I hope everyone is having an OK pandemic. Perhaps buying some new music soothed your soul? I asked you all what was the best new Yes-related album of Jan-Jun 2020. 82 of you answered:
1. Rick Wakeman, The Red Planet: 37 votes (45%)
2. various artists: A Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake (w/ Sherwood, Downes, Davison, Moraz): 20 votes (24%)
3. David Cross & Peter Banks: Crossover (w/ Downes, Sherwood, Kaye, O Wakeman): 18 votes (22%)
4. Trevor Rabin: Can't Look Away - Deluxe: 4 votes (5%)
5= John Holden: Rise & Fall (w/ Sherwood, O Wakeman): 1 vote (1%)
5= The Warriors: The Lost Demos (w/ Anderson): 1 vote (1%)
There was 1 vote for 'other', but the album wasn't specified. There were no votes for Lawrence: After Arabia - Original Movie Soundtrack (w/ Wakeman R), Clannad's In a Lifetime (w/ Horn), Light Freedom Revival's True Love Dreamwishes (w/ Wakeman O), the "Yendor" audiobook (w/ Wakeman O), or Trevor Rabin's Lost Soundtracks Vol 1 – Jack Frost or Lost Soundtracks Vol 2 – Film Music.
The winner was not a surprise. The Red Planet has been getting rave reviews and is a significant release for Wakeman (senior). Most of the Yes-related albums in the first half of this year were finished before the pandemic began, but The Red Planet was finished after lockdown started and had a delayed release because of the difficulties. We'll see whether there's a crop of albums made entirely during lockdown over the next few months.
A commendable second place for another Cleopatra Records tribute album. That's better than most of these albums do. I think ELP's music adapts well to this format, as with the great Encores, Legends and Paradox: A Tribute to ELP, because it's music with lots of room for solos and personal touches to come through. Third was Crossover, my choice and probably the last significant Peter Banks release there'll ever be. In all, albums featuring Billy Sherwood collectively got 39 votes, two above The Red Planet.
My polling widget is now giving me results on a regional breakdown. US voters preferred A Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake, then Crossover, before The Red Planet, although maybe that's partly about copies of The Red Planet taking long to get over to the US? UK voters chose The Red Planet, only putting A Tribute to Keith Emerson & Greg Lake third equal. German votes also went for The Red Planet, while French voters picked Can't Look Away! There were also votes from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Japan and New Zealand.