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Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

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Yes biography
Active since 1968 with varying formations - Two major hiatus between 1981-1983 and 2004-2008

YES formed in London (UK) in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and suprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

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Buy YES Music

The Steven Wilson Remixes (6LP)The Steven Wilson Remixes (6LP)
Atlantic Catalog Group 2018
$70.91 (used)
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)
Elektra Catalog Group 2004
$9.54 (used)
Fragile (Expanded & Remastered)Fragile (Expanded & Remastered)
Elektra Catalog Group 2003
$3.72 (used)
Fragile: Expanded / RemixedFragile: Expanded / Remixed
Panegyric 2015
$15.36 (used)
The Yes AlbumThe Yes Album
Panegyric 2014
$16.00 (used)
Close To The Edge (Expanded & Remastered)Close To The Edge (Expanded & Remastered)
Elektra Catalog Group 2003
$4.62 (used)
Extra tracks · Remastered
Rhino 2004
$4.18 (used)
Panegyric 2014
$16.00 (used)
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YES discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 1217 ratings
3.29 | 1270 ratings
Time And A Word
4.30 | 2637 ratings
The Yes Album
4.44 | 3259 ratings
4.66 | 4133 ratings
Close To The Edge
3.90 | 2238 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
4.36 | 2815 ratings
4.03 | 1857 ratings
Going For The One
2.98 | 1407 ratings
3.77 | 1557 ratings
2.97 | 1449 ratings
2.50 | 1061 ratings
Big Generator
2.50 | 976 ratings
3.05 | 887 ratings
2.03 | 775 ratings
Open Your Eyes
3.27 | 911 ratings
The Ladder
3.75 | 1038 ratings
3.41 | 1032 ratings
Fly From Here
2.37 | 553 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2.83 | 43 ratings
Fly From Here - Return Trip

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.33 | 895 ratings
3.64 | 465 ratings
2.27 | 239 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
4.11 | 483 ratings
Keys to Ascension
3.97 | 453 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
2.58 | 136 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
3.58 | 203 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2.67 | 37 ratings
Extended Versions
2.89 | 35 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
3.85 | 173 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
4.22 | 282 ratings
Symphonic Live
4.48 | 157 ratings
Keys To Ascension (Full)
3.31 | 36 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
3.54 | 129 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
3.64 | 58 ratings
Union Live
2.77 | 55 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
4.23 | 77 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
3.36 | 61 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
3.56 | 38 ratings
Topographic Drama: Live Across America

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.67 | 167 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
3.19 | 99 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
4.12 | 86 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
3.67 | 39 ratings
The Union Tour Live
2.93 | 53 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
4.43 | 7 ratings
The Best Of MusikLaden Live
3.61 | 115 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
3.69 | 125 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
4.59 | 310 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
3.07 | 71 ratings
2.38 | 79 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
3.12 | 34 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
3.60 | 91 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
4.29 | 165 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
3.42 | 67 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
3.33 | 61 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
3.63 | 54 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
3.95 | 131 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
3.83 | 45 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
3.84 | 41 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
3.19 | 28 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
3.92 | 62 ratings
Union - Live
3.04 | 5 ratings
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavillion October 3rd 1971

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 11 ratings
2 Originals Of Yes
3.10 | 211 ratings
3.79 | 175 ratings
Classic Yes
3.27 | 111 ratings
3.46 | 74 ratings
3.02 | 74 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
2.56 | 32 ratings
The Best of Yes
3.55 | 462 ratings
2.71 | 22 ratings
4.29 | 120 ratings
In A Word
3.14 | 95 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2.13 | 63 ratings
2.52 | 23 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
3.24 | 139 ratings
The Word Is Live
3.88 | 24 ratings
Essentially Yes
3.52 | 18 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
5.00 | 2 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
4.07 | 43 ratings
Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.28 | 22 ratings
Something's Coming
3.47 | 15 ratings
Looking Around
2.82 | 27 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
3.34 | 19 ratings
Sweet Dreams
3.41 | 36 ratings
Time and a Word
3.45 | 46 ratings
Your Move
3.12 | 15 ratings
4.63 | 16 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
2.87 | 48 ratings
4.74 | 19 ratings
And You And I
3.21 | 15 ratings
3.24 | 38 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
2.40 | 15 ratings
Yes Solos
3.66 | 39 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
4.04 | 38 ratings
Going For The One 12''
4.20 | 11 ratings
Turn Of The Century
2.66 | 49 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
3.01 | 36 ratings
Into The Lens
4.23 | 43 ratings
2.35 | 41 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
2.15 | 44 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
2.69 | 37 ratings
Leave It
2.82 | 21 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
3.09 | 32 ratings
It Can Happen
2.39 | 9 ratings
Rhythm Of Love
2.93 | 30 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
2.25 | 38 ratings
Rhythm Of Love (2)
3.33 | 20 ratings
Saving My Heart
2.56 | 40 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
2.48 | 10 ratings
Lift Me Up
2.76 | 18 ratings
Make It Easy
2.60 | 11 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
2.58 | 24 ratings
The Calling
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lightning Strikes (She Ay ... Do Wa Bap)
2.82 | 71 ratings
2.08 | 5 ratings
Selections From The Word Is Live
3.04 | 62 ratings
We Can Fly

