Yes (band)

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Anderson fish slapping

Yes frontman Jon Anderson often performs fish-slapping rituals in concert.

“Going for the one!”
~ Jon Anderson on album sales

Yes is an immensely significant and universally recognized progressive rock band that formed in London in 1968 after an unsuccessful career as a word in the English Dictionary. This relatively unknown incarnation of Yes failed because such a word is entirely unnecessary, and was seen by many as over-the-top and self indulgent.

Yes music relies heavily on the use of dynamic and harmonic variation, and often incorporates time signatures that are yet to be mathematically proved. The band are also known for their extended song lengths, incomprehensible lyrics and general showing off. Their unique style of blending symphonic/classical structures with their own brand of cacophonous musical tomfoolery has been described by many as over-the-top and self indulgent. Despite daily lineup changes, warfare within the group and the ever-changing trends in popular music, the band has continued on for over forty years and still retains a large following.

The Origins

Nostradamus Record Executive

Atlantic record executive Nostradamus predicted that the two bands who would be the most successful were Yes and Led Zeppelin, and signed them immediately. As usual he was correct.

Since the release of Corporal Salt and the invention of progressive rock, being popular was seen as unfashionable. A new generation of musicians, under strict orders from Lucy in the Sky, began creating very aurally demanding music, which was for some reason described as progressive. Yes was no exception. In 1968, Jon Anderson (Vocalist, washboard player, whale-poacher and part-time midget) met Chris Squire (tall guy) in an underground London khatru, and the pair soon discovered they shared an interest in psychedelic noodling. A band was then formed, with the addition of Peter Kay; a young pianist with a phobia of the mellotron, Bill Bruford, a man with completely unsynchronised perceptions of rhythm, making jazz drumming the only realistic career choice, and a remarkably unimportant guitarist.

The early days in the studio were tough times for Yes. After 8 months spent trying to write music, Jon Anderson realised he didn’t have a pen. As a result of this, a method of recording was developed called “Sound Chasing” where the five members (except for Bill Bruford who didn’t have a sound chasing warrant because he wasn’t a musician) would run around the studio chasing after the reverberations of whoever was recording next door and try to capture the sounds in a bucket. Of course this didn’t work; they were using the wrong kind of bucket. Jimmy Page on the other hand, had a particularly good bucket and was able to build an entire career out of other people’s songs.


1. Beyond And Before / 2. I See You / 3. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away And Today / 4. Sleeping Around / 5. Harold Land / 6. Every Little Thing she does is magic / 7. Sweetener / 8. Survival

In 1969 Yes released Yes. The imaginatively titled debut was a huge success for the band, compared to previous albums. This album fails to capture what is now recognised as the classic Yes sound, but fans of the band (many of whom have hearing difficulties) insist that this early period is often overlooked amongst Yes’s later efforts, especially as the running time of the entire album is shorter than the average later Yes song. Peter Kay refused to play anything but his Hammond C3 organ during these early stages because of his alleged fear of other keyboard instruments, (known formally as Claviphobia), however this is possibly an excuse for the production budgets the band were given at the time, which only allowed for one keyboard.

Time and a Word

1. No Rhythm Necessary, No Drummer Needed / 2. Then / 3. Everydays / 4. Wet Dreams / 5. The Prophet / 6. Clear Days / 7. Astral Traveller / 8. Wime and a Tord

Soon afterwards the orchestral Time And A Word was released, with a similar reception. "That guitarist" was present during these sessions, although the addition of an orchestra created tensions, as they were stealing all of his parts. Aggravated, the guitarist decided enough was enough, and began throwing khatrus at the other band members. Anderson eventually made the effort to learn the guitarist’s name so he could fire him formally: Tony Banks was promptly kicked out of Yes, and went on to pursue a career in the Police force. He was then fired by Sting for having no talent. This wasn’t an issue when he was later approached by Genesis, and became their keyboard player.

Classic era

Upon entering the 70s, Yes were confronted by Atlantic and told to come up with an album that a) didn’t cost the record company thousands of pounds in plagiarism repayments, and b) had some accessible material on it. If they didn’t, Atlantic would hire terrorists to assassinate each member of the band using their respective instrument. Having taken this on board, the band hired Steve Howe as their new guitarist, who had just retired from being The Messiah. He couldn't decide if he wanted to play Jazz, Rock or Classical music, and he couldn't choose between lead and rhythm guitar, so he decided to play them all at once. The world famous Howe sacrificed his popularity to join Yes, and together the new line-up began to create some very accessible 10 to 25 minute songs.

Steve Howe’s arrival led to a new Yes sound, whilst his ability to clap jeopardised Bill Bruford’s position as occasional drum hitter. Furthermore, his tendency on stage to lapse into 5 hour guitar solos gave the other members a welcome break. Jon in particular harnessed this free time by meditating back stage, and achieved enlightenment every night. After an entire tour of this however, he claimed to be so bored with it that he went away and wrote some lyrics warning Buddhists that it “just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be”. These musings would resurface in the song Close To The Edge.

The Yes Albatross

1. Yours Has Been Replaced / 2. The Clap / 3. Storm Trooper / 4. Obscene All Good People / 5. A Venture / 6. Perpetual Line-up Change

The Yes Albatross was regarded as the band’s first step into the world of all things progressive (not only music, but also progressive stage shows, progressive album art, and progressive hair). It is also known for chronicling Yes’s first extended song- Yours Has Been Replaced, which was dedicated to all the past (and future) Yes members who would be bullied out of the band. Peter Kay didn’t twig until halfway through a live performance of the song that he was their next intended victim. Mid-song, he clambered out of his keyboard corner, tried and failed to insert Squire’s bass into Squire, and ran out of the fire escape in search of a mellotron-free life. He now resides in Siberia, unaware that the Khatrus are plotting his assassination as we speak.


