- For the debut album, see Yes (album).
Yes is a progressive rock band that was formed in England in 1968. Their music is marked by complex classically-influenced arrangements, unusual time signatures, virtuoso musicianship, dramatic dynamic and metrical changes, a blend of musical styles, and oblique lyrics. Despite the many changes to its lineup, the band has continued for nearly 40 years and retains a strong international following.
- Current Members
- Jon Davison- Vocal (2012-Present)
- Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals (1968-Present)
- Steve Howe - Guitar, Vocals (1970-1981; 1991-1992; 1995-Present)
- Geoff Downes - Keyboards (1980, 2011-Present)
- Alan White - Drums, Percussion (1972-Present)
- Previous Members
- Peter Banks - Guitar (1968-1970)
- Jon Anderson - Vocals (1968-1980; 1983-1988; 1991-2008)
- Rick Wakeman - Keyboards (1971-1974; 1976-1980; 1991-1992; 1995-1996; 2002-2008)
- Tony Kaye - Keyboards (1968-1971; 1982-1994)
- Bill Bruford - Drums, Percussion (1968-1972; 1991-1992)
- Patrick Moraz - Keyboards (1974-1976)
- Trevor Horn - Vocals (1980); Producer (1983-1987)
- Trevor Rabin - Guitar, Vocals (1982-1994)
- Igor Khoroshev - Keyboards (1997-2000)
- Billy Sherwood - Keyboards, Guitar (1991; 1994-1995; 1997-2000)
History and formationEdit
Yes was previously known as the psychedelically named Mabel Greer's Toyshop, the band had been formed by composer-singer-guitarist Clive Bayley and drummer Bob Hagger early in 1966. Chris Squire and Peter Banks joined in 1967. Jon Anderson followed in April 1968. Bill Bruford replaced Bob Hagger in July 1968 and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop became Yes.
Anderson had already recorded a single in 1964 as a member of The Warriors, a beat band formed by his brother Tony, and later sang on a couple of 45s for Parlophone Records under the pseudonym Hans Christian. He was also briefly a member of the group Gun. Squire had been a member of The Syn, a flower-pop outfit who had recorded a couple of singles for Deram Records (one, "14-Hour Technicolour Dream", celebrating the "happening" held at Alexandra Palace on April 29 and April 30, 1967). After the breakup of The Syn, Squire spent a year developing his bass-playing technique, strongly influenced by The Who's bassist, John Entwistle. Then, in May 1968, he met Anderson in a London Soho nightclub, La Chasse, where Anderson was working. The two had a common interest in vocal harmony and began working together soon afterwards.
Drummer Bill Bruford was recruited from an ad he had placed in Melody Maker. A jazz aficionado, Bruford had played just three gigs with Blues revivalists Savoy Brown before leaving. After a short stint away from the band, Peter Banks returned and organist/pianist Tony Kaye also joined. The classically trained Kaye had already been in a series of prior groups (Johnny Taylor's Star Combo, The Federals, and Jimmy Winston and His Reflections).
Banks came up with the three letter name, with the rationale that it would stand out on posters.
The last gig for Mabel Greer’s Toyshop was May 2, 1968 in Highgate, London. The line-up was Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Peter Banks, Clive Bayley and Bob Hagger.
Yes played their first show at East Mersey Youth Camp in England on August 4, 1968. Soon after this, they opened for Cream at their 1968 Farewell Concert from Royal Albert Hall. Early on, influenced by bands like 1-2-3 (later Clouds), the group earned a reputation for taking other people's songs and drastically changing them into expanded, progressive compositions. In September, they subbed for an absent Sly and The Family Stone at Blaise's and as a result of that appearance gained a residency at The Marquee club. Soon after, they made their second radio appearance on John Peel's programme (after previously having played the show as Mabel Greer's Toyshop) and, when Melody Maker columnist Tony Wilson selected them and Led Zeppelin as the two bands "Most Likely To Succeed" (as he states on the liner notes of the band's debut LP), it appeared that their future was assured.