YES Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.66 | 4133 ratings

Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Chaser

5 stars Yes, this is my first ever review on PA and, yes, I am starting with an album that has probably been reviewed more times than I have listened to it, but how could I not begin with the most celebrated album from my favourite prog rock band?

What new insights can I add to the reams and reams that have already been written about this seminal album?

Probably none. But I can talk about my own experience of listening to this album for over 30 years.

For me, this one of the greatest albums ever made. Flawless in its composition and execution, all of its parts fit together perfectly and the whole album flows seamlessly.

I have played this album so many times over more than 30 years, and I never get bored of it. In fact, I constantly find new elements to enjoy.

This is an album that I could play several times a day and still want more. In fact, I think that, if I lived for a thousand years and played this album every day, I still wouldn't get bored of it. That's how good this album is.

You cannot be a serious prog rock fan and not own this album. It is beyond essential and is arguably prog rock's greatest masterpiece. 5 stars is not enough.

 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.66 | 4133 ratings

Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by ElliotYork

5 stars Being a 90s kid who didn't get into prog until his early 20s, Close to the Edge was always this ancient behemoth of prog rock that loomed like a shadow over the bands I was familiar with (Rush and DT particularly). As such, I hesitated for a long time before diving in, afraid that I somehow wasn't ready.

One day, I finally decided to Youtube the title track. I was expecting something Floyd-esque, maybe with some of the edge and virtuosity of Rush. What I heard was ... unlike anything I'd ever heard before. I liked it, but I didn't quite *get* it yet. It sounded messy and chaotic and alien, almost. But I enjoyed it.

I left it aside for a while, until several months later I decided to play the album at the bookstore I work at. It was a quiet morning so I was able to focus my ears on the music while stacking books on shelves.

It was one of the finest music-listening experiences of my life.

From the opening intro chirps and chimes, the way Howe's guitar seems to come in suddenly from out of space, the absolute frenzy that follows, the reassembly of sound that happens when the verse riff kicks, the staccato vocal melodies, the sheer awe and bombast of Wakeman's "Dracula at the organ" moment (as my co-worker called it with a disapproving look on her face ... her loss) and Anderson's angelic, soaring vocals ... the song was from another planet and it was there to visit me personally.

This story may sound like fluff over an oft-revered prog classic, but it's as honest as I can be. The title-track is the quintessential side-long prog epic. End of story.

But none of that is to sleep on the excellent two tracks on the other side. And You and I is a gem in more ways than one, and any album that doesn't contain something as expansive as the title-track, this might have been the album's *epic*. As it stands though, it's a welcome change of pace from the frenzy of side A and a great track in its own right.

Siberian Khatru is also no slouch. This track has funk and riffs for days. Just like track two was the perfect pace to follow up on the title-track, Siberian Khatru follows that up again beautifully by closing the album full of energy. It's an incredibly fun song.

Comparing this magnificent album to modern prog releases makes me appreciate what the LP format brought to the genre - restraint. Prog, as we all know, is a genre of expansion and excess, but the (approx) 44 minute cap of the LP format meant that artists could only put forward their best work - rather than feeling the need to fill out every CD release to the full 76 minutes (Dream Theater) or two whole discs (The Flower Kings). It really shows on this album: Yes gave us a masterpiece epic track and two very, very great songs to go along with it. And that's it. They didn't throw in an extra filler track, they gave us just what we needed, and nothing more. THAT is why this album is a behemoth of prog rock, and THAT is why it is the highest rated album on this site.

