Yessongs (album)

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This article is about the live album. For the concert film of the same name, see Yessongs (film).
Live album by Yes
Released 18 May 1973
Recorded February–December 1972
Genre Progressive rock
Length 2:09:55
Label Atlantic
Producer Yes, Eddie Offord
Yes chronology
Close to the Edge
Tales from Topographic Oceans

Yessongs is a triple live album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on Atlantic Records in May 1973.

It is both the last album of the band (during their 1970s creative peak years) featuring new, previously unreleased recordings with original drummer Bill Bruford, who is performing on two tracks of the album, recorded about six months before his departure, and their first recording with his replacement Alan White who plays on all other songs. Bruford would later return for the studio album 1991's Union, which would feature both drummers as well.


Yessongs is Yes' first live album, made of recordings from their Fragile and Close to the Edge tours which occurred between February and December 1972.

The album received a mostly-positive reception from critics, with the most criticism directed towards its audio quality. It peaked at number 7 in the UK and number 12 in the US. The album was certified platinum in 1998 by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over one million copies.

The show on 15 December 1972 at the Rainbow Theatre on London, UK was filmed and later released in 1975 as the concert film Yessongs.


The Fragile tour tracks "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" and "Perpetual Change" are the only tracks on the album to feature Yes's original drummer, Bill Bruford, who left the group after recording Close to the Edge. For that album's tour, Yes were joined by drummer Alan White, who had only days to learn the material. White was only three years into his career as a session drummer, but had already worked with such acts as The Plastic Ono Band and Joe Cocker.

The album opens with an excerpt from Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, which has been a standard opening Yes concerts ever since. Later in the album, vocalist Jon Anderson sings a passage from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring before the medley from keyboardist Rick Wakeman.

The Rainbow Theatre in London where the Yessongs film was recorded.

All band members except Anderson and White are given extended solo space. The track "Mood for a Day" is an unaccompanied guitar performance by Steve Howe, who also takes extended solos during "Yours is No Disgrace" and at the end of "Starship Trooper". The Yessongs version of "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is considerably longer than the studio version, with bassist Chris Squire taking an extended solo (and jamming with Bruford). Bill Bruford performs a drum solo on "Perpetual Change," which is preceded by an extended guitar performance by Howe accompanied by Bruford and Squire. The album also contains a medley of excerpts from keyboardist Rick Wakeman's solo album The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

Some songs are extended to almost double the length of their studio counterparts as well as given a more high-octane performance. The Close to the Edge album was also performed in its entirety (though not in sequence) in this recording.

Recording credits[edit]

The album featured no detailed recording credits. Two songs, "Close to the Edge" and "Starship Trooper", can be established by audio comparison to be sourced from the same London Rainbow Theatre concert as the Yessongs film (15 December 1972). "Roundabout" is assumed to come from the Ottawa, ON show (1 November 1972) and "Yours is No Disgrace" from the Athens, GA show (14 November 1972) (both of these dates are purely anecdotal). The two tracks from the Fragile tour featuring Bill Bruford ("Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" and "Perpetual Change") are generally assumed to come from the NYC Academy of Music shows on 19 and 23 February 1972 (based on text in the 1973 Australian Tour programme[1]).

Sleeve design[edit]

The album was initially released on three discs in a fold-out package featuring artwork by Roger Dean. Inside are four individual panels by Dean which continue a theme that began with Fragile in 1971. On the back cover of Fragile is an image of a small planet breaking apart into several large pieces with a giant sailing spacecraft nearby. The first panel in Yessongs, titled "Escape", shows the craft apparently leading the planetary fragment through space. The second panel ("Arrival") depicts these fragments landing in the waters of a new world. In the third image ("Awakening") this new landscape becomes the habitat for various plant and animal species. The final image ("Pathways") depicts the emergence of civilisation (Dean's cat walked across this piece whilst still wet and its paw prints can be clearly seen). This theme is also the basis of the film Floating Islands. The sailing craft was used as a small logo on many of the band's subsequent albums, and the image sequence inspired Yes vocalist Jon Anderson's first solo album Olias of Sunhillow in 1976, although Roger Dean was not involved with that album's artwork.

