In Awe of "Yessongs" Forty Years Later

Began listening to "Yessongs" on 8 track back in 1973, the year after I graduated high school. A friend of mine who lived in the neighborhood brought this 8 track along when we were riding around in my car. I had never heard of "Yes" or their music. I was immediately mesmerized. I proceeded to buy the 8 track the same day. Since then I re-purchased the recordings many times as they were damaged, wore out, lost, or stolen (once). Over the years bought and re-bought Yessongs at least twice on 8 track, twice on album, once on cassette and twice on CD. Was fortunate to see Yes perform material from Yessongs at the "World Series of Rock" Cleveland Stadium, 1975. What a wild concert that was, a rush running from the gates when they opened to get to the stadium floor. Over 40 years later, and here I sit listening on new headphones (Creative Aurvana Live 2) to tracks from Yessongs on my PC, still in awe of the music! Close to the Edge and Jon Anderson are still chilling. Yours is No Disgrace, Perpetual Change, Siberian Khatru, all still incredible musical performances! Anderson, Squire, Howe,Bruford,White, and Wakeman, all exceptional! Listening on the Creative Aurvana's is the best I've heard Yessongs in many years! (I'll be 60 in 5 months). It has always been a very compromised recording that does not sound nearly as great as the performances, even after a remastering. It's amazing that Yessongs has stood the test of time and after 40 years is still an awe-inspiring performance. Other recordings of Yes that I like exist, but this one is unique.
I enjoy Fragile, but my "Yes Album" LP is my favorite. I have not heard YESSONGS since my Cassette deck days. I will have to give it a listen. Thanks for the reminder!
I think Yessongs is a truly a superb piece of music. I luckily still have my original UK pressing and it's a winner. Superior sonics to the US re-issue, although by no means an a'phile recording,
The music of my youth always holds a special place,,Remembering listening to them the first time,usually brings back fond memories for sure.Pretty hard to beat ,even if the recording is not the greatest .
It's the high octane, high powered, virtuosity, the extended nature of the live "Yessongs" perfomances, that have always made them special for me. (the mastery of their instruments and Jon Anderson vocals) Although Yes often achieved greatness in the studio, and I love many of those recordings, "Yessongs" was on a different level in my opinion.
I graduated HS in 76, but for the previous5 years had listened to everything Yes had put out, and had gone to four or five Yes concerts.Picked up Close to the Edge a few years back on cd, and was stunned by how well it holds up. Great music and musicianship. Now I'll have to order Yessongs.
Yessongs never grabbed me but I love The Yes Album and Close to the Edge. Saw the group live with 2nd Mahavishnu Orch around '75 or so. Good show.
Did anyone catch the recent tour where they played 3 entire LP's in succession (the two I mentioned plus one later one)?
Great thread! I love Yes - Fragile, Close to the Edge, and Yes Album are 3 of my all time fav's. Even have some Steve Howe solo work, love his guitar tones.

Going back to analogue a few years ago reintroduced my to these great albums, all originals from my HS and college days and in good sonic shape.

Yessongs is a little rough but I will give it another listen....
My favorite YEs albums:

1) The YEs Album
2) Relayer
3) Close to the Edge
4) Fragile
5) Going for the One
6) Drama
7) Much of 90125 and Big Generator.
8) Still soaking in recent Fly From Here CD but like it enough so far to give it a mention

I like Yessongs and the Key to Ascension series for a good sampling of live Yes. Have seen them live 5 times, Jon Anderson solo once. ALways a treat. Steve Howe alone makes it all worthwhile.
Foster 9 - Have been a fan of Yes for decades now. Agree with you very much on YesSongs. The crowd noise certainly brings a level of energy to it. For me, the beginning using the excerpt from Firebird Suite is pure genius. Who else would think to start a show that way? That double LP is still magical after all these years. BTW - what version are you listening to (I read you're listening to tracks on PC)? I have a digitally remastered version by Joe Gastwirt.
Awesome set list and performances. Too bad the sound quality is not as good. Still listen to the CD now and then. Can't bring myself to see them live w/o Jon Anderson.
I think that Yessongs is one of the best live albums of all time. Like you, my first version was an 8 track and I was grateful to move on to the LP so that there was no "click click" in the middle of the long songs. The musicianship, and particularly Jon Anderson's voice, are what separates this version of Yes from all other prog wannabes. Yes has been criticized through the years for being pretentious with their long solos, light/lazar shows, and Rick Wakeman's silver sequined cape. As far as I am concerned, the Roger Dean imagery, huge stage shows, and complex arrangements combined with the unique talents of the band members to set the standard for the progressive rock genre. Yes knows how to entertain live and Yessongs captures that spirit.
This is an awesome post. Describes what the whole music thing is all about. Hey Foster, just think how cool it's going to sound on your 70th, 80th (and hopefully beyond) birthday.
Even though I do not visit the Pantheon very often, I must admit "The Yes Album" is one of my favorites, next a few songs from "Fragile". The rest forget it (unbearable all of them)

By the way, the lyrics are a monument to nonsense, just to be polite on this.

