Tag Archives: Yes

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”

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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.

US ALBUM COVER:

“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.