooper' is a song divided into three parts, 'Life Seeker', 'Disillusion' and 'Wurm', and was released on 'The Yes Album'. It was written by Howe. It's another long composition and is another great song of the band, which became a classic of Yes. This is the first musical suite composed by them, absolutely fantastic, with great individual musical performances by all band's members. The fifth track 'Long Distance Runaround' was released on 'Fragile'. It was written by Anderson and is the smallest track on 'Fragile'. It's perhaps, the most charming of all 'Fragile' songs, with Anderson singing, while Howe's guitar and Wakeman's keyboards, marry beautifully together in the mix. The sixth track 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)' was released on 'Fragile'. It's the Squire experience on 'Fragile', where he uses the different sounds on his bass guitar. Who read my review of 'Fragile' knows that I don't like very much of the individual tracks of the band, on that album. The seventh track 'And You And I' is a song divided into four parts 'Cord Of Life', 'Eclipse', 'The Preacher The Teacher' and 'The Apocalypse' and was released on 'Close To The Edge'. It was written by Anderson, Howe, Squire and Bruford. It's a melodious track and is probably the most commercial song on 'Close To The Edge'. It's shorter than the title track of that album, but it still has 10 minutes. It's a different piece on 'Close To The Edge' and serves an excellent position as a middle piece, relying less in virtuosity and more on musical atmosphere. The eighth track 'Roundabout' was released on 'Fragile'. But, the version on this compilation is a live version recorded at Oakland's Coliseum, San Francisco, California, USA, in 1978. It was written by Anderson and Howe and became as one of the best known tracks of Yes. This is one of the most played live pieces of Yes, with several versions on diverse live albums. An edited version was released as the A side on a single, with 'Long Distance Runaround' as the B side. It represents the new, collective and more inventive sound of the group, never heard before, and shows the musical power of Yes. The ninth track 'I've Seen All Good People' is a song divided into two parts 'Your Move' and 'All Good People' and was released on 'The Yes Album'. But, the version on this compilation is also a live version, but this time, it was recorded at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London, UK, in 1978. It was written by Anderson and Squire. This is also a classic composition of Yes, very well known, and it remains a standard of those days. It's another brilliant song that explores a vast musical world with great progressivity. It has two distinct musical parts, one more calm and acoustic and the other more rock and aggressive. However, the song shows a perfect balance between both parts of the track.

Conclusion: 'Classic Yes' is a very different compilation of 'Yesterdays', their debut compilation. While 'Yesterdays' has only songs from their first two albums, 'Yes' and 'Time And A Word', 'Classic Yes' has songs from 'Fragile', 'Going For The One', 'The Yes Album' and 'Close To The Edge'. So, while 'Yesterdays' represents the sound of a band giving their first steps, 'Classic Yes' represents the sound of a mature band, with tracks from their four best albums at that time. It has some of the best tracks ever composed by them with the exception of 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)'. So, as I rated 'Yesterdays' with 3 stars, it would be fair that I rated 'Classic Yes' with four stars. However, this is a compilation album and despite 'Classic Yes' be an excellent compilation, perfectly representative of the music of Yes in those times, a compilation never can substitute the original albums. So, it's good but non essential.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by patrickq
3 stars If you want an officially-licensed, one-disc Yes greatest-hits collection, there are two primary options: Classic Yes (1981/1994) and Highlights: The Very Best of Yes (1993). Both have good sound, and each is over an hour long. (Please see my separate mini-review of Highlights: The Very Best if you want to read my opinions of that CD.)

Classic Yes, originally released immediately after the band's breakup, is your choice if you are interested in the band's "classic" period. The Yes Album is represented by two songs, Fragile by three, and Close to the Edge and Going for the One by one each. Finally, we have very good live versions of "Roundabout" (originally from Fragile) and "Your Move/All Good People" (originally from The Yes Album).

I think Classic Yes is a good starting point for people who are potentially interested in Yes, and are already fans of progressive rock. It does seem very odd that "Roundabout" and "Your Move," which were Yes's biggest hit US singles of the 70s (reaching #13 and #40 respectively) would be represented by live versions. But setting aside 14:32 of a 65-minute deep dive for live music seems to make sense.

So what is sacrificed to arrive at just 65 minutes of Yes? (I'm not going to address song selection, which has been covered by other reviewers here, and which seems to be controversial whenever we're discussing the compilation of a "best of" or "greatest hits" album.) Most obviously, Classic Yes entirely skips over six of the ten studio LPs Yes had recorded prior to 1981, including their first two albums, which means that several lineups and several group members are excluded.

The bottom line is that this CD unabashedly celebrates the "classic" version of Yes as Atlantic Records wanted the band to be remembered after their breakup. All but one of the songs originate from three albums released between February 1971 and September 1972 (the exception is "Wonderous Stories" (3:45), from 1977, which had been their biggest hit in the UK.). Listeners new to Yes will only get one piece of the picture.

