Yes are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford. The band has undergone numerous formations throughout its history; nineteen musicians have been full-time members. Since June 2015, it has consisted of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, singer Jon Davison, and bassist Billy Sherwood. Yes have explored several musical styles over the years, and are most notably regarded as progressive rock pioneers.
Yes began performing original songs and rearranged covers of rock, pop, blues and jazz songs, as evident on their first two albums. A change of direction in 1970 led to a series of successful progressive rock albums until their disbanding in 1981, their most successful being The Yes Album , Fragile and Close to the Edge . Yes toured as a major rock act that earned the band a reputation for their elaborate stage sets, light displays, and album covers designed by Roger Dean. The success of "Roundabout", the single from Fragile, cemented their popularity across the decade and beyond.
In 1983, Yes reformed with a new line-up that included Trevor Rabin and a more commercial and pop-oriented musical direction. The result was 90125 , their highest-selling album, which contained the U.S. number-one single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart". From 1990 to 1992, Yes were an eight-member formation after they merged with Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe for Union and its tour. Since 1994, Yes have released albums with varied levels of success and completed tours from 1994 to 2004. After a four-year hiatus, they resumed touring in 2008 and continue to release albums; their most recent is Heaven & Earth . In 2016, a new group of former Yes members began touring and named themselves Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman.
Yes are one of the most successful, influential, and longest-lasting progressive rock bands. They have sold 13.5 million RIAA-certified albums in the US. In 1985, they won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance with "Cinema", and received five Grammy nominations between 1985 and 1992. They were ranked No. 94 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Yes have headlined annual progressive rock-themed cruises since 2013 named Cruise to the Edge. Their discography spans 21 studio albums. In April 2017, Yes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which chose specifically to bestow the honour upon current and former members Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Kaye, Howe, Wakeman, White and Rabin.
In 1967, bassist Chris Squire formed the rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop, with singer and guitarist Clive Bayley, drummer Bob Hagger, and guitarist Peter Banks. They played at the Marquee Club in Soho, London where Jack Barrie, owner of the nearby La Chasse club, saw them perform. "There was nothing outstanding about them", he recalled, "the musicianship was very good but it was obvious they weren't going anywhere". Barrie introduced Squire to singer Jon Anderson, a worker at the bar in La Chasse, who found they shared interests in Simon & Garfunkel and harmony singing. That evening at Squire's house they wrote "Sweetness," which was included on the first Yes album. Meanwhile, Banks had left Mabel Greer's Toyshop to join Neat Change, but he was dismissed by this group on 7 April 1968. In June 1968, Hagger was replaced in the nascent Yes by Bill Bruford, who had placed an advertisement in Melody Maker, and Banks was recalled by Squire, replacing Bayley as guitarist. Finally, the classically trained organist and pianist Tony Kaye, of Johnny Taylor's Star Combo and the Federals, became the keyboardist and the fifth member. The newborn band rehearsed in the basement of The Lucky Horseshoe cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue between 10 June and 9 July 1968.
Anderson suggested that they call the new band Life. Squire suggested that it be called World. Banks responded, simply, "yes", and that was how the band were named. The first gig under the new brand followed at a youth camp in East Mersea, Essex on 4 August 1968. Early sets were formed of cover songs from artists such as the Beatles, the 5th Dimension and Traffic. On 16 September, Yes performed at Blaise's club in London as a substitute for Sly and the Family Stone, who failed to turn up. They were well received by the audience, including the host Roy Flynn, who became the band's manager that night. That month, Bruford decided to quit performing to study at the University of Leeds. His replacement, Tony O'Reilly of the Koobas, struggled to perform with the rest of the group on-stage. After Bruford was refused a year's sabbatical leave from Leeds, Anderson and Squire convinced him to return for Yes's supporting slot for Cream's farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 26 November.
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