 Drama by YES album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.77 | 1557 ratings

Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by babylonstrange

5 stars I saw the Yes Drama tour and remember when the original Yes members left the stage to leave Downes and Horn alone to perform Video Killed The Radio Star and other Buggles hits that half the audience booed. I think those guys that booed didn't realize the history they were witnessing. OK Buggles aren't prog but don't forget that VKTRS was the first video every shown on MTV, signaling a new era in music. But, hey, this isn't some novelty album. Of the neo-symphonic Yes albums it's clearly the best, with homages to Relayer and hints of Progressive Metal yet to come. A bridge between the old and the new that future Yes albums failed to live up to. I think it's second only to Closer to The Edge as a studio album. Yes Album and Fragile are much better as parts of Yessongs. 90125 may have inspired more of the modern prog bands, but some of it's hardly even rock, let alone prog; I don't think I've made it through the whole album in 30+ years. Drama on the other hand stands up just fine and I listen to it on a regular basis. So why is to good? As Jon and Wakeman started to go wishy-washy and left the band, Steve Howe gets to play a major role in the album, and do some of his heaviest work on Machine Messiah, but it's still Yes through and through. If Dream Theater ever decide to do a Yes cover in their bootleg series then Drama is definitely the album for it. Heaven forbid but the Buggles hit I am Camera morphs into a modern prog classic as Into the Lens, with Relayeresque guitars and keyboards, but with lyrics that you can actually understand, plus a heavy dose of classic Squire's classic bass. White's drums are great throughout, and Downes and Horn are eye opening. What a shame this was just a one-off lineup. So it's Yes's forgotten album, but what a great record.
 The Yes Album by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.30 | 2637 ratings

The Yes Album
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by SonomaComa1999

5 stars REVIEW #9 - "The Yes Album" by Yes (1971). 07/07/2018

Its been a while since I've done a review, and over the last few weeks I was able to witness my first Yes concert. While the group today is radically different than it was in the seventies, with Steve Howe being the only remaining permanent member from that period, the band still played a myriad of works from throughout their history. One album the band relied on heavily was 1971's "Yes Album", which is largely considered to be the band's breakthrough work.

Two month's prior to the release of the band's second studio album "Time and a Word", the band's original guitarist Peter Banks left the group. This set the stage for Steve Howe to enter the band, bringing Yes's sound to the next level as they were trying to find their footing in the progressive rock world. Howe's presence would elevate the band, even prior to the induction of keyboardist Rick Wakeman. While Wakeman would join Yes later in 1971, Tony Kaye is still keyboardist on this album. Otherwise, we have the same lineup of Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass), and Bill Bruford (drums). With pressure from Atlantic Records to produce an album that was commercially successful, Yes got to work in creating the album which would give them a taste of success at the mainstream level.

The album begins with "Yours Is No Disgrace", which is a very well-liked live staple of the band which gives the listener a wonderful taste of what the band can bring to the table in 1971 as opposed to 1970. In addition to the powerful drumming of Bruford and the diverse bass techniques of Squire, we hear the very fast-paced and borderline acoustic style of Howe's ES-175. I would say that this piece is a great exposition to the album, and furthermore very progressive to boot with a few guitar solos and a keyboard solo. Kaye is not as talented on the keyboards as Wakeman would be, but nevertheless holds his own enough to not distract from the music. "Disgrace" is an anti-war tune that lasts almost ten-minutes, and gives enough instrumental breathing room to compensate for Anderson's vocal passages. I understand that some people are turned off by the vocalist's falsetto, but I view Anderson as probably the defining member of the band alongside Howe, and his voice gives Yes a level of uniqueness that allowed them to stand out in prog. However, Howe deserves a lot of credit for the direction of the band, as evidenced by the acoustic interlude "Clap" that follows the opener. I am personally a big fan of Howe's acoustic work, and "Clap" is perhaps his greatest achievement in that regard. Sourced from a live performance, it is a three-minute fast and upbeat instrumental influenced by Chet Atkins and Mason Williams. I found this song particularly inspiring thanks to its similarities to the work of gypsy jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt, who introduced me to the quality of critically listening to music. That being said, one will appreciate "Clap" even more when they realize how difficult it is to play; not only is at a rapid tempo, but Howe utilizes a special technique when he does not only use a pick, but he also strums with his ring and pinky fingers simultaneously, demonstrating his impeccable ability with the guitar. Howe would go on to contribute more acoustic pieces to the band, as well as a live solo album dedicated entirely to acoustic work, which I recommend you check out if you are a fan of "Clap" and its style.

