Yes, the world’s greatest progressive rock band, has long been in a state of perpetual change. That starts with their 1969 self-titled debut, a promising blend of jazz, rock and folk that only hints at the greatness to come.
Yes would, of course, jump light years ahead with 1971’s The Yes Album, but only after beginning a series of personnel changes. That said, Yes — which begins with “Beyond and Before” — still sounds as fresh and adventuresome as it did in 1969, if not quite sound like the classic Yes to come.
You’ll hear hints of the best-known sound put forth by the lineup of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Alan White in this leadoff song, but “Beyond and Before” — composed by bassist Squire and writer Clive Bailey — actually owes more to the psychedelic bands of the era than the precise, almost classically driven latter-day Yes masterworks.
Credit for that goes to original Yes guitarist Peter Banks, who creates the defining element of this song with his twangy and aggressive approach. His distorted and aggressive playing differs dramatically from his Yes successor Steve Howe (or Trevor Rabin and Billy Sherwood, for that matter). The former Mabel Greer’s Toyshop guitarist always sounds as if he’s about to fly off the rails.
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