Music: Yes

Yes' Union 8-man lineup, circa 1991 (l-r: Trevor Rabin, Tony Kaye, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe).

Yes is a British group that has been instrumental in the formation of Progressive Rock, embodying the best (incredible instrumental proficiency) and worst of the genre (Ending Fatigue-inducing endless jamming). Formed in 1968, their music is marked by long song lengths, instrumental prowess, uncommon time, sudden dynamic shifts, incomprehensible lyrics, lush vocal harmonies and lead singer Jon Anderson's distinctive high-pitched voice.

Members:
  • Jon Anderson - vocals (1968–80, 1983–88, 1990–2008)
  • Peter Banks - guitar (1968–70, died 2013)
  • Bill Bruford - drums (1968–72, 1990–92)
  • Tony Kaye - keyboards (1968–71, 1982–94)
  • Chris Squire - bass, backing vocals (1968–81, 1982–present)
  • Steve Howe - guitar, backing vocals (1970–81, 1990–92, 1995–present)
  • Rick Wakeman - keyboards (1971–74, 1976–80, 1990–92, 1995–96, 2002–08)
  • Alan White - drums (1972–81, 1982–present)
  • Patrick Moraz - keyboards (1974–76)
  • Geoff Downes - keyboards (1980–81, 2011–present)
  • Trevor Horn - vocals (1980–81), production (1983–87, 2011)
  • Trevor Rabin - guitar, vocals, keyboards (1982–94)
  • Billy Sherwood - guitar, keyboards, vocals, bass (1997–2000, 2015)
  • Igor Khoroshev - keyboards (1997–2002)
  • Benoît David - vocals (2008–12)
  • Oliver Wakeman - keyboards (2008–11)
  • Jon Davison - vocals (2012–present)

Despite Yes and Time and a Word suffering from mixed reception and Early Installment Weirdness (cover versions, overproduction, orchestras overpowering everything, Peter Banks on guitar), the band's "classic lineup" (Anderson-Howe-Squire-Wakeman-Bruford) and distinctive Progressive Rock sound and look (the latter supplied by Roger Dean's Design Student's Orgasm artwork) coalesced at the start of The Seventies, resulting in the critically acclaimed trilogy of The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge, the latter considered their masterpiece. But it didn't last, as they came back to earth with the widely-reviled double album Tales from Topographic Oceans, which was roundly panned for its self-indulgence (although it got to the top of the charts at the time). Notably, Rick Wakeman was so displeased with the album that he left soon afterwards. However, the band soldiered on, managing to make two more reasonably well-received albums influenced by jazz fusion, Relayer and Going for the One (the latter getting to number one at the height of punk's popularity) and bringing back Wakeman before once again sabotaging their career with the horribly-received Tormato (although it reached the Top 10 in the Album charts just like Tales from Topographic Oceans did).

After an internal conflict and falling out, Anderson and Wakeman left in 1980, being replaced by vocalist/experienced Record Producer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes of The Buggles. The resulting lineup recorded one album, Drama, which showcased a heavier, harder rock sound than before and earned mixed reception, before disintegrating the next year.

The band's former rhythm section of Chris Squire and Alan White soon joined up with South African guitarist Trevor Rabin, whose sensibilities were far more mainstream, and formed a new band called Cinema. Squire also brought back Yes' original keyboard player Tony Kaye and got Trevor Horn to produce the album. During a chance encounter between Anderson and Squire, the former heard Cinema's demos and was so impressed he joined right away, re-singing all the previously recorded vocals and re-writing the lyrics. The resulting album, 90125 was released under the "Yes" moniker and showcased a departure from the band's previous formula, being made up of catchy, accessible poppy hard-rock tunes that still preserved enough of the band's former weirdness like incomprehensible lyrics, complex production, abrupt time changes and multitracked vocal harmonies. The predictable whining from older fans couldn't drown out the critical acclaim, and 90125 became the band's highest-selling album and spawned their biggest-selling single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart".

