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Yes - List Your Top 5 albums

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Daniel John

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Since watching ace Nashville session guitarist Tom Bukovac's YT video where he touts his love of Steve Howe's guitar playing and the band Yes I've gone back to my Yes collection including my SW 5.1 BDA discs. First off, what an incredible band, from the top notch musicianship to the song writing, its all there. I wanted see what other QQ members think of Yes's repertoire. For me the Steve Howe era 71 to 77 period is their peak. With my top 5 albums being as follows:

1.Fragile : I came of age listening to this album and lots of events from my teen years are associated to this music. It's pretty near perfect as far as song arrangements, vocal harmonies, guitar playing and love the band member solo factor with each member featured. Wakeman's Cans and Brahms sticks out but still a fun diversion. Chris Squire's bass (The Fish) with its mid-rangy tone hovering in guitar territory lands perfectly with Howe's riffing which goes from classical guitar to out right hard rock within the same song. Brilliant stuff.
2. The Yes Album : I discovered this long after Yes's other material (yeah, very late to the party). Love this album for many reasons, but come on, Starship Trooper is epic, Wurm is so cool. Commercial friendly material perhaps but plenty of emotion and dynamics in the song writing. Love this album - it's a close 2nd to Fragile for me.
3. Close to the Edge : another brilliant album. For me it's more prog than their previous stuff. Love Wakeman's playing throughout, it's epic and after Fragile's success which any band would have difficulty topping using a familiar formula without sounding repetitive, they definitely pulled off another classic album in the same year.
4. Going for the One : another coming of age album for me. It's not as cohesive as their previous stuff but overall great album with some interesting material and guitar playing. Wakeman is back and the band still had plenty of life left in them even in this later 70s period.
5. Tales From Topographic Oceans : This is another prog masterpiece with a slightly harder edge than some of the bands previous material. At same time there are some beautiful arrangements. Another epic album. Precursor to Relayer?

IMG_4440.jpeg


What are your top 5?
 
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ProgRules

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1) Going for the one (Awaken is their masterpiece)
2) Close to the edge
3) Time and a word
4) Tales Topographic Oceans
5) Magnification

I like different styles! :)
Great- some love for Magnification! Great surround disc too; the only one not from the main sequence. Really under-rated imo, though it still can't break into my top 5. Cool you got TaaW in there too. You do like different styles!
 
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Daniel John

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1) Going for the one (Awaken is their masterpiece)
2) Close to the edge
3) Time and a word
4) Tales Topographic Oceans
5) Magnification

I like different styles! :)
Wow, I'll have to revisit some of those albums. Just ordered the Yes boxset for the newer stuff which I don't currently have. So no Fragile in your top 5? Interesting...
 

privateuniverse

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I first got into Yes around 1978 and saw them for the first time in 1979 at the New Haven Coliseum. It was my second concert by anyone ever and I was completely blown away. I think most versions of the band have something to offer so a top 5 list would be difficult, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Going For the One - "Awaken" and "Turn of the Century" are absolute stunners. Beautiful playing from all. The title cut and "Parallels" kick some serious butt, it's nice to hear this lineup rock out a bit. And while many of Jon Anderson's little pop tunes tend to leave me cold, "Wondrous Stories" is a real gem. Wakeman's keyboard runs are really nice embellishments.

2. Drama - Too many people dismissed this one without giving it a fair listen. Anderson & Wakeman replaced by the guys from the Buggles??? Sacrilege!!! At the time, Squire said that he, White & Howe wanted to make an album that was still Yes, but that really rocked. And rock out they did. Squire, in particular, really shines on this album. His bass parts on "Does it Really Happen", "Tempus Fugit" and "Into the Lens" are off the charts. Not a weak cut on the record.

3. The Yes Album - I mean, how do you argue with an album that has "Starship Trooper", "All Good People", "Your is No Disgrace" and "Perpetual Change"? The new guitar player really makes his mark. :)

4. 90125 - Again, the purists scream sacrilege. Yes are now darlings of MTV? When will the madness end??? Let's face it folks, the 70's were over; time to move on. The album has certainly survived the test of time. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Changes" remain essential entires in Yes's catalog. Again, the new guitar player shines. And despite the protests that Rabin was making them too poppy, the constant shifting time signatures in "Changes" and "Cinema" showed that Yes was still a prog band. For those who say that Yes never would have gone so mainstream if Howe was still in the band, let's not forget what Howe was doing around this time. I'll take 90125 over Asia or GTR any day.

