April 20, 2014
9:59 pm

Killer Classic - Jon Anderson "The Yes Album"

The Yes Album is the third studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on Atlantic Records. It is the last record to feature keyboardist Tony Kaye until 1983, and the first to feature guitarist Steve Howe, who replaced Peter Banks in 1970. The album was written and rehearsed at a farmhouse in Devonshire, then home to Langley Studios, which was later bought by Howe who now lives there.

Upon its release in February 1971, The Yes Album peaked at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and number 40 on the US Billboard 200, where it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of AmericaThe Yes Album is seen as the group's breakthrough release, setting the stage for their success with their following albums Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972).

Jon Anderson is credited as John Anderson on the album. Soon after, he dropped the "h" from his first name.

The album cover shows Tony Kaye with his foot in a cast. He had been in a car accident shortly before the picture was taken.

Rush's bassist/singer Geddy Lee included The Yes Album among his favourite albums in an interview with The Quietus' Mick Middles.

Steve Howe appeared with the band for the first time and played a prominent role throughout. The band explored longer songs with "Yours Is No Disgrace", "Starship Trooper", and "Perpetual Change", foreshadowing the many side-length tracks that followed on Close to the EdgeTales from Topographic Oceans and Relayer.

The spacey, electronic-sounding guitar effect in "Starship Trooper" was achieved via a flanger, a device that was relatively new at the time of the recording.

Tony Kaye preferred Hammond B-3 and piano over the novel Moog synthesizers that Anderson was interested in using. This became a cause of contention within the band and had an influence on the line-up change, bringing in Rick Wakeman and his array of electronic keyboards from Strawbs. (On the album cover's inside gatefold, however, Kaye is pictured playing a Hammond spinet organ, probably an L-100 or M-100.)

In 2000 Q magazine placed the album at number 86 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

Howe's solo acoustic tune, "Clap" (wrongly written as "The Clap" in some editions), was heavily influenced by the Davy Graham track 'Fingerbuster'. The piece was written to celebrate the birth of Howe's son Dylan.

According to Alice Cooper on his radio show Nights with Alice Cooper, Anderson claimed to have written the first two movements of "Starship Trooper" alone, though the "Disillusion" movement (which evolved from an earlier song "For Everyone", heard on Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969–1970 and The Word Is Live) is credited to Chris Squire.

The Würm part of "Starship Trooper" is a continuous cadenza of chords (G-Eb-C) played by ensemble and repeated adlib: first accompaniment: electric guitar on the right stereo channel, then acoustic guitar, bass pedals, and drums from middle channel, then organ and bass guitar with tremolo and distortion from left channel, then starts the guitar solo, that swaps from side to side. The whole piece lasts about three and a half minutes. "Würm" originally evolved from a song called "Nether Street" by Howe's earlier group, Bodast. While "Wurm" (without the umlaut over the "u") is an Old English word for "dragon" (worm, wurm, wyrm), the Würm is a river in Germany which gave its name to an ice age in geology.

Track listing

Side one  
No. Title Writer(s) Length  
1. "Yours Is No Disgrace"   Jon AndersonChris SquireSteve HoweTony KayeBill Bruford 9:41
2. "Clap" (recorded live at The Lyceum Theatre, London, 17 July 1970) Howe 3:17
3. "Starship Trooper"
  • I. "Life Seeker"
  • II. "Disillusion"
  • III. "Würm"  
Anderson, Howe, Squire 9:25
Side two  
No. Title Writer(s) Length  
4. "I've Seen All Good People"
  • I. "Your Move"
  • II. "All Good People"  
Anderson, Squire 6:56
5. "A Venture"   Anderson 3:18
6. "Perpetual Change"   Anderson, Squire 8:54
2003 remaster bonus tracks  
No. Title Writer(s) Length  
7. "I've Seen All Good People: Your Move (Single Version)"   Anderson 3:00
8. "Starship Trooper: Life Seeker (Single Version)"   Anderson 3:28
9. "Clap (Studio Version)"   Howe 4:02

Personnel

(taken from the sleeve notes)

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Location : London
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