It’s the long dreamed about, too-good-to-last summit meeting of both Seventies- and Eighties-era YES members on the album Union, with Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, the late Alan White and Chris Squire ALL here In the Studio. “Lift Me Up and turn me over…”, indeed!YES’s worldwide success in the first half of the Seventies decade became inversely proportional to the vitriolic Punk Rock/ New Wave diatribes they had to endure with the other Prog Rockers in the second half. For the conclusion of the best of YES, In the Studio miraculously assembled everyone pictured below to share the saga, focusing in this part two on the music and challenging years beginning with the comeback of the decade in 1983 90125 , Big Generator in 1987, Union thirty years ago this month, and the vastly under-appreciated 2001 album Magnification. The voters of the annual Rock Hall inductions appear to be finally acknowledging certain iconic bands that have been dying to be admitted, and in the cases of Deep Purple, The Ramones, and YES, quite literally. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally employed some “affirmative action” with the induction of progressive rock icon YES. Co-founder Jon Anderson sang with YES for the first time in over a decade after inductors Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush welcomed the veteran band, with Lee subbing for the deceased Yes co-founder Chris Squire on a performance of “Roundabout”.
A sprawling band whose family tree has enormous branches, YES was one of the first wave of post–Beatles London art school bands which included the Moody Blues, King Crimson, Genesis, and Emerson Lake and Palmer.The Rock Hall has employed a perpetual “wait ’til next year” attitude for certain bands that resulted in Deep Purple co-founder Jon Lord, legendary singer Joe Cocker, and YES co-founder Chris Squire passing away before the honor was granted (sadly, Cocker still awaits the recognition). YES electronic keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman went public to claim that he was boycotting the ceremony specifically to protest the Hall of Fame’s delay until Squire’s death shamed them into reluctantly admitting the band, but instead opted to not only attend but do a stand up comedy routine that brought down the house!
This episode of In the Studio is dedicated to YES drummer Alan White who died suddenly May 26, 2022. Alan was a musician with a resume second to none, playing with John Lennon on “Instant Karma”,”Imagine”, and “Jealous Guy”, and George Harrison on All Things Must Pass including “My Sweet Lord”, before replacing Bill Bruford on the Close to the Edge tour. Alan White was a soft-spoken gentle soul, a real sweet guy, and it’s a real loss. –Redbeard