Tag Archives: Jon Anderson

Howe’s Revolution

Stephen James Howe was born in London 1947, professionally known as Steve Howe he started to play guitar at age 12, in 1964 age 17 he recorded his first single with The Syndicats: Chuck Berry’s Maybellene, the B-side was a tune co-written by  Howe.

Howe left The Syndicats to join what was soon to become Tomorrow, one of the early psychedelic UK bands. On the self-titled debut album, Howe co-wrote the track “Revolution” (released before the Beatles track of the same name)


The album also contained the original edition of “My White Bicycle”, later to become a hit with Scottish hard rock band Nazareth in 1975.


The late release of the album, about a year from spring 1967 to spring 1968 saw a decline in the interest towards psychedelic rock and the album never became a success. The band split up and Howe joined Bodast.

1976 Harvest edition: “featuring Keith West and Steve Howe”

Howe was quite unfortunate again, Bodast recorded a full album for the record label Tetragrammaton but due to the financial situation of the label it was not released and the company declared bankruptcy in 1971. The album was later released as “Bodast Featuring Steve Howe ‎– The Bodast Tapes” by Cherry Red Records in 1981, at that point mostly of historical and collectable interest.

Now it was time for Howe’s luck to change, as he would join Yes for their 3rd album, “The Yes Album”
(Sometimes it is hard to imagine how a band can come up with such inspiring stuff like that album title)

Original guitarist Peter Banks left the group in May 1970, later indicating that he was fired. Anyway seem to me that it is hard to deny that the recruitment of Howe was very important in the development of “the Yes sound” building up to the world fame soon to come.

The Yes Album was released February 1971 and received positive reactions from critics –  it reached no 4 in UK and no 40 in the US doing a lot better than the previous two albums.

The full band on this album was:

Jon Anderson: Vocals, Percussion
Chris Squire: Bass Guitar, Vocals
Steve Howe: Guitars, Portuguese Guitar, Vocal
Tony Kaye – Keys
Bill Bruford – Drums

Additional musicians
Colin Goldring: recorders on “Your Move”

and the time is…then

After their eponymous debut, Yes  released “Time and a Word” in summer 1970.

The line-up was unchanged, but this time the album features a brass and strings orchestra on almost every track, which leaves the listener with a more Progressive Rock sound, pointing towards the future Yes. They were thinking about using a Mellotron but the idea was dropped and Mellotron would not be introduced to a Yes album until Tony Kaye would be replaced by Rick Wakeman



The album opens with a Richie Havens cover of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”, a track that showcase the entire album quite well even though it is not a Yes original. Together with “The Prophet” and “Astral Traveller” the tracks that most clearly shows the direction towards Symphonic Rock Yes was heading for.

Yes cover of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed”

Richie Havens 1968 original of “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” from his 2nd album “Something Else Again”

Production wise as well as artistically, I guess most Yes lovers would agree that the two early albums stands out as the weakest of the 70’s catalogue at least up to Tormato. Personally though I find “Time and a World” to be clearly the better of the two. Without being perfect I believe the orchestra addition works quite well and overall the album contains quite a few strong tunes.

Time and a Word may sound very cheesy especially to those that prefer their rock to be hard and punchy but when in the right mood I find it to be a fine song.

There was increasing tension between Peter Banks and the Band, mostly due to his opposition against the use of orchestra and the direction the music was taking, something he felt would reduce his options as a guitarist and he left the band or rather was sacked, before the album hit the record stores. This provided an absurd situation where the US cover featured a picture of the band with future guitarist Steve Howe although he was not playing on the album and not mentioned in the credits.


On a side note there was another important contributor to the album, David Foster a long-time friend to Jon Anderson who was playing with Jon in The Warriors, a band that also included Ian Wallace who would later join King Crimson playing on their “Islands” album and Live recordings from 1971-1972.

David Foster sings on “Sweet Dreams” and plays acoustic guitar on “Time and a Word” he also co-wrote both tracks.

At this 1967 clip of The Warriors – Jon Anderson have taken over lead vocal after his brother Tony who left in late 1965.

The Genesis of Yes

Yes was formed in London 1968. Singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire wanted to create a music that combined strong vocal harmonies ala Simon and Garfunkel, with a potent beat music. They recruited guitarist Peter Banks, keyboard player Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford to form a five piece and start rehearsing.

