Besides a few brief years of a hiatus, the quintessential progressive rock band, Yes has been touring and performing for around fifty years. Yes began in 1968 with the original lineup consisting of Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Peter Banks (guitar), Tony Kaye (keys), and Bill Bruford (drums).

Over the years, the band has undergone several lineup changes, with Chris Squire being the constant recurring member on every album until his unfortunate passing in 2015. They have had some great, heavy-hitting musicians including songwriter and guitarist Steve Howe who has been on the music scene since 1964. Bill Bruford, the original drummer is one of the best drummers in the progressive rock scene and was a member of King Crimson and was a touring member of Genesis. Also, Rick Wakeman is technically and visually one of the greatest and coolest rock keyboardists of all time; he used to wear a long cape that would cascade behind him as he played mind-blowing riffs!

The term progressive rock and taken many various meanings throughout the years, none of which have stuck 100%. Do your albums need to be “concept albums,” taking a general theme and constructing a story around it throughout the album? Do you need to sing about fantastical creatures or environments? Do you need to have points of musical fluidity or complex time signatures? The answer to all these questions could be yes and no. The definition of progressive rock according to Wikipedia is, “An outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favor of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its “progressive” label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of “art” and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening, not dancing.”

Yes just so happens to be an early example of the genre and has influenced numerous bands for many years. The band still continues to tour with a collection of members playing hit songs from their heyday. Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, and Rick Wakeman, consists of former band members who are touring around the world playing Yes tunes. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017; they waited too long to induct them in my opinion, but that is a different story.

If you care to dive into the rabbit hole of progressive rock music, there are so many amazing options to start with, like Jethro Tull, Anderson Lake and Palmer, Genesis, and a lot more! Get exploring!

Patrick Ortiz