The follow-up, Big Generator, had reasonable sales and positive reception, but was widely considered inferior to 90125. Anderson, in particular, was so disappointed with it he left Yes to join up with his Close to the Edge-era bandmates to form "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe", which released one self-titled album in 1989. As both groups were preparing new material, ABWH's label, through some wheeling and dealing, bought out Yes' record contract and name with the intention of improving ABWH's sales by releasing their next album under the Yes name, with contributions from the Rabin-Squire-Kaye-White Yes. The resulting album Union, suffered from severe Executive Meddling and was widely panned. The tour, however, was considered one of their best, with a "Mega-Yes" lineup with all the eight members that were in the band at various points (Anderson, Squire, Howe, Rabin, Kaye, Wakeman, Bruford, and White).

After the mixed reception of Talk (the last album with Rabin and Kaye), the band's since returned to their old prog sound, reunited their classic lineup and released Keys to Ascension, Keys to Ascension 2, Open Your Eyes, The Ladder, and Magnification. They were going strong until 2008, when Jon Anderson fell ill. The band soldiered on with Rick Wakeman's son Oliver on keyboards (since booted out so Downes could rejoin) and, most surprisingly, Benoît David of tribute band Close to the Edge on vocals for Fly from Here. However, David was released by the band and replaced by Jon Davison, also from a Yes tribute band for their latest album, Heaven & Earth.

Mutant Enemy is named after a line from their song "And You and I".


Discography and notable songs:

  • Yes (1969) – "Beyond And Before", "Every Little Thing" (The Beatles cover), "Harold Land", "Survival"
  • Time and a Word (1970) – "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" (Richie Havens cover), "Everydays" (Buffalo Springfield cover), "Sweet Dreams", "Time And A Word"
  • The Yes Album (1971) – "Yours Is No Disgrace", "I've Seen All Good People", "Starship Trooper"
  • Fragile (1971) – "Roundabout", "South Side of the Sky", "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)", "Heart of the Sunrise"
  • Close to the Edge (1972) – "Close to the Edge", "And You and I", "Siberian Khatru" (these are the only songs on the album)
  • Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) – "Ritual"
  • Relayer (1974) – "The Gates of Delirium", "Sound Chaser", "To Be Over"
  • Going for the One (1977) – "Going For The One", "Wonderous Stories", "Awaken"
  • Tormato (1978) – "Onward", "Don't Kill The Whale", "On The Silent Wings Of Freedom"
  • Drama (1980) – "Machine Messiah", "Into the Lens", "Tempus Fugit"
  • 90125 (1983) – "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Leave It", "It Can Happen", "Changes", "Cinema" note 
  • Big Generator (1987) – "Rhythm of Love", "Love Will Find A Way", "Shoot High Aim Low", "Final Eyes"
  • Union (1991) – "Lift Me Up", "Saving My Heart", "Masquerade"note 
  • Talk (1994) – "Endless Dream", "The Calling", "Walls"
  • Keys To Ascension (1996) – "Be the One", "That, That Is"
  • Keys To Ascension 2 (1997) – "Mind Drive", "Foot Prints", "Children of Light"
  • Open Your Eyes (1997) – "Open Your Eyes", "No Way We Can Lose"
  • The Ladder (1999) – "Homeworld (The Ladder)", "The Messenger", "Lightning Strikes", "If Only You Knew"
  • Magnification (2001) – "Don't Go", "In The Presence Of", "System of Survival"
  • Fly from Here (2011) – "We Can Fly From Here" note , "Madman at the Screens", "Solitaire"
  • Heaven & Earth (2014) – "To Ascend", "In a World of Our Own", "Believe Again", "It Was All We Knew"

    • Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989) is considered by many fans to be a de facto Yes album, both due to the fact that was made up entirely of ex-Yes members and the ABWH members were absorbed back into Yes proper with Union (which actually started life as an ABWH album).


