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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.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Jon Anderson, Steve Howe + Tony Kaye on The Yes Album: ‘It was a special time’


The Yes Album, released this week in 1971, was Yes’ big-bang moment, a project where the full scope of their looming genius began to take shape. It was also a critical junction point, as Steve Howe replaced late guitarist Peter Banks, while fellow co-founder Tony Kaye took a final bow.
Those shifting foundational elements only added to the flinty inventiveness of these sessions, which retained several key elements of Yes’ earliest efforts (Chris Squire’s melodic then pulverizing bass, these gorgeous close harmonies, Jon Anderson’s impish, endlessly imaginative imagery) even as it rapidly widened their musical vocabulary. Howe arrived as an eruptively creative force, stirring in guitar textures that hurtled Yes toward new vistas — and underrated lyrical contributions that added contextual weight.
The bulk of The Yes Album was written away from the London city center, before recording commenced at Advision Studios. (Howe’s “Clap,” meanwhile, emerged from a July 1970 performance at the Lyceum Theatre.) Free of those bustling environs, every member of Yes was moved to contribute musical ideas — and they were in turn given an expanded canvas on The Yes Album, issued on February 19, 1971.
“We’d done the first two albums — Yes and Time and a Word — with Peter,” Kaye tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “And as he left the band, we were starting to get a little bit of a reputation after playing around England. I was pretty much a resident of the Speakeasy, our local London watering hole, and saw Steve Howe with his band Bodast. I talked to Steve, and brought him into the band and pretty soon, we went down to a little cottage in Devon and started writing The Yes Album. It was a big change, with Peter leaving and Steve coming in. We set up a room to rehearse, and we basically lived there. We started writing little bits, and everybody brought in their own things. It was a gradual, building thing.”

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