Their eponymous debut album was released on July 25, 1969. The harmony vocals of Anderson and Squire were an immediate trademark of the Yes sound. The band's optimistic, vaguely futuristic outlook on the world was delivered with a combination of melody and virtuosity. Standout tracks were a jazzy take on The Byrds I See You and the album closer, Survival, which displayed the band's vocal harmonies and deft song-construction. Notably, the album was given a favourable review by Lester Bangs in Rolling Stone magazine, which described the band as promising, the album displaying a "sense of style, taste and subtlety".
In 1970, the band released their second album, this time accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra. Time And A Word featured mostly original compositions and two cover songs, Richie Havens's No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, and Everydays by Stephen Stills, originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield. The reworking of Havens' song also included excerpts from the theme song of the movie The Big Country. Although musically exceptional in terms of melody delivery, the orchestra (and keyboardist Tony Kaye) overpowered Banks and much of the vocal work, leaving Time and a Word somewhat uneven. Before the album's release, guitarist Peter Banks was asked to leave and ex-Tomorrow guitarist Steve Howe was hired. Howe was included in the front cover photo of the American release despite not having played on the album.
The first two Yes albums mixed original material with covers of songs by their major influences, including The Beatles, The Byrds and Simon & Garfunkel. The departure of Peter Banks in 1970 and his replacement by guitarist Steve Howe gave Yes a new cutting edge. The group's emerging style coalesced on their next LP, the critically acclaimed The Yes Album, which for the first time consisted entirely of original compositions by the band. It was also the record that united them with long-serving producer and engineer Eddie Offord, whose studio expertise was a key factor in creating the signature Yes sound.
In 1971, although a talented player who contributed memorable chord passages on the Hammond organ (particularly on Everydays and Yours is No Disgrace), original organ/piano player Tony Kaye left the band. Though some reports attest that he was fired, others indicate that he left voluntarily, but it is typically reported that the decision had to do with this unwillingness to use modern keyboard technology, as he considered himself to be simply an organist. He soon formed the group, Badger.
Kaye was replaced by the classically trained Rick Wakeman, who had just left The Strawbs. Wakeman was a studio musician with credits including David Bowie and Lou Reed, and he was a skilled improviser. Tony Kaye and ex-Yes guitarist Peter Banks eventually formed their own progressive rock band, Flash. Flash was sometimes accused of stealing Yes' musical sound, though it was Peter Banks and Tony Kaye who were themselves instrumental in forming that very sound.
As a soloist, Wakeman proved to be a good foil for Steve Howe. He also brought two vital additions to the group's instrumentation: the Mellotron (which Kaye had been unwilling to employ) and the Minimoog synthesizer. Surrounded by banks of keyboards, Wakeman's flowing blond hair and sequined cape provided a strong visual focus on stage.
The first recording by this lineup (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman) was a dynamic ten-minute interpretation of Paul Simon's America, which originally appeared on the album "The Age of Atlantic", a compilation with several acts from the roster of Atlantic Records. The excellent organ work on the track is actually played by Bruford. It was both the end of one era (their last non-original track) and the beginning of another, showcasing all the elements of the new Yes sound in place.
Creating progressive musicEdit
Songs often exceeded the standard three-minute pop-song structure with lengthy multi-part suites sometimes lasting 20 minutes or more, making the band a leading 70s progressive rock group. Vocal verses alternated with atmospheric instrumental interludes, frenetic ensemble passages and extended guitar, keyboard and bass improvisations. The signature sonic features of this 'classic' period are Jon Anderson's distinctive high-register lead vocals, the group's strong vocal harmonies, Rick Wakeman (and Patrick Moraz) and Steve Howe's respective keyboard and guitar solos, Bill Bruford's and later Alan White's polyrhythmic drumming and Chris Squire's highly melodic and discursive bass playing, enhanced by the sound of his Rickenbacker model RM1999 bass.
