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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.