This group was
originally established in 1968 after the members of the rock band Mabel Greer’s
Toyshop: Chris Squire, Clive Bailey, Bob Hagger and
Peter Banks got together in London. After the bassist Chris Squire became
acquainted with Jon Anderson, the drummer Bill Bruford
replaced Bob Hagger and Peter Banks was replaced by
the keyboardist Tony Kaye they began rehearsing in June of 1968. Peter Banks then returned in July of
that year to complete the quintet and after the names Life and World had
been considered he suggested they called the band Yes!
Yes played their
first gig at an Essex youth camp on 4th August where they
performed cover songs and in September they stepped in for Sly & The Family
Stone at Blaise’s Club in London when they didn’t
appear for their concert. That appearance
was where they were joined by the club’s host, Roy Flynn, who became
their manager. Not long after Bill
Bruford left the group to go to Leeds University but a few months later he returned to
the group by request and performed with the band at the London’s Royal Albert Hall as the support
for Cream’s farewell concert.
In 1969 they realised
that they would have to work harder against competing bands such as King Crimson. They were signed up by Atlantic Records
and in August that year they released their debut album which was self-titled.
It did not make the album charts but it was favourably accepted by writers
in the Rolling Stone and Melody Maker magazines.
In 1970 they toured
Scandinavia with The Small Faces and then performed their
own concert with a youth orchestra at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London with some of the material from their next
album Time and a Word. The album made the UK album charts this time when it reached
No. 45. Early that year the
group dismissed their manager and in May Pater Banks
made the decision to leave as he wasn’t happy about the band recording
with an orchestra. He was replaced
by the guitarist Steve Howe.
saw them going on a European tour with Iron Butterfly and in February 1971
they released The Yes album which
had entailed the band going to a Devon retreat and then subsequent lengthy
recording sessions. They saw more
success this time when it reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 40 in the US. In June of that year they went to Canada in support of Jethro
Tull and in August that year they performed at Crystal
Palace Bowl in London which was the final appearance of Tony Kaye after musical differences
arose between him and Steve Howe.
However, the acclaimed keyboardist Rick Wakeman
joined up straight away and in November they released their next album Fragile, which reached No. 7 in the UK but was more successful in the US when it went to No. 4. The first track, “Roundabout”
was also successful in the US when it went to No. 14 on the Billboard
1972 saw them releasing
a cover of Paul Simon’s “America” which got to No. 46 in the US and later appeared in the compilation The New Age of Atlantic. Bill Bruford
decided to leave the band to join King Crimson in the summer and was replaced
by Alan White from the Plastic Ono Band. In September of that year they also
released the album Close to the Edge
which had the first side being a 19 minute version of the title track. It proved to be popular though when it
reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 3 in the US and the single release
from it “And You and I” got up to No.42 in the Billboard Hot 100.
By now they had gained
a huge following nationally and internationally and in 1973 they released
the album Yessongs,
with three discs of material from their live shows. It reached No. 7 in the UK and No. 12 in the US. In December
of that same year Tales from Topographic
Oceans was also released and became their first album to make gold status
before it had reached the stores and was also the fourth consecutive gold album
they’d released. It made
it to the No 1 in the UK and No. 6 in the US.
In 1974 Rick Wakeman, who had issues with their last album, decided to
leave the band after they had finished touring and went on to release his
own solo material. His replacement
was Patrick Moraz who joined the band during their
recording of Relayer. It was released in November and included
“The Gates of Delirium” which was a 22-minute track. It reached No. 4 in the UK and No. 5 in the US.
In 1975 there was a film
released, also entitled Yessongs that showed them in their concerts at the Rainbow
Theatre in London in 1972. They
also issued the compilation Yesterdays
The following year
Peter Frampton joined them for a tour of North America. It was during
this tour that they had an audience of more than 100,000 in Philadelphia. They later
went to Swizerland to record Going for the One and
Patrick Moraz left when he was replaced by his predecessor
Rick Wakeman who had decided to return as a session
musician. The album reached No.
1 in the UK in 1977 and No. 8 in the US. The title
track was released as a single and reached No. 25 in the UK and “Wondrous Stories” reached No. 7.
1978 saw the release
of Tormato which went to No. 8 in the UK and No. 10 in the US despite having been criticised as representative of progressive
rock from the early 1970s. The accompanying
tour was also successful and the band was given the Golden Ticket Award for
achieving box office receipts of more than a million dollars.
They went to Paris in 1979 but were beginning to suffer a divide in the band
after there was a difference of opinion on whether the sound the band
should make more fantasy or heavier rock sounds. It all stopped within a couple of months
though as Alan White broke his foot and had to wait before they reconvened in
February 1980. Within a month
they were basically down to a trio and the finalised album didn’t have
involvement by Jon Anderson or Rick Wakeman. Later in 1980 Trevor Horn and Geoffrey
Downes of The Buggles were
asked to become members and they both performed on the next album Drama which was issued in August. It got to No. 2 in the UK and No. 18 in the US with their follow-up tour receiving mixed reactions even
though they managed a record-breaking 16 sold out shows at Madison Square Gardens since 1974 and were presented
with a certificate. After they returned
to England they decided to all go their own way in the December and
released the album Yesshows
which went to No. 22 in the UK and No. 43 in the US.
1981 was when they
were officially confirmed as having disbanded. Everyone went and did their own thing but the compilation Classic Yes appeared on the shelves in the November.
Alan White and Chris Squire
teamed up with the guitarist Trevor Rabin and the former Yes keyboardist Tony
Kaye in 1982 and formed Cinema.
