Happy 45th: Yes, YESSONGS
45 years ago today, Yes released their first live album, a 3-LP set which – despite its potentially-intimidating size – became a significant success for the band.
Co-produced by the band with Eddie Offord, YESSONGS came together in the wake of Yes concluding their tour behind their 1972 album CLOSE TO THE EDGE. The band went through their collected recordings both from that tour as well as the one they’d done for 1971’s FRAGILE, picking the material that they believed to be the best of the bunch, after which the tracks were edited and remixed with the assistance of the aforementioned Mr. Offord. This was particularly helpful, as Offord had actually traveled with the band on both of those tours, experiences which left him plenty familiar with the material.
It’s notable that there was a slight switch in Yes’s lineup during the period covered on YESSONGS, with drummer Bill Bruford departing the band’s ranks in the wake of completing the CLOSE TO THE EDGE album. As such, the majority of YESSONGS features Bruford’s replacement, Alan White, but you can still hear our man Bill behind the kit on “Perpetual Change” and “Long Distance Runaround” / “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus).”
YESSONGS features songs ranging in length from just under three minutes (“Mood for a Day”) to 18 minutes and 13 seconds (“Close to the Edge”), and with four additional tracks topping out past the 10-minute mark, it’s no wonder than the album ended up as a 3-LP set. The size didn’t scare Yes fans, though: the album hit #12 on the Billboard 200, climbed to #7 on the UK Albums chart, and in 1998 the Recording Industry Association of America announced that the album had gone platinum.
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