Fragile (Yes album)
|Studio album by Yes|
|Released||26 November 1971 (UK)
4 January 1972 (US)
|Recorded||September 1971 at Advision Studios
|Genre||Progressive rock, art rock, psychedelic rock|
|Producer||Yes, Eddy Offord|
Fragile is the fourth studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released in November 1971 on Atlantic Records. It is their first album recorded with keyboardist Rick Wakeman after the departure of Tony Kaye earlier in the year. It also marked the first collaboration with artist Roger Dean, who would design many of the band's future covers. The album is compiled of nine tracks; four are group performances while five are written by each of the five band members.
Fragile was a commercial and critical success upon its release; it is considered to be the band's international breakthrough. It peaked at number 4 in the US and number 7 in the UK. The album is certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over two million copies.
Recording and composition
Fragile was recorded in September 1971 at Advision Studios in London. Eddy Offord assumed his role as producer and engineer; he had worked with the band since 1970. Rehearsals began while Tony Kaye was still in the group, but he left "in the middle". Kaye was reluctant to play a wider variety of keyboard instruments such as the Mellotron and Moog synthesizer other than the piano and Hammond organ.
"Cans and Brahms" is Wakeman's arrangement of the third movement of Symphony No. 4 in E minor by Johannes Brahms, with keyboards playing all the orchestral parts. Wakeman described the track as "dreadful", as contractual obligations with A&M Records prevented him from writing a composition of his own. He also claimed to have made writing contributions to "South Side of the Sky" and "Heart of the Sunrise" by adding piano interludes, but did not receive credit because of the contract disputes. He was promised more money by Atlantic executives, but claims he never received it.
Anderson described "We Have Heaven" as a "rolling idea of voices and things". Its two main set of lyrical chants contain the phrases "Tell the Moon dog, tell the March hare" and "Yes he is here."
"Long Distance Runaround" segues into "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)", a solo track showcasing Squire's bass. "Fish" is a nickname given to Squire by Bruford as he was known for spending a lot of time in the bath, and that his astrological sign is Pisces.
The cover art design by Roger Dean depicts a tiny planet on the front. On the back, the planet has begun to break up and the population is escaping in a wooden space glider[original research?] – a concept that was to inspire Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow, as well as the film Floating Islands. The artwork of Yessongs would continue the narrative.
The LP's accompanying promotional booklet contains two additional Dean paintings; the front cover depicts five different creatures huddled under a root system; the back cover depicts a person climbing up a rock formation. The inside of the promotional booklet consists of several different photographs of the band members, with an individual page dedicated to each member interspersed with smaller Dean illustrations and photographs of their wives (including Jenny Anderson and Nikki Squire) and children. Anderson's page contained a short poem, while Wakeman's contained a list of acknowledgements, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The White Bear pub in Hounslow and Brentford F.C..
Fragile was released on 26 November 1971 followed by its US release on 4 January 1972. It peaked at number 4 in the US and number 7 in the UK. "Roundabout" was released as a single in the US with a duration of 3:27; it peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in April 1972.
|Rolling Stone (1972)||Positive|
|Rolling Stone (2003)|||
In his review for AllMusic, Bruce Eder gave the album five stars out of five. He writes:
Fragile was Yes' breakthrough album, propelling them in a matter of weeks from a cult act to an international phenomenon; not coincidentally, it also marked the point where all of the elements of the music (and more) that would define their success for more than a decade fell into place fully formed. The science-fiction and fantasy elements that had driven the more successful songs on their preceding record, The Yes Album, were pushed much harder here, and not just in the music but in the packaging of the album: the Roger Dean-designed cover was itself a fascinating creation that seemed to relate to the music and drew the purchaser's attention in a manner that few records since the heyday of the psychedelic era could match.—Bruce Eder
In 1993, a gold edition of Fragile was released. Listeners reported a problem with the first printing of this edition. The track "Heart of the Sunrise" omitted the reprise of "We Have Heaven". A recall occurred and this edition was re-pressed with the reprise of "We Have Heaven".
A DVD-Audio version of the album was released on 19 November 2002, featuring Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound mixes along with other additional features. The bonus track "America" features additional vocals in the last minute of the song which are not present in the 1972 release. It is currently out of print, but a hybrid SACD version was released as an import from Japan with the same ten tracks in stereo and 5.1 sound.