Chris Squire was one of the first rock bass players to successfully adapt electronic guitar effects such as tremolo, phasing and the wah-wah pedal to the instrument. Central to Squire's sound was his ingenious exploitation of "dual-amping" or "bi-amping" technique. Squire split the output from his bass, feeding the treble range output through a lead guitar amplifier, while the bass range output was fed, undistorted, through a regular bass amplifier. This gave his bass sound its unique "sandwiched" character, with bright, growling higher frequencies and clean, solid bass frequencies. This technique allowed Squire to utilise harmonic distortion on his bass while avoiding the flat, fuzzy sound, loss of power and poor bass response that typically occurs when bass guitars are overdriven through an amplifier or put through a fuzz box. The rhythm section of Squire/Bruford and Squire/White is considered by some to be one of the best in rock music of the period and exerted a strong influence over many later groups.
The established YesEdit
With Wakeman, Yes cut two LPs. Fragile (1972) went Top Ten in America, as did Close To The Edge (1972). Yes benefited from the tremendous advances in live music technology that were taking place at that time, and they were renowned for the high quality of both their sound and lighting. Fragile also marked the beginning of a long collaboration with artist Roger Dean, who designed the group's logo and their album covers, as well as their stage sets.
Before the release of Close to the Edge, and at the height of the band's success, Bill Bruford quit the band to join King Crimson. He was replaced by former Plastic Ono Band drummer Alan White, a more conventional rock drummer and a distinct contrast to the jazz-influenced drumming of Bruford. White was brought into Yes several months before the September 1972, release of Close to the Edge.
Their early touring with White was featured on their next release, the three-record live collection Yessongs, recorded on their world tour in late 1972 and early 1973. The album included two tracks with Bruford, notably the song Perpetual Change with an extended Bruford drum solo, as well as backing Chris Squire in his solo The Fish, while White played drums on the rest of the tracks. White learned the bulk of the tremendously ambitious repertoire in a matter of three days before embarking on the tour. White, a friend of Anderson's and Offord's, had sat in with the band once during the weeks before Bruford's departure. White has lasted with the group for over thirty five years, navigating ambitious time changes and shifts and maintaining a reputation for having a collaborative and "down to earth attitude".
Yessongs was an ambitious project and a major gamble for their label, Atlantic Records. It was one of the first rock triple-album sets, featuring live versions of all-original material from the previous three studio albums. Presented in a lavish album package with Roger Dean's artwork spread across a triple gatefold cover and a continuation of the cosmic-organic design concepts of the two previous albums. The album was another bestseller. A film of the tour, released under the same name, featured concert footage intermixed with psychedelic visual effects.
Their next studio album, Tales From Topographic Oceans polarized fans and critics. The disc earned mixed reviews, and it was later described by Jon Anderson as "the meeting point of high ideals and low energy." Rick Wakeman was not pleased with the album.
Increasing tensions between Wakeman and the rest of the band, as well as Wakeman's own burgeoning solo career, led him to quit at the end of the Tales tour in 1974. (By 1976, Wakeman worked to put together a prog-rock triumvirate rivaling Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but in the end Wakeman did not participate in that project. That band, eventually featuring Bruford, his King Crimson bandmate John Wetton, guitarist Allan Holdsworth, and Roxy Music's wunderkind keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson, formed under the name UK.) Wakeman himself embarked on a long, prolific, and fairly popular solo career, in addition to his projects with the English Rock Ensemble, film scores, and collaborations with other artists.
Wakeman was replaced by Swiss musician Patrick Moraz for Relayer in 1974. The vast difference between Moraz's contributions to Yes and Wakeman's was more of a novelty than a disappointment, Moraz being a distinctive electric-jazz musician in his own right. Again, the album featured a side-long track, The Gates of Delirium, from which the Soon section was put out as a limited single release. This reached number one on the Spanish charts. Following an extended tour through 1975–1976, each member of the group released his own solo album. At the same time, Yesterdays was released, containing tracks from the first two albums, as well as America as the opening track.
