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YES

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Yes biography
YES formed in 1968 with Jon ANDERSON (vocals), Chris SQUIRE (bass, vocals), Peter BANKS (guitar, vocals), Tony KAYE (keyboards), and Bill BRUFORD (drums). Well-known and influential mainstream progressive from the 1970's, and still around in some form ever since, they were highly influential in their heyday, especially notable for the really creative "Relayer", which included at the time Swiss keyboardist Patrick MORAZ who replaced Rick WAKEMAN

During the 1970s, YES pioneered the use of synthesizers and sound effects in modern music. Driven by Jon's artistic vision, they produced such timeless, symphonic-rock masterworks as "Roundabout," "Close To the Edge," and "Awaken". In the 1980s, YES pushed new digital sampling technologies to their limits, selling millions of records and influencing a generation of digital musicians with classics like "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and "Rhythm Of Love". Moving through the 1990s and into the new millennium, the band keeps expanding its boundaries by using the latest hard-disk recording techniques and, most recently, working with a full orchestra to create their genre-defying music.

YES gained large popularity with their brand of mysticism and grand-scale compositions. "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are considered their best works as it's symphonic, complex, cerebral, spiritual and moving. These albums featured beautiful harmonies and strong, occasionally heavy playing. Also, "Fragile" contained the popular hit song "Roundabout". This was followed by the controversial "Tales from Topographic Oceans" LP, which was a double album consisting of only four 20-minute length suites centering on religious concepts. Also, "Relayer" was their most experimental, yet grandiose and symphonic. They broke up, until the new jewel "Going For The One" and its incredible "Awaken" was issued in 1977. In later years, YES would go through many transformations. There were other very good YES albums after "Going For The One" ("Drama", "Keys To Ascension" and suprisingly "The Ladder") but this is the last great album.

These albums can be found under Various Artists - Concept albums and themed compilations :
Yes - Solo Family Album (19...
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Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection (3CD, Digi-Pak)
Elektra Catalog Group 2004
Audio CD$9.70
$9.04 (used)
Close to the EdgeClose to the Edge
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$5.97
$4.50 (used)
Yes AlbumYes Album
Elektra / Wea 2003
Audio CD$5.19
$5.00 (used)
FragileFragile
Atlantic 2011
Audio CD$3.80
$3.78 (used)
9012590125
Elektra / Wea 2004
Audio CD$5.00
$0.74 (used)
Tales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded Edition 3 CD+1 Blu-rayTales From Topographic Oceans: Expanded Edition 3 CD+1 Blu-ray
Import
Panegyric 2016
Audio CD$24.04
$24.03 (used)
RelayerRelayer
Remastered · Extra tracks
Elektra 2003
Audio CD$5.17
$5.95 (used)
Fragile: Expanded / RemixedFragile: Expanded / Remixed
Import
Panegyric 2015
Blu-ray Audio$16.09
$16.08 (used)
RelayerRelayer
Import
Imports 2014
Blu-ray Audio$16.09
$16.08 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
YES - THE EARLY YEARS CD NEW+ USD $18.03 Buy It Now
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Yes - YESSHOWS LP VG++ SD 2-510 Gate Fold 2LP SET Atlantic 1980 USA Vinyl Record USD $7.50 [0 bids]
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RICK WAKEMAN, (YES) THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY V111, 1973, VERY GOOD+ CONDITION USD $11.45 [0 bids]
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USD $30.00 Buy It Now
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YES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 1153 ratings
Yes
1969
3.28 | 1203 ratings
Time And A Word
1970
4.29 | 2517 ratings
The Yes Album
1971
4.44 | 3115 ratings
Fragile
1971
4.66 | 3959 ratings
Close To The Edge
1972
3.89 | 2151 ratings
Tales From Topographic Oceans
1973
4.36 | 2689 ratings
Relayer
1974
4.03 | 1776 ratings
Going For The One
1977
2.97 | 1344 ratings
Tormato
1978
3.76 | 1483 ratings
Drama
1980
2.96 | 1379 ratings
90125
1983
2.50 | 1011 ratings
Big Generator
1987
2.50 | 930 ratings
Union
1991
3.06 | 837 ratings
Talk
1994
2.04 | 734 ratings
Open Your Eyes
1997
3.28 | 868 ratings
The Ladder
1999
3.75 | 987 ratings
Magnification
2001
3.41 | 985 ratings
Fly From Here
2011
2.38 | 504 ratings
Heaven & Earth
2014