Owner of a Lonely Trope:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The incredibly obscure Yes Remixes (see Something Completely Different) turns the 37-second "Five Per Cent For Nothing" from Fragile into a 4:44 dance song. Conversely, the same album condenses the 21:33 "Ritual" way down to 6:20.
  • Album Filler: The "solo" pieces on Fragile, recorded to get the album out the door quickly to pay the bank loan on Rick Wakeman's instruments. Their "filler" is still pretty good, with Steve Howe's acoustic piece "Mood for a Day" considered one of his best. That's how awesome they are.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Completely averted for Bill Bruford and Alan White, which makes White's heavy, frenetic drum solo on "Release, Release" all the more surprising.
  • All There in the Manual: The liner notes to Fragile explain the "solo" pieces mentioned above.
  • Arc Words: Plenty of examples.
    • The first example may be the lyrics "I'll ask her for some time to go and look around" being sung on the Yes track "Sweetness". "Looking Around" is another track on the album.
    • In "The Remembering" on Tales from Topographic Oceans, the word "Relayer" is sung. This ended up becoming the title of the next album.
    • "Roundabout" is the name of the opening track of Fragile, and it is also sung on the Going for the One tracks "Going for the One" and "Parallels".
    • "Ten true summers" is sung in "Roundabout" and the Tormato song "Rejoice".
    • "Round and round" is sung on Tormato songs "Rejoice" and "On the Silent Wings of Freedom". Since it is on the first and last tracks of the album, it also counts as Book Ends.
    • "Talk, talk, talk" are the last words sung on "Give & Take", the final track on the European edition of Union. This foreshadows the title of the next album.
    • "New State of Mind" is the opening track of Open Your Eyes, and the phrase is also sung on "From the Balcony" from the same album.
    • "We Have Heaven" from Fragile is sung on The Ladder track "Can I?"
    • "New Language" is the penultimate track on The Ladder, and the closing track "Nine Voices" contains the phrase "speaking new languages."
    • "Magnify" is sung on both "Magnification" and "Spirit of Survival".
    • On Magnification, the phrase "sacred ground" is sung on both "Give Love Each Day" and "In The Presence Of".
  • Ascended Fanboy: Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles, both Yes fans, count as well. They tried to submit a song to Yes in 1980, and were asked to join as replacements for Anderson and Wakeman, since both bands had the same manager (Brian Lane). They hadn't even known about the shake-ups in the band lineup yet.
    • Benoît David was lead vocalist for Yes tribute band Close to the Edge before becoming the lead vocalist of Yes. Similarly, Jon Davison has also been involved in a Yes tribute band before his hiring. (see Ironic Echo)
  • The Assimilator: In a weird (but not evil) way. Yes absorbed The Buggles, then Cinema (which was originally supposed to be a new band with Trevor Rabin as frontman), and then Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. Interestingly, each time Yes "absorbed" a band, their musical style was incorporated as well.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Drama, made without Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson. There's also the current incarnation with Benoît David and later Jon Davison due to Anderson's fragile health.
  • Big "YES!": "Tempus Fugit" has one.
    • Thanks to their name, this is played graphically as well. Yes christened themselves that as a promotional trick, forcing concert promoters to use a larger font size for their slot due to how short the word "yes" is, making their name stand out more compared to the other bands sharing the bill. And of course, there are several albums where there is a rather large Yes logo of one flavor or another on the cover.
  • Book Ends: Tales from Topographic Oceans and Fly from Here respectively: A riff from "The Revealing Science of God" appears at the end of "Ritual", and David can be heard singing "And we can fly from here..." numerous times in the cooldown to "Into the Storm".
  • Boring but Practical: Tony Kaye's keyboard style, compared to the flashier players that followed him like Rick Wakeman.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Jon sports one in the video for "It Can Happen".
  • Breakup Song: "Long Distance Runaround".
  • Brick Joke: From Fragile, the song "We Have Heaven" abruptly ends with the sound of a door closing. At the end of the album, a Hidden Track has the sound of a door opening and (part of) "We Have Heaven" heard again.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Rick Wakeman has left and rejoined the band several times.
    • Tony Kaye in the "Yes West" era. Quite a bit of the keyboards on those albums were actually played by Trevor Rabin or (on 90125) Trevor Horn, though. On Talk, he is explicitly credited with Hammond organ only, with Rabin playing all other keyboards.
    • Bill Bruford's brief return to the band for Union.
    • Guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Billy Sherwood was in the running to replace Jon Anderson for what would have been the follow-up to Big Generator (his collaboration with Chris Squire, The More We Live—Let Go is featured on Union, while the outtake Love Conquers All appears on the YesYears box set), came back as a Sixth Ranger to help on the Talk tour, came back again as an official member alongside Jon Anderson for Open Your Eyes and The Ladder, and most recently did some engineering work on Fly from Here and Heaven & Earth. He would also fill in for an ailing Squire on bass for a 2015 tour.
    • Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes for Fly From Here, with Downes continuing to play in Yes since then.
    • Jon Anderson left Yes in 1979, re-joined Yes in 1983, left it again in 1988, and re-joined Yes a second time (along with Howe, Wakeman and Bruford) in 1990. Howe would leave Yes in 1993 and come back in 1996.
    • Steve Howe left when the band broke up in 1981, came back in 1991, left again, then came back in 1995 and has been with the band ever since.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • While they don't deny the existence of the Yes or Time and a Word albums, they are never mentioned in interviews. Nothing but the latter's title track has been played live in decades.
    • Wakeman refuses to play material from Relayer (Patrick Moraz's one studio album) which was recorded between his first two tenures with the band. Evidenced by the Masterworks tour with Khoroshev on keyboards, which brought "The Gates of Delirium" out of the vault.
    • Since he wasn't involved in it in any way, Anderson refuses to perform any material from Drama.
    • Steve Howe avoided the '80s material for a while, but eventually acquiesced to playing it occasionally.
  • Common Time: Averted. You try playing in 13/8 time.
  • Cheap Heat: "Our Song" mentions Toledo, Ohio prominently. It got so much airplay from there that it made the Billboard charts, despite never being released as a single.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Remember that demo song Horn and Downes played to the remaining members of the band before being asked to join? Well, it didn't make it onto Drama... it was eventually reworked into the title track of Fly from Here 31 years later.
  • Cherubic Choir: Squire and Anderson managed to achieve this in their vocals. It helps that Squire had actually been a choirboy.
  • Chroma Key: The video for "Leave It", while groundbreaking for its time has some notable Chroma Key issues with the white shirts on the white background.
    • Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were the masterminds behind the "Leave It" video, which they reportedly made fifteen different versions of. They were all variations of the five band members standing in a lineup against a white background: Most were upside-down, some were right-side-up, one version had their backs to the camera, and one version had some choreography involved. The most familiar version – and the only one to be found so far on YouTube – has them upside-down while their images are altered by various visual effects.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jon Anderson comes across as one.
  • The Constant: Chris Squire is the only original member left. Alan White has also been in every lineup since joining the band.
  • Contemptible Cover: Going for the One, the U.K. version of Time and a Word.
  • Cool Old Guy: Despite pushing 70, Anderson is very active on social media. The rest of the band qualifies as well.
  • Covers Always Lie: The band picture on the front of the US version of Time and a Word has Steve Howe in it...despite the fact that he just joined and didn't play on the album at all.
  • Darker and Edgier: Drama is noticeably darker and bleaker than anything than Yes has done before or since. The album cover even refers to this with the cold and stark Arctic landscape.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford, occasionally Chris Squire, too.
  • The Determinator: Chris Squire, for wanting to keep the band going after Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson left.
    • And then after they left again in the 2000s.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Roger Dean's famous artwork.
  • Door Closes Ending: Did this on their album Fragile, when Jon Anderson's solo piece "We Have Heaven" ended with the sound of footsteps walking away and then a door slamming. (A hidden track after the last song on the album has the door reopening onto a reprise of "We Have Heaven.")
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first two albums had a lot of covers.
  • '80s Hair: Even Yes was affected in the 90125-Big Generator era, but Chris Squire had the '80s-est hair of all. Jon Anderson apparently borrowed Rod Stewart's hair in the late '80s.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Many of their tracks, perhaps most famously "Close to the Edge". There is probably at least one example on each of their first eight studio albums.
    • Many of their concerts also start with a recording of Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite". A good example is on Yessongs.
  • Epic Rocking: It's not uncommon for their songs to top 20 minutes. Heck, Tales from Topographic Oceans, which was originally meant to be listened to in one go, runs over 80 minutes and contains just four songs. They have quite a few songs in the 10–15 minute range.
