Wednesday 14 March 2012

Poll: Best Yes-related album of the second half of 2011

The second half of 2011 saw the release of several major Yes-related projects: albums with multiple Yesmen (up to three for Raised in Captivity), significant solo releases, new collaborations and a variety of guest appearances, including on an album by a former starship captain. This was also the period, of course, that saw the release of the first new studio album from Yes for over a decade: namely Fly from Here.

However, I decided to keep this poll for the Yes-related releases and leave Fly from Here out. Otherwise, I thought Fly from Here would just swamp everything else. I also decided to include two non-album releases: Jon Anderson's "Open" is a digital-only, one-track single, although at just under 21 minutes in length, it's more like an EP, so I felt it should be included. I was already including King Friday's (physical) EP. Tony Kaye's "End of Innocence" is over twice as long as "Open", nearly 46 minutes, but was put up for free on YouTube. While previous polls in this series have not included tracks made available on a streaming basis, the magnitude of Kaye's opus was such that I felt it warranted inclusion.

110 people voted, and the results were:

1. Jon Anderson: "Open" - 25 (23%)
2. Steve Hackett: Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (w/ Squire) - 21 (19%)
3. Steve Howe: Time - 12 (11%)
4. Anderson Wakeman: The Living Tree In Concert Part One - 10 (9%)
5. Levin - Torn - White (w/ White) - 9 (8%)
6. John Wetton: Raised in Captivity (w/ Sherwood, Kaye, Downes) - 8 (7%)
7= CIRCA:: And So On (w/ Sherwood, Kaye) - 6 (5%)
7= Glass Hammer: Cor Cordium (w/ Davison) - 6 (5%)
9. Billy Sherwood: What was the Question? - 4 (4%)
10. Tony Kaye: "End of Innocence" - 3 (3%)
11= William Shatner: Seeking Major Tom (w/ Howe, Moraz) - 2 (2%)
11= King Crimson: Collectors' Club/DGM Live releases (w/ Bruford) - 2 (2%)
13= Kurt Michaels: Soaring Back to Earth (w/ Sherwood) - 1 (1%)
13= Flaming Row: Elinoire (w/ Sherwood) - 1 (1%)
15. King Friday: "Let the Song Begin" (w/ O. Wakeman) - 0 (0%)

There were no votes for 'other'.

The voting was very close and watching the results come in as exciting as the Republican primary contests! Anderson's "Open" and Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (with Squire guesting on several tracks and a recycled GTR riff earning Howe co-writing credits) were neck-and-neck until a final voting spurt from "Open". Throughout, third place was hotly contested between Time and The Living Tree In Concert Part One, with several albums in contention for 5th.

I'm taking these close results as an indication of a very strong period of Yes-related releases. I think any of the top 5 here could have won the previous poll had it been released in the first half of the year. And these were all on top of Fly from Here!

6th place went to John Wetton's Raised in Captivity (which I gave a bad review earlier). Between that, the latest CIRCA: album and his latest solo album, Sherwood's releases clocked up 18 votes. Add in two guest appearances, and he gets 20 votes, only one less than Shrouded Horizon.

Just before I put this poll up came the news that Jon Davison was now singing with Yes. I, thus, included in the poll his last album with Glass Hammer, Cor Cordium. The album scored a respectable 6 votes.

There's already plenty of projects lined up for the first half of this year, including Trevor Rabin's new solo album, Jacaranda, and the debut from Producers, Made in Basing Street. Given the success in this poll of Beyond the Shrouded Horizon, we can expect Squackett to be welcomed enthusiastically.

Jon Anderson has now won the last three of these polls, with The Living Tree (with Wakeman, of course), Survival and Other Stories and now "Open". Could he make it four out of four? He's talked of working on a follow-up to "Open", another long-form piece, and he's also talked about an album release including "Open", and about a sequel to Survival and Other Stories, which conclusively won best Yes-related album of the first half of 2011. However, Anderson's plans often appear rather fluid and when a next release will appear is unknown. He's also now talking about an album and tour with Marco Sabiu in 2013, which would be a disappointing change of direction for me.


  1. Jon Anderson's Open deserves to be number 1. I think it picks up where Magnification left off. It would have been a perfect track for Anderson/Rabin/Wakeman project. I'm glad he released it now. Steve Hackett is always tops on my list and it shows here. The live A/W album is also good and I believe to be better than the studio album. End of Innocence was a nice listen from TK which you rarely see as a solo artist. All in all a lot of good music came out at the end of 2011.

  2. I only heard "Open" and Time. I like both, but hearing both of those guys doing orchestra minded music definitely makes me lament the disintegration of the Anderson/Howe songwriting partnership a little more.