A 52 Week Autobiography Through Music – Week 15 – Yes
Yes is one of the 3 bands along with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd to whom I listened fanatically for a period of about 3 - 4 years between 1981 and 1985. There was of course a bunch of other music in there as well but these 3 bands stand out as the pillars of that particular period.
We don't talk about specific albums much in the video but between Dan, our friend Steve and I we had every Yes album available up to that time and there was not one that didn't make regular rotation. I can't say I have a favorite Yes album but the most impactful song of their repertoire for me is Awaken from the Album Going For The One.. Every single time I have heard the song over the past 35 years it has had a significant emotional impact on me which in my case, I am not afraid to admit, often involves tears! I encourage anyone to click on the song title here or go to their usual streaming platform and listen at least once to this song as it is, even in the words of Jon Anderson - Yes' lead singer, "A Masterwork".
I end this Video with an image that Roger Dean had done for one of the later Yes records as well as the iconic Yes logo he designed. Roger Dean's artwork is an integral part of the Yes universe. The beautiful, imagined landscapes always felt to me as though they were the places from which this music originated. I appreciate the relationship that he had with the Yes as it really helped shape the image of the band for me and I am sure for countless others.
Getting to speak with my good friend and bass guitarist Dan Read for this video was a real treat for me. He is a history teacher in Colorado which is no surprise as he has a great memory for the past. He reminded me of a number of things I had forgotten about our early Yes obsession and as a result I feel like I got more out of doing this video than I gave.
One thing that I have discovered while doing this series of posts is just how muted my enthusiasm for listening to new music and following the musicians and bands that I like had become in the last 20 plus years. I Have of course remained quite open minded and have discovered a lot of new music in that time but in the case of Yes for instance this meant that I didn't listen to anything they produced after Big Generator which was made in 1987! Obviously tastes change but there was a time when I would not have hesitated to at least give each new record a listen, especially new music made by a band with whom I had such a powerful relationship.
In the last few weeks in particular I have begun to really feel that enthusiasm again for listening that I had when I was in my teens and it is as if I am being reunited with a long lost best friend; in the case of this week's video that is somewhat literally the case! So I have to say thank you to the de Schoutheete family and Laurent and Cedric in particular for the very short conversation in the kitchen in Vientiane, Laos back in December for the spark of an idea that turned into this series.