Rounding out the first side is quite possibly my favorite Yes song in "Starship Trooper". In typical progressive fashion, the song is split into three parts, with each part being written by a different member of the band. Seguing directly out of "Clap" the first part "Life Seeker" immediately impresses with its spacey opening sound combined with Howe's guitar. Written by Anderson and based on the 1959 scifi novel "Starship Troopers", the vocals are extremely prevalent here, with a theme of religious realization and the search for God, a topic which he seemingly like to rely on. This is a very fun passage, with Squire's bass being especially prevalent alongside Bruford's drums. With a rhythm section as powerful as the Fish and Bruford, it is absolutely key to utilize them to their strengths, which is what Yes does on this track. After three minutes we enter the movement "Disillusion", penned by Squire. The symphonic element of Yes is emphasized here with an acoustic backdrop which eventually moves its way back towards a reprise. I found it surprising that Squire did not a radical bassline that would allow him to show off his skill more than in "Life Seeker". Finally, the final part of the song is in my opinion one of the best passages in the Yes catalog - the instrumental "Wurm" penned by Howe. Based on a piece used in Howe's old band Bodast, it is a cadenza of chords played at a tempo reminiscent of Ravel's "Bolero" that goes along a continuous build-up lasting a couple minutes with the help of Kaye's keyboards and intense drums. Finally at the climax Howe comes back in at the forefront for one last great guitar solo that serves as the de facto coda. Not to discredit Howe's epic shredding session, but Squire's deep throttling bass in the background absolutely makes this moment for me as it just augments the electronic treble coming from the ES-175. Fading out to conclude the first side, Yes could have seriously stopped there; in fact I think this song would have been great as the absolute album closer, but I was satisfied when the band used this piece as the grand finale of the show that I went to - to make things cooler the group did have Tony Kaye come out during the encore to perform this piece alongside "Disgrace".

Picking up where we left off, the band brings on another progressive suite with "I've Seen All Good People", which is split into two passages as opposed to three. Opening up with an a cappella vocal harmony, Howe enters the scene with a Portuguese vachalia guitar for the Anderson-penned part "Your Move" which in similar fashion to "Life Seeker" provides deeply philosophical lyrics to aid with the sublime musical themes and motifs. In fact, things get intensely progressive as Anderson likens the human relationship to a game of chess, long before Gryphon made that album with the chess concept. There is a spontaneous transition to the second part "All Good People", written by Squire and this time featuring a technical and discernible bassline to go behind the chorus. There are a couple references to the works of John Lennon in this song, from a lyrical reference to the song "Instant Karma!" to an organ motif that bears similarity to "Give Peace a Chance". Maybe this was some sort of unintended foreshadowing for the eventual induction of Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White into the band, who played on Lennon's hit "Imagine". While I have never been much of a huge fan of this piece, it did surprisingly garner the approval of music critic and vocal prog-hater Robert Christgau of the Village Voice, who referred to it as a "great cut". Of course he would later go on to rate the album as a "B-". Perhaps the only piece which falls short on this album is the simplistic "A Venture" which relies heavily on both Kaye and Anderson. It is not a bad track, but it just fails to stand out in an album which is staffed by seminal tunes composed by the band. Fortunately, it is only about three minutes long, roughly the same size as "Clap" and is over with quite quickly as the band decided to omit a Howe guitar solo which comes in right as the music fades out. We finish things off with another Yes classic which I look upon very highly in "Perpetual Change". I consider this tune to be the most upbeat of the tracks on "the Yes Album", and is grandiose enough to match "Starship Trooper" to close a side of the album. While the lyrics come with a rather unnatural mellow and prodding background, the band hits the nail on the head with the symphonic chorus, and better yet, includes a progressive middle instrumental section that features the band going off in two different directions similar to the style of King Crimson. While I prefer the intensity of "Starship Trooper", "Perpetual Change" holds its own in concluding the album while still being a classic staple of the band, largely in thanks to the power of its choruses. I find the ending to be a little bit underwhelming, and I still stand by my opinion that "Trooper" is the natural conclusion to this album in its entirety.