Roger Dean Is An Alien

Fragile was the first Yes album to feature the artwork of alien-landscape painter Roger Dean. He also designed the Yes logo, and now inadvertently owns all the rights to the word Yes. He is paid 5 khatrus every time the word is used in any context.

1. Roundabout / 2. Canned Brahms / 3. We Have High-pitched Vocal Hell / 4. East Edge Of The Earth / 5. 35 Seconds of Nonsense / 6. Long Distance Runaround / 7. The Fish / 8. Moody For A Day / 9.Set the controls for the Heart Of The Sunrise

In late 1971, Fragile was released (aka: the one with that song on it that some people have actually heard of, but not very many, and even they can’t remember what it’s called). This album would contain some of Yes’s most well known works. It featured the song Roundabout, which was the band’s second radio hit (the first resulted in a broken radio). After the departure of Peter Kay, keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman joined Yes and provided some unnecessarily fast keyboard runs and unnecessarily blonde hair. Unfortunately Wakeman suffers from “I Must Play as Many Different Keyboard Instruments as is Physically Possible during This Song” disorder, the exact opposite of what Peter Kay had. This further defined the Yes sound, which was now more progressive than evolution itself.

A shortage of prog material led to the decision that each band member should contribute a solo piece to Easily Broken. The prospect of five songs that would theoretically be only 1/5th as progressive as the other pieces on the album was promising for the record company, but it appeared that the band had gone from one extreme to another (Bill Bruford’s 35 Seconds Of Nonsense has been known to provoke seizures amongst listeners, even those who actually LIKE progressive music).

Close to the Edge

1. Close to the Edge / 2. And Me And I / 3. Siberian Cat Food

Squire Weapon

Total Mass Genocide: Chris Squire is known for using his custom made, triple-barrelled killing machine for destroying any Khatrus he sees.

After another tour and a month or five in the studio chasing sounds, Yes unveiled their masterpiece, Close to the Edge. This album famously took a long time to release because of creative differences within the band. Jon Anderson had written some lyrics about Siddhartha’s struggle against enlightenment, but when he asked the other band members to contribute music; none of them were particularly interested. Steve Howe was busy interviewing a goldfish for inspiration (see Stories From Geographic Seas), whilst Chris Squire, the only other creative force in the band, had gone on holiday to Siberia (where he inadvertently killed an entire population of khatrus by playing his bass well). Wakeman and Bruford spent most of the sessions eating curries and discussing the meaning of life, which made them both very depressed. This led to the departure of Bill Bruford, who was far too pessimistic to be in a band called Yes. He has since written an autobiography, which is filled entirely with witty comments regarding his awful time in the band.

“Five percent for nothing...”
~ Bill Bruford on royalties

Anderson meanwhile, completed all the music to Close to the Edge by recording the sounds made in the forest where he was born. This resulted in a challenging album, but one which was ultimately praised by fans of Prog Rock for it's innovation and originality. The lyrical additions made by the popular Star Wars character Yoda were particularly well-received, allowing listeners to finally make sense of Anderson's complex wordings.


“The space bar broke”
~ Yes on Yessongs

Ultra-progressive era

Tales from Topographic Oceans

Autobiography of a Yoda

Jon’s lyrics for Tales are loosely based on the novel “Autobiography of a Yoda”, hence why they don’t make any sense.

1. The Revealing Science of Cod / 2. The Remembering Capacity of Goldfish / 3. The Ancient: Giants Under the Surface / 4. Ritual (Nous sommes a la poisson)

Whilst working on Yessongs, Jon Anderson read the book Autobiography of a Yoda, and during one evening of the tour, he created an hour and twenty minutes of lyrical prog heaven. The four ambitious pieces featured on the double album, each one lasting longer than a papal election, contain some of the most controversial lyrics in the history of everything. After limited success interrogating the goldfish, Steve Howe decided to add music, completing the mega-project. Each 20 minute suite was based on a different fish-related spritual path.

The album has been criticised as an example of the worst excesses of prog rock. Drastic measures were taken to ensure that the creation process was of maximum quality; no musical stone was left untouched. For example, the entire studio was at one point completely submerged underwater at a monumental cost, to allow the band members more breathing space. And, in an attempt to counter Rick Wakeman's decreasing enthusiasm for the project, Anderson ordered for the construction of an en-suite brewery; which itself only lured the keyboard player back in for enough time to complete the first song. The album was known under the working title “Marmite”.

“Marmite is one of those foods that everybody either loves or hates, but in reality most people hate it. Our album was like that.”
~ Alan White, Yes’s very honest new drummer on Tales from Topographic Oceans
“I fucking hated it.”
~ Rick Wakeman on Tales from Topographic Oceans
“It does go on a bit.”
~ Chris Squire on Tales from Topographic Oceans
“Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources, Chased amid fusions of wonder, in moments hardly seen forgotten...”
~ Jon Anderson on Tales from Topographic Oceans

The album was pre-ordered in bulk, a move that was regretted later by both casual and hard-core fans. Being predominantly made up of land-based mammals, Yes listeners were unable to connect with the amphibiously-themed material. But Tales had reached number one on the album spot before such issues were realised, resulting in a further stream of rock excess, this time financially. Not only were Yes on the verge of bankrupcy after consuming all the Earth's oil resources for their gargantuanly-proportioned plastic stage scenery, but they had also succeeded in draining the entire Atlantic ocean of fish for their portable stage-aquariums and indulgent dietary habits.