YES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.32 | 845 ratings
Yessongs
1973
3.62 | 437 ratings
Yesshows
1980
2.27 | 223 ratings
9012 Live: The Solos
1985
4.09 | 457 ratings
Keys to Ascension
1996
3.96 | 425 ratings
Keys to Ascension 2
1997
2.57 | 132 ratings
BBC Sessions 1969-1970 Something's Coming (2 Cds)
1997
3.58 | 197 ratings
House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
2000
2.67 | 37 ratings
Extended Versions
2002
2.91 | 32 ratings
Roundabout: The Best Of Yes- Live
2003
3.84 | 165 ratings
Live at Montreux 2003
2007
4.22 | 271 ratings
Symphonic Live
2009
4.50 | 142 ratings
Keys To Ascension (Full)
2010
3.26 | 34 ratings
Astral Traveller (The BBC Sessions)
2011
3.54 | 120 ratings
In The Present - Live From Lyon
2011
3.61 | 52 ratings
Union Live
2011
2.78 | 49 ratings
Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
2014
4.20 | 61 ratings
Progeny - Seven Shows from Seventy-Two
2015
3.34 | 48 ratings
Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
2015

YES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.65 | 160 ratings
Yessongs (DVD)
1973
3.18 | 95 ratings
9012 LIVE (DVD)
1985
4.13 | 84 ratings
Yesyears (DVD)
1991
3.67 | 38 ratings
The Union Tour Live
1991
2.93 | 51 ratings
Greatest Video Hits
1991
4.80 | 5 ratings
The Best Of MusikLaden Live
1999
3.60 | 110 ratings
House Of Yes: Live From The House Of Blues (DVD)
2000
3.69 | 121 ratings
Keys to Ascension (DVD)
2000
4.60 | 304 ratings
Symphonic Live (DVD)
2002
3.09 | 69 ratings
Yesspeak
2003
2.37 | 77 ratings
Live in Philadelphia 1979
2003
3.14 | 33 ratings
Inside Yes 1968-1973
2003
3.57 | 86 ratings
Yes Acoustic: Guaranteed No Hiss
2004
4.30 | 159 ratings
Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2005
3.43 | 65 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 1
2005
3.34 | 58 ratings
Live 1975 At Q.P.R. Vol. 2
2005
3.62 | 52 ratings
Yes (Classic Artists)
2006
3.94 | 127 ratings
Montreux 2003 (DVD)
2007
3.83 | 43 ratings
Yes - The New Director's Cut
2008
3.83 | 40 ratings
The Lost Broadcasts
2009
3.19 | 28 ratings
Rock Of The 70's
2009
3.89 | 57 ratings
Union - Live
2010
3.00 | 4 ratings
Live Hemel Hempstead Pavillion October 3rd 1971
2013

YES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.25 | 4 ratings
2 Originals Of Yes
1973
3.09 | 205 ratings
Yesterdays
1975
3.80 | 167 ratings
Classic Yes
1981
3.26 | 108 ratings
Yesyears
1991
3.45 | 72 ratings
Yesstory
1992
3.03 | 70 ratings
Highlights: The Very Best of Yes
1993
2.58 | 31 ratings
The Best of Yes
2000
3.55 | 456 ratings
Keystudio
2001
2.74 | 21 ratings
Yes-today
2002
4.28 | 114 ratings
In A Word
2002
3.13 | 90 ratings
Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
2003
2.14 | 60 ratings
Remixes
2003
2.52 | 23 ratings
Topography: The Yes Anthology
2004
3.23 | 136 ratings
The Word Is Live
2005
3.96 | 24 ratings
Essentially Yes
2006
3.52 | 18 ratings
Collection 2CD: Yes
2008
5.00 | 2 ratings
Wonderous Stories: The Best of Yes
2011
3.95 | 35 ratings
Progeny: Highlights From Seventy-Two
2015