5. Time and a Word - The Peter Banks era of the band tends to get overlooked, but I really love these two albums. Kaye's Hammond organ playing on these records is fantastic. He tends to get overshadowed by Wakeman, but Tony can really rock out. The cover of Richie Havens' "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is amazing and the album's title cut is an enduring piece of Yes history.

And as a bonus, since there a zillion solo albums from the Yes family, I'll add my favorite solo album:

Patrick Moraz - Windows of Time. A beautiful collection of solo piano pieces. Patrick's playing is powerful and passionate.
 

Daniel John

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Québec, Canada
1. Relayer
2. Fragile
3. Drama (don't taser me!)
4. Going For The One
5. Close To The Edge
Cool! Relayer, not sure why I have difficulty with this one. I have the DBA 5.1 it sounds good, it's just that the music is not doing it for me as much as the other SW remixes.
 

ProgRules

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Very unoriginal, but I love the main sequence the best, though since that's 6, Going for the One gets dropped...

1- Close to the Edge: while I was aware of Yes from their radio play, they never stood out from all the great 70's music until a friend lent me this album. I went home, put on some headphones and was transported to another dimension. Truly a life-altering event. The complex compositions, the dynamics, the unique sounds, the fantastic soundscapes, the fascinating lyrical imagery, the incredible virtuosity and the amazing way the instruments played off each other was a true revelation to me. My fave album ever, tied with #2 below...

2- Tales from Topographic Oceans: it took me quite a while to get into this, but when it clicked, it's sublime beauty was awe-inspiring. Sides 1 and 4 hit first; then 2 and eventually 3. It's really just an expansion of the boundary-pushing of CttE. Even more complex, even more far-out sounds, even more unique approaches. It demands a lot from the listener- I have to be in the mood and able to really focus- but the attention is thoroughly repaid with an incredibly moving experience. My favorite MCH mix.

3- The Yes Album: where it all started to come together. More straight-ahead rock than the following albums, but heralding the progressiveness to come. The first realization of the Yes sound that Anderson and Squire had always sought, only hinted at in the first 2 albums. Anderson beginning to hone his poetic imagery, but still not fully matured. Squire and Howe show an instant affinity, complementing that of Squire/Bruford.

4- Fragile: the arrival of the best line-up; unfortunately only together for 2 albums. (Still blows my mind that this incredible group never had the same line-up for more than 2 consecutive albums!) Great songs only slightly hampered by the solo efforts, which still managed to flow together organically as an album. The song-craft improved by the addition of Wakeman who helped bring the orchestration to another level. Another step closer to the peak to be achieved in the next 2 albums.

5- Relayer: Yes at it's furthest out, moving into jazz-rock fusion. Their last progressive album; the future still held some great music but nothing ground-breaking, the band would start to become self-referrential after this. More evocative soundscapes and unique sounds.

Honorable mention to Yessongs, which contained live versions of most of three of my top 5 albums. Often the live versions improved on the originals. The band at it's fiery peak live. Would have made the top 5 if not for it's compromised SQ.

I'm very grateful that all of my top 5 received the SW treatment with compelling MCH mixes.
 

Daniel John

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Messages
234
Location
Québec, Canada
I first got into Yes around 1978 and saw them for the first time in 1979 at the New Haven Coliseum. It was my second concert by anyone ever and I was completely blown away. I think most versions of the band have something to offer so a top 5 list would be difficult, but I'll give it a shot.

1. Going For the One - "Awaken" and "Turn of the Century" are absolute stunners. Beautiful playing from all. The title cut and "Parallels" kick some serious butt, it's nice to hear this lineup rock out a bit. And while many of Jon Anderson's little pop tunes tend to leave me cold, "Wondrous Stories" is a real gem. Wakeman's keyboard runs are really nice embellishments.

2. Drama - Too many people dismissed this one without giving it a fair listen. Anderson & Wakeman replaced by the guys from the Buggles??? Sacrilege!!! At the time, Squire said that he, White & Howe wanted to make an album that was still Yes, but that really rocked. And rock out they did. Squire, in particular, really shines on this album. His bass parts on "Does it Really Happen", "Tempus Fugit" and "Into the Lens" are off the charts. Not a weak cut on the record.