The group commenced sessions for a new album. After negotiations, Rick Wakeman rejoined the band on a "session musician" basis. The confusion comes from Moraz being on record as saying he feels he deserves credit for much of the music on the resulting album. Certainly Howe has also stated that the group "tried to remove as much of Patrick from the songs as possible", so it would appear that he did contribute to the initial sessions. Ultimately, Moraz ended up at the top of the ambiguous "thanks to..." list on the album sleeve. In any case, after hearing and being impressed by the new material Wakeman once again became a permanent band member.
Apart from the 15 minute track Awaken, the resulting album, Going For The One, the first not to feature Roger Dean artwork since The Yes Album, was mostly made up of shorter songs, including Wonderous Stories, released as a single in the UK in 1977. This album and the next, 1978's Tormato featuring the same lineup, were successful in spite of being released at the height of the punk rock era in Britain, during which Yes were often criticized by the music press as representing the most bloated excesses of early 1970s progressive rock. Ironically, Yes outlasted many of the groups of that era as well.
The Tormato album sparked dissension among fans. However, despite internal or external criticisms of this latest album, the band enjoyed successful tours in 1978 and 1979 utilizing for the first time a rotating circular stage and calling the tour "Yes - In The Round".
In October 1979, Yes convened in Paris with producer Roy Thomas Baker, fresh off his success producing Queen's album Jazz. There are a number of statements by band members and rumors as to why the sessions did not produce a formal album. Howe, Squire, and White said later in 1980 that none of the three of them liked the music Anderson had offered the band, claiming it was too lightweight and lacking in a heaviness that the trio felt they were generating during their own time together. (Bootlegs of these sessions would suggest that Howe et al. were correct in their descriptions of Anderson's music, some of which appeared on his 1980 solo album Song Of Seven.)
In December, the sessions ended when Alan White broke his foot. There is also strong speculation that Anderson and the remaining members of the band had a falling out over money issues and claims and counterclaims of members spending more than their fair share of their group monies. By May, 1980, the situation reached a conclusion with Anderson departing Yes as no agreement could be reached over musical direction and financial remuneration. With Anderson leaving, Rick Wakeman followed suit, thinking that Yes could not continue without its primary voice.
At Yes manager Brian Lane's suggestion, Squire invited The Buggles duo of Geoff Downes (keyboards) and Trevor Horn (vocals) - who were coming off an international success with their New Wave album The Age Of Plastic and the acclaimed single "Video Killed the Radio Star" - to help out on a new Yes album. Initially, the plan was that Downes and Horn would help write some new material - they already had a song called "We Can Fly From Here" which had been written with Yes in mind. Soon, Howe, Squire, and White confessed that their singer and keyboardist had actually left the band. To Downes and Horn's surprise, they were invited to join Yes as full-time members. They accepted the invitation and performed on the Drama album in 1980. Drama clearly displayed a heavier, harder sound than the material Yes recorded with Anderson in 1979, opening with the hard rock, lengthy track Machine Messiah.
While Drama was well received by many fans, and often regarded as one of the finest moments for the trio of Squire, Howe, and White, many other Yes followers missed Anderson's unique lyrics and vocal style. The album's artwork raised eyebrows as the inside cover also displayed a bit of a horror-house style in photo and graphic design, an anomaly that perplexed some fans. The band undertook a North American tour in September, 1980. The general consensus is that Horn performed the vocals for their new material on tour very well (although he had no experience fronting a band that performed on the scale of Yes shows) but that he struggled on the classic Yes material as it was not in his range. When the band returned to England later in 1980, the English press heaped great criticism on Horn and Yes.
