Many of the post-British Invasion bands were approaching the rock idiom seriously by 1972, the peak year for this “progressive “ rock movement which had matured with spectacular results, both artistically and commercially. It was the result of a combination of new technology ( the Mellotron , which crudely emulated choral and orchestral sounds ) and desperation, with an increasing number of British and European bands expanding rock’s canvas musically and lyrically without the slightest consideration to the pop hit mainstream. Londoners YES released Close to the Edge barely a scant nine months after their breakthrough album Fragile, while Trilogy from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, as well as Foxtrot from the Peter Gabriel-led Genesis, had critics raving and cash registers ringing. Of course all of this would culminate in Spring 1973 with the incomparable Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon , an iconic masterpiece which long ago threw off any binds imparted by categorization as progressive rock, but not before both Jethro Tull’s Thick As a Brick and the Moody Blues’ Seventh Sojourn would each rack up #1 international sales in 1972.
On the 45th anniversary of Close to the Edge going Top Five sales in both the U.S. and UK, YES lead singer/lyricist Jon Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe, extraordinary drummer Bill Bruford, and keyboard innovator Rick Wakeman provide a surprisingly candid recounting of the undisputed peak of the Progressive Rock era. While it took them barely 18 months to write and record The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge, it took almost thirty years for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s version of the Warren Commission to deny any conspiracy to bar Yes from induction. But it wasn’t soon enough for YES co-founder Chris Squire, who died prior to this past Spring’s award ceremony. –Redbeard