Yes is a highly acclaimed, pioneering, and veteran English progressive rock band that became famous beginning in the early 1970s. Known for its elaborate live shows and lengthy album cuts that feature epic virtuosic instrumental solos, the band's distinctive sound came from its intricate arrangements as well as Jon Anderson's ethereal high tenor lead vocals. The band's best known songs include the stately "Your Move" (1971), the hard-driving "Roundabout" (1972), and the new wave-infused "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" (1983).
Formed in 1968 in London, the original lineup consisted of Bill Bruford (drums, percussion), Tony Kaye (keyboards), guitarist/backing vocalist Peter Banks (July 15, 1947 - March 7, 2013), bassist/backing vocalist Chris Squire (March 4, 1948 - June 27, 2015), and lead singer Jon Anderson. Yes began performing and touring in late 1968 and signed with Atlantic Records and released its eponymous debut album the following year. By the early 1970s, the band had established itself as one of progressive rock's top acts with the critically acclaimed "The Yes Album" (1971), "Fragile" (1971), and "Close To The Edge" (1972). Some key personnel changes at that time included the departures of Banks (1970) and Kaye (1971) who were replaced, respectively, by Steve Howe (guitars, backing vocals) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). Bruford left in mid 1972 after the release of "Close To The Edge" to join King Crimson and was replaced by Alan White (drums, percussion). Jon Anderson wrote/co-wrote most of the band's music with Chris Squire, Steve Howe, and other Yes members.
Yes made its U.S. debut in 1971 with "Your Move," the first movement of the lengthier "I've Seen All Good People," which became a Top 40 hit. The complete version of this song, which features an a cappella introduction and a rousing finale, has long been a favorite of FM and AOR radio stations and remains a classic rock staple. Yes had another big hit in 1972 with "Roundabout," which made the Top 20 and became one of the band's best known songs. Other early 1970 hits include the soaring "And You And I (Part I)" (1972) and a progressive rock cover of the Paul Simon-penned ballad, "America" (1972). In 1983, Yes reformed with new members that included Trevor Rabin (guitars, keyboards, backing vocals) and changed to a more pop-oriented sound. The band had its all-time biggest hit that year with the mostly Rabin-penned "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" (1983), which topped the U.S. Pop/Rock charts and became a top hit worldwide. The band's later hits, which continued in the U.S. through the late 1990s on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, also include "Leave It" (1984), "It Can Happen" (1984), "Love Will Find A Way" (1987), "Rhythm Of Love" (1987), "Lift Me Up" (1991), and "The Calling" (1994).
In 2017, Yes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame which honored original and early members Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, and Trevor Rabin. The band's numerous other honors and accolades include a Grammy and a long string of gold- and platinum-certified albums through the early 1990s. Yes has continued to perform and record to the present day, with numerous personnel changes over the years. The current lineup is a quintet that includes two early members, Howe and White, who both joined the band during the early 1970s. Squire remained with Yes through his passing in 2015, and Jon Anderson continued to serve as lead singer through 2004. Anderson also pursued a solo career and was one half of the duo, Jon & Vangelis. In 2010, he formed Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman (a.k.a. Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman) which toured and recorded through 2018.
- Jon Anderson describes how he wrote "Roundabout" with Chris Squire and discusses other topics in an interview with SongwriterUniverse (November 5, 2020).
- The New York Times remembers original Yes guitarist and Flash co-founder Peter Banks.
- The Guardian remembers original Yes bassist Chris Squire.
- For more info about the latest incarnation of Yes, visit yesworld.com.
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