During the tour for Tales, Rick Wakeman was discovered eating a chicken tikka masala and downing pints of beer halfway through The Revealing Science Of Cod, a strictly fish-orientated song. The other band members were highly offended by this blasphemous act, especially as it ruined the atmosphere of Howe’s spiritual cod-summoning guitar solo. Wakeman was promptly fired, and the rest of the band finished the song.


Wakeman Moraz Duel

After Patrick Moraz refused to trim his perm, Yes re-employed ex-keyboard player Rick Wakeman to assassinate him with his keytar.

1. The War Against No [inc. Sued] / 2. Sound Chasers / 3. To Be No-ver

Following another successful tour and with Swiss keyboard-slapper Patrick Moraz on board, Yes set to work on Relayer, an album themed around war, sound chasing and war. Communication with Moraz was difficult because, through choice, he only spoke Swiss and Chinese Mandarin. Yes masterwork The War Against No chronicles the ongoing battle that waged between Yes and their arch nemesis No, a hugely successful and talented pop-group from a parallel universe. This band were memorable for their short, accessible songs, simple lyrics, and nobody ever getting fired. In contrast, this new Yes song lasted longer than the entire holocaust and can be distinctly split into three main sections. Part 1 is the prelude, and describes the opposing Yes and No forces gearing up for war. Part 2, the instrumental battle section, is the most hectic piece of music in existence (other than Manic Monday which is just wild). This section is in fact, so excruciatingly grotesque and full of gore, that 11 individuals have actually died of repulse listening to it, including one man who played it at full volume and simply exploded. Part 3, Sued, was released as a single to promote Yes winning the completely metaphorical war and suing No for plagiarism.

Following the release of Relayer, the five Yes members temporarily went their separate ways to release solo albums; each one a concept album about one member's hatred for another (conincidentally, four of these were aimed at Jon Anderson). This career move resulted in rumours of a band break-up, forcing the group to tour together with an understandably awkward set list featuring the respective rants of each member. Soon afterwards, Patrick Moraz began to feel isolated due to the persistant language barrier between him and his bandmates, to the point where he could no longer control his hairstyle. Keen to replace the unreliable keyboard player, Anderson contacted Vangelis, but was even more dissapointed when the greek keyboard player turned him down (due to conflicts with Yes touring dates and his strict weight-loss programme). Then in a strike of luck, Rick Wakeman made himself available once more...

Going for the One


Fans have long speculated what the "one" they were going for was, though the cover art may yield an answer.

1. Going for the One / 2. Turn Off The Century / 3. Parachutes / 4. Blunderous Stories / 5. Bacon

After Rick Wakeman kindly removed Patrick Moraz from the picture, Yes tempted him back into the band with unlimited drugs and progressive hookers. They then travelled to Switzerland to dodge taxes, record a new album, and stamp on Moraz's grave. These sessions were famously tough on the band, who worked so hard that they only managed to fit in 7 hours of skiing each day. Steve Howe in particular, felt uneasy about Wakeman's return and turned to transcendental meditation for stress relief. The music on Going for the One was as excessive as before though, with a real church organ being used on the epic track Awaken. This was sent down a phone line back to the studio, but Anderson said the quality was terrible. The Swiss Government were so offended that the entire country’s phone lines were uprooted and subsequently improved. The enormous cost of this venture was then confirmed unnecessary when Anderson revealed he was actually talking about the quality of Wakeman’s keyboard playing, not the quality of the phone line.

“This is the same guy that wrote fucking Stories From Geographic Seas! How he can criticize my "blindfolded key-spanking technique" I do not know.”
~ Rick Wakeman on Jon Anderson

What followed was a series of unimportant Yes recordings that nobody knows a lot about.


1. Future Albums/Reconsider / 2. Don't Kill The Whale / 3. Madrigal / 4. (Don't) Release (Don't) Release / 5. Incoming Flying Saucer / 6. Circus Of Hell / 7. Onward / 8. On The Non-Noisy Wings Of Freedom

Tormato began the slow path of commercial decline for Yes, selling poorly because of a new wave of punk and disco bands such as Punk Floyd and Led Synthesizer, who were beginning to dominate the music scene. The single Don’t Kill The Whale (later renamed "Don’t Kill Any Sea-dwelling mammals" due to legal threats) was Yes’s attempt to show people that they cared about the environment and become more popular with the public, who still thought Yes was just a word in the dictionary. The other tracks were unmemorable however. Songwriting disputes had become more frequent and very little worthy material ended up on the record, which was dominated by keyboards such as the unreliable birotron and the untrustworthy polymoog.

Approximately 3 people listened to Tormato upon it's release. And it is generally believed that two of these people were Atlantic record executives (who were locked in a room with a whale and forced to listen to it on loop for a year). Such a small audience led to the resignation of Rick Wakeman, again, but this departure was one of many that year week, so nobody thought much of it. What shocked the band more, was Jon Anderson himself deciding to leave; creating a massive gap in the Yes sound, and a subsequently larger gap in the Yes bank account.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and replacement members were soon found, next door.