Yes covered Simon and Garfunkel’s America on the collection “The New Age of Atlantic” (1972), it was later included on Yes first compilation album Yesterdays (1975)

Personally amongst my absolute favorite Yes tracks.

Now back to the beginning again (pun intended). Yes played a number of important gigs, amongst those  opening for Creams  and Janis Joplin both in Royal Albert Hall, after that they signed with Atlantic in spring 1969. The first single “Sweetness” was soon released and in July 1969 the debut album “Yes” was released in UK a bit later in US.


“Yes” is very far from the albums that would later raise the band to ultimate success as Symphonic Rock’s unchallenged masters. The style is a complex but relative straight version of beat music with a few hints to psych and a little Jazz inspiration in Brufords drumming. That said it definitely has many smaller hints of great potential.

On tracks like Beatles cover “Every Little Thing”, opener “Beyond and Before”, “Looking Around” and “Survival” they do find that fine mix of great vocals and a potent beat music they wanted.

On a song like the short, simple and very beautiful “Yesterday and Today” Anderson shows the emotional debt of his vocal.

What may be the most evident issue when you listen to the album retrospectively is that the band is still looking for something that they haven’t found yet, making this album interesting but mostly as a transition album from the late 60’s psychedelic beat/rock towards something yet undefined but soon to come.

Anderson, Squire, Bill Bruford’s “Harold Land” may not be my favorite track here, but maybe the one pointing mostly in the “right” direction.



On 13 January 2017, Swedish band Pain of Salvation released In the Passing Light of Day, a concept album based around the true story of bandleader Daniel Gildenlöw hospitalization due to a deadly streptococcal infection, and the reflections it created in him.

I’m always careful about overpraising a relative new release, but in this case I can say without any doubt that it is one of their finest.

Besides his work with Pain of Salvation, Daniel Gildenlöw was also recording and touring with Swedish Symphonic (Prog) rock band “The Flower Kings” between 2002 and 2004.
The Flower Kings was formed by guitarist Roine Stolt in 1994, together with Änglagård, Anekdoten & Pär Lindh Project, re-creating the Swedish prog scene in the 90’s.

From 1995 to 2013 The Flower Kings have released 12 studio albums.

Daniel Gildenlöw left “The Flower Kings” because he would not travel to the USA for a tour, as he refused to submit to the USA government’s requirement for finger printing and the “wars on terror” paranoia at the time.

In 1974 the then 17 years old Roine Stolt became a member of progressive rock band Kaipa working with them on their three 70’s albums, today recognized as some of the finest early Swedish Prog.

Stolt also co-founded Transatlantic, with Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard), Pete Trewavas (Marillion) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater).

In 2014 Roine Stolt met with original Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson during Progressive Nation at Sea, which inspired the formation of Anderson/Stolt, they released Invention of Knowledge in 2016. So far the only outcome of their collaboration, as far as I know there haven’t been any tour.

Besides his massive fame from his work with Yes, Jon Anderson has made a series of good album with electronic music pioneer Vangelis, as Jon and Vangelis.

Jon Anderson has also done 14 solo albums in latest Survival & Other Stories from 2011.
Without doubt his most famous solo album was his first, Olias of Sunhillow from 1976, a must have album for any prog devotee.

In 1980 his 2nd solo album, Song of Seven was released, containing 9 new songs some leftovers from the Yes “Tormato” sessions. The album is blessed with contribution from a lot of famous musicians, Ian Bairnson (The Alan Parsons Project), Clem Clempson (Colosseum), Morris Pert (Brand X), Dick Morrissey (If) and others.

Most prominent of all Jack Bruce of British supergroup Cream fame, playing Bass on “Heart of the Matter”.

Jack Bruce was a founding member of Cream, a trio formed back in 1966 with guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. The band had huge commercial success, and is considered very influential upon the British hard rock scene that would evolve in the early 70’s with Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

Due to tension between Bruce and Baker the group would disband in 1969 after just four albums. After the breakup Bruce and Clapton would form Blind Faith with Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech, to create just one album – a rare gem of excellence – but that is another story.

