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Yes: “Roundabout” and “Changes”


Wikipedia offers the impressive statistics that 19 musicians have been full time members of the progressive rock band Yes. Indeed, Stereogum’s Phil Freeman calls the number of lineup changes “staggering.” Two of the most famous member – and among the founders in 1968 – are Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. Other founding members are Peter Banks, Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford. The other famous member, Rick Wakeman, came onboard in the early 1970s.

It was then that the band released three big selling albums that form the core of the its legacy: FragileClose to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans.

The various formations, reformations and partnerships are described in the Wikipedia profile. As usual, it’s tedious stuff. That’s not the fault of Wikipedia. It’s just that tracing the half-century careers of members of a band is a bore to anyone except the most ardent fans. (By comparison, consider The Rolling Stones. Nobody mentions it, but the band’s personnel has been amazingly consistent over the decades.)

One thing is for certain: Bands that stay together for a long time that first formed in the early 1970s have a lot of albums under their belts. Here are the nineteen listed in order by Progzilla: 19. “Open Your Eyes (1997)”; “18. Heaven & Earth (2014)” “17. Talk (1994)” 16. “Union (1991)” 15. “Big Generator” (1987); 14. “Drama” (1980);  “13. “Fly From Here (2011)” “12. “Yes” (1969); 11. “The Ladder” (1999); 10. “Tormato” (1978); 9. “Time and a Word” (1970); 8. “90125” (1983); 7. “The Yes Album” (1971) ‘ 6. “Going for the One” (1977); 5. “Magnification” (2001); 4. “Tales from Topographic Oceans” (1973); 3. “Fragile” (1971) 2. “Close to the Edge” (1972) and 1. “Relayer” (1974). Click here or on the image for more on “Relayer” from Amazon and click here for more from iTunes.
In a very well written introduction to a listing of Yes’s 33 albums from worst to best (worst: Heaven and Earth, 2014; best: Yessongs, 1973), Freeman describes Yes at its best as incorporating multiple genres and integrating them with “synthesizer explorations, crazed art-boogie guitar shredding, bass louder than most metal bands’, crushingly complex drumming, and Jon Anderson’s unique, highly recognizable upper-register vocals.”

Steve Peake at ThoughtCo runs through some of the top singles released by the band in the 1980s. The best, in his estimations, is “Changes.”

Yes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. The profile at the HOF site is effusive. It starts:

Yes is the most enduring, ambitious and virtuosic progressive band in rock history.

This obviously begs the question of why the band was not inducted earlier. In any case, the band, the profile says, fuses the “cinematic soundscapes” of King Crimson, the rock of The Who and the melodies of Simon and Garfunkel. It especially points to “Close to the Edge” and “The Gates of Delirium” as examples of prog rock at its finest.

Above is “Roundabout” recorded in 1972. Below is “Changes,” recorded in 2009.

Progzilla was cited in the blue box.