1. Welcome to the Machine Messiah / 2. White Car / 3. Does It Really Stand For That? [Yes] / 4. I Am A Camera / 5. Run Through Those Chords Once More... / 6. Tempus Fugit

In 1979, Jon Anderson famously left Yes to give the others a break, and began recording with Vangelis and his bitch. Rick Wakeman also left, deciding to only be a member of the band every other Wednesday. When the shoes of these two key elements of Yes were filled by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes (formally of Buggles fame, and before that a comedy duo), all the remaining members could do was accept the seemingly random change. Downes was commended for his humourous anecdotes about being in a mediocre pop band with a "glasses-wearing freak", but his keyboard playing left a lot to be desired. In fact, the immenseley superior guitar playing of Steve Howe caused problems for him; his brain could not cope with progressive rock. About half way through the Drama tour his hands fell off against his will, leaving him unable to play. As a result, he left the band, forcing his comedy partner Horn to leave as well.

As if this wasn't bad enough, Steve Howe himself then decided to leave (he had won a scratch-card holiday to Asia). Now only two members remained, the omnipresent Chris Squire and his sidekick Alan White, who due to the lack of a personality, followed the bass player around non-stop. Squire was irritated at the rapid disintegration of Yes, and the fact that 90% of the band's Uncyclopedia article was simply a description of the constant line-up changes. He spent some time thinking and eventually came up with a solution.

'80s pop rebirth

In early 1982, Chris Squire arranged a secret meeting with a South-African in a cave nowhere near Croydon. This South-African was called Trevor Rabin; he was a multi-instrumentalist known for generating endless streams of no. 1 singles. Just what Squire needed. They discussed plans for a project together, which they originally intended to call Cinema. But this name was scrapped instantly because it was shit. So, after many hours discussing where Yes had gone wrong all these years, they made the bold decision to do what Genesis considered a last resort. They turned to 80s pop.

OOALH snake

The music video to Owner Of A Lonely Heart is somewhat disturbing, to say the least...


1. Owner Of A Lonely Hearts Club Band / 2. Hold On To Your Cash / 3. Success Can Happen? / 4. More Line-up Changes / 5. Cinema / 6. Leave It / 7. Our Song / 8. City Of Love / 9. Owner Of A Lonely Heart (reprise)

With Steve Howe continuing to make friends in Asia, and the other ex-Yes members nowhere to be seen, Squire introduced Trevor Rabin as the new guitarist and principle songwriter. Alan White retained his role as Chris Squire's "bitch", and the pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his singing was so good it would make the other virtuosos look inferior, so he made one final phone call.

When Vangelis answered the phone and immediately plugged Jon Anderson's availability, the new Yes was complete. The pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his keyboard playing was so good it would make the other virtuosos look inferior, so he made one final phone call.

After recovering from his fear of the mellotron, ex-ex-ex-keyboard player Tony Kaye agreed to return. The pieces were now in place for a new band and a new sound. But Rabin feared that his production skills were so good that the record might not be commercial enough, so he made one final phone call to the glasses-wearing Trevor Horn, who would produce the new band.

Indeed, 90125 would literally sell millions, launching the group into a familiar cycle of excess and fortune that would again only last for a couple of years. Yes got into a pattern of making a new album whenever their previous profits had ran out.

Large Mechanism

1. Huge Engine / 2. Large Mechanism / 3. Massive Machine / 4. Gigantic Device / 5. Weighty Box / 6. Enormous Instrument / 7. Titanic Proccessor / 8. Big Generator

Following the success of such simple music, the album that followed was equally mainstream. Large Mechanism was a laborious album to make. It took Yes nearly two years to build the machine itself, which was built to save time writing songs; the enormous device would produce a random series of electronic sounds known formally as 80s music. This noise-generating method was much more efficient than sound chasing, as no effort or talent was required by any member of the group.

Jon Anderson was dissatisfied with the poppy, Horn-produced songs on the album and was beginning to yearn for more traditional Yes music. He told the others about an idea for a 20-minute epic about a Khatru who climbed to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and had a spiritual awakening, using only the chords of Bb Minor and F# Major Seventh (which he played on a giant didgeridoo, with an accompanying banjo that was put through a Leslie Speaker). Trevor Rabin was less than impressed, so Anderson re-pitched the idea to some of his ex-bandmates, leading to the formation of the progressive barbershop quartet, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.


1. I Would Have Waited For Trevor / 2. Shock To The System / 3. Massacre / 4. Put Me Down! / 5. Without Dope You Cannot Start The Day / 6. Saving My Dart / 7. Sensation Of Being Alive / 8. Silent Talking / 9. The More We Play, The More We Dissapoint / 10. Angkor What? / 11. Dangerous / 12. Holding On To Our Fans / 13. Pointlessly Short / 14. Take The Water To The Robert Plant

Yes Onion

The MegaYes line-up was the result of unsuccesful barbershop quartet Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe teaming up with Trevor Rabin's Yes. As Jon Anderson was in both sub-groups, there was two of him on the next album and tour.

By 1991, both Yes and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe were becoming less and less rich, and eventually the two separate parties gave in and amalgamated in the great big orgasmic jam session that was Onion. Continuing the root vegetable theme that began with Tormato, Onion is the first and only album to feature the MegaYes line up. This was the band’s 176th reunion. The advantages of having an 9 member band included more disputes, more songs, and tonnes more fat juicy ego. However, the 9 members were only together during the mammoth tour that followed; the songs on the album were actually recorded in two separate locations, and then drenched in the capable hands of some 200 underpaid session musicians. This was opted for instead of using the last album's technique (the random noise generator) because it now produced 90s music instead of 80s music.