3. The Yes Album - I mean, how do you argue with an album that has "Starship Trooper", "All Good People", "Your is No Disgrace" and "Perpetual Change"? The new guitar player really makes his mark. :)

4. 90125 - Again, the purists scream sacrilege. Yes are now darlings of MTV? When will the madness end??? Let's face it folks, the 70's were over; time to move on. The album has certainly survived the test of time. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Changes" remain essential entires in Yes's catalog. Again, the new guitar player shines. And despite the protests that Rabin was making them too poppy, the constant shifting time signatures in "Changes" and "Cinema" showed that Yes was still a prog band. For those who say that Yes never would have gone so mainstream if Howe was still in the band, let's not forget what Howe was doing around this time. I'll take 90125 over Asia or GTR any day.

5. Time and a Word - The Peter Banks era of the band tends to get overlooked, but I really love these two albums. Kaye's Hammond organ playing on these records is fantastic. He tends to get overshadowed by Wakeman, but Tony can really rock out. The cover of Richie Havens' "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" is amazing and the album's title cut is an enduring piece of Yes history.

And as a bonus, since there a zillion solo albums from the Yes family, I'll add my favorite solo album:

Patrick Moraz - Windows of Time. A beautiful collection of solo piano pieces. Patrick's playing is powerful and passionate.
wow Going for the One is your top release? Interesting and I agree, it's a great album with some stunning material and Howe and band rock out nicely...
 

Daniel John

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Surprising that no one has mentioned Chris Squire's bass playing yet. To me he's a major part of the band's sound with his playing style not from technical perspective but rather the tone of his instrument. I read that he used guitar amps on some recordings rather than traditional bass amplification? Either way pretty unique style of bass hovering in higher register yet complements the guitar part and incredible rhythm section with White and Bruford and all.
 

MCDave

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Cool! Relayer, not sure why I have difficulty with this one. I have the DBA 5.1 it sounds good, it's just that the music is not doing it for me as much as the other SW remixes.
It didn't click with me either, for a long time. I always appreciated the musicianship but that was as far as it went. Somewhere in the mid-90's it finally took hold of me and I really love it now.
 

ProgRules

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Surprising that no one has mentioned Chris Squire's bass playing yet. To me he's a major part of the band's sound with his playing style not from technical perspective but rather the tone of his instrument. I read that he used guitar amps on some recordings rather than traditional bass amplification? Either way pretty unique style of bass hovering in higher register yet complements the guitar part and incredible rhythm section with White and Bruford and all.
I agree except I'd say he's just as amazing in the technical aspect. He was inventive- though he certainly took a lot of cues from Entwhistle. He created many remarkable riffs. And yes he was unique playing in the higher registers, which came from him trying to cut through the mix in the bands early live gigs, where poor amplification made it difficult for lower bass to be produced well. He was a bass virtuoso.

To me, the "true Yes" always required Anderson, Squire and Howe. (FWIW I think Trevor's Yes made some great music, but I consider the a different band- they are Cinema in my book; Yes requires Jon as the maestro) Jon is the soul and Chris is the heart. I feel Jon is the most vital part of Yes, but Chris is #2, not far behind.
 

Daniel John

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I agree except I'd say he's just as amazing in the technical aspect. He was inventive- though he certainly took a lot of cues from Entwhistle. He created many remarkable riffs. And yes he was unique playing in the higher registers, which came from him trying to cut through the mix in the bands early live gigs, where poor amplification made it difficult for lower bass to be produced well. He was a bass virtuoso.

To me, the "true Yes" always required Anderson, Squire and Howe. (FWIW I think Trevor's Yes made some great music, but I consider the a different band- they are Cinema in my book; Yes requires Jon as the maestro) Jon is the soul and Chris is the heart. I feel Jon is the most vital part of Yes, but Chris is #2, not far behind.
Agree, Jon has one of the most distinguishable voices in Rock. Squire and Entwhisle have similarities in their playing style and tone. Maybe they wanted to be guitar players? :)

If you like that mid-range bass sound (although may not be your cup of tea), check out The Stranglers Black and White album.
 

jimfisheye

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1. Close to the Edge
2. Fragile
-this lineup of Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire, Wakeman is the high point of the band for me
Anything and everything live from the two songs on Yessongs to the most terrible sounding audience bootleg is a must have!
3. Tales From Topographic Oceans
- a lot of points for dedication to being difficult here and a few pieces of music I genuinely like a lot as well
4. The Yes Album
- This whole album gets more airtime from live versions now. But this original masterpiece still comes out!
5. Relayer
- TGOD is out of this world greatness! Steve Howe is over the top on this.

Feels wrong to not include Yessongs, Yesshows, and Going for the One but I'm out of numbers!

I don't think anything after the '70s had the same weight to it. A few individual songs do though and even in recent times. There's still a dedication to being difficult in there.
 
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