YES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 22 ratings
Something's Coming
1969
3.47 | 15 ratings
Looking Around
1969
2.82 | 26 ratings
Sweetness / Something's Coming
1969
3.29 | 17 ratings
Sweet Dreams
1970
3.38 | 34 ratings
Time and a Word
1970
3.45 | 45 ratings
Your Move
1971
2.97 | 12 ratings
Roundabout
1972
4.64 | 14 ratings
And You And I (Part 1 & 2)
1972
2.83 | 45 ratings
America
1972
4.73 | 15 ratings
And You And I
1974
2.79 | 14 ratings
Soon
1976
3.26 | 38 ratings
Soon - Sound Chaser - Roundabout
1976
2.40 | 15 ratings
Yes Solos
1976
3.66 | 40 ratings
Wonderous Stories 12''
1977
4.04 | 38 ratings
Going For The One 12''
1977
3.91 | 11 ratings
Turn Of The Century
1977
2.66 | 48 ratings
Don't Kill The Whale
1978
3.01 | 35 ratings
Into The Lens
1980
4.27 | 43 ratings
Roundabout
1981
2.35 | 39 ratings
Owner of a Lonely Heart (promo single)
1983
2.15 | 44 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1983
2.72 | 36 ratings
Leave It
1984
2.82 | 21 ratings
Twelve Inches on Tape
1984
3.10 | 32 ratings
It Can Happen
1984
2.33 | 8 ratings
Rhythm Of Love
1987
2.94 | 29 ratings
Love Will Find A Way
1987
2.25 | 37 ratings
Rhythm Of Love (2)
1987
3.33 | 20 ratings
Saving My Heart
1991
2.54 | 40 ratings
Owner Of A Lonely Heart
1991
2.43 | 9 ratings
Lift Me Up
1991
2.73 | 18 ratings
Make It Easy
1991
2.60 | 11 ratings
Yesyears - Sampler
1991
2.60 | 24 ratings
The Calling
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
Lightning Strikes (She Ay ... Do Wa Bap)
1999
2.83 | 71 ratings
YesSymphonic
2001
2.13 | 4 ratings
Selections From The Word Is Live
2005
3.06 | 61 ratings
We Can Fly
2011

YES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tales From Topographic Oceans by YES album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.89 | 2151 ratings

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Tales From Topographic Oceans
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars A proto-Relayer not at all amazing: 6/10

Jamie Muir - ephemerous percussionist of KING CRIMSON's LARKS' IN TONGUES ASPIC, on Bill Bruford's wedding reception, showed Jon Andeson the works of Paramahansa Yogananda, which can be summed as "Kriya Yoga". This heavily influenced Anderson to develop the mystical record we're seeing. Aside from this funny fact, many others before me explained thoroughly the virtues and flaws YES' most pompous record has, so I'll be short on my verdict.

TALES FROM A TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS had a bad timing: released right after what is hailed by many, I included, as the best progressive rock album of all time, the hype was overwhelmingly enormous. The issue is that YES departed from what made Close to the Edge magnificent - electricity, excitement, complexity - sailing into much calmer rivers. In fact, you can think of this as a transitory phase between the restless rockers to more matured, melodic musicians. Well, to make it short, it is disappointing - you can't really expect the energy from CTTE but neither the masterful emotion from Relayer.

The Revealing Science of God carries some early YES joviality syncretised with melodic virtuosity on a magnificent fashion, it presents itself as a unique creation - the blends of ethereal Moog sweeps along the tropical guitar riffs and solos fits the sublime concept Jon Anderson trips about. The cheerful parts are anthemic and beautiful, the mellow parts are smooth and soothing, but they're well balanced not to have either overrunning the overall atmosphere. Personally, I think it deserves acknowledgment as one of YES' best, as they achieved their pretensions of creating deliciously maddening prog. It is a solid opener, and what a solid one. The issue is that what follows on after this appetizing entrance just goes slower, and slower, and staler and staler as the album progresses.

In general, this is not a bad album by any means, it just isn't nearly as exciting as one would expect from YES - especially as it is the bridge between the Homeric releases CLOSE TO THE EDGE and RELAYER. Is it worth checking out? If you've got the spare time.

 The Yes Album by YES album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.29 | 2517 ratings

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The Yes Album
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 123

"The Yes Album" is the third studio album of Yes and was released in 1971. It was their first album featuring the new guitarist of the band Steve Howe, after the dismissal of their founder guitarist Peter Banks and it was also the last album featuring the presence of the founder keyboardist Tony Kaye. After friction between Steve Howe and Tony Kaye, due to his reluctance to play electronic keyboards such as the mellotron and the minimoog synthesizer, it was asked to him to leave Yes. He was replaced by Rick Wakeman, another classical trained keyboard player, who left Strawbs.