The 90s Continued


1. The Calling / 2. I Am Waiting / 3. Fake Love / 4. State Of Play / 5. Another Brick In The Walls / 6. Where Will You Be? / 7. Endless Cream I: Bed Springs / 8. Endless Cream II: Sex / 9. Endless Cream III: Endless Nightmare

Continuing through the 90s, Trevor Rabin was still taking leadership of Yes, and simple song writing was just what he required to make Steve Howe cry. Steve left for Asia again, taking all the other talented members with him. The 90125 line-up were now free to attempt more simple songs, but even the multi-instrumentalist Rabin was struggling to come up with any singles. So Jon Anderson re-appointed himself as the band leader, which led to a confusing concept album but one that was deemed the lesser of two evils.

Themed around Jon Anderson’s often incomprehensible language and general manner of speaking, Yestalk was as fun to listen to as the Queen’s speech. The cover artwork, which was also as pleasurable to look at as the Queen herself, was sent to the band by a 5 year-old fan. It was far better than anything Roger Dean ever came up with, subtly reflecting the collective rationality of Yes at the time. The name Yestalk was later adopted for an online forum where fans of the band gather to worship Rick Wakeman’s hair. They are also known for their frequent pilgrimages to Yes concerts, where they attempt to touch members of the band.

“I hate my member being touched. It feels weird”
~ Chris Squire on being asexual

Keys to Ignition

In May 1995, as Alan White joined Oasis an hour before performing a show with them (just as he had done when he joined Yes), Jon looked through the drummer's underwear drawer (replete with tighty-whiteys) and found a napkin that had been signed on Chris Squire's drunken birthday party in 1974 by the Stories From Geographic Seas lineup, who had agreed to reunite in 1995. Though the rest of the lineup had been joking at the time, Jon took it seriously and threatened to banish them to the first dimension if they did not fulfill their promise. White agreed to balance time between Oasis and Yes as long as Anderson stayed out of his underwear drawer. Since Steve Howe had been banished from Asia for getting a couple of countries mixed up, he had no other options. He was delighted to see Trevor Rabin get kicked out of the band and make film soundtracks as punishment for not making Yestalk a success. Tony Kaye argued that, with Trevor gone, he could stay in the band and play to the best of his abilities. Jon did not care, so he banished Tony to the first dimension for ten years, during which he became a comedian and reused his original name.

Over the next year, the members put the keys in the ignition of their collective Yes mind and drove it, recording seven studio tracks under their independent label Yessential Records and performing a tour that consisted of Chris Squire's three-day drunken birthday bash in one venue at the San Luis Obispo Wilderness (SLOW). They released live album Keys to Ignition, which contained half of the setlist and ended with the studio tracks "Be The Pun" and "Shat, That Is." The other five studio tracks were "Mind Drive" (an extended, repetitive version of an Ex-Yes-&-Synthesizer demo), "Hand Prints" (a song about the smudges on Steve's guitars), "Bring The Power To Me" (written by power-hungry Jon Anderson), "Children of White" (based on an ABWH demo that had been dedicated to Alan's children Jesse and Cassi), and "Steve Morse Code" (a secret message between Howe and Wakeman about the lack of creativity). Though Rick had wanted these five tracks to be released as an album with Jon's proposed title No, it ended up being released as the second disc of live album Keys to Ignition 2, which contained the other half of the setlist from the tour. As they continued mind driving, Wakeman refused to turn his steering wheel in the direction in which the other band members were heading, causing the Yes hive mind to spin out of control and enter a new, Wakeman-less state.

Open Your Eyes

1. New State Of Mind / 2. Open Your Fucking Eyes / 3. Universal Garden / 4. No Game We Can Lose / 5. Fortune Teller / 6. Man In The Moon/ 7. Wonderlove / 8. From The Falconry / 9. Love Shine / 10. Reptilian Marmaduke / 11.The Solution (inc. extended "nature" solos)

Billy, a 12 year old boy from Mexico, joined Yes in 1997 to contribute a more “down with the kids" sound (Spice Girls take note). The new album was as youthful as it was catchy. The presence of a 23 minute epic, inordinate swearing content, and a paedophile keyboardist just proves how child-friendly Open Your Eyes was. And as the title suggests, the band made a huge loss from its release. By this point the 90125 Vault was empty of cash, and Yes was becoming less of an asset and more of a hindrance. New recruit Igor Khoroshev helped out by financing his own keyboards (hence the use of the Stylophone) and Alan White agreed to fire himself for a couple of months to save more money; the cost of the album was ultimately totalled at around £1.20.

Steve Howe Stairlift

For reasons unexplained, Steve Howe was chosen as the model for the artwork on The Stair Lift.

Fueled by his annoyance at the ametuer cover artwork on the previous album, Roger Dean smattered his artistic influences all over OYE's cover. His design was a simple Yes logo, but he enforced that the size of each jewel case should be 10 metres squared at minimum, in order to hammer home the fact that he was the band's primary artist. In the following months, every record shop in the world was clogged up with giant CDs that weren't selling, and that took up lots of room. At the next G8 summit, it was agreed to launch millions of these records into outer space; the huge Yes logos have since been adopted as currency in surrounding solar systems.

