Monday, 11 February 2013

Albums for Life: 52: Close to the Edge: Yes

'Now that it's all over and done, 
Run to the sea, right to the sun, 
Now that you find, now that you're whole...'


I need to offload this one fast; it's been praying on my mind awhile... timely as I must keep this choice and the next out of my Top 50 just in case the Style Police come a calling...
I can hear the giggles and am already anticipating the inevitable chinese burns and wedgies that this will prompt, but I have to be honest about my past imperfect as I sit here, rubbing at the damned spot of pre-adolescence. This album is a bit like that pair of turquoise cowboy boots that you keep at the back of the wardrobe for that moment when they surely must come back into fashion...

They say that, if at the age of 13 'Lord of the Rings' is not your favourite book then there's something wrong with you and that, if at the age of 30 it's still your favourite novel, well... then there's something wrong with you. 
This elicits a similar guilty reaction.
If you'd asked me for my favourite album between the age of 12 and 13 I would've had no hesitation; this and my number 51 choice were played to death in my dorm at boarding school. The tracks still smell of patchouli oil and spunky sheets to me.
This was the classic Anderson-Squire-Bruford-Howe-Wakeman line-up. 

I vividly remember weeping (dear reader) when the, frankly ridiculous, beer swilling caped crusader that is Rick Wakeman left to go solo.
Anyone remember his string of concept albums?
'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'?
'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' that was perfumed on ice?
There was always a 'concept' in those days...
Meanwhile, back in bonkersville; I haven't got a clue what Jon Anderson was wailing on about, but when he hits the "seasons will pass you by, I get up, I get dooooown' bit on the title track I still get a bit giddy.

This profound nonsense was forever mapped in my memory by the brilliant landscapes of the otherworldly Roger Dean album covers as much as by the exhilarating, magnificently meaningless music that came from within the gatefold.
Concepts and climaxes; what's not to love?


  1. I guess this is my elo out of the blue!
    I've never heard a yes lp and the only track I've heard was the trevor horn produced owner of a lonely heart which might as well have been by a different band!

  2. That's one of your get out of jail cards free cards used up then. And although you may be praying in your mind that the internet swallows this into anonymity I think you'll find that Yes, it was preying on your mind. And not just preying, if you listen it is actually EATING your mind. Soon you will find yourself performing a solo version of Star Wars while on roller skates.

    1. Now, I'm about to regain a card or two by revealing that I've never seen any of the Star Wars films and my roller skating days are well remembered when I fell on my arse with a box of matches in my back pocket. The comedy moment that ensued was Keystone Coppish...

  3. I'm not laughing here as I've got a few prog-rockers in my stack, and one of 'em is still in my top 50. Can't deny the impact of some of this vintage stuff on our history...

    PS: Seamus, you've got the most imaginative zingers!

    1. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who needs elp...

  4. Oi you lot, stop dissing the Prog!!! I remember vividly turning up at my first day in Grammar School. Little 11 year old boy, one of only a few from my school who made it there. It was like Tom Brownwn's Schooldays, with Prefects, Houses, Fags, etc. I get to my form room, look at my desk and see a splendidly carved YES logo on the desk. It was magical. What was a YES? also, what was a CSNY?

    Anyway, SInce those golden days, YES has been MY band!!! SO many memories. Buying the Music Book and trying to learn how to play those prog rock epics. For God sake, I was only 13!!

    I drank in every note! I had a superb scrapbook containing all the photos, album reviews, basically anything I could get my hands on.Only to give it to someone who never gave it back, like LPs!! I won numerous radio competitions based on YES knowledge.

    One of the most uplifting experiences of my young life was reading thse magical headlines on Melody Maker that bright summer's morning.(I used to be up the newsagents at 6.00am to get my copy every week) - Wakeman Rejoins Yes - AAAgh. Then they brought out Going For The One, which contains the still amazing Awaken. I remember them getting a 15 minute standing ovation after playing it live for the first time.

    God, I could go on & on. Jon Anderson often sang words that made no sense, as he was more interested in the SOUND of the words in the song, not their meaning. Bowie later tried this approach.

    So, Trev, don't be ashamed. Stand up & be proud. All those bands who have been awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards for being together for 10 Years. Yes as still going after 40+ and are still making relevant music for their fans.

    Now, let's get onto Caravan's The Land of The Pink & Grey!!!!