On 7 November 2006, two audiophile remasters of the album were released: an Ultradisc II Gold CD version by the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, and a 180 gram vinyl LP version by Steve Hoffman, issued by Analogue Productions.
|1.||"Roundabout"||Jon Anderson, Steve Howe||8:30|
|2.||"Cans and Brahms"||Johannes Brahms, arranged by Rick Wakeman||1:38|
|3.||"We Have Heaven"||Anderson||1:40|
|4.||"South Side of the Sky"||Anderson, Chris Squire||8:02|
|1.||"Five Per Cent for Nothing"||Bill Bruford||0:35|
|2.||"Long Distance Runaround"||Anderson||3:30|
|3.||"The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)"||Squire||2:39|
|4.||"Mood for a Day"||Howe||3:00|
|5.||"Heart of the Sunrise"||Anderson, Squire, Bruford||11:27|
|2003 Reissue bonus tracks|
|10.||"America"||Paul Simon, Yes (music only)||10:33|
|11.||"Roundabout (Early rough mix)"||Anderson, Howe||8:35|
When "Heart of the Sunrise" ends, after a pause of several seconds, with a reprise of "We Have Heaven" that begins with the sound of a door being unlatched ("We Have Heaven" on Side One of the album ends with the sound of a slamming door). This hidden track is not referenced on Fragile's cover or album labels. Original pressings of Fragile also list the duration of "Heart of the Sunrise" as 10:34, omitting the timing of the hidden track.
- Jon Anderson – vocals and production
- Bill Bruford – drums, percussion, and production
- Steve Howe – electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, and production
- Chris Squire – bass guitars, backing vocals, guitar and production
- Rick Wakeman – Hammond organ, piano, RMI 368 Electra-Piano and Harpsichord, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer, and production
Notes and references
- Billboard albums chart info – Yes Fragile at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Conversation with CIRCA". nfte.org (Notes From the Edge). Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Chambers, Stuart (2002). Yes : an Endless Dream of '70s, '80s and '90s Rock Music : an Unauthorized Interpretative History in Three Phases. General Store Publishing House. p. 26. ISBN 9781894263474. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Yes (1996). Yesstories: Yes In Their Own Words. St. Martin's Press. p. 987. ISBN 9780312144531. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Yes (1996). Yesstories: Yes In Their Own Words. St. Martin's Press. pp. 988–. ISBN 9780312144531. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Welch, Chris (2009). Close to the Edge – The Story of Yes. Music Sales Group. p. 199. ISBN 9780857120427. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Chris Welch, Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes, p. 119, Omnibus Press (2003), ISBN 0-7119-9509-5
- Fragile (Media notes). Atlantic Records. 2401 019.
- "UK chart history – Yes Fragile". www.chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Yes > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
- "American certifications – Yes – Fragile". Recording Industry Association of America.
- Eder, Bruce. Fragile (Yes album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
- Christgau, Robert (2 March 1972). "Consumer Guide (24): Yes: Fragile". The Village Voice. Retrieved 16 December 2011. Relevant part posted in a revised version at "Yes: Fragile > Consumer Guide Album". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
- Dahlen, Chris; Leone, Dominique; Tangari, Joe (8 February 2004). "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Yes: The Yes Album / Fragile / Close to the Edge / Tales from Topographic Oceans / Relayer / Going for the One / Tormato / Drama / 90125". pitchfork.com. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 19 January 2008.
- Cromelin, Richard (16 March 1972). "Yes Fragile > Album Review". Rolling Stone (104). Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
- Lechner, Ernesto (6 February 2003). "Classically Trained!". Rolling Stone (915). p. 64. Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2011. Reviews reissues of Yes, Time and a Word, The Yes Album, and Fragile. Posted 15 January 2003.
- Scaruffi, Piero (1999). "Yes". pieroscaruffi.com. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Yes – Fragile Ultradisc II 24 KT Gold CD". Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Inc. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Warner Premium Sound 17 August 2011 releases (in Japanese). Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- Fragile, CD booklet essay, Bill Martin, c. 2003
- "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002
- Official Yes website at YesWorld