After Cream, Bruce released his first solo album “Songs for a Tailor” and soon after joined “The Tony Williams Lifetime” a Jazz Rock outfit including the later so famous John McLaughlin (Miles Davis – Mahavishnu Orchestra)

Jack Bruce playes bass on John McLaughlin’s “Are You the One? Are You the One?” from McLaughlin’s fifth solo album Electric Guitarist released in 1978.

McLaughlin is the founder of Mahavishnu Orchestra one of, if not the most well-known and influential jazz-rock/fusion band ever. Mahavishnu was formed in New York City in 1971. Besides McLaughlin the original lineup was drummer Billy Cobham, bassist Rick Laird, keyboardist Jan Hammer, violinist Jerry Goodman.

Jerry Goodman also was playing on Electric Guitarist.

Before joining Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jerry Goodman was a member of The Flock, a Chicago-based band. The band made two albums in 1969 and 1970 before Jerry Goodman was hire to join Mahavishnu. The music is hard to pinpoint with a nice but rather weird mix of Jazz Classic and Rock.

The Flock reunited in 1975 to create their third album “Inside Out”, now without Goodman.

Over the years Jerry Goodman have toured with and played as session musician a lot of different artist, from Dixie Dregs to Toots Thielemans, Hall & Oates to Styx.

One of his recent contributions was on Dream Theater’s 2009 studio album Black Clouds & Silver Linings, where he plays a very beautiful solo on top of Jordan Rudess keyboard at the opening section of “The Best of Times”.

The Special Edition of Black Clouds & Silver Linings included a bonus disc of cover songs. Jerry Goodman plays the violin in Robert Fripp’s “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part Two” origination from King Crimson’s 1973 classic masterpiece.

As they say, every road leads to something Fripp.

The John Paul Jones Story, Part 3

During his time in Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones produced, wrote most of the material, and played keyboards, bass guitar, and guitars on Madeline Bell’s 1973 album “Comin’ Atcha”. A very different music, from what Jones was doing with Zeppelin. Madeline is an American born Soul/R&B/Jazz singer, active since the early 60’s.

“Comin’ Atcha” (Jones, Bell)

In 1984 Jones recorded a soundtrack album for movie director Michael Winner’s “Scream for Help”, again working with Madeline Bell on some tracks. Yes vocalist Jon Anderson also performs on the album.

“Christie” (Jones) with Jon Anderson

Jones was given the task by suggestion of Jimmy Page, who had produced written and performed on Michael Winner’s previous film soundtrack. Page also co-wrote one track on “Scream for Help” and played guitar on two.

“Crackback”  (Jones,Page)

King Crimson – The Lizard Suite

If you did not read “Lizard” part one and two, start here.

Just as unexpected as side A of the album may have sounded, to anyone hoping to get another “In the Court of The Crimson King”, just as unexpected come Jon Andersons vocals, at the beginning of the 23 minute “Lizard”, a beautiful symphonic Rock classic, subtitled “Prince Rupert Awakes” (4.36).

Lizard : Prince Rupert Awakes

Andersons vocals sends thoughts in the direction of early Yes albums, but the music definitely Crimson, not unlike The Crimson we know from the two previous albums. The 2nd Part of the Suite “Bolero – The Peacock’s Tale”, is yet another sharp turn in style, first a soft melodic piece, moving into a jazzy jam, but this time not frantic as the side A jams, much more polite, with great piano and horn sections, in the end returning to the soft melodic style.

Bolero – The Peacock’s Tale (1991 remix)

The third part of the suite “The Battle Of The Glass Tears (10:58)”, opens with a soft vocal section from Haskell, from there moves into a wild section, of almost chaotic (symphonic?) Jazz Rock, most likely illustrating the battle itself, and from there into a calm section where Fripp’s guitar solo tops a bass rhythm. The album ends with a short piece “Big Top” a circus like piece, pointing back to the track opener. Just like if the record wants you to start again.

Lizard : The Battle Of The Glass Tears – Big Top

According to Eric Tamm, Fripp should have stated about Lizard : “We’ve made it so that the 24th time things’ll really begin to go Zap. Im not sure he was right about that, think it depends on the listener, but yes, Lizard is hard to get into music, and you should definitely give it more than a few runs, to make it “Zap”. But I guess with most albums, you should, except those made specifically for mass consumption.