The Stair Lift

1. Homeworld: The Ladder / 2. It Will Be A Good Day / 3. Frightening Dykes / 4. Can I Re-release We Have Heaven? / 5. Face To Face/ 6. If Only You Grew / 7. To Be Alive / 8. Finally / 9. The Postman / 10. Новый язык / 11. Nine Over-dubbed Voices [Long-Talker]

Yes were getting pretty old by the time The Stair Lift was released. Howe, Anderson, Squire and White all required medics to tour with them as heart failure was frequent. Steve Howe also died many times, and was often resurrected using cheap equipment, contributing to his “mad scientist” look. And Chris Squire was frequently mistaken for Father Christmas (his diet consisted of fourteen kilograms of Schindleria Praematurus a day). It was thus down to Igor Khoroshev and Billy The Kid to guide Yes to success. They wrote and recorded every single song on The Stair Lift. However, after the album's chart position was revealed, the two of them were promptly fired.

The significant and memorable producer of the album, whose name I have forgotten, sadly died shortly before the release of The Stair Lift. It turns out that he was brutally murdered by former Yes producers Trevor Horn and Eddy Offord. The pair repeatedly attacked him with early Yes records, including one particularly gruesome copy of 90125 that was used to decapitate him. They later formed a comedy duo act known as That Horn and Offord Sound, which featured impeccably produced jokes (that weren’t very funny).

Magnification (One Last Try)

1. Magnification / 2. Once Again This Amazement At Being Alive / 3. Don't Die / 4. Give Love Each Day / 5. Can You Imagine Being Young? / 6. We Disagree / 7. Soft As A Dove / 8. Bedtime / 9. In The Essence Of / 10. Time Is Most Definately NOT On Our Side

In 2001, the famous four congregated once more, after Rick Wakeman’s decision to only be in the band every leap year. Despite Steve Howe being older than all of the golden girls put together, Chris Squire still being frequently mistaken for Santa Claus, Alan White having his own business-related reality TV show, and Jon trying to re-boost his career by appearing on QI (oh wait, that was his brother) the four of them still made the decision to release yet another Yes album. They replaced the indecisive Yes keyboardist with an orchestra, something that hadn’t been done since 1970’s Time And A Word, which sold well. The two albums actually feature the same orchestra, continuing the theme of “Nobody who works on this album must be younger than 90 years old”...

--More tours have since followed with many different members of Yes in various combinations that really aren’t that interesting.

Benoit David

Clones of Jon Anderson such as this one, have been spotted touring with Yes recently.

In The Present

In 2008, a 40th anniversary tour of the south side of the U.S. titled By the Border and Back was cancelled when Anderson's respiratory problems kept him from returning to America via the Mexican-American border. Yes replaced him with Belgian porn star Benoît David (how they found him is a Mystery). David is a clone of Jon; his singing voice was sampled from the Yes singer and wired into his voicebox. However, due to an administrative mistake, Benoît became a full-time member of the band. He would later claim that time travelers from the year 4007 had told him that he was supposed torecruit David and merge with Steve Hackett into a being called Squackett. Jon Anderson was less than pleased about this. In October he posted on his website a stream of insults directed at the current line-up, and for the first time ever, what he said made perfect sense. Jon said that he disliked that the lineup were touring as Yes, not realizing that they were actually billing themselves as "Steve Howe, Chris Squire & Alan White of Yes Introducing Oliver Wakeman and Benoît David." Rick Wakeman had also decided to tour, under the deceptive title Oliver Wakeman. Many foolish people believed that this is Rick’s son, but Wakeman insisted that it was him and that he was feeling younger than ever. His experiences with Yes over the years would be recorded and released as Past, Present and Future.

“Aliens are only us from the future.”
~ Chris Squire on the supposed time travelers.

Though Anderson felt better in 2009, Squire wanted to get back at him for doing ABWH without him 20 years earlier. He said that he would let Jon return if he realized that he was only joking around. Jon did not catch on. It was during this year that Yes toured Asia, making Steve Howe (whose banishment from the continent had been lifted) to play half of the show before the rest of the band went onstage. Steve Howe was even more pissed off the next year when Trevor Rabin (who had been contacted by Yes management in 2008 to replace Steve Howe since they had expected him to die) tried to sabotage Yes by performing "Boner of a Lonely Fart" with them at the Greek Theatre in 2010. Rabin then tried to form a group with Anderson and Wakeman called Wakeman Anderson Rabin (WAR) so that they could declare war on Yes. (Initially, they wanted to recruit Bill Bruford and Tony Levin and call themselves BRAWL, but they found out that Levin had "retired" Bruford for not adding Levin's name to ABWH's name 20 years earlier.) Though they blamed the project's delays on scheduling conflicts, the truth is that they have not thought of any new music together. Fans who missed the Stories lineup started saying, "Three-fifths Yes is not Yes!" not realizing that, by that logic, Easily Broken and By the Border should not be considered Yes since they feature 3/5 of the original lineup, and that the Stories lineup should be considered 2/5 Yes. A new album with the In The Present tour line-up was planned, with its 2011 release relying upon Steve Howe's ability to stay alive until then. The popular book-keeper chain Ladbrokes allowed customers to place bets on this, with odds of 3:1.

Fly from Here

1. Walk From Here - Over There / 2. Walk From Here, Part I - We Can Walk (Except Steve) / 3. Walk From Here, Part II - Sad-Eyed Lady of the Airfield / 4. Walk From Here, Part III - Mad Magazine / 5. Walk From Here, Part IV - Lumpy Side / 6. Walk From Here, Part V - We Can Still Walk (Except Steve) / 7. The Man Jon Never Wanted Me To Be / 8. Death on a Film Set / 9. Hour of Need for Jon Anderson / 10. Solitaire Card Games / 11. Into The Lens Storm

Roger Dean, who had been starving in the 14 years since he reached his peak designing the cover for Open Your Fucking Eyes, was contacted by Faux Yes to make a new album cover. The band was now under the label Space, the final Frontiers Records. After recording one new track, Wakeman told the group that it was their hour of need for Jon Anderson. Squire's response: "You are the weakest link. Goodbye." Wakeman would go off to marry a fourth wife, his sights set on surpassing the record of The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Steve Howe recorded "Solitaire," claiming that it was tradition for one of his solo studio tracks to be featured on a Yes album once every 20 years since 1971. In truth, he had no room for it on his solo album, Time Is What I Don't Have, and he was not sure if he would live long enough to put it on another solo album.