    • Close to the Edge is 39 straight minutes of this, as is Relayer. Both have identical formats: one song about 20 minutes long, followed by two that are about 10.
    • Even in the pop-rock period, they still wrote epics – "Endless Dream" is almost 16 minutes long, and every Rabin-era album has at least two songs over 6 minutes long.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "The Gates of Delirium" notably features a percussion rig created by Jon Anderson and Alan White out of discarded metal parts. It can be heard in the direct center of the song, including said rig accidentally being pushed over.
  • Free-Love Future: "Real Love" is a dark subversion.
  • Genre Roulette: Union has songs that range from pop ("Lift Me Up"), to psychedelic rock ("Take the Water to the Mountain"), to folk rock ("Masquerade"), to hair metal ("Dangerous"). Unlike some examples of this trope, the constant genre changes are often regarded as a weakness of the album, particularly since most Yes albums settle on a genre for a given album and stick with it.
  • Gratuitous Panning: The orchestra throughout Time and a Word; the organ/guitar bridge and guitar solo in "Yours Is No Disgrace"; and guitar solo in "Owner of a Lonely Heart". The first album had a bit of it as well, seeing as it was made at the end of The Sixties.
  • Green Aesop: "Don't Kill The Whale", "Take the Water to the Mountain".
  • Heavy Meta: "Release, Release". Rock is the medium of our generation...
  • Hidden Track: "We Have Heaven" is reprised at the end of Fragile as one of these. See Brick Joke above.
  • I Am the Band: A trope not usually associated with Yes, but by all accounts Talk was essentially a Trevor Rabin solo album with token contributions from Anderson and Squire. This was cemented by the fact that with the very small budget the band had to record with at that time, Rabin also ended up being the album's producer as well, leaving him with a very heavy hand in shaping the album's final sound. The same thing happened to a lesser extent with Big Generator as a falling out with Trevor Horn left Rabin as the album's main producer.
  • In Name Only: Inverted - Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe was essentially a reunion of the 1971–72 lineup, minus Chris Squire. They recorded one Self-Titled Album in 1989 and toured behind it, before being assimilated back into Yes in 1991.
  • Ironic Echo: Benoît David was hired from the tribute band Close to the Edge (and is also known for his work in a non-tribute band, Mystery) to replace Anderson after he was diagnosed with asthma preparing for a tour. A few years later, David is struck with laryngitis during a tour and is replaced by Jon Davison, who's also known as a vocalist for a Yes tribute band and a standalone progressive rock band of his own (Glass Hammer). Here's hoping he doesn't catch any of the bugs that plagued Anderson and David.
    • Fly From Here is the second Yes studio album to come out following the departures of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman from the "classic Yes" lineup to see involvement from Trevor Horn (strictly in the producer's chair) and Geoff Downes.
  • Larynx Dissonance
  • Lead Bassist: Squire's basslines are very prominent.
  • Limited Lyrics Song: A few:
    • "We Have Heaven"—two lines repeated over and over in a sort of round:
    Tell the moon dog, tell the March hare
    We have heaven
    • ...Joined by these lines about halfway through:
    He is clear
    Now look around
    • "The Fish" (if taken separate, though it is often twinned with "Long Distance Runaround"), repeats the line "Schindleria Praematurus".
    • "White Car":
    I see a man in a white car
    Move like a ghost on the skyline
    Take all your dreams
    And you drive them away
    Man in a white car.
  • Long Distance Runaround: They've been going since 1968.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "South Side Of The Sky", a relatively hard rock song about a group of explorers freezing to death. Also "The Gates of Delirium", whose first section features excited, even triumphant music alongside lyrics about preparing for a battle, with such unnerving lines as "Slay them, burn their children's laughter".
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: "Love Will Find A Way", as Trevor Rabin hadn't finished the lyrics:
    ''Here is my heart
    Waiting for you
    Here is my soul
    I eat at Chez Nous''.
  • Meaningful Name: The Yes Album ended up having one unintentionally due to its status as the band's Breakthrough Hit and the album that established their Signature Style.
  • Miniscule Rocking: The ridiculously small–as in 37 seconds–"Five Per Cent For Nothing" comes right after an 8-minute epic.
    • They also have the 1:21 "White Car" in between the epic 10:27 "Machine Messiah" and 6:35 "Does It Really Happen?".
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Between 2 and 4, with the occasional 1 or 5. While they could be loud and heavy if they wanted, they were never quite as hard as Jethro Tull or Uriah Heep; their weirder experiments more than made up for it.
    • The live version of "The Fish" on Yessongs might reach a 6 or 7. It was shockingly loud for its day.
