Saturday, 31 January 2015

Poll: Best Yes-related album of 2014, part 1

Happy new year, and we begin the year by looking back to last year and our poll of the best Yes-related albums of the first half of 2014. There were 59 votes:

1. Asia: Gravitas (w/ Downes), 28 (47%)
2. Dylan Howe: Subterranean: New Designs on Bowie's Berlin (w/ Howe), 11 (19%)
3. Glass Hammer: Ode to Echo (w/ Davison), 6 (10%)
4= Billy Sherwood: Divided by One, 5 (8%)
4= Light My Fire - A Classic Rock Salute to The Doors (w/ Sherwood, Kaye, Howe, Downes, Wakeman, Moraz), 5 (8%)
6. Marty Walsh: The Total Plan (w/ Sherwood), 2 (3%)
7= Missing Persons feat. Dale Bozzio: Missing in Action (w/ Sherwood), 1 (2%)
7= Downes Braide Association: Record Store Day EP, 1 (2%)

There were no votes for Birds of Satan (w/ Davison) or Marcelo Paganini's 2012 Space Traffic Jam (w/ Sherwood, Kaye). An emphatic win for Asia with their first album since Howe left the band, and a clear second place for Dylan Howe's Kickstarted Subterranean with dad guesting. I voted for Subterranean myself, but nearly went with third place Ode to Echo, one of the band's best albums to date, in my opinion. Various Sherwood-related projects bring up the rear, although collectively they get more than Subterranean.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Poll: Best Yes-related album of 1975

Hello again. Sorry for slow updates lately on the website and blog. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Every poll I've run including Fish Out of Water has been won by Fish Out of Water. The best Yes-related album of 1975 poll was no different. Out of 93 votes:

1. Chris Squire: Fish Out of Water (w/ Bruford, Moraz): 67 votes (72%)
2. Rick Wakeman: The Myths & Legends of King Arthur...: 9 votes (10%)
3= Steve Howe: Beginnings (w/ Bruford, Moraz, White): 6 votes (6%)
3= Vangelis: Heaven and Hell (w/ Anderson): 6 votes (6%)
5. King Crimson: USA (w/ Bruford): 3 votes (3%)
6= Rabbitt: Boys will be Boys (w/ Rabin): 1 vote (1%)
6= Roy Harper: HQ/When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease (w/ Bruford): 1 vote (1%)
8= Rick Wakeman: Lisztomania: 0 votes
8= Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women, Parts 5 & 6 (w/ Bruford): 0 votes
8= Peter and the Wolf (w/ Bruford): 0 votes

Pretty conclusive.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Favourite track on Heaven & Earth

Heaven & Earth, the new Yes album: what's your favourite track? That was our latest poll. 139 of you voted and the results are:

1. "Subway Walls": 50 (36%)
2. "Believe Again": 27 (19%)
3. "Light of the Ages": 22 (16%)
4. "The Game": 16 (12%)
5. "To Ascend": 14 (10%)
6. "It was All We Knew": 6 (4%)
7. "Step Beyond": 3 (2%)
8. "In a World of Our Own": 1 (1%)

So, Yes fans, or at least the ones who read my website, prefer the longer, 'proggier' tracks.

[Numbers for "Believe Again" corrected, 25 Aug 2014.]

Monday, 30 June 2014

Poll: Best Yes-related album of 1974

As we wait the official release date of the new Yes album, Heaven & Earth, we continue with another poll looking to the past. 83 of you voted in the poll for the best Yes-related album of 1974. The results:

1) King Crimson: Red (w/ Bruford): 38 (46%)
2) Rick Wakeman: Journey to the Centre of the Earth: 26 (31%)
3) King Crimson: Starless and Bible Black (w/ Bruford): 9 (11%)
4) Refugee: Refugee (w/ Moraz): 6 (7%)
5) Wally: Wally (w/ Wakeman): 1 (1%)

No votes for Badger's White Lady (w/ Kaye) or Eddie Harris's E.H. in the U.K. (w/ Kaye, Squire, White). 3 votes for Other, but not specified.

So, a repeat of the 1973 poll, King Crimson winning over Rick Wakeman, although Red's margin over Journey (15%) is better than Larks' Tongues' over 6 Wives (5%). King Crimson nab third as well, with few votes beyond these albums.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Poll: Best Yes-related album of 1973

114 of you voted in our poll for the best Yes-related album of 1973. The results:

1) King Crimson: Larks' Tongues in Aspic (w/ Bruford): 47 (41%)
2) Rick Wakeman: The Six Wives of Henry VIII (w/ Bruford, Howe, Squire, White): 41 (36%)
3) Black Sabbath: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath (w/ Wakeman): 10 (9%)
4=) Peter Banks: Two Sides of Peter Banks: 5 (4%)
4=) Badger: One Live Badger (w/ Kaye, Anderson): 5 (4%)
6) Paul Kossoff: Back Street Crawler (w/ White): 3 (3%)
7) Johnny Harris: All to Bring You Morning (w/ Anderson, Howe, White): 2 (2%)
8) Flash: In the Can (w/ Banks): 1 (1%)


There were no votes for Flash's Out of Our Hands (w/ Banks) or for Donovan's Cosmic Wheels and Claire Hamill's October (both w/ White).