Too lazy to make a whole album of new songs, Yes uncovered formless memories lingering: "We Can Walk From Here" (an outtake from Karma) and "Death on a Film Set" (a demo by The Buggles that predicted the death of Trevor Horn). The members of Yes claimed that everything was recorded "in the present," even crediting Horn's vocals to David. Since fans had already been aware of the existence of "We Can Walk From Here" because it was on the live boxset The Turd Is Alive, the band refrained from using the whole title and split the phrase into two separate phrases on the tracklist. To further throw off suspicion, they brought in Geoff Downes all the way from Asia (where he had found his hands) to contribute to tracks 7 and 11. They also got Trevor Horn to appear in a music video for "We Can Walk," in which he walked the streets and carried a mirror (he was still a camera). During the shoot, Jon Anderson a man in a white car killed the video star, who had not read that objects in the mirror were closer than they appeared. Walk From Here was released in LP format, with "Lumpy Side" being a track that spanned an entire side (and a lumpy one, at that). Jon Anderson said that the album sounded dated, and he was right.

“What have I become? What am I running away from? I used to see things in a very different way. What am I to do? I have changed my point of view. I was lost. Now I've found myself in you!”
~ Squire singing to David about how he no longer needs Jon
“Armies of angels are starting to form. Take me away at the break of the dawn. Take me away!”
~ David on his fear of Jon's angry fans

Realizing that Benoît David could not write for shit, Yes invited Jon Anderson back. Anderson accepted the invitation (designed by Roger Dean), but this turned out to be a ruse. Yes performed a ritual that combined Jon Anderson and Benoît David into a being who was both energetic and experienced. They named this hybrid Jon Davison. Yes announced that they were going to perform three albums on tour in 2013. Though the plan was to make three new studio albums to make a ton of money quickly, Jon Davison needed time to adjust to his body and his skills (he had believed that he was Rick Wakeman, even going as far as sculpting a hammer out of glass to imitate the Nordic god of thunder). Therefore, they decided to play three older albums instead: The Yes Albatross, By the Border, and Going For The Bum. A day in between two of the shows, Steve Howe (who had recently ended his residency in Asia, despite Downes' wishes) caused heard about the death of Yes' original guitarist, who had planned on playing material from Yes' first two albums with a band creatively named Affirmative. With Banks' death, Squire cancelled plans for SuperMegaYes to perform a 45th anniversary Broadway show titled The Holy Lamb Cries Out On Broadway.

Levin & Dearth

1. Believe in Yes Again / 2. The Name / 3. Stop Beyond Music / 4. To Descend / 5. In a World of Our Own / 6. Dancing Through The Light of the Golden Ages / 7. It Was All We Knew How To Still Play Live / 8. Subway Buns

With his experience performing the old material, Jon Davison felt ready to record in the studio with Yes. In 2014, Yes released a new album and titled it Levin & Dearth. Though some would believe again that Yes were referencing the absence of ABWH bassist Tony Levin on the album, Squire set the record straight (though he did not set the album record itself straight) by explaining that the title had to do with Levin's lack of style. It was produced by Roy Thomas the Baker, who had bet during the 1979 Paris sessions that the band would break up and never reunite, and that if they were ever around 35 years later, he would produce their album for free and bake them another three-layer cake. Yes revisited the motif of reusing old material as they did on Walk From Here, basing "Light of the Ages" on material from the 1979 Paris sessions, but they hoped that nobody would notice. Davison and Downes had come up with an epic during the sessions for the album, but they decided to save it because they were running out of ideas and they wanted to give people a reason to buy another album. Levin & Dearth was sponsored by Subway. Lost in translation, Roger Dean designed Yes graffiti on actual subway walls instead of Subway stores themselves. As a marketing strategy, the band released minute-and-a-half-long teaser audio clips of songs. While their intention was to make this method a Big Generator of interest, these clips actually put people off of the album. Disliked by Anal Prasad, the album has been described as a desperate attempt to get fans to believe in the current lineup.

The album was mixed by Billy, who had finally grown into an adult who had made Tony Kaye his bitch by Circa: 2007, produced a shit-ton of tribute albums to proclaim his love for other bands without having to come up with new shit, and pondered the Mystery (David's old band) with Captain Kirk. The mix ended up sounding terrible; Billy revealed to the band that he had been planning to take them down since 2003, when he went through puberty at 18, joined No, and released the album No Comment. He united with Beyond Music, the US division of Eagle Records that had released the forgotten Yes albums Open Your Fucking Eyes, The Stair Lift, and Magnification. Together, they used Large Mechanisms carrying Massive Machine Guns (which had already executed all other Yes alumni) to threaten Yes into allowing Billy to sing on a tour to perform the three albums that Beyond had released released so that the label could make more money, even though Yes would have preferred to have performed Easily Broken, By the Border, and Levin & Dearth. Undermining the band, Billy announced the day before the 45th anniversary of Yes' debut album that he and Tony Kaye were working with a reformed Mabel Greer's Toyshop, and that they would finally release their long-awaited debut album. The few living MGT purists called the new lineup "Maybe Greer's Toyshop" since only two of the five members were from the original lineup.