The line up on the album is Jon Anderson (lead vocals and percussion), Steve Howe (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars and vachalia), Tony Kaye (piano, organ and Moog), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums and percussion). The album had also the participation of Colin Goldring (recorders) on "Your Move".

"The Yes Album" has six tracks and was the first studio album of Yes to solely featuring original compositions by them. The first track "Yours Is No Disgrace" written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford is the first long song of the band and is a brilliant opening track for the album. The lyrics are very simple but musically we can see clearly the progressivity on their music especially due to the guitar and keyboard workings, despite the producer of the song aren't at the same level of their following albums. The second track "Clap" written by Steve Howe is an instrumental and nice short acoustic piece of music. Curiously, it's a live track which was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 17 July 1970. My remastered edition has also a studio version previously unissued. The two versions are slightly different but are both very pleasant to hear. It's a typical song of Steve Howe, in the same vein of "Mood For A Day", a song written by him for the next studio album of Yes, "Fragile". Despite be a good and nice song it's the weakest point on the album. The third track "Starship Trooper" is divided into three parts: "Life Seeker" written by Jon Anderson, "Disillusion" written by Chris Squire and "Wurm" written by Steve Howe. This is another long musical composition of the group and is also at the same time a great song of the band, which became a classic Yes' theme. This is the first musical suite composed by them, absolutely fantastic, with great individual musical performances by all members of the band. The fourth track "I've Seen All Good People" is also divided but only into two parts: "Your Move" written by Jon Anderson and "All Good People" written by Chris Squire. As with "Starship Trooper" this is also a classic composition of Yes, very well known, and it remains a standard of those days. It's another brilliant song that explores a vast musical world with great progressivity. It has two distinct musical parts, one more calm and acoustic and the other more rock and aggressive. However, the song shows a perfect balance between both parts. The fifth track "A Venture" written by Jon Anderson is the other short song on the album and is, with "The Clap", the other less good track on it. It's the song with the most simplistic musical structure on the album without great adventures of progressivity and with no great ambitious too. However, this is a good and nice song with great vocal work in the usual style of Jon Anderson. The sixth and last track "Perpetual Change" written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire is another great song of Yes and it has the same quality level of the other great songs on this album. It's also a lengthy musical composition with a typical classic progressive structure of the songs of the group and it has also a nice and strong melody. Probably, it was left to a second place mainly due to "Starship Trooper" and "I've Seen All Good People", but this is very unfair indeed. All in all, I think this is a great song that closes the album in a great way.

Conclusion: "The Yes Album" is one of the most important studio albums of Yes for several reasons. It was their first commercial success, it was their first album to solely feature original compositions of the band, it was the first democratic album of the band with each member making his own significant contribution, it was the first time the band explored lengthy compositions, it was their first release to feature their new guitarist Steve Howe, which became to be a cornerstone in the band, it was the last Yes' album for more than twelve years to feature keyboardist Tony Kaye, until his return in 1983's on their eleventh studio album "90125", and finally, it was their first great musical studio work. "The Yes Album" isn't, in my humble opinion, an inferior album to "Fragile". As I wrote before when I reviewed it, "Fragile" isn't a uniform and cohesive collective effort of Yes because it has only four band's tracks. The other five are individual tracks and some of them are really of little interest. Because of that, "Fragile" is, in my humble opinion, somehow an unbalanced album. On the contrary, "The Yes Album" is a collective effort and its best tracks are practically at the same level of the best songs on "Fragile". On "The Yes Album" we can feel, for the first time, what the band will want to do and we can also hear, for the first time, the foundations of what will be the personal mark of their future music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues  by YES album cover Live, 2000
3.58 | 197 ratings

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House of Yes: Live From the House of Blues
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by cedo

3 stars "...Have You heard the news? Yes in the House of Blues! Yes, Yes, Yes, in the House of Blues...", echoing the last verses of the last track of their performance in the Las Vegas' "House of Blues" venue. That showed the overall feel and intention to play in relaxed way, to specific audience, different from devoted and demanding Yes followers and admirers. So, the conclusion is simple: this concert should not be rated from quality point of view, but from the specific moment-in-time view, something like the single snapshot of past times.