After the Drama tour, Yes reconvened in England to decide the band’s next step. The band officially split up in the spring of 1981. Trevor Horn left to pursue music production. Alan White and Chris Squire continued working together, beginning sessions with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. The band was to be called XYZ, said to be short for "ex-Yes-and-Zeppelin," but nothing came of the sessions when ex-Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant failed to get interested. XYZ produced a few demo tracks, elements of which would appear in later Yes music (most notably Mind Drive from Keys To Ascension 2, and Can You Imagine, from Magnification). Later in 1981, Squire and White released the Christmas single "Run With The Fox". Downes and Howe went on to form supergroup Asia with former King Crimson and UK bassist/vocalist John Wetton and Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer on drums.
Reforming the groupEdit
In 1983, over two years after the breakup of Yes, Chris Squire and Alan White formed a new group, dubbed Cinema with guitarist Trevor Rabin (late of the band Rabbitt). Original Yes organist Tony Kaye was invited to participate as Squire felt that Kaye's textural approach to keyboards would suit the band. Formerly a solo artist with three albums to his credit, Trevor Rabin's writing contributions included the catchy riff-oriented "Owner of a Lonely Heart", but Rabin also played a role in the making of music to fit the MTV era while retaining certain aspects of Yes' original style - particularly the vocal harmonies.
Originally, the lead vocals were shared between Rabin and Squire, but in early 1983, Chris Squire played Jon Anderson some of Cinema's music at a party in Los Angeles. Impressed with the band's new approach in songs like Leave It, Anderson was invited by Squire to add his vocals to the new project and Anderson accepted the invitation, resulting in the "accidental" reformation of Yes. Many fans call this lineup "Yes West", because of the band's relocation to Los Angeles and the more American, radio-friendly sound.
The band's first album since the reunion, 90125 was a radical departure from their earlier sound. It was more visceral, with then-modern electronic effects — attributable chiefly to producer (and former Yes vocalist) Trevor Horn. Yes' most commercially successful album by far, 90125 eventually sold over six million copies and secured a new lease on life for Yes, who toured over a year to support it. The song Owner of a Lonely Heart from this album was even a top hit on the R&B and disco charts (and sampled countless times since), resulting in the band's only Number One single. Appearing in the video for this song was Eddie Jobson, filmed while Tony Kaye was briefly absent due to a falling out with Trevor Horn. Yes also scored significant hit singles with "Leave It" and It Can Happen, also garnering a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental (Cinema, a short, highly compressed and complex track recorded live in the studio), suggesting that the group had not totally abandoned their musicianship in favour of commercial success, as some fans had alleged. The popular album also spawned a concert video, directed by Steven Soderbergh (9012 Live), and a short live album (9012Live: The Solos, which included solo pieces from Anderson, Rabin, Squire and Kaye plus a Squire/White jam).
In 1986, Yes began recording Big Generator. Unfortunately, interpersonal problems (chiefly between Squire and Anderson) kept the album from timely completion, and ultimately Trevor Rabin took a hand in its final production. Although 1987's Big Generator did not fare as well as 90125, it still sold well over two million copies. Some Yes fans have considered Big Generator more faithful to the vintage Yes sound than its predecessor due to a concentrated effort to record longer songs such as the fan favorites I'm Running and Shoot High, Aim Low in addition to the more poppy tunes. Trevor Rabin's radio-friendly Love Will Find a Way charted moderately well, with the Beach Boys-inspired Rhythm of Love barely scraping the Top 40. The 1988 tour ended with a gig at Madison Square Garden as part of Atlantic Records's 40th anniversary celebrations, but left Yes members exhausted and frustrated with one another.
Turbulence in the late 80sEdit
Jon Anderson grew tired of the musical direction of the "new" Yes line-up. He wanted the band to return to its classic sound. Following the 1988 tour, Anderson began working with former Yes members Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, and Bill Bruford. Some in the group (particularly Bill Bruford) wanted to distance themselves from the "Yes" name. As it turned out, Anderson and the former Yes members were contractually unable to use the name, as Squire, White, Kaye, Rabin (and, ironically, Anderson) held the rights, dating back to the 90125 contract. Subsequently, the new group called themselves "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe", or simply ABWH.