In an event that became known as Yesterdays of Future Past, Jon said that he would use his elf powers to send someone's mind to his younger body in a time before Beyond. Chris, the only remaining member of the original Yes lineup, was the only one who understood this reference to "Beyond and Before." Since Davison was made up of two people, he did not use the power on himself because he was not sure which body he would become. Downes feared being in his handless period again, and Howe feared that time travel would ruin his own hands. White selflessly volunteered, but Squire told him to shut up because the band would only listen to their leader.

Jon could only send him back to his birthdays and said that the further that Chris went back, the more pain that he would have to endure. Chris wanted to go back to his 1996 birthday bash to warn the band that they should kiss Rick's ass and avoid Beyond Music, but Jon sent him further back since the Anderson part of his personality was still butt-hurt about being replaced by David. Squire ended up at his 1974 birthday party, during which the band had signed the napkin that would cause the Seas lineup to reunite in 1995. Since everyone was too drunk to listen to him, he wrote on the napkin agreement, adding that Yes' management would get their shit together and be exceptional at coordinating with Wakeman and listening to what he would have to say. He also recorded a video of himself warning himself to stay away from any Billy born in 1985 (he did not know Billy's last name).

When Squire returned to 2014, he discovered that the three albums released by Beyond never existed and that Billy was never associated with Yes (though Tony Kaye was still his bitch). Due to change, Onion had one less track, Peter Max was the one who finger-painted the cover for Yestalk, and Rabin was the one who played bass on three quarters of that album, making it less popular and resulting in the cancellation of the 1994 tour. Therefore, no members were touched that year. Keys to Ignition contained an entire recorded show like any ordinary live album should have, with the studio tracks being released as No prior to a 1997-1998 world tour, followed by a ton of tours with Wakeman performing the same old material with the band. With Homeworld: The Stair Lift and it’s parent album no more, the song was not used in the re-release release of the elusive computer game. Since Igor Khoroshev never joined Yes, he never became popular, and he faded from existence before he had the chance to sexually assault anyone. None of these changes made Levin & Dearth any more likable. As a result, the band only played three tracks from that album on the subsequent tour. They did, however, perform By the Border and Easily Broken more or less in their entirety. (They had forgotten yesterdays about the reprise of "We Have High-pitched Vocal Hell" after "Heart of the Sunrise.") Though Chris Squire is the only one who claims that the events of what he calls "the original timeline" actually happened, he insists that the original history be included in this article. Yes members have said that they have prepared for the struggle against "Apocalypse," the most complex section of "And Me And I."

“I used to believe in a Yes with Jon A., not me.”
~ Jon Davison singing "Believe Again."
“Please, we need you to believe again.”
~ Alan White speaking to a Yes fan stuck in 1973.
“We all know the rules of the name. Us fools, still we play the same, as if our days remain.”
~ Chris Squire on the current state of Yes.
“Levin is an unknown place of no particular destination as far as anybody knows.”
~ Steve Howe on Levin, New Zealand.
“It's not like I lost any money; the album didn't really sell.”
~ Roy Thomas the Baker on producing Levin & Dearth.
“Beg, steal, rob, run, hide.”
~ The band's new mantra for making money.

The Revenge Of Billy

After the chart success of Levin & Dearth (owing to Jon Davison using his elf powers to make the album play on the radio ), Yes wanted to take a break from touring. However, they ended up playing over four-point-four billion more shows just in 2014. They played a further sixty-five million shows in 2015 before the Levin & Dearth tour was finally over. In this time, they released a live album (which once again had terrible mixing from a mysterious engineer), and a boxset containing seven concerts from when they still had fans. All seven discs had the exact same songs, just played at different times. It didn’t sell.

While the rest of the band was ready to return to the studio to record the tracks that they’d (intentionally) left off the last album, Chris Squire grew worried. He was starting to receive threatening phone calls from what sounded like a teenage boy. He said he was planning on destroying Chris and becoming the new bassist of Yes. Sure enough it was Billy, who had crossed over from the pre-Yesterdays of Future Past timeline with the help of Bill Bruford, who blamed Chris for breaking up his progressive barbershop quartet with the three talented members of Yes. Fearing for the safety of his bandmates, Squire announced he would be taking leave from the band to confront Billy. On the 27th of June, Billy chased Squire to Phoenix, Arizona. The two engaged in a bloody axe battle at the height of a mountain line (which frankly looked like a Roger Dean painting.) Although experienced and wise beyond his years, Squire realized that Billy’s youth and endurance was too much for him. As Billy drove his bass into the elderly musician’s neck, Chris evolved into a Schindleria Praematurus, and swam to the pond outside Alan White’s apartment (he had never thought to buy a mansion like the rest of the band,) and with his final breath instructed his friend/bitch on what to do with Yes.

“Alan. You need to break up Yes before Billy can kill anyone else. He’s pure evil!”
~ Chris Squire’s last words.

White, of course did not remember who Billy was. He also realized that with Squire dead, he could now make decisions for himself. Soon afterwards, Alan announced that Yes would be continuing with Billy in the late Chris Squire’s place. Following a failed petition on to get Yes to change their name to Maybe, the remaining sensible Yes fans decided that Yes was no more.

“Absolutely, we’re moving ahead. I’m gonna do it for the money”
~ Alan White on his priorities.

See Also


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