Yes was, is, and will be a great band, no matter some stumbling from time to time. One of the Proggy Trinity: the Floyd, the Yes, and the Genesis. All these bands heavily changed their style through 80's, trying to adopt a new sound, but disoriented and in knockdown by the flooding wave of pop-synthesized easy listening albums that new generations widely accepted at the time. Democracy in music, on one hand, when almost everybody can afforded music equipment to play music, and search of music industry for new golden eggs laying hens, on the other, changed the game for good. But great bands survived mostly with the support of 70's fans, less making new albums, but more performing good old material to audience across the world. In the case of Yes, that resulted in many live albums containing similar material. I think that two key live albums of Yes were 1973 "Yessongs" and 1980 "Yesshows", first being recorded at artistic heights, and the seconds being recorded in the dawn of a-changin' times with two lineups to kept the torch burning and pass it to next band incarnations. Later, up to 2010's when "we play whole albums concerts" tours evolved like global unplugged concerts movement in 1990's, most live Yes albums were based on bullet-proof material from the first half of 70's. Similar situation is with "House of Blues" album, but on that album Yes played half of then actual 1999 "The Ladder" album (5 tracks, 34 minutes), which were a little bit unusual.

And what to say about "The Ladder" album? Well, I bought it back in the days, listened to it several times, and... sold it! One of the few that I can't lived with. Just didn't like it, then and now. So I was curious how that material sounded on live "House of Blues" album, and, to be honest, it was much more acceptable, when Ladder's songs are played amongst others, in concert atmosphere.

On "House of Blues" generally there are no solo excursions of players, just pure music, pure concert atmosphere, and cheerful audience response, something like excellent soundboard recording of one of many concerts from one of many tours (the recording is loud, too loud for my taste, so nuances are harder to hear). There are nice unexpected short snippets of two songs, each lasting a minute. There are a little bit of samba, and a little bit of reggae. We have less pop, more rocking "Owner of the Lonely Heart" coupled with instrumental track "Cinema". Of greatest interest is the absence of Rick Wakeman (so obviously there's no "Rick Wakeman Solo" track on album), and presence of two new players, Sherwood and Khoroshev. And second incarnation of "Awaken" on live album, if I'm correct, to me the most serious point of album. When "Awaken" is played, you just can't go for a glass of water or for a bottle of bear, not to mention a visit to 00 facility!

Well, why this concert has been chosen to be released? I don't know. Probably "House of Blues" in title have some weight on music market. Upon words written, it looks like a two star (collectors/fans) album. But what is the rating, by the system of logical elimination? Masterpiece? No, it's light years far from it. Essential? No, there are much better live albums. For collectors only? Well, no and yes. It's quite solid for everyone who like progressive rock and is not a perfectionist, although is of more importance for Yes collections, but it would be unfair to give it only two stars (even if two star rating is not a quality, but collection rating, which is in a sort of contradiction with higher ratings). Poor? Far away from such bad rating, it is not only for completists. So, what remains is "good", as middle and most adequate rating. Three stars for a little bit different Yes live album.

 Going For The One by YES album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.03 | 1776 ratings

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Going For The One
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by grom63

2 stars This review was written because Going for the One is my most unloved album from early-middle period of Yes. But to my surprise it has high ratings on PA. I will try objectively explain my indignation. I apologize in advance for my bad English.

This album completely destroying Yes magic aura that had being all previously time in its first seconds. First composition beginning with rock-n-roll with the continuation variations on this theme. I think, that Yes originally was interesting because their music did not contain this kind of dance music. In addition, it was supplemented by uncountable number of simply formed repeats in the second part, which will be in abundance throughout the album. Following piece is quiet, slow and amorphous. There is nothing yours ears can cling on: random sounds of special effects without clear melody. «Parallels» is dynamic and sounds better in contrast, but no more. «Wonderous Stories» is just boring pop song.

At last there is main epic on this album where on awhile we hear the band YES, however this was not without appearing out of nowhere like sounds of sparkling stars (YES, are you seriously?) and other electronic garbage which begins to predominate over instrumental music. Then the listener is thrown into the swamp of incoherent and uninteresting music, completing all of this with pompous repeats.