"The Yes Album" reached #4 on the UK album charts, serving as Yes's commercial breakthrough. Better yet, the album set the stage for the release of the seminal "Fragile" album released later that year, and eventually the GOAT album "Close to the Edge" in 1972. All three of these albums have been given their fair share of respect in the prog community, and all three deserve to be labeled as essential works of prog. The vast majority of this album is memorable and listenable, and even when the filler track "A Venture" is involved, there still are no negative takeaways from this album. In fact, the group would continue to get better by adding Wakeman for the next album. As I have noted, "Starship Trooper" is my personal favorite Yes composition, but "Clap" is also one of my favorite prog tunes since I'm a huge fan of Howe's acoustic work. In many ways, it could be argued that Steve Howe is the member responsible for Yes's ascension to prog fame, as his guitar work on this album excelled in bringing the band's sound into its own. I look forward to reviewing these golden age Yes albums in the future, mainly because they have stood the test of time which remaining obviously seventies. For "the Yes Album", I award a five-star rating (94% - A) which puts it ahead of their 1973 album "Tales from Topographic Oceans", which I reviewed earlier (and you should check out).

 Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss by YES album cover DVD/Video, 2004
3.60 | 91 ratings

Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Everyone seems to have to do an acoustic album/concert nowadays. Some are good, but most fall flat. It's especially hard to do a progressive acoustic album because usually the progressive elements get washed out in trying to perform the music in acoustic form. There are two bands that seem to have excelled in doing this however: Porcupine Tree and Yes. This review is for Yes' Acoustic album.

This album has in concert acoustic performances of some classic Yes songs that we are all used to hearing done with a full band. It is an intriguing curiosity, it nothing else, to wonder how Yes' songs would sound stripped down to the acoustics. How will the progressive elements fare when all the bells and whistles are taken away? Well I have to say, this is a pleasant surprise. I was not expecting to like this album. The line up is amazing, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Alan White, Chris Squire and Jon Anderson are all there. And they pull this off beautifully. Wakeman and Howe stand out the most, playing their respective acoustic instruments substituting all of their electronics for the wooden sound of the piano and acoustic guitar.

The songs are shortened somewhat, which is to be expected, because some of the long passages just would not have translated well. "South Side of the Sky" of course didn't have to have the piano interlude altered too much because it is acoustic in the original. But now the rest of the song fits the acoustic-ness of that solo and it works nicely. "Roundabout" is amazing in it's acoustic version, though shortened leaving out some part I would have liked to hear, but it is still quite satisfying and takes on an interesting rhythm in it's acoustic version. "Your Move" is about what you expect because it was mostly acoustic in the original, but what really works is when they break into "Seen All Good People". This really works out well. Everything else works very well here too and when everything is said and done, you are only left wanting so much more. Yes did not wear out their welcome on this acoustic album, and that is the biggest flaw here. The audio portion is only 37 minutes, and I can think of so many more songs I would have loved to hear with this treatment, especially considering the quality and enjoy-ability of the songs that are included here.

Because of the brevity of the of the audio portion of this album (it comes with a 30 minute documentary narrated by Rick Wakeman) it makes what could have been a 5 star album (if it continued to be as good as this was) down to a 4 star album. It only leaves you wanting so much more. Amazing sound and performances make this a worthwhile album and it also should be a standard for other progressive bands that want to do the same thing.

 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.90 | 2238 ratings

Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by SonomaComa1999

4 stars REVIEW #5 - "Tales from Topographic Oceans" by Yes (1973), 5/30/2018

I had to eventually review this album. Ever since I was introduced to Yes at my local record store, where I was gifted a beat-up copy of "Close to the Edge", I always felt wary to give this album a try. It is perhaps the biggest target for critics of the genre, men such as Robert Christgau or Lester Bangs who lambasted every single album that they could get their hands on. It was the biggest justification for the punk rockers to revolt and depose of progressive rock in favor of more accessible and commercially-friendly music. This album of course, is Yes's 1973 epic "Tales from Topographic Oceans", which I consider the most interesting album to review given how the entire prog community has split feelings on whether it was a masterpiece, or a dud.