Trevor Horn was brought in as a singer but changed to a producer but
he and Tony Kaye disagreed on things and Kaye left after six months. Jon Anderson was seeing success in a
duo with Vangelis but Chris Squire let him hear a couple of Cinema demo and
he agreed to join up for the final weeks of the recording sessions where he
changed same lyrics and added lead vocals. The record company persuaded this
band to call themselves Yes, although often called Yes-West, seeing as it had
input from four members of the group.
Not too long later, Tony Kaye was urged to return.
In 1983 this new version
of Yes released the Grammy nomination 90125
which became their biggest selling recording to date. “Owner of a Lonely Heart”
went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart
and won a Grammy Award nomination. In 1984 the singles, “Leave It”
and “It Can Happen” also reached the US chart and the track “Cinema” won a Grammy Award
for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1985.
In 1985 they released
the mini LP 9012Live: The Solos,
which had “Amazing Grace” nominated for a Grammy Award. The album came about from the promotional
tour of 90125 which was their most
commercially successful and Steven Soderbergh made
the film 9012Live.
The next year they
recorded Big Generator in various
international locations and it was eventually released in 1987. It reached No. 17 in the UK and No. 15 in the US and won a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Performance
with Vocal in 1988. They also saw
further success with the resultant singles “Love Will Find a Way”,
“Rhythm of Love” and “Shoot High, Aim Low”.
Jon Anderson once again
left the band in 1988 due to creative differences and followed his solo career. He worked on a project in Montserrat
which Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman
and Steve Howe got involved in.
Although there were ideas that the name Yes would be used as these were
ex-members but contractually they became Anderson, Bruford,
Wakeman, Howe. They released the self-titled album in
1989 went gold and contained the hit song “Brother of Mine”. They then went on their “An
Evening of Yes Music” tour in 1989.
In 1990 they returned
to the studio for their next album and after Trevor Rabin was approached to
write songs for them he said that they were only allowed to use one of the
four he had sent, despite requests for all of them by Arista. Yes-West was already working on their
next album with different musicians but Arista suggested
that ABWH and Yes-West pool their resources and release the new album as
Yes. This new album was called Union and appeared on the shelves in 1991. Although it was
not liked by the band members it reached No. 7 in the UK and No. 15 in the US and also had the hit songs “Lift Me Up” and
“Saving My Heart”. Following
the promotional tour Bill Bruford left the band.
Symphonic Music of Yes was the next release in 1993 where the band was joined
by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Community Choir and the English
The next album took
longer to appear than thought as the record company requested it just be the
musicians from 90125. Trevor Rabin requested Rick Wakeman join them but he was stopped by his management company.
The album Talk eventually came out in March 1994 and reached No. 20 in
the UK and No 33 in the US. The single
“Calling” got up to No. 2 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart
and “Walls” made it to No. 24. The made the follow-up tour after which
Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin announced they were leaving Yes to concentrate
on other things.
Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman went back to he group again
in November 1995 and then the band got back together in March 1996 to perform
three shows in California. These shows
were recorded and included on the next album Keys to Ascension which went to No. 48 in the UK and No. 99 in the US. There was
also a video release of the shows.
In 1997 Keys to the Ascension 2 was issued and
reached No. 62 in the UK although having little interest in the US. Once
again Rick Wakeman left the band with further grievances. Also that year they released Open Your Eyes, which was their 17th
studio album, but this time they only managed to reach No. 151 in the US and made no mark in the UK.
In 1999 they worked on
The Ladder and by this time they had
taken on the Russian keyboardist Igor Khoroshev as
a permanent member. It went to No.
36 in the UK and No. 99 in the US. The tour that
followed had them perform in New Orleans and the recording of the show resulted in the DVD and album
House of Yes: Live from House of Blues.
In the new millennium
they toured in the Masterworks tour of the US after whih Igor Khoroshev left the band. Keystudio was a CD single of studio
material from the Keys to Ascension
albums released in 2001. Magnfication was
also released in 2001 using a full orchestra but no keyboardist. It only reached No. 71 in the UK and No. 186 in the US. The followed
this with a tour and a DVD of them live in Amsterdam was released in 2002. Also in 2002 Rick Wakeman announced his return to the group and then he and
the band began their Full CircleTour.
In 2003 The Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary
Collection triple album was issued and went to No. 10 on the UK chart and No. 132 in the US. The following
year their film Yesspeak
appeared in certain theatre shows.
Later in 2004 the live Yes Acoustic:
Guaranteed No Hiss was issued and their 35th anniversary tour
was recorded and used for the Songs from
Tsongas live DVD.
After 4 years inactivity
due to the ill health of Jon Anderson, the band arranged on their Close to the Edge and Back 40th
anniversary tour in 2008. The tour would include the keyboards being performed
by Rick Wakeman’s son, Oliver, but it was cancelled
in the May due to the further ill health of Jon Anderson. He was later replaced that year by the
Canadian singer Benoit David and they went on to finish their In the Present tour except for a few
dates in 2009 when Chris Squire had to have leg surgery. Also in 2009 Symphonic Live was released.
The 20th studio
album Fly From Here was released
in 2011 and made it to No.30 in the UK and 36 in the US. They went
on the supporting tour later that year in the company of Procol Harum and Styx.
2012 saw Jon Davison replacing
Benoit David and in 2013 they embarked on the 2013-14 Three Album Tour which
included a progressive-rock cruise “Cruise to the Edge” in the North
American first leg which is set to be repeated in April 2014. 2013 was also the year that their fans
campaigned for them to be inducted into he Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame but they were unsuccessful for that year.
An interview at the
start of 2014 had John Davison announcing the producer of their new album.