The Ladder (Yes album)

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This article is about the Yes album. For other uses, see Ladder (disambiguation).
The Ladder
Studio album by Yes
Released 20 September 1999
Recorded February – May 1999 at Armoury Studios, Vancouver, Canada
Genre Progressive rock
Length 60:19
Label Eagle Records (UK)
Beyond Music (US)
Producer Bruce Fairbairn
Yes chronology
Open Your Eyes
The Ladder
House of Yes: Live from House of Blues
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
The Daily Vault B−[2]
Progressiveworld (favorable)[3]

The Ladder is the eighteenth studio album by progressive rock band Yes and was released in 1999.

The follow-up to 1997's tepidly-received Open Your Eyes, The Ladder was seen as a conscious return to the classic Yes sound, while maintaining a contemporary edge. It is the only Yes album with keyboardist Igor Khoroshev as a full time member, the last with guitarist Billy Sherwood (also the only one in which he did not play keyboards), and the only album of the band as a sextet.


Following guitarist/keyboardist Billy Sherwood's guidance of the last project, Yes decided to bring in an outside producer, Bruce Fairbairn, to give the music the benefit of objective ears. By the time the band had decamped to Vancouver, Canada to record The Ladder, Igor Khoroshev had become the group's official keyboardist, with Sherwood relegated to guitar duties along with Steve Howe.

Although the sessions went off successfully, with all concerned very pleased with the end results, the project ended with Fairbairn's sudden death in May 1999. Fairbairn died, according to Chris Squire, just before the completion of final vocals and mixing on The Ladder. Yes subsequently dedicated the album to their late producer upon its September release.


Concurrently with the release of the album, Yes licensed the use of "Homeworld (The Ladder)" with the Sierra Studios PC game "Homeworld", of which a digital preview was included with The Ladder. The re-issue included in the 2006 box set Essentially Yes also includes this preview. The track "Homeworld (The Ladder)" was played during the game's credits.


Hyped as a "return to form", The Ladder (Eagle EAGCD088) generally pleased most of its listeners and longtime Yes fans, performing slightly better than Open Your Eyes by reaching No. 36 in the UK and No. 99 in the US.

Song info[edit]

"Homeworld (The Ladder)" references the working title for Talk, History of the Future.

The track "Lightning Strikes" borrows the opening flute solo from The Kinks' song "Phenomenal Cat" from the album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. The song also references "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)" from Tales from Topographic Oceans and "Endless Dream" from Talk.

"Can I?" quotes Anderson's 1971 composition "We Have Heaven" from Fragile.

"Face to Face" references "Lift Me Up" from Union.

"The Messenger" is a tribute to Bob Marley.

"New Language" is based on a jam from the Open Your Eyes album sessions. The backing track from the guitar solo also references the bass line to "Roundabout" from Fragile.

"Nine Voices (Longwalker)" references "Your Move" from The Yes Album.

Track listing[edit]

All music Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Billy Sherwood, Chris Squire, Alan White and Igor Khoroshev. All lyrics by Jon Anderson.

No. Title Length
1. "Homeworld (The Ladder)"   9:32
2. "It Will Be a Good Day (The River)"   4:54
3. "Lightning Strikes"   4:35
4. "Can I?"   1:32
5. "Face to Face"   5:02
6. "If Only You Knew"   5:43
7. "To Be Alive (Hep Yadda)"   5:07
8. "Finally"   6:02
9. "The Messenger"   5:13
10. "New Language"   9:19
11. "Nine Voices (Longwalker)"   3:21


Band members
Additional musicians

The Marguerita Horns:

  • Bruce Fairbairn – producer
  • Mike Plotnikoff – engineer, mixing
  • Paul Silveira – second engineer
  • George Marino – mastering
  • Steve Hennessy – guitars and keyboards tech
  • Chris Crippen – drums tech
  • Drew Arnott – keyboard tech support
  • Chin Injeti – keyboard tech support


  1. ^ Adams, Brat (2011). "The Ladder – Yes | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Warburg, Jason (2011). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : The Ladder". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Sollow, S. (2011). "PROGRESSIVEWORLD.NET: REVIEWS BY STEPHANIE SOLLOW". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 


  • "Top Pop Albums 1955–2001", Joel Whitburn, c. 2002