"Close to the Edge" is the greatest progressive rock album of all time. Yes had already cemented their legacy with their previous three studio albums, and it would have taken a godly masterpiece to top it. The band was experiencing internal tensions, as drummer Bill Bruford was recruited by Robert Fripp to join the new King Crimson, and promptly left the band, being replaced by Alan White of the Plastic Ono Band. Bruford and Yes remained close, and at the drummer's wedding, Yes vocalist Jon Anderson had a conversation with King Crimson percussionist and Buddhist Jamie Muir. Anderson, who already experienced with spiritual themes in Yes's music, was introduced to the works of the guru Paramahansa Yogananda by Muir; giving Anderson an idea for what would be the theme for "Tales." After briefly reading Yogananda's 1946 book "Autobiography of a Yogi" the vocalist was dead set on what would become the next Yes album. Although he was able to get guitarist Steve Howe on board, the rest of the band was indifferent or flat out skeptical of the concept. It would be a very rough and tedious ride; Anderson's ideas were grandiose as he centered the album's theme around the Hindu scriptures known as the "shastras". Throughout the recording process, the band was further strained; namely keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who resorted to getting drunk in the studio - most notably he would play keyboards for heavy metal icons Black Sabbath on the song "Sabbra Cadabra" since the two bands were recording albums at the same time.

All signs point to this album being controlled by Jon Anderson in its entirety; the singer had great aspirations for his album, and even in retrospect he still holds it in high regard. Initially wanting to record in the country, he had the studio outfitted with robotic cows and fake barns to simulate a farm, and even tried unsuccessfully to record on linoleum tiles to get a "bathroom sound." Anderson's antics only exacerbated trouble, especially as the album was laid out. "Tales from Topographic Oceans" at first glance looks like one of the most ambitious albums in prog; a double LP consisting of four twenty-minute epics, all of which are intertwined into a deeply philosophical concept. By the time the album was finished, the studio decorations were ruined, and the band was mentally and physically exhausted. While the product was complete, it became evident that the album was in reality incomplete. Nevertheless, the band's popularity at the time ensured the album reached the top of the charts in the UK. It is rather hilarious to realize that in 1973 an album with four twenty-minute songs (the antithesis of commercially- friendly) was able to top an album chart. It nearly cracked the top five in America as well.

Anderson refers to the four epics of this album as "movements." The first is "The Revealing Science of God/Dance of the Dawn" at just over twenty-two minutes. Originally intended to be twenty-eight, it was cut down to meet the physical constraints of vinyl. Rife with massive guitar solos, Howe claimed that he embarked on these massive passages thanks to the popularity of American guitarist Frank Zappa, who at the time explored very progressive music across the pond. However, unlike "Hot Rats", the work on this album gets extremely tiring quick, and therein lies the biggest problem with "Tales". At just over eighty minutes, your casual listener will get bored quickly. I had a musically-curious friend of mine who is a fan of the much more popular hip-hop genre listen to this album, and I challenged him to see how far he could get before turning it off. He made it just over ten minutes into this song before giving up. Now while it may be a bit inaccurate to throw something as difficult and inaccessible as "Tales" to your average pop music listener, I feel that it is indicative of the underlying problem with this album. That being said, "The Revealing" is perhaps the best song on the album, featuring traditional Yes melodies and arrangements which can allure a fan of the band's more successful work. A lot of the themes presented early on are reprised to death, something which I personally was unimpressed with, and ultimately the listener will wish that these songs were cut in half in size. Fortunately, we get a strong closing movement with this one similar to "Close to the Edge" which wraps things up well enough.

The band goes off the beaten path with "The Remembering/High the Memory". Rather than pursuing another traditional symphonic Yes epic, the band moves into the sub-genre of progressive folk. Anderson modeled this movement to mimic the ebbing tide of the ocean, something which a listener can pick up on if they focus closely on the music. Since I am a rather blunt listener, I did not notice it at first, and it was a rather cool revelation when I read that the song had this kind of dynamic element to it. Unfortunately, there is even more filler here than on the previous song; save for a Wakeman keyboard solo presented in the latter half of the epic. Keep in mind it will take in excess of fifteen minutes for the listener to reach this moment. One difference between the epics on this album and that of "Close to the Edge's" title track is that these ones are not broken up into individual movements which paint a clearer picture of the tendencies of the epic. Rather Yes throws at us a huge brick of music which we have to break into little pieces to truly absorb. "The Remembering" moves at a very brisk pace, yet represents a very progressive piece of music as the spiritual themes of the album are present. Interestingly Anderson took the Indian epic poem "Mahabharata" as inspiration for this piece, or the "smriti" Hindu scriptures in general. The Mahabharata is one of the longest written works of literature in human history, ten times longer than Homer's Iliad and Odyssey COMBINED. Therefore it is quite fitting that a song about it is in excess of twenty-minutes; it's a shame that it wasn't thirty so that even devout prog listeners would get put to sleep trying to traverse through its experimental and cooling tide.