    • "The Gates of Delirium" from Relayer covers everything from 1 to 6, with "Soon" being the 1 and the middle section going up to 6, especially at the bit where a rack of car parts they were bashing on in the studio to simulate the noise of weapons clashing in battle is accidentally pushed over. It's certainly the noisiest Yes ever got on any of their studio albums.
    • Yes has a couple of pieces that could honestly be classified as Progressive Metal, notably "Machine Messiah" and "Endless Dream" (the former was even covered by Dream Theater, to drive it home). Yet they also have pieces like "Mood For A Day" that are the lightest 1's imaginable, which shows how versatile they are.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Jon Anderson.
  • New Sound Album:
    • The Yes Album embraces the sparse progressive elements and ditches the psychedelic Beatles-esque styling and Silly Love Songs that dominated in Yes and Time and a Word.
    • Relayer steers closer to jazz fusion much more than before or since, partly due to Patrick Moraz's influence and because Anderson was a big fan of fusion groups at the time.
    • Drama has very prominent New Wave influences due to The Buggles joining the band and is the only album where Steve Howe's playing comes close to heavy metal.
    • 90125 reinvented Yes as a pop rock group, but kept enough of their trademarks to garner critical acclaim.
  • Non-Appearing Title: In the 11 minute epic "In the Presence Of", the title is never said.
    • "Siberian Khatru", "Tempus Fugit", "Future Times", "Into The Lens", "Sound Chaser"; there are plenty of examples.
  • Not Using The "Y" Word: Some press releases for Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe are comically bent out of shape implying that this band was Yes without ever actually using the name. Yet others explicitly refer to ABWH as a band that in the 70's was called Yes, so Arista Records' lawyers seemed uncertain if they could actually use the word "Yes" or not. An agreement between Arista and Atco Records specified later that they could refer to their origins in Yes, but could not call themselves that.
  • Obvious Beta: Averted. "Lift Me Up", "Miracle of Life", and "Saving My Heart" were actually demos by Trevor Rabin, and Rabin intended them to be re-recorded. Apart from Jon Anderson's vocals being added, they were mostly unchanged before being included on Union. However, their "demo" status is not noticeable and in fact are often regarded as the best songs on the album.
  • Occidental Otaku: Jon seems to be something of a Japanophile, working with Kitaro and expressing a desire to climb Mt. Fuji in an TV interview in the '80s.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the 90125 lineup, which had Trevor Rabin on guitar and Trevor Horn doing production. Also Jon Anderson and Jon Davison (even their last names are of similar structure!).
  • Oop North: Jon Anderson is from Accrington, Lancashire. He has a very rural accent in his speaking voice. Alan White is from Ferryhill, County Dunham. Geoff Downes is also from Stockport.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Tony Kaye had the misfortune of being a competent keyboard player in a band famous for keyboard wizards like Rick Wakeman, Patrick Moraz and Geoff Downes. Some detractors have nicknamed him "Can't Play".
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "I Am Waiting" is mostly a mellow, dreamy song based around a rather soothing guitar line and angelic vocals from Jon Anderson, albeit with loud drums in parts. About halfway through, Trevor Rabin suddenly launches into a hair metal riff and takes over lead vocals, singing a few lines in a much more aggressive tone. Less than 30 seconds later, it's back to the original mellow guitar line as if nothing happened.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Trevor Rabin has gone on to a successful film scoring role since leaving Yes.
  • The Power of Rock: "Our Song".
  • Pun-Based Title: Tormato was originally going to be named Yes Tor after a peak in Devon.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Roundabout" was used as the ending credits theme to the 2012 anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • In Tales from Topographic Oceans, the chorus to "The Revealing Science of God" makes a reappearance at the climax of "High the Memory". The placid guitar solo at the start of "Ritual" reprises not only a number of motifs from earlier in the album but also the main riff of the title track from their previous album, Close to the Edge.
    • In Going for the One, the last riff of "Awaken" is basically a major-key transposition of the opening riff of "Siberian Khatru", also from Close to the Edge. The band's live/studio album Keys to Ascension gives a sly nod towards this by making these two songs the Book Ends of the first disc.
  • Revolving Door Band: Chris Squire is the only member who's appeared on every album. His 2015 announcement that he would be replaced for a tour by Billy Sherwood (himself a former member) while receiving treatment for leukemia would mean the first lineup without any of the band's founding members.