Generally, this album can be characterized as permanent flow unconvincingly cheerful music with pseudo-exalted vocal parts and dominating of insipid and at the same time sugary mid-seventies synthesizers. Maybe it was an experiment, but definitely unsuccessful. Prevailing couplet-chorus structure with multiple repeats make impression willful lengthening of composition to reach long play format. Nearly total absence of interesting parts on the "natural" musical instruments, which, moreover, were drowned out by electronics, makes this album completely impersonal and not provoking interest. My score is 2/5 stars, very disappointing after the masterpiece album of 1974.

 Heaven & Earth by YES album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.38 | 504 ratings

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Heaven & Earth
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by dosware

3 stars As a hardcore prog and YES fan, I am surprised they released a decidedly non-prog album. I can empathize with the disappointment voiced by many long time fans of Yes- the archetype of Prog. And that's where my criticism ends.

After my initial WTF experience hearing this mostly sedate and decidedly non-prog album, I realized there was something else unique and artistic happening here. I keep listening to this album- not primarily as a prog fan, but as a fan of emotional and complex pop music long gone from the airwaves. YES remain great songwriters, composing amazing hooks with top production- this album puts current popular music to shame. There is not a bad track on this album.

This is Yes's most innovative album since Drama.

 Classic Yes by YES album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1981
3.80 | 167 ratings

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Classic Yes
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Lupton

4 stars I have mixed feelings about this album.Given that the intention presumably was to lure the casual fan, not including the studio version of Roundabout seems to me a huge mistake given that that track is arguably their defining moment. To me it is like leaving off "Stairway To Heaven" off a Led Zeppelin best-of.With a bit of tweaking, "Classic Yes" could have been a definitive compilation. Replace the inferior live versions of "Roundabout" and "Seen all Good People" and replace "Long Distance Roundabout/Fish" with "Going For The One" and I think this would have made this a 5 star album. As it is, "Classic Yes" is still an excellent overview of the band's unique brand of Progressive Rock and unlike later compilations, does not try to cover too much ground. Of course the album is worth owning for wonderful cover art by Roger Dean alone.
 Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre by YES album cover Live, 2015
3.34 | 48 ratings

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Like It Is - Yes at the Mesa Arts Centre
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Tell the moon dog, tell the march hare"

The present album is the second of two Like It Is live albums. The idea was to take some of the band's classic albums and perform each album in its entirety "like it is" in its original album running order. On the first Like It Is release it was Going For The One and The Yes Album that got the full treatment and this time it is Close To The Edge and Fragile - two of the absolute masterpieces of progressive Rock. While the first Like It Is album lacked excitement, this second entry in the series is clearly an improvement.

The most interesting tracks here are definitely Cans And Brahms, Five Per Cent For Nothing, and We Have Heaven, which have not been included on a live album before. The original idea for the Fragile studio album was to represent individually the members of the band at the time by having each member do a solo number on the album. Cans And Brahms was Rick Wakeman's individual selection and here we get to hear Geoff Downes perform it. Bill Bruford's Five Per Cent For Nothing is played by Alan White, and Jon Davison sings Jon Anderson's We Have Heaven. I do not think anybody ever expected to hear this! Mood For A Day and The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) are played by their originators Steve Howe and Chris Squire respectively, the only two members who played on the original Fragile album.

The rest of the tracks from these albums have been included on a multitude of excellent live albums released over the years going back to the otherwordly Yessongs. Even though it is interesting for a fan like me to hear Geoff Downes replicate Rick Wakeman's parts, it is hard to motivate why one should listen to these particular renditions of these classic tracks given how many versions are already available on other live records. The weakest link in the line-up is again Jon Davison who fails to bring anything new and exciting to the songs.

Overall, a good but rather unnecessary live album.

 Close To The Edge by YES album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.66 | 3959 ratings

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Close To The Edge
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgBlob

5 stars Close to the Edge. Pure musical perfection. Yes's peak and one of the only album I could honestly call a flawless masterpiece. Nearly every second is beautiful and emotional, while maintaining complex symphonic melodies, while maintaining diverse sounds and instruments. Everything about this album screams perfect. The title track epic along with And You and I are very deep, image provoking songs that you really do "feel" the music. The closer is the most complex, which would make it less emotional, but this is far from "technical wankery" as bands like ELP and Dream Theatre are so fond of repeating. It was an interesting idea to end this epic album on an upbeat note, which seemed to work so well. There is a kind of music like Porcupine Tree where the music really has a soul, and listening may really be a personal experience, focusing less on the time signature and complexity. Whereas bands like Dream Theatre of course are masters of the time signature, creating seemingly unplayable complexity, but the music doesn't seem to have much of a soul to it. Yes has found the perfect balance between those two different types of music, making a mesmerizingly beautiful psychedelic sound, while also playing with time signatures and counter melodies that keep it very interesting. That image on the inside of the gatefold artwork is a perfect example of how the music feels, and the place it takes you if you close your eyes. I simply could not name something at all bad about this album, though it isn't my favourite album of all time, it ranks within my top 5. An absolutely essential, flawless work of music.
 Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome by YES album cover Live, 2014
2.78 | 49 ratings

