In 1967, bassist Chris Squire formed the rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop with singer and guitarist Clive Bayley, drummer Bob Hagger, and guitarist Peter Banks. The members of that band were very skilled musically but the songs were not very impressive. Clive was replaced by Jon Anderson a lead vocalist. Hagger was replaced by Bill Bruford. They added Tony Kaye on keyboards and the first line-up of what was to become Yes is a fact. Anderson came up with the name Life and Squire with the name World and Banks responded uninteresed to both "yes". From then on Yes was the name of the band. After seeing an early performance of King Crimsom they decided they were moving to the Progressive/Sympho rock style. They released 2 albums "Yes" and "Time And A Word". Then in 1971 they released their most succesful album so far titled "The Yes Album" reaching #4 in the UK, #40 in the US and #7 in the Netherlands.

America - single cover

Fragile was released in 1972 (1971 in the UK) and the first album presented with a cover by Roger Dean who would design their future album covers and Yes logo. The band recorded their now classic version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” at the same time but it was not included on the album. The album managed to reach #7 in the UK, #8 in the Netherlands and #4 in the US.

Roger Dean in 1972

Chris, Steve, Rick, Bill and Jon in 1972

This album has the famous classic line-up of the band including Rick Wakeman (who worked with Bowie and was a member of the Strawbs), Steve Howe (Asia and GTR), Chris Squire (The Syn), Bill Bruford (Genesis, King Crimson and UK) and of course singer Jon Anderson. Tony Kaye was replaced by Rick Wakeman because he refused to embrace the Moog synhesizer instead of the Hammond organ.

Roundabout - single cover

The album exists of 4 songs arranged by the whole band and 5 individual ideas by band members. The album opens with the hit single "Roundabout" that reached #23 in the Netherlands and #13 in the US. It wasn't released as a single in the UK. The song takes you on a journey also musically since all members can show their skills in it. Rick Wakeman came up with "Cans And Brahms". Extracts from Brahms’ 4th Symphony in E Minor as arranged and performed by Wakeman. Mainly because he wanted to make clear that he can create his own composition. A&M records who contracted him as a solo artist refused to let him do his own compositions. Anderson came up with “We Have Heaven” that is reprised at the end of the album. “South Side Of The Sky” is another song by the band. “Five Percent For Nothing” is Bruford’s piece with a title that shows his sense of humour and is only 35 seconds. Officially this short piece was titled "Suddenly It's Wednesday" but was changed in reference to Yes paying off their former manager Roy Flynn with the deal of five percent of future royalties. "Long Distance Runaround" segues into Squire's solo track titled "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)". Chris Squire is definitely the most important member of Yes and the only one who was in all line-ups of the band throughout the years. “Mood For A Day” is Howe’s Spanish-flavored flamenco centerpiece. Album closer “Heart Of The Sunrise” is the highlight of the album and one of Yes’ best tracks.

Original album cover

Fragile (1972)
Roundabout / Cans And Brahms / We Have Heaven / South Side Of The Sky / Five Percent For Nothing / Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) / Mood For A Day / Heart Of The Sunrise

Roundabout / Long Distance Runaround
America / Total Mass Retain

Roundabout (live in Toronto 1972)

Long Distance Runaround / The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)

Cans And Brahms / We Can Have Heaven

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