On the second LP, we move on to "The Ancient/Giants under the Sun", which is by far the most experimental of the four movements. It is also a more clear cut piece with two separate parts - the first is a very progressive guitar showcase by Howe, backed up by White's drums. To me this was the hardest part of the album to truly take in and appreciate, the inaccessibility here will turn off most listeners as Howe explores guitar scales and moves into an infinitesimal space of various sounds and motifs. However the second part is much more clear cut, and very musically appealing - Anderson and Howe combine as the latter puts on an acoustic showcase. In reality, this is the most beautiful moment of the album; this second part is referred to as "Leaves of Grass" and features some deeply philosophical lyrics about the human condition. It is often played on its own in Yes live concerts, fortunately without its much more abstract counterpart. Both Anderson and Howe look upon this song favorably for its technicality and musical diversity, and while I can appreciate the progressive nature of the first part, I feel that the real takeaway from this movement lies in "Leaves of Grass." It also seems that the bulk of the positive reviews of this album from critics praise this passage, while they tend to slam its predecessor.

The band closes out this leviathan of an album with yet another movement, "Ritual/Nous Sommes du Soleil" which is a return to the traditional Yes sound which many are fans of. While the inner two movements feature a lot of experimental passages which lack uniformity, "The Revealing" and "Ritual" seem to contain much more alluring melodies and grandiose passages which will garner the attention of the listener, granted he wants to endure the massive piles of noises which will bombard you in the process towards reaching those mountainous peaks. That being said, this is another solid offering by the band. While I am much less optimistic on the previous two movements, "Ritual" reinvigorates my spirit and will to complete this album. I always am fooled into thinking that the album completely ends halfway through, as the band carries through what I believe to be the ultimate climax. Even though Yes carries on for another twelve minutes, I feel like if things had been cut off here, I would have been satisfied - maybe the band didn't know where to stop, or more likely, had to come up with material to fill up a second LP, granted they had too much material for just a single vinyl. Ultimately I feel the band did a proper job finalizing the album with this suite, but even by the time "Ritual" begins, your average listener will be truly and unequivocally exhausted.

Steve Howe referred to the four movements of this album in a very concise manner. "The Revealing" is ironically considered to be "the commercial or easy-listening" side of the album, where the band unveiled the sounds and textures which had achieved much success in "Close to the Edge." There is one major problem however, as there seems to be something missing in the music which the previous album hand, and midway through my review I realized it; the absence of Bill Bruford and the addition of a mediocre Alan White takes away the heavy edge which the previous three albums had to hammer down the rhythm. Meanwhile, Howe acknowledges the folk influences on "The Remembering", claiming it to be a lighter and folky side of the band - in my opinion this movement is too light, taking away a lot of what made the band so pleasurable to listen to on previous albums. In the midst of trying to be progressive in their approach, the band abandoned the best traits of their music, leaving behind a rather empty and uninspiring piece. "The Ancient" is quite literally described by Howe as transcending from "electronic mayhem turning into acoustic simplicity." At face value this is a true statement, but I feel that mayhem is just too dissonant to actually translate into good music. It isn't like King Crimson where the dissonance is channeled into the music to create extremely diverse and brilliant instrumentals, but rather it is mayhem for the sake of being progressive. I have absolutely no complaints about the "Leaves of Grass" portion of this movement, for I consider it to be one of the positive takeaways of the album. Finally, "Ritual" is the grandiose closing piece which the band wraps up "Tales" with, and really it is just as good as "The Revealing" but should have ended a bit earlier to truly hammer down the point with the listener.

"Tales from Topographic Oceans" is a very hard album to judge given that it is rich in music and talent yet lacking in design. Many people absolutely adore it, while some detest its mere existence. I fall somewhere leaning towards masterpiece, but more of an "above average work" which deserves a little bit more respect from the rest of the community. It is by no means essential in the sense that it is listenable, but rather essential in the sense that it was a milestone for the genre; you could argue that "Tales" killed prog and gave rise to punk. That is enough to make it essential but it still is not a masterpiece. Had the songs been appropriately shortened, I feel like there were enough good moments here to flirt with a five-star review, but the abjectly long songs hamper it enough to nearly give it three stars. Looking back upon the album, Anderson admitted that it was too long, and hinted towards a potential updated version which is much more succinct without the vinyl constraints which were the folly of the band back in 1973. Every prog fan should at least attempt to listen to this album in its entirely, but it is not required that he actually explore the entire thing, or even explore parts of it more than once. The layout of "Tales" will always attract critics, but there will always be prospective fans who will consider it a gem. I am neither of those people.

