After experiencing YES performing in the round on a revolving stage in Fall 1978 in Memphis, I distinctly recall thinking that this was the best way to see any band larger than a quartet which consisted of musicians with exceptional “chops” like YES co-founding singer/ bass player Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboard player Rick Wakeman, and YES co-founding singer nonpareil Jon Anderson. Yet a scant three years later, amidst the churn of a wholesale turnover in rock’s most popular bands, YES was gone, one of the several iconic Seventies progressive rock sacred cows ingloriously slaughtered and sacrificed upon punk rock’s burning altar.
The talented rhythm section of Squire and White kept in touch into 1982, when they came tantalizingly close to forming a supergroup with another legend “on the beach” at the same time, Jimmy Page of the defunct Led Zeppelin. Page would bow out after two months of rehearsal, but Squire and White kept the name Cinema, as well as the desire to find a suitable songwriter/guitarist/ singer. Management suggested a young handsome South African, Trevor Rabin, who came from a serious classical music family and who had wood-shedded a number of strong songs in search of a suitable band. As Cinema, by midpoint 1983 their recordings were near enough completion that Chris Squire was eager to play what he believed to be their new album to his former musical partner since art school, Jon Anderson.
Then something remarkable happened. It resulted in more than eight million copies selling from a musical entity thought to be extinct, but with the songs “It Can Happen”,”Hold On”,”Leave It”,”Changes”, and the #1 hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, YES could rise like a musical phoenix from the ashes of the progressive rock Seventies thirty years ago with the comeback album of the Eighties in 90125 ( not a Beverly Hills zip code, but simply the album catalog number ). -Redbeard
(L-R standing: AlanWhite,Trevor Rabin,Tony Kaye; seated front Jon Anderson,Chris Squire )