Drama (Yes album)

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Studio album by Yes
Released 18 August 1980
Recorded April–June 1980
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 36:55
Label Atlantic
Producer Trevor Horn, Yes
Backing tracks: Eddie Offord
Yes chronology

Drama is the tenth studio album by British rock band Yes.


Drama is Yes' first studio album without vocalist Jon Anderson. In early 1980, after rehearsing music for the follow-up to the tepidly-received Tormato, both Anderson and Yes' keyboardist Rick Wakeman left the band over creative and financial differences.

Yes formed an unlikely "super-group" with the New Wave group The Buggles. This is the only one with Trevor Horn as lead vocalist and the first of three with keyboardist Geoff Downes (the second being Fly from Here in 2011). However, Horn was later involved as producer in 90125, Big Generator and Fly from Here. It is also Yes' final studio album before the band disbanded in 1981, and later reformed in 1982.


Reportedly Anderson and Wakeman were the most enthusiastic about creating a new album, and the rest of the band was lukewarm over the idea, given the relative failure of the last album.[1] This in turn discouraged both Anderson and Wakeman, with the latter at times refusing to leave his room, and both men dejectedly spending time in a local pub. They quit the band soon afterwards.

The remaining members, Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White carried on. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles (who had recently had a No. 1 hit in the UK with "Video Killed the Radio Star", and were managed by Yes' long-time manager Brian Lane) were working in an adjacent studio, and, being Yes fans, introduced themselves. As it happened, Squire owned and enjoyed the Buggles' first album, and the pair were invited to sit in during rehearsals. They were soon asked to join the band.

Recorded that spring and released in August, Drama featured a harder-edged Yes with a distinct new wave flavour. Roger Dean was commissioned to design his first Yes cover in six years, and Eddie Offord, who had co-produced and engineered Yes' albums during their 1971–74 heyday, also assisted with the project.

The writing of all songs on the album is credited to Geoff Downes/Trevor Horn/Steve Howe/Chris Squire/Alan White. However, "Into the Lens" and "White Car" are basically Buggles compositions; an alternate version of "Into the Lens" appeared on the second Buggles album Adventures in Modern Recording as "I Am a Camera". The song is based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin stories. "Does It Really Happen?", "Run Through the Light" and "Tempus Fugit" were developed by Squire, White, and Howe before Horn and Downes joined the band; Horn added lyrics. The version of "Does It Really Happen?" on the original LP and CD pressings is slightly different from subsequent remasters and collections. At approximately 5:03 into the original song, there is a hard stop followed by a pause and then the keyboards fading back in. Subsequent versions return the keyboards at full volume without the fade-in. "Does It Really Happen?" and "Run Through the Light" both exist in very different forms, as demos performed by the band with Anderson. "Machine Messiah" was based on another Buggles composition, but with considerable input from Squire, White, and Howe.

The two demo songs "We Can Fly from Here" and "Go Through This" did not end up on the album, although the band did play both of them on the subsequent tour. Live recordings of these songs were released on The Word is Live. "We Can Fly from Here" was eventually expanded into the 20+ minute title track of Fly from Here.


Although all five members of the band are credited for the production of Drama as well as Eddie Offord, the majority of the production work was handled by Trevor Horn: "I spent my [wedding] night in the recording studio, [laughter] it's true, too" he confessed in a 1980 interview on NBC TV's "The Source", "I got married and two hours later, I was back in the studio. [We decided that] for our honeymoon, we were going to spend 2 weeks in Miami Beach. Gradually it became 10 days in Miami, a week in Miami, six days in Miami [pause]... it ended up as three days in Bournemouth and Steve [Howe] came along, we had a good time actually."

A notable contribution to the sound of the song "Run Through the Light" was apparently made by Hugh Padgham, the recording engineer for the album, as the song features distinctive 'gated drum' sound which is often attributed to Padgham, made famous in recordings by The Police, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney and Genesis.


Reception Stats
Review ratings:
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Pitchfork Media (7.0/10) link
Charts and certifications:
de Flag of Germany.svg Peak: 50 / Weeks: 6[2]
nl Flag of the Netherlands.svg Peak: 18 / Weeks: 6[3]
fr Flag of France.svg Peak: 21 / Weeks: 15[4]
se Flag of Sweden.svg Peak: 19 / Weeks: 3[5]
no Flag of Norway.svg Peak: 11 / Weeks: 7[6]
nz Flag of New Zealand.svg Peak: 44 / Weeks: 2[7]
uk[8] Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Peak: 2 / Weeks: 8[9]
us Flag of the United States.svg Peak: 18 / Weeks: -[10]

Drama (Atlantic K 50736) fared very well in the UK charts, reaching number 2 there, but in America Drama (Atlantic SD 16019) became Yes' first album there since The Yes Album not to reach the top 10 or earn a gold record. The US tour, however, was a big success which was not the case with the UK tour, with some fans angry over Anderson's replacement and Horn's voice suffering from his first experience of major touring, as well as his efforts to match Anderson's higher register. Horn subsequently quit the band, and Yes officially ended in early 1981 (although they would reform a year later with a very different sound). Howe and Downes then joined Asia and Trevor Horn began a highly successful career as a record producer (next working with Yes as producer of their 1983 album, 90125).

After Anderson rejoined, Yes did not perform any of the songs from Drama, as he refused to sing them (although Anderson would sing the words "yes, yes" during the instrumental portion of "Tempus Fugit", included in Squire's "Whitefish" medley). When Yes reconvened without Anderson in 2008, they performed "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit" with new vocalist Benoît David.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Machine Messiah"   10:27
2. "White Car"   1:21
3. "Does It Really Happen?"   6:34
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Into the Lens"   8:33
5. "Run Through the Light"   4:43
6. "Tempus Fugit"   5:15



1989 – Atlantic – CD
1994 – Atlantic – CD (Remastered)
2004 – Rhino – CD (Remastered with Bonus Tracks)
2013 - Rhino - CD as part of The Studio Albums 1969-1987


  • Drama, CD booklet essay, Brian Ives, c.2003
  • Allmusic
  • "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
  1. ^ Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes by Chris Welch, Omnibus Press, 2002.
  2. ^ Album - Yes, Drama (in German). charts.de. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  3. ^ Yes - Drama (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  4. ^ Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste (Y) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  5. ^ Yes - Drama. swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  6. ^ Yes - Drama. norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  7. ^ Yes - Drama. charts.org.nz. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  8. ^ BPI Certified Awards Search for "Yes". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  9. ^ YES. officialcharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  10. ^ Yes - Drama Awards. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 October 2013.