So, a close result between two classic albums, Bruford's debut with King Crimson and Wakeman's first planned solo album. I was surprised to see Black Sabbath in third, ahead of Pete Banks' three albums or Badger's debut. 1974 poll up shortly on the main site.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Poll: Best Yes-related album of 2013, part 2

Another biannual poll of the best Yes-related releases, another odd voting pattern. The results were:

?) XNA: When We Changed You (w/ Sherwood) - 30 (29%)
1) The Prog Collective: Epilogue (w/ Sherwood, Wakeman R, Banks, Downes, Moraz, Squire, Kaye) - 16 (16%)
2=) Steve Howe: Homebrew 5 - 15 (15 %)
2=) King Crimson: The Road to Red (w/ Bruford) - 15 (15 %)
4) Flash: In Public (w/ Banks) - 8 (8%)
5) Ayreon: Theory of Everything (w/ Wakeman R) - 7 (7)%
6) William Shatner: Ponder the Mystery (w/ Sherwood, Wakeman R) - 6 (6%)
7) Belle and Sebastian: The Third Eye Centre (w/ Horn) - 2 (2%)
8=) Chris Audren: In True Mental Universe (w/ Anderson co-writing) - 1 (1%)
8=) Various artists: Fly Like an Eagle: An All-Star Tribute to Steve Miller Band (w/ Sherwood, Downes, Wakeman R, Kaye, Banks) - 1 (1%)
8=) Deckchair Poets: Who Needs Pyjamas (w/ Downes) - 1 (1%)

No votes for Johnny Borrell's Borrell 1 (w/ Horn), DuskMachine's eponymous album (w/ Downes) or Sons of Hippies' Griffons at the Gates of Heaven (w/ Sherwood). One invalid vote discounted.

Homebrew 5 was leading for much of the time, with When We Changed You only on a couple of votes, until a late surge saw XNA's debut gallop ahead to win. As previously, this would seem to indicate a body of voters outside of the usual readership making a concerted attempt to win the poll, rather than to be representative of general Yes fan opinion.

Meanwhile, the best Yes-related release poll of 1972 was won by Flash's debut album... but it was kindly pointed out to me that I listed David Bowie's Space Oddity in the poll, when I meant Hunky Dory (both with Wakeman). Ooops. I'll re-run that poll some time later. The poll for 1973 will be up on the main site shortly.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Heaven & Earth: 8 tracks

Jon Davison says in a recent interview that the new Yes album, Heaven & Earth, has 8 tracks (plus a bonus track for the Japanese CD). Let's presume the album will get a vinyl release, so that limits the overall length. What does this mean for song lengths?

Well, Yes and Time and a Word had 8 tracks each, the longest at 6:54 ("Survival"), the shortest 2:06 ("Clear Days"). The Yes Album only had 6 tracks, but Fragile had 9 (with 3 tracks under 2 minutes and "Heart of the Sunrise" at 10:34 + reprise).

The next few albums all had rather fewer tracks (3, 4 but a double, 3, 5), but Tormato also has 8 (up to 7:47 for "On the Silent Wings of Freedom"). Drama is a short album and just 6 tracks, but 90125 has 9 (up to 7:39 for "Hearts"). Big Generator is another 8-tracker (maximum 7:37, "I'm Running"). Union, on vinyl, was I think 13 tracks (including "Miracle of Life" at 7:30).

So, actually, 8 is the commonest number of tracks on a Yes album (from the vinyl era). Fly from Here has 6 or 11, depending how you count ("Into the Storm" at 6:54 is the longest if you don't count the "Fly from Here" suite). The longest track on one of these 8-piece albums is only 7:47 ("On the Silent Wings of Freedom"), but Fragile squeezes in one track over 10 minutes out of its 9. Generally, we see a lot of the longest tracks being around the seven, seven and a half minute mark.

Wild speculation, but there you go.

UPDATE: A new Chris Squire interview has more. He describes "three [songs] that are on the longer side, nine-, 10-minute sort of long songs." But that can't leave much room for the other five tracks.

OK, presume they long-uns are 9.5 minutes long each. Three of them adds up to 28.5 minutes. If we're still presuming a vinyl length to the album, then total run time will be forty-something minutes. Fly from Here was towards 48 minutes, but albums like Fragile, The Yes Album and Tormato were under 42 minutes. Let's say the new album is 47.5 minutes long, then that would leave 19 minutes for the other 5 tracks on the album, or 3:48 on average. That's short. That's shorter than everything except "Cinema" on 90125, shorter than everything except "Holy Lamb" on Big Generator.

So, maybe we have something that looks like Fragile, a bunch of shorter tracks (the five "solos" on that album go up to 3:00 long for "Mood for a Day", plus "Long Distance Runaround" is 3:30) and a few longer ones ("Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise" all over 8 minutes).

Squire also described how Davison "worked with the other four of us on a couple of tracks each", so no solo tracks like on Fragile. Should we take Squire's quote literally? Will the credits have 2 songs that are Squire/Davison, 2 that are Howe/Davison, 2 that are White/Davison and 2 that are Downes/Davison?


UPDATE (25 May 2014): German Amazon gives the LP release as being two discs, so all those assumptions above go out the window.