  • Sampling: "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was one of the first rock songs to use the technique, courtesy of the then cutting-edge Fairlight CMI. In turn, its drum break has been a favourite sampling choice of hip-hop and dance artists ever since.
  • Scenery Porn: The landscapes depicted on Roger Dean's album covers for the band.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: A favourite technique of Jon Anderson.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first part of "I've Seen All Good People" has two references to John Lennon: one of the lines is "Send an instant karma to me", and towards the 3-minute mark during the Singing Simlish chorus, Anderson can be heard in the left channel singing "All we are saying, is give peace a chance!".
    • "City of Love" references Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry".
    • "Machine Messiah" references William Blake's poem "The New Jerusalem". Considering its relative obscurity, it also doubles as a Genius Bonus.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Jon Anderson has the singing voice of an angel and speaking voice of a Monty Python farmer.
  • Solo Side Project: Around 1977–78, all the then-members released solo albums.
  • Something Completely Different: Nestled among their many compilation albums, Yes also has an officially-authorized remix album titled Yes Remixes. It's extremely different from any other Yes release, with Steve Howe's son Virgil remixing songs like "Heart of the Sunrise" as 2003-era rave songs. Unsurprisingly, it has faded into deep obscurity.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The song "Clap" has no "The" in front of its title. Unfortunately, Jon Anderson announced it with the wrong name, resulting in the record company mislabeling it (with Unfortunate Implications) for a while.
    • The Yes Album, which is virtually always said or written with "the" included, to avoid confusion with their self-titled debut album.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Anderson was born with the name "John" and kept it that way for the first 3 albums, but changed it to "Jon" before Fragile, and hasn't looked back since.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Trevor Rabin takes the lead vocals on "Changes" and "Walls", in addition to providing additional lead vocals on many songs as part of a Vocal Tag Team. Notably, he was going to actually be the lead singer of Cinema (with occasional contributions from Squire) before Anderson joined the band.
    • Chris Squire sings "Can You Imagine?" (Magnification) and "The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be" (Fly from Here).
    • Squire and Howe both frequently sing on their solo albums.
    • Rick Wakeman usually doesn't sing on his solo albums, with the exception of the three vocal songs on Rock 'n' Roll Prophet and narrates "The Dancer" on Silent Nights.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Benoit David has a similar vocal range to Jon Anderson, wears similar stage costumes, and even looks a little like him. Considering he was previously a member of Yes tribute band Close to the Edge, this isn't surprising. Jon Davison also happens to vaguely resemble a young Anderson.
  • Take That:
    • "Man in a White Car" is a dig at Gary Numan, who had been given a car by his label.
    • The track "Themes" from the Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe album is a jab at Big Generator, especially in regards to the hit single-focused writing of the album.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman have had a couple (notably, Wakeman left after Tales from Topographic Oceans, then came back for Going for the One; likewise, Anderson left after Big Generator, then came back for Union.)
  • Title Only Chorus: "Leave It".
  • Triumphant Reprise: A notable example is "We Have Heaven", from 1971's Fragile (near the beginning). This is a reprise at the end of the last song of the album, and, more notably, in the short song "Can I?" on The Ladder - which was released in 1999.
  • Uncommon Time: In addition to the band's songs being played in any number of different meter signatures it wasn't uncommon for Alan White or Bill Bruford to play in a completely different meter from the rest of the band, making it even harder for listeners to follow along.
  • Updated Re-release: In a strange application, Union got a re-release called (Re)Union that removed "Angkor Wat", "Dangerous", "Evensong", "Take the Water to the Mountain", and the Roger Dean cover art.
  • Vocal Tag Team: The Rabin era. "Endless Dream" from Talk is the most notable example, with the two switching off lead vocals throughout.
  • War Is Hell: "The Gates of Delirium". "Shoot High Aim Low" has elements of this as well.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Intentional, as singer Jon Anderson used his lyrics as simply another instrument, choosing them more for their sound than their meaning. Therefore, many Yes lyrics are completely incomprehensible, with a big amount of When Is Purple.
    • Toned down significantly on 90125: Anderson was a late addition to the project and rewrote some lyrics to better suit his vocal delivery. They're most likely the most understandable lyrics in the Yes catalogue, though they're still far from sane.

"I'll be the roundabout, the tropes will make you out 'n' out... "