But that piece is the band's best period. As "best of" compilations go, Classic Yes is actually pretty good, and recommended listening for those considering the purchase of more from this band.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Review - #13 (Yes - Classic Yes) Classic Yes is the second compilation album released by the band in November of 1981. It was released after the group had separated in early 1981. All of the tracks were compiled by bassist Chris Squire and the cover was designed by Roger Dean. In addition, th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2537335) | Posted by Prog Zone | Friday, April 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have mixed feelings about this album.Given that the intention presumably was to lure the casual fan, not including the studio version of Roundabout seems to me a huge mistake given that that track is arguably their defining moment. To me it is like leaving off "Stairway To Heaven" off a Led Z ... (read more)

Report this review (#1721937) | Posted by Lupton | Monday, May 15, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Yes is a group truly impossible to encapsulate in a restricted format like this, but Classic Yes does a pretty good job. Focusing primarily on the band's "classic" period (hence the title), this compilation came out after the commercial failure Drama and before the commercial windfall of 9012 ... (read more)

Report this review (#922894) | Posted by coasterzombie | Sunday, March 3, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Is it possible to put out a greatest hits album containing the best of Yes? Not really. This release contains about 65 minutes of music. 2 tracks are live. "Roundabout" and "Iv'e Seen All Good People". I hear it was Chris Squire who selected the songs to include on the disc. Must have been an almo ... (read more)

Report this review (#749360) | Posted by mohaveman | Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very good best of album. It introduces the listener to some classic yes songs while not given to many. I dislike large anthology albums as i find they can include to many difficult songs. The only problem i have abou this album is Fish which i find annoying and I also dislike the inclu ... (read more)

Report this review (#164985) | Posted by Singe-fou | Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Compiled by Chris Squire" ...He compiled it,so he can include "The fish" in it...:) Egomaniac...ok,it's only 2:35 long... The songs are all great,but where is Awaken,Close to the edge,Siberian khatru,Sound chaser... Ok ok,maybe I want too much,but he could pulled it off with a double vinyl.. ... (read more)

Report this review (#140359) | Posted by Frier_John | Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Essential for first prog adventurers, this is the compilation that will make you stick around with Yes for a while - if not forever. here we basically have a most strong songs, from their most representative albums, the most catchy ones: the beautiful ones. this was the first yes cassette i ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#128934) | Posted by luisman | Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars EXCELLENT compilation in terms of what tracks were selected.. But Yes isn't really that compilation-friendly. The best thing for newcomers (hah, like there are any here) to Yes is to buy The Yes Album or Fragile and be immersed in the greatness album wide, the tracks shine together, and each albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#104887) | Posted by OGTL | Friday, December 29, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It was really impossible to make a compilation of the seventies years with YES. Probably this compilation found a sense after the seventies, before a complete change with 90125. The vinyl edition does not includes the two unreleased live tracks. My first impressing when I saw the album for t ... (read more)

Report this review (#48497) | Posted by spide | Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This albums contains all the essential yes songs of the 70's, with songs from Close to the Edge, The Yes Album, Fragile and Going for the One. But unfortuntly there are no songs from Relayer (or Tales From Topographic ocens). They could have added Sound Chaser to it to make the collection more ... (read more)

Report this review (#48446) | Posted by Olympus | Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 4.5 stars Here we have a great compilation of Yes' truly "classic" material ranging from their most acclaimed early '70's albums. It was put together by bassist Chris Squire. A live version of Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People is included, making it worthwhile for the completionist. ... (read more)

Report this review (#44058) | Posted by | Wednesday, August 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the best compilation I have ever had. This album is the album I loan out to my freinds when they are interested in Yes. The live songs are incredible and also adds to the idea of a collectible item (these tracks cannot be found anywhere else except on a bootleg maybe...). If you're new ... (read more)

Report this review (#37690) | Posted by drumsandbass | Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This wonderful compilation was the second YES CD I purchased, the first being "Close to the edge". I`d been a big YES fan since before the release of the "90125" album in`83, owning all the albums on vinyl, but by the early nineties it was time to move to CD`s. This is where "Classic Yes" comes ... (read more)

Report this review (#13661) | Posted by | Monday, March 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'd never heard of Yes unitl I heard Homeworld from The Ladder and the the only reason I heard that was because it was in the credits of the videogame Homeworld. I was hooked right then and there. I went looking for a copy of the Ladder but it wasn't in print at the time so I eventually bought C ... (read more)

Report this review (#13658) | Posted by | Tuesday, February 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The ONLY thing I gotta say about this, is that after hearing this stuff, I bought THe Yes Album, and the rest of their works, I really have a special appreciation on this album, it was the beginning of what will be now 5 years of listening and loving this band. Compilations help to gain more audienc ... (read more)

Report this review (#13651) | Posted by Carlos | Saturday, April 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For those with no previous exposure to Yes this is a compilation that will make you want to purchace the entire back catalogue. Those who already own every Yes album will have a reason to own it for the live cuts. Everybody wins! ... (read more)

Report this review (#13650) | Posted by Matt | Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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