Friday 26 September 2014


This is not a political blogpost, I promise. There'll not be any post-referendum angst or a raft of carelessly-flung and unfounded accusations here. Nope, this is about the progressive rock band Yes.

You're probably thinking "Progressive rock? Isn't that history?"

Well, yes, and then again, no.

First, the history. The band were formed in 1968, at a time when a young Tenselet still thought that The Scaffold's 'Lily the Pink' was a nifty tune and the height of sophistication... which, of course, it was :o)

Through the 1970s, Yes released a string of top ten albums in the UK which, strangely, all passed me by. I guess we weren't at home to peer pressure when it came to progressive rock. I ploughed a lonely ELP furrow to the mystification of my school chums, preferring Keith Emerson's keyboards and Greg Lake's lyrics and voice to the more ethereal stuff provided by Yes.

All that changed in the 1980s with '90125' and 'Big Generator', which were more pop rock than progressive but, weirdly, less successful commercially.

The single 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', from '90125', went to Number 1 in the US chart, but only just broke into the Top 30 in the UK. Years later, a work colleague (now sadly not with us) sent me a link to a remix video, which I think contains as much innocent amusement as it is does bikini-clad inappropriateness. But that might just be me... see what you think?

But to bring things more up to date, for me, the stand-out Yes track, the one that always found its way onto Tense Towers compilation CDs and now lives on my phone, is 'Shoot High, Aim Low' from 'Big Generator'.

This track was never released as a single, it's not that kind of song. It has been said that it isn't even that kind of Yes song, but it speaks to me like no other. Sadly, I've not been able to find an original video whilst researching this blogpost, but here are two different takes on the song: the first with stills; the second set to footage from the film 'Avatar'.

But to complete the historical circle, I still think it's at its best as vinyl, when listened to on a record deck with the volume cranked way up.

Please enjoy responsibly.


Anonymous said...

Crackles and all!
Cpt. Sundial

Imperfect and Tense said...

Aye, aye, Captain!

I do hope you were referring to the vinyl :o)

Tales of a Bank Vole said...

Orkney may soon become Summerisle, if I hear anymore such heresy - The Yes Album is probably the finest prog in the world and lives in the Twasser CD player. Yes I do have the first 10 albums you have so carelessly skipped past and as for T Raban - not fit to polish Steve Howes plectrum.
Yours is a disgrace.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Talk to the vole cos the dragonfly ain't listening. I'm still not at home to peer pressure, Lord Bedford, especially as it's my blog and I'll express my opinion on it, ta very much ;o)

I really don't know why early Yes doesn't hold me in its thrall. All the correct elements are there, but the whole just doesn't add up to a pleasing aural compound.

To further extend the heresy, I must admit that, for me, this applies to Genesis too. I much prefer the later stuff.

Tales of a Bank Vole said...


Imperfect and Tense said...

I knew you'd be pleased :o)

Mark said...

You might like 'Union'. Yes have a colourful record of acrimonious bust ups and hilarious reunions. There are nine players on this album, they knew it couldn't last but there are some great moments on this album. I do recommend Gryphon, medieval prog rock!!! regards, Mark.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Hi Mark. I'll be sure to give those a listen. Many thanks.