The project included session bassist Tony Levin, brought in by Bruford after the two had worked together in King Crimson. Appealing to old and new Yes fans, their eponymous 1989 album featured "Brother of Mine," a popular MTV video in its own right, and went gold in the United States. However, they did not all record together as in the early 70s and instead their parts were slotted into place on the album by Anderson. Howe has stated publicly that he was unhappy with the mix of his guitars on the album (a version of "Fist of Fire" with more of Howe's guitars left intact eventually appeared on the Yes In a Word box set in 2001).
According to Bruford, the four-way writing credit does not reflect the actual writing process and was instead an incentive to have the ex-Yes men take part in the recording sessions. After the album's release, legal battles (sparked by Atlantic Records) soon followed over the title of ABWH's tour, An Evening of Yes Music Plus, the live recording of which featured Bruford colleague Jeff Berlin in Levin's session bassist spot, who was forced to sit out for two weeks due to illness. In addition, the live sessions were augmented by second keyboardist Julian Colbeck and guitarist Milton McDonald. The tour alternated between music from AWBH and vintage Yes classics, and each night opened with short solo stints from all four members.
Meanwhile, Yes were working on their follow-up to Big Generator. The band had been shopping around for a new singer in case Anderson would not be involved, working with ex-Supertramp Roger Hodgson, and songwriter Billy Sherwood of World Trade. Hodgson enjoyed working with the group but thought it unwise to attempt to pass off the music as Yes. Arista, ABWH's new label, encouraged ABWH to seek outside songwriters, and Trevor Rabin ultimately sent a demo. Predictably, Arista sensed the commercial possibility of a union of Yes and ABWH. This would lead to the end of Yes having new albums released by Atlantic Records after more than 20 years of their initial recording contract.
Yes in the early 90sEdit
Throughout early 1991, phone calls were made, lawyers soothed, and agreements were struck, with Yes joining ABWH for the Union album. Each group did its own songs, with Jon Anderson singing on all tracks. Chris Squire sang background vocals on a few of the ABWH tracks (with Tony Levin doing all the bass on those songs). A world tour united all eight members on one stage in a short-lived "Mega-Yes" line-up of Anderson, Squire, Howe, Rabin, Kaye, Wakeman, Bruford, and White, but the album itself proved less than the sum of its parts. Clearly a combination of two recordings, none of the songs on Union featured all eight members at once; two-thirds were actually ABWH compositions, while Trevor Rabin and Chris Squire contributed four songs (including a Billy Sherwood collaboration).
Nearly the entire band have publicly stated their disliking for the finished product due to producer Jonathan Elias's secret involvement of session musicians after the initial sessions. (Bruford has disowned the album entirely, and Wakeman was reportedly unable to recognise any of his keyboard work in the final edit.) The Union tour itself featured tracks spanning the band's entire career, and it was one of the highest grossing concert tours of 1991 and 1992.
When the tour was over in 1992, Bill Bruford and Steve Howe recorded an album of Yes instrumental music reinterpreted by an orchestra for RCA Victor, which featured Jon Anderson's vocals on two of the songs. Entitled "Symphonic Music Of Yes", the album offered some fresh sonic presentations of Yes masterpieces; it remains debatable, however, whether the concept warranted the length of the actual finished recording. String arrangements were done by David Palmer, and the record was produced by progressive rock legend Alan Parsons.
