Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Favorite/Shit: DAY TWO



If you are just tuning in, get caught up here.

32 years to the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Yes dropped "Tales From Topographic Oceans" on the world, and from that moment on, the band went from being a respected rock band to a prog rock punch line. Well, at least that's how I remember it.

If you are not a fan of Yes, you might think they are nothing but a bloated bunch of wankers who release side long epics about faeries, when in actuality, Yes were formed out of the ashes of 60's British psychedelia. Those side long epics hadn't begun until "Close To The Edge," their 5th and best record, released almost five years after their inception.

But I am not here to sing the praises of Yes. I am here to sing the praises of "Beyond & Before," the first song from the band's 1969 debut. This song, more than "Roundabout," more than "I've Seen All Good People," defines what Yes is all about. There were always hints of The Beatles throughout the band's career. Even tracks like "Siberian Khatru" and the aforementioned "Close To The Edge, have passages with very distinctive nods of harmony to the Fab Four, and it all began with this track.

Written by bassist Chris Squire, fresh out of psych band The Syn, and Clive Bailey, singer from psych band The Toyshop, "Beyond & Before" explodes out of the gate, with Squire's bass and the drumming of the one and only Bill Bruford driving it all the way home. It's like a lost track from "Magical Mystery Tour," possibly left in the can because it was just a bit too much for Beatles fans.

The entire debut from Yes leans more towards psychedelia than prog. As much as I love the band's first five records, I would have loved if they stay had stayed the course of the 1969 debut even more. "Beyond & Before" is in my Top 5 of this band.

8 comments:

Shriner said...

So here's one I can actually play along with.

When I think of my favorite songs by Yes (which isn't that often any more, tbh), I think of these 3 songs: Going For The One, Starship Trooper and the one song that would probably fit your criteria: "Hold On" off of 90215.

Mostly because the drummer and I in the band I was I was briefly in would break into it for no reason because it has a cool riff/opening solo and is straight-forward fun after that and we'd peter out on it before the pretty-cool acapella break. So there are memories behind it, but it's also one of their great "pop" songs, for sure. But apart from some brief airplay when the album came out, it's a forgotten song.

But the prog-fans of Yes hate 90215 anyway, right? :-)

Sal Nunziato said...

"But the prog-fans of Yes hate 90215 anyway, right? :-)"

Not this fan. I love the first five. That is Yes, to me. Everything that followed had its moments, including "90125," "Big Generator" and "The Calling." My issue with those records is the production. Their 1969 debut sounds less dated. But there are songs on all three that are pretty great.

Charlie Carr said...

Yes was in heavy rotation back in Oneonta, 1970’s - but not this track. Good call!

buzzbabyjesus said...

They rather boisterously cover The Beatles "Every Little Thing", on side two.

I quit Yes and Joined King Crimson with Bill Bruford.

"Tale From Topographic Oceans" is one of the most eagerly anticipated and disappointing followups I can think of.
I listened to it about 10 years ago and it was a little better than remembered.

I thought 90215 was pretty cool. Better than the aforementioned.

You can't beat the first five.

A favorite of mine will always be their cover of Paul Simon's "America". It reminds me of "The Big Melody" on Side Two of "Abbey Road".

Steve Howe shreds LAMF, while Chris Squire and Bill Bruford drive it home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CACWj18ruk

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Good choice, Sal. Even as long-term Yes fan, it took me awhile to appreciate the first two albums with the late, great Peter Banks. I now recognize how terrific the pre-Howe stuff was.

Also, being a decade or so younger than you (I'm 49), my introduction to Yes was via "90125" and the handful of tracks classic rock stations would play ("Roundabout" and not many others). So I was working my way backward from that (and Asia) to the band's other work.

I also regard "Going for the One" as being of equal quality with the first five.

Eagerly anticipating tomorrow's selection.

kevin m said...

I love Going for the One.

And from later day Yes, I'd choose Homeworld from The Ladder albume

Bob Busby said...

Love, love, love Yes. Up until Going For The one. I still listen frequently and 40 years on find myself continually amazed how young those guys were when they made Close To The Edge. Remarkable and exceptional musicians.

soundsource said...

good choice