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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 16 June 2014

MIKE TIANO: A moment in time: Will Jon Anderson fans ever ‘Believe Again’ in Yes?



I have always felt that artists like Yes were of their moment, being in the right place at the right time.
Looking at the evolution of rock music, its first era belonged to the Baby Boomers. It began in the mid- to late-1950s, where blues, country, and R&B song structures morphed into the new medium deemed rock and roll that made stars of trailblazers including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. In the 1960s, the Beatles and their contemporaries, while influenced by those 1950s icons, took the music to the next level with more sophistication in both songwriting and performance.
Later in that decade, upheavals in social mores (including enhanced consciousness through experimenting with drugs) transformed the rock idiom to where the ability to excel at one’s instrument became integral to the success of artists like Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Grateful Dead, and Led Zeppelin — something which was then carried through the 1970s with a vengeance. The rock scene exploded into a number of sub-genres, where the successful bands (comprised of Baby Boomers who came at the end of that generation) took their own 1960s influences, creating music where for the most part the musicianship was more virtuosic, the compositions denser and more complex.
In this regard, when Yes emerged, they were at the right place at the right time, as all the hallmarks of each decade were organic to their distinct sound and composing: astounding musicianship, stellar vocals, and recurring melodic themes. At the start of the ‘70s, progressive rock was a radical new genre that was embraced because it went beyond rock’s roots to include jazz and classical, increasing the sound palate. Ironically, however, as the decade progressed the attributes that had made bands like Yes successful eventually worked against them, in the eyes of the press as well as audiences who didn’t grok increasingly more extended works exemplified by the likes of 1973′s Tales From Topographic Oceans.
To many, the listening investment that became necessary in appreciating extended compositions tended to lessen whatever joy that purchasing segment had originally found in the music. It was now more of a chore they chose not to endure.
By the end of the 1970s, the Baby Boomers were all grown up, but the subsequent generation didn’t have the same frame of reference that went from, say, Elvis to the Beatles to Yes. While it was a somewhat natural progression for the Boomers, for the most part their offspring didn’t understand because they weren’t around to evolve with the music. In a way, this is where rock music stopped evolving. Punk and new wave were popular, as the post-Boomer generation could buy a guitar and play three chords. To the fickle press, this was a welcome challenge to all the non-rock elements and unnecessary complexity embraced by prog.
YES AT GON
Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union (2CD)
2CD - £7.99

Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

JON ANDERSON AT GONZO
Survival And Other Stories
CD - £9.99

The Mothers Day Concert 
CD - £9.99

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