Maybe I´m younger than all of you. Only 56.


I'm with Pops on this . My first exposure was the Yes Album and I was completely blown away by the performance. I still listen to their works today and smile . Great talent and revolutionary in the day. I read where a poster stated that Kansas and Yes were similar. I couldn't disagree more not even close IMHO. Nice too see other people who appreciate them.
YESSONGS is a favorite of mine for performance but not sound. Fantastic energy especially from Howe. SOUND: like it was recorded and a poor 2-head cassette deck. Blurry indistinct non-extended highs.. bad bass.. no detail.. I had the US pressing, the Japanese pressing, and the original 1st UK edition.. MY experience with the UK pressing was.. that it sucked.. the JAP. pressing I kept as it was the 'cleanest' and I got the best sound overall out of it.. but I am not generally a fan of Japanese pressings.. I love the music but hate this particular recording..
Here's a tale from the good ol' days. I got tickets to see Yes (3rd billing, Humble Pie (2nd billing, and Black Sabbath (top billing) at the Capitol theater (an old moviehouse converted to a concert venue, ala the Fillmore). At the time their records were; The Yes album, HP Live at the Fillmore, and BS's premier 1st record. They played for 2 nights. I went the 2nd night. What happened was the 1st night Yes and Humble Pie killed it and than Sabbath came out and got booed off the stage!! So on the 2nd night Black Sabbath canceled! Leaving the other 2 bands more playing time to fill in for Sabbath. Needless to say, it was a great night! Truthfully, if Sabbath had 3rd billing and played 1st they probably would've been OK, but.....ah, I miss those good ol' days!;)
For me, the beginning using the excerpt from Firebird Suite is pure genius. 06-02-14: Ghosthouse
Absolutely! Yes started their show with the Firebird Suite at the the World Series of Rock and the anticipation that piece created was incredible.
I think that Yessongs is one of the best live albums of all time. 06-02-14: Maxnewid
Thank you! That is how I have always felt! If you're a fan of Yes and have not felt the thrill Yessongs can give, then please re-visit it! The music performances are still incredible considering this was all done live! Many groups could never achieve such musicianship, cohesion, and creativity live!
what version are you listening to (I read you're listening to tracks on PC)? 06-02-14: Ghosthouse
Nothing special, I simply logged into Grooveshark and started listening through my Creative Aurvana Live 2 headphones and it sounds excellent to me and the live affect is there. It's just mp3 I know, but Yessongs over the phones sounds good to me.
Chazro - Capital Theatre in NJ? Saw Dire Straits there years ago. See YouTube for Life & Times of Steve Mariott (sp?). Great retrospective on him and HP.
Capitol Theater In Passaic, NJ was a great venue. I saw Mountain, The Who, The Kinks and many others there - way too many years ago.
The Capitol theater I went to was in Port chester, NY. Still in business today!
Transnova I never realized that! Haven't understood some of the bands the R&R Hall decided to induct. No Yes? What an absurd omission!
Thanks! for sharing all.
I like YES as a band all of the way up to Big Generator in 1988. Superb body of work, talented musicians as well.
Does anyone here like the Japan SACD box set released last year?
Quick - without peeking (at Wikipedia) - How many solo albums has Rick Wakeman released?
I have the original multi-LP version of Yessongs, personally autographed by Jon Anderson. Many years ago, Mr. Anderson did a night of lecture and acoustic music at the Border's bookstore (remember that ?) in Albany, NY. I brought by old Yessongs LP with me, and Jon gladly autographed it for me and happily chatted about the "good old days" with Howe, Squire, Wakeman, and White.
It was a memorable evening for me, and I have been a fan of Yes ever since Fragile and Close to the Edge were part of my regular college dorm room listening routine. Thanks for reminding us, Foster 9, about one of classic rock's all time best live albums.
Adam, that's a great, great, story! I'd love to have met Jon Anderson. I was in such awe of him back in the days when Yessongs was recorded. His voice was very pure in those days and he was very "other worldly" in his creativity, song writing and spiritualism.

Adam, it seems that not many of us really understand just how significant Yessongs is in the history of Live Rock performances. It's just too bad that the original recording could not do justice to the mastery of those performances, maybe more would understand.
agree about ja.

I met hin briefly a few years back when he greeted the crowd as they left after a solo concert.

I have been much into yoga and eastern music of late and that has helped in my appreciation of his music.