After the release of this album, Bill Bruford chose not to remain involved in future Yes possibilities. Jon Anderson began writing with both Howe and Rabin separately, but eventually, Howe was not asked to be on the next album by the record label (Victory Music), which had approached Rabin with a proposal to produce an album solely with the 90125 lineup, to which Rabin initially countered by requesting Wakeman be included. By 1993, Wakeman's refusal to leave his long-serving management meant he also could not play on the new album, which by then was well into production (Rabin and Wakeman have both expressed regret that they never played together on a Yes album - excepting the patchwork of Union - although Rabin did guest on Wakeman's Return to the Centre of the Earth album in 1999).
Yes was back to its popular 1980s lineup of Anderson, Squire, Rabin, Kaye, and White. In 1994, Yes released Talk on Victory Music, one of the group's poorest selling releases. Neither the record label nor US radio stations provided much promotion for The Calling, perhaps their strongest single since "Owner of a Lonely Heart". (David Letterman heard the song while driving and immediately sought to find the "new band" and have them appear on the Late Show, which they did on June 20, 1994, just days into their Talk tour, performing Walls from Talk). Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin's collaboration resulted in a remarkable fusion of 'old' and 'new' Yes.
Some of the fruits of the band's work with Roger Hodgson also appears on the album. On the 1994 tour, guitarist/vocalist Billy Sherwood, who co-authored Union's The More We Live with Squire, joined as a sixth member. By the end of 1995, Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin left, with Rabin going on to become a highly successful film score composer and Kaye retiring (though Kaye did provide Hammond organ on several tracks on the Sherwood-produced Return To The Dark Side of the Moon in 2006).
End of the roadEdit
Proving the truth of the old adage "never say never again," the band surprised and delighted fans by reforming with the classic 1970s lineup of Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman for a three-night live performance in the California town of San Luis Obispo in 1996. As the band formed a brief contract with CMC International Records, the resulting live recordings were released, together with new music, on the Keys to Ascension albums. Keys to Ascension 2, in particular, featured 48 minutes of new music. The band was disappointed the new material wasn't released as a single studio album, which had the working title of Know.
The new studio cuts from those two albums were later reissued on a single CD called Keystudio. Wakeman left the group yet again before the release of Keys to Ascension 2 after a Yes tour was planned without his input, and because of his frustration over the decision to bury the Keystudio studio tracks on redundant live albums.
Longtime collaborator Billy Sherwood immediately joined Yes on keyboards and guitar as an official member. A close friend of Squire, Sherwood had had some success as lead vocalist/bassist of the 1980s prog-pop band World Trade. Open Your Eyes, released in 1997, was originally intended as a project by Squire-Sherwood called Conspiracy. However, it was basically co-opted by Yes in order to fulfill a need to get a new record out by the then-current lineup. The band would release this and all the rest of their future releases on the Beyond Music label to ensure they have more of a say in packaging and titling the albums.
The tour that followed featured only a few pieces from the new album, and mostly concentrated on the revival of classic Yes material such as Siberian Khatru. The return of Steve Howe to Yes one year earlier, along with a heavier emphasis on 1970s-era Yes music, was considered an exciting development by many fans. The tour also featured keyboards from Russian keyboard player Igor Khoroshev, who had played on a few of the Open Your Eyes tracks. Khoroshev was later made a full time member for the following album The Ladder. This would be the last album that record producer Bruce Fairbairn would work on before an untimely death.
Many fans were reminded of the band's classic 1970s sound, largely because of Khoroshev's keyboards. His work was classically-oriented and also included sampling large sections of music by British techno group The Prodigy. Sherwood's live role was limited to backup vocals and backup guitar, with a few notable spotlight moments for guitar solos in Rabin-era songs. Howe refused to duplicate Rabin's solos, citing that his style would not fit those solos (Howe was never fond of Rabin as a member of Yes, claiming that Rabin had undermined his guitar parts in his performances with Yes, as well as sanitizing the sound of the band on albums, particularly Talk; Rabin, of course, disagrees). The 1999 tour resulted in a live DVD of the performance at the Las Vegas House of Blues. Homeworld (The Ladder), a track from The Ladder, was written for Relic Entertainment's real-time strategy computer game Homeworld, and was used as the credits and outro theme.
