Thursday, 4 January 2018

2017 in review

2017 was a bumper year for Yes-related releases. The complete list is, I think, in a rough chronological order:
  • Rick Wakeman: Phantom of the Opera (archival, some previously released)
  • Rick Wakeman: Piano Portraits
  • Mogador: Chaptersend (w/ Davison on 1 track)
  • Light Freedom Revival: Eterniverse Deja Vu (w/ Sherwood, O Wakeman)
  • Chrysta Bell: We Dissolve (w/ Downes on 2 tracks)
  • World Trade: Unify (w/ Sherwood)
  • Asia: Symfonia - Live in Bulgaria 2013 (w/ Downes)
  • Artists for Grenfell: 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' (single) (w/ Horn)
  • Steve Howe: Anthology 2: Groups & Collaborations (w/ Yes, ABWH, Downes, O Wakeman, archival, some previously released)
  • Alpha Lighting System: 836 (w/ Sherwood)
  • Trevor Horn: The Reflection Wave One—Original Soundtrack
  • Rupam Sarmah: A Musical Journey: Together in Peace (w/ White)
  • Glass Hammer: Untold Tales (w/ Davison on 2 tracks, archival)
  • Dave Kerzner: Static (w/ Sherwood)
  • Bruford: Seems Like a Lifetime Ago (box set) (archival, some previously released)
  • Legacy: 3 Chord Trick (w/ Horn)
  • Carrie Martin: Seductive Sky (w/ O Wakeman)
  • Virgil & Steve Howe: Nexus
  • Downes Braide Association: Skyscraper Souls (w/ Downes)
  • Empire: The Complete Recordings (w/ Banks, all previously released)
  • Yes: Topographic Drama
  • Mabel Greer's Toyshop: The Secret (w/ Banks on 1 track)
  • The Fizz: 'Home for My Heart' (single) (w/ R Wakeman)
  • Alfie Boe & Michael Ball with the Rays of Sunshine Children's Choir & Friends: 'Bring Me Sunshine' (single) (w/ R Wakeman)

The biggest seller of all those was probably "Bridge Over Troubled Water", a charity single for the survivors of the Grenfell fire disaster, co-produced by Horn. It made #1 in the UK for one week (replacing and being replaced by "Despacito") and the top 40 in Austria, Finland, Flanders, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland. The biggest selling album was Wakeman's Piano Portraits, which made #6 in the UK, hung around in the Progressive Albums chart for ages, and achieved a Silver certification (60,000 sales). In terms of audience, the other contender would be Horn's soundtrack for The Reflection Wave One given it was broadcast on Japanese TV.

Lots of good releases, depending on what you like. I'd probably recommend Anthology 2 and Empire's The Complete Recordings first, particularly to Yes fans, but I also very much enjoyed Chaptersend, We Dissolve, The Reflection Wave One—Original Soundtrack, Seems Like a Lifetime Ago, Skyscraper Souls and Topographic Drama, of the 15 that I heard. Nexus was another good release, sadly cast in a memorial role following the unexpected death of Virgil Howe.

What did you enjoy last year?

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