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Like It Is: Yes at the Bristol Hippodrome
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars A (dull) venture

Having released Fly From Here - a belated follow-up to 1980's Drama - in 2011, and with four of the five members that originally played on Drama it would had been the perfect time to resurrect the Drama material and perform it side by side with the "new" Fly From Here material (especially as Jon Anderson was now no longer in the band). I would have loved to have a live album with all the songs from Drama as well as the full Fly From Here suite. The latter has never been featured on an official live recording. They did indeed play a couple Drama songs live and some from Fly From Here, but sadly no official live recording emerged from those shows.

A couple of years later they instead released this live album containing 1971's The Yes Album and 1977's Going For The One albums performed in their entirety. Now, I'm sure it would have been nice to be there on the night, but in the form of a live album this doesn't work so well. One of the charms of live albums is that songs from diverse sources can be heard in a new context. Performing the songs in their original album running order only tends to emphasise how inferior this line up is to the original ones. The weakest link is Jon Davison whose voice is too weak and thin to carry these songs. I catch myself wondering "why am i listening to this instead of the original studio album?" Besides, almost all of these songs have appeared on earlier official live recordings in much better versions. The only rarity is A Venture which haven't appeared on an official live album before.

While I am really glad that Geoff Downes got a second chance with Yes as there clearly was unfinished business there that he got to fulfil by re-joining the band and completing Fly From Here after all those years, it would have made lot more sense for this version of Yes to focus on the material that Downes played on originally instead of having him mimic Tony Kaye and Rick Wakeman which makes a lot less sense.

An unnecessary live release.

 The Ladder by YES album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.28 | 868 ratings

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The Ladder
Yes Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars As their final hoo-rah of the 20th Century, Yes' "The Ladder" draws the millennium to a close with what may be one of their finest post-70's offerings. Before reading any further, just bear in mind that it isn't a prog album, per se. None of the material on here gets any more complex than "Roundabout" - or even "I've Seen All Good People" for that matter - but the characteristic Yessound could not be more prominently on display. The divine vocal harmonies of Anderson & Co. weave the fabric of the album, and the Squire/White rhythm section gives the material their distinct pulse and drive.

So if you haven't really followed what Yes had been doing since "90125" (or even "Relayer" if you're a true prog purist), what can you expect from "The Ladder"? This hour long work is a melodic rock journey around the world, taking ethnic instruments and sounds and weaving them into the Yes framework. Now I know what you're thinking - this is just a sappy New Age album. And that isn't entirely wrong, as such, but bear in mind that everything with Jon Anderson involved has a fundamentally New Age ethos, with his sun-worship-change-the-world-with-the-power-of- music lyrical motifs. So don't think of this as Yes stooping to the likes of Yanni or Zamfir, but more along the lines of the vapid New Age cliches getting a much-needed Yes facelift.

Ultimately, this endeavour is quite successful. "The Ladder" is a faithful marriage of the positive rock energy of Yes' classic material with the light and affirmative timbres typical of the New Age sound. That isn't to say that there isn't at least a little bit of cheesemaking on this album, of course. If you're the sort who gets openly offended by pop music, then tracks like "It Will Be A Good Day" or "If Only You Knew" will inevitably get you reaching for the barf bags. But as far as I'm concerned, this is an album that's enjoyable from start to finish, with two particular highlights. The ground-shaking, momentous "Homeworld (The Ladder)" and the catchy, driving "New Language" are both fantastic proggy rock tracks that I will shamelessly crank up and belt out each and every time they come on, and it wouldn't surprise me if you find yourself following suit.

I would never consider this to be an essential piece of the Yes oeuvre, but if you're looking for fun, well-produced, and infectiously melodic rock music, then this is a great album to pick up, whether you're a Yes fan or not. 3 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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