Sherwood was let go prior to the 2000 Masterworks tour, which featured a revival of the Moraz-period extended piece "The Gates of Delirium". Months later, Khoroshev was fired after a sexual assault charge, just before the recording of the 2001 orchestral release Magnification. The band was not only backed by a 60-piece orchestra, but specific parts and arrangements were written by notable film composer Larry Groupe and performed by the orchestra, sounding as if the orchestra was a permanent band member. On tour, however, the band hired session touring keyboardist Tom Brislin to augment the orchestra since the orchestra alone could not faithfully reproduce some of the classic Yes keyboard material.
Rick Wakeman announced his return to the group on April 20, 2002, and a world tour for Yes followed, including a return to Australia after more than 30 years. The classic lineup enjoyed a somewhat revitalized presence in the public consciousness, especially during the celebration of their 35th anniversary in 2004. Reacting to an online survey of popular Yes songs to play, the band added South Side of the Sky to the touring set list, a surprise given that it was rarely played before, even on the original Fragile tours.
This revitalization showed itself during a show in New York's Madison Square Garden. Near the end of the song And You and I before the last few acoustic notes, the band was overwhelmed with thunderous applause. It lasted so long that by the time it subsided, the roadies had already removed Howe's guitar - Wakeman then had to play the last bit with Anderson singing. In later legs of the tour, the band performed some songs in acoustic style towards the later part of the tour, after doing a live-via-satellite concert as part of the Yesspeak documentary's premiere.
In October 2002, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
On November 11, 2004, for one night only, a very unlikely alternative Yes line-up of Trevor Rabin, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Alan White, and Geoff Downes performed a set of Yes songs at the Prince's Trust concert at Wembley Arena, which was a tribute to former Yes vocalist/producer Trevor Horn. It remains somewhat unclear why Jon Anderson did not perform that night, although Trevor Horn was being honored that night as a record producer, (the other acts that played that night were all produced by Horn), so there may have been a desire to emphasize Horn's role rather than Anderson's. One report had Jon needing time to rest, under doctors' orders, and Wakeman declining to join in because of Jon's absence. Whatever the exact reason, Rabin-era fans were delighted to see their favorite guitarist perform with the group for the first time in ten years, and the audience was treated to guitar solos by both Rabin and Howe.
In 2005, DJ Max Graham sampled and remixed Yes' "Owner of a Lonely Heart", credited to Max Graham Vs. Yes. The song reached the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart. Since 2004, Yes has been on indefinite hiatus. While Howe, Squire, Wakeman and White have all expressed in interest in recording and touring, Anderson has been firmly opposed. Thus, band members have pursued varied solo projects. Alan White has formed a new group, White, featuring Geoff Downes of Asia (and Yes' 1980 lineup); their debut album, also called White, was released on April 18, 2006. Chris Squire joined a reformed version of The Syn, one of his pre-Yes groups from the 1960s, in 2004.
Plans for a joint tour by White, Syn and Steve Howe, which would have included the Yes members (with the singer from White) performing songs from Drama, were canceled as a result of visa problems for English members following the July 2005 London bombings. Alan White joined the band for a tour in 2006. Later, on May 16, 2006, Squire announced that he had left Syn. On the same day, the original members of Asia, including Howe and Downes, announced that they would be reuniting for a 25th anniversary tour, which commenced in September. Anderson and Wakeman toured together in October of 2006, and the setlist for most shows featured Yes material along with songs from both their solo careers, and at least one ABWH song. In early 2007, Sherwood, Kaye and White - along with guitarist Jimmy Haun - formed a new band, Circa:. The band has recorded an album, and plans to tour, performing material from CIRCA: and Yes.
In February 2007, Jon Anderson said on 1210 AM Philadelphia that Yes will possibly reunite in 2008 for a 40th anniversary tour and that Roger Dean is creating artistic projections for the shows.