Thursday 13 October 2011

The Big Poll: What was the best studio album of the last 12 months featuring multiple Yes men?

I wasn't certain whether to run this poll. This is a Yes fan site, so you would kinda expect a Yes album to easily defeat non-Yes albums. Why bother having the vote? But what exactly is and is not a Yes album remains contentious for some, with Fly from Here sporting only 60% (Howe/Squire/White) of what we call the classic line-up and The Living Tree, of course, featuring the other 40% (Anderson/Wakeman). So perhaps we should expect 60% of the vote for Fly from Here and 40% for The Living Tree?

But if I was going to have a poll of Fly from Here vs. The Living Tree, it seemed unfair to overlook other "spin-offs" involving multiple Yesmen, so, with a one year time frame, that adds CIRCA: (Kaye/Sherwood). And the final wildcard, released (most places) about the same time as Fly from Here and on the same label, is John Wetton's Raised in Captivity, which Wetton made in close collaboration with Sherwood and which features guest appearnaces from Kaye again and from Geoff Downes.

So, four albums, one labelled Yes, but three infused with the Yes spirit, and all four featuring multiple Yesmen: that seems like a fair poll on a Yes fan site. There seems no a priori reason why the album that says Yes on the cover would necessarily win against this competition.

The poll was clearly popular with a total of 170 187 votes. [Edit: The poll stayed up longer than intended, so I give the final results below.] And the result?

Yes: Fly from Here -- 163 (87%)
Anderson & Wakeman: The Living Tree -- 18 (10%)
CIRCA: And So On -- 4 (2%)
John Wetton: Raised in Captivity -- 2 (1%)

That appears like a comprehensive victory for Fly from Here. Some do prefer The Living Tree, but they're in a quite small minority. CIRCA: and Raised in Captivity avoid the embarrassment of getting zero votes, but this result doesn't suggest they've made much impact on Yes fans.

The Living Tree
won the poll of best Yes-related album of the second half of 2010, and albums by Anderson and Wakeman have done well in those polls, so it's not that The Living Tree is unloved (or that Anderson/Wakeman fans have deserted the website), but Fly from Here does appear to have bested it.

With The Living Tree In Concert Part One due next month and the Anderson/Wakeman/Rabin project still on the horizon, we'll see how they do against other big Yes-related projects (like Levin Torn White, Squackett, Rabin's Jackaranda, Howe's Time and a new Mystery album) in future polls.


  1. The main reason Fly From Here did so well over The Living Tree is that it is far superior album in every way. Anderson/Wakeman decided to try via the internet and to me it sounds weak in overall production. I really tried to like this album but it sounds exactly the way it sounds. The Paris 1979 sessions part 2. Wakeman doing beautiful keyboard work and Jon singing (In a very dry manner.) over it. Nothing more, nothing less. They definitely are Prog icons and always will be in my eyes but they need Trevor Rabin bad and I hope he gives them a power shot in the arm that they need.

  2. Jacaranda, not Jackaranda