The original Bob White plot for the RPG Ultima IX: Ascension compared the original ending of the game to Dean's artwork on Yessongs.


Yessongs was released on 18 May 1973. It peaked at number 7[2] in the UK and number 12 in the US.[3] The album was certified gold in 1973 and platinum in 1998 by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album was also certified Gold in Canada and in Germany.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[5]


18 February 1987 – Original CD Issue – Atlantic Records (CD)
27 September 1994 – 2-CD Remaster – Atlantic Records (CD)
25 July 2001 – 3-CD HDCD Remaster by Isao Kikuchi – US "accordion" style cover – Warner Japan AMCY-6293 (CD)
22 July 2009 – 2-CD SHM-CD Remaster by Isao Kikuchi – original UK booklet style cover – Warner Music Japan WPCR-13517/8 (CD)
18 September 2013 - 2-SACD Release as part of the High Vibration box set.

Missing from the Yes "expanded and remastered" 2003/2004 series by Rhino/Warner, (like Yesshows, 9012Live and Big Generator) Yessongs was most recently remastered in 2009 by Isao Kikuchi. The album was published by Warner Music Japan as part of their "Yes SHM-CD Papersleeve" series. Yessongs is the sole album from this series not to have bonus tracks.

Concert film[edit]

Main article: Yessongs (film)

Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy Two[edit]

Some concert recordings (allegedly) made for Yessongs are to be released on the Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy Two box set in 2015.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "Opening (Excerpt from Firebird Suite)"   Igor Stravinsky Unknown 3:47
2. "Siberian Khatru"   Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman Unknown 9:03
3. "Heart of the Sunrise"   Anderson, Bill Bruford, Chris Squire Unknown 11:33
Side two
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "Perpetual Change"   Anderson, Squire On 19 and 23 February 1972 at the Academy of Music, New York City, New York 14:12
2. "And You and I"
  • I. "Cord of Life"
  • II. "Eclipse"
  • III. "The Preacher the Teacher"
  • IV. "Apocalypse"  
Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire Unknown 9:33
Side three
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "Mood for a Day"   Howe Unknown 2:53
2. "Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII"   Wakeman Unknown 6:37
3. "Roundabout"   Anderson, Howe On 1 November 1972 at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON 8:33
Side four
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "I've Seen All Good People"
  • "Your Move"
  • "All Good People"  
Anderson, Squire Unknown 7:09
2. "Long Distance Runaround"/"The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)"   Anderson, Squire On 19 and 23 February 1972 at the Academy of Music, New York City, New York 13:37
Side five
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "Close to the Edge"
  • I. "The Solid Time of Change"
  • II. "Total Mass Retain"
  • III. "I Get Up, I Get Down"
  • IV. "Seasons of Man"  
Anderson, Howe, Squire On 15 December 1972 at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK 18:13
Side six
No. Title Music Recording date & venue Length
1. "Yours Is No Disgrace"   Anderson, Squire, Howe, Bruford, Tony Kaye On 14 November 1972 at the Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, GA 14:23
2. "Starship Trooper"
  • I. "Life Seeker"
  • II. "Disillusion"
  • III. "Würm"  
Anderson, Howe, Squire On 15 December 1972 at the Rainbow Theatre, London, UK 10:08


Sales chart performance[edit]


Year Chart Position
1973 UK Albums Chart 7
Billboard Pop Albums 12


Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold 17 March 1973
CRIAA – Canada Gold 1 December 1976
RIAA – USA Platinum 10 April 1998
BVMI – Germany Gold 1979

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ "(1973) Australian Tourbook". 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "UK chart history – Yes Yessongs". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Billboard albums chart info – Yes Yessongs at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  4. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Album review Yes Yessongs at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. ^ Tiven, Jon (7 June 1973). "Yes: Yessongs". Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 


External links[edit]