I give "Tales" a respectable (80%, B-) with four stars. Very interesting, yet exhausting listen.

 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.90 | 2238 ratings

Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Eric_T

4 stars A couple of months ago MOJO magazine published an article on "critically-loathed albums which people love" and invited the readers to write in with their choices. I chose this album.

One of the most annoying "truisms" in rock journalism is that Prog was bloated and self-indulgent and needed to be blown away by the "refreshing" simplicity of Punk. This album is often cited as a major reason why Punk needed to exist. However many of the better Punk/New Wave musicians disagreed with this type of thinking and were big Yes fans. One such was Keith Levene of PIL, who were as adventurous in their sphere as Yes were in theirs. Prog and Punk share a spirit of experimentation and ambition.

This is Yes at their most extreme, pushing all the boundaries. In particular it is an excellent showpiece for Steve Howe's guitar playing, especially on Side Three. Wakeman does not have so many solo slots as on previous Yes albums, taking more of a background textural role (maybe that's why he's never been fond of the album). Chris Squire sounds great throughout and provides a lot of the muscle. The musical themes are strong and memorable, and each side maintains its momentum throughout.

Flaws ? Some of the passages are extended that minute or so too long. The lyrics are hardly Elvis Costello (but are appropriate in context). And there isn't any music here which quite reaches the peaks of "Starship Trooper", "Roundabout", or side one of "Close To The Edge".

In summary this is a highly-adventurous album full of marvellous themes and playing. If it does occasionally over- reach itself then that's far better than the sort of mediocre two-chord thrashes which the majority of Punk acts churned out.

 Topographic Drama: Live Across America by YES album cover Live, 2017
3.56 | 38 ratings

Topographic Drama: Live Across America
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by judahbenkenobi

2 stars I have never seen Yes live, being as I am on the wrong side of the planet. So I have to make do with live albums and DVD's. I truly enjoy the Yesshows and Symphonic Live performances, the first one for its fine selection of tracks and the latter for the fun the band and the orchestra seem to be having during most of the show.

That said, I was eager to listen to this recording: the first time I would listen to the complete TFTO album performed live AND the controversial but enjoyable Drama.

I must say I was overly disappointed, and much more than I was when I heard the Heaven and Earth CD! That album lacked power and meaningful melodies, but at least I felt like it could be forced and strained into the band's catalogue. Unlike it, I cannot feel Yes performing on this live album. Simply put, this concert lacks soul. And the soul of the band was Chris Squire. I endured most lineup changes, but losing Chris Squire meant the death of Yes for me. Although all of its current members have been involved in at least one Yes album, this sounds more like "A tribute to Yes featuring Yes members", a bland, boring, dull and unenergetic performance. And the death blow was when I found out TFTO wasn't even complete. A half of something will never be the whole thing.

I cannot say for sure if it's a completionists-only album or a fans-only, since I AM a fan and don't feel satisfied by it. But being one of my favorite bands, and having Roger Dean's artwork will make it earn its second star.

 Classic Yes by YES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1981
3.79 | 175 ratings

Classic Yes
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nș 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*)

 Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two by YES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.07 | 43 ratings

Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by 10string

5 stars Yes.. why five stars? Well, I was reluctant to get this box and spend my hard earned money at first, especially since Yes in not known for being an "improvisation" band, but, since I had a one hour daily commute and had installed a big subwoofer which rattled all of the car whole playing Prog (try that to surprise people!), I decided to take the plunge.. And.. whaddayaknow??? This was worth it.. yes, Yes used to improvise quite a lot...mind you , for the normal listener it might not sound like it, but for the decades old fan, this is a treat!!!!! They had to improvise sometimes because of the faulty equipment, but , all of these performances were different from each other, some way more than others...especially the grand "Yours is no disgrace" the Yessongs' version is included in here , albeit in its unedited and remixed (it IS a new/different mix!) form.. I won't tell you on which disc it is, but prepare yourself.... I like the clean sound which was achieves in spite of the technical differences between the different tapes, so yes, it is essential listening to all Yes fans so they can see how great they were in their prime...
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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