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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.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Remembering Chris Squire: The legacy of a rock’n’roll icon

In light of the recent passing of legendary musician Chris Squire, it seems only fitting to provide a retrospective of his illustrious career with the progressive rock band Yes. For those too young to remember, Yes became famous in the 1970s for “decommercializing” music. In other words, the band’s loyal following was built around its reputation for writing and performing 20-minute opuses, not pop songs. What defined their music in the ’70s was a combination of strong melodies, elaborate compositions, virtuoso playing, and the metaphysical lyrics of then lead singer Jon Anderson. Fans of today’s pop stars—with the emphasis placed on image marketing, slick video production, dance beats and choreography—could hardly relate.
From 1970-1977, Yes was simply in a class by themselves, and the music created in that time period was magical. I was only a nine-year-old boy when I first heard the song ‘Yours Is No Disgrace.’ From that point onward, progressive rock became part of my DNA. Moving into my early teens, I would sit in my bedroom night after night and listen attentively to Yes classics: The Yes Album (1970); Fragile (1971);Close to the Edge (1972); Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973); Relayer (1974); and Going For The One (1977). Like most Yes fans, I was completely mesmerized by the nuance of their arrangements. The music was so dramatic and spiritual that I often felt teleported to another plane of existence. Simply put, Yes music took fans on a journey.
After a brief hiatus in the early 1980s, Yes was reborn. It was Chris Squire’s efforts to revive the band that excited a whole new generation of high school students who, like myself, had grown up watching MTV (U.S.) and Much Music (Canada) but still longed for the reawakening of Yes. In 1983, Squire, along with drummer Alan White and original keyboardist Tony Kaye, began working with guitar virtuoso Trevor Rabin to create a modern version of an ’80s-style Yes. Once Jon Anderson’s signature voice was added, a new Yes had arisen. Guided by the production genius of Trevor Horn, 90125 became the band’s biggest selling recording of all time, spawning its only number one hit, ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart.’ For the second time, Yes was a global phenomenon. While I was in university, their follow-up recording, Big Generator (1987), was also very popular. In essence, Yes music became the soundtrack of my life.
In 1991, the classic ’70s camp joined forces with the modern ’80s version of Yes. Travelling to the Montreal Forum, I was fortunate enough to witness the spectacular Union tour, arguably the most exciting lineup the band has ever produced live. Playing “in the round,” eight members sounded like a full-blown orchestra. In complete command of his Rickenbacker bass, Chris Squire sounded as confident as ever, determined to carry the Yes banner into the next decade and beyond—and he did just that.


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Union (Standard DVD)
DVD - £9.99

Union
DVD - £12.99

Union (2CD)
2CD - £7.99

Rock Of The 70's
DVD - £12.99

The Lost Broadcasts
DVD - £7.99

Rock of the 70s
DVD - £9.99

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