Yes You Can (album)

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Yes You Can
Yes You Can.jpg
Studio album by Steve Harley
Released 1992 (Europe)
1993 (UK)
Genre Pop rock
Label CTE (Europe)
Food For Thought Records (UK)
Producer Steve Harley (tracks 1-10)
Matt Butler (tracks 2-10)
Mickie Most (tracks 1, 3)
Steve Harley chronology
Greatest Hits
(1987)Greatest Hits1987
Yes You Can
Poetic Justice
(1996)Poetic Justice1996

Yes You Can is the third studio album by British singer-songwriter Steve Harley, released in Europe in 1992, and in the UK in 1993.

The album was Harley's first new album of new material since 1979's The Candidate. It featured a mixture of older songs first written and recorded in the 1980s and newer material. The album was produced by Harley and Matt Butler, except "Rain in Venice", which was produced Mickie Most, Harley and Butler, and "Irresistible", which was produced by Most and Harley. The album was mastered by Steve Rooke and Ian Jones at Abbey Road Studios in London.[1]


Throughout the 1980s, Harley released a handful of singles which either became minor hits or failed to chart. In early 1984, Harley signed a record deal with Mickie Most's RAK Records. During that time, Harley worked at RAK studios in London to record a new solo album. It included the tracks "Sophistication," "Irresistible," the 1970 Edwin Starr song "Oh How Happy," "Rain in Venice," "New-Fashioned Way," "The Lighthouse," "Star for a Week" and "Promises Promises". The song "Irresistible" had been released as a single in 1985, before being remixed the following year and being issued as a single again. The 1986 version's sleeve announced the release of the upcoming album El Gran Senor, however before it was released, RAK went bankrupt and the album was shelved.[2]

In 1989, Harley re-emerged when he toured the UK and Europe with a new line-up of the Cockney Rebel band. Before the tour, Harley and ex-Cockney Rebel members Duncan Mackay and Jim Cregan began working in the Point Studios in London. During these sessions, four new songs were written; "Dancing on the Telephone", "When I'm with You", "The Alibi" and "Limbs of Man". The first three songs were used on the 1989 tour, while "Dancing on the Telephone" and "The Alibi" would later appear on Yes You Can. During the same year, Harley announced that an album of new material was to be recorded in the summer and released in the autumn of that year.[3] In 1990, with the album yet to be released, Harley revealed that work on the new album was almost done. However, he was unsure when the album would be released, particularly as no label had been finalised. He listed the likely inclusions of the album as being: "The Lighthouse", "Star for a Week", "Promises", "Victim of Love", "Dancing on the Telephone" and "Not Alone Anymore" - the latter being a cover of the 1988 song from the supergroup Traveling Wilburys.[4]

Eventually, the album Yes You Can surfaced in 1992, when it was a given a European-only release, which was followed by a "Yes You Can" tour. In March, Harley played various dates across Europe, followed by a set of UK dates in May.[5] The album featured a mix of older songs dating from the El Gran Senor period, as well as some newer tracks. Of the album's ten tracks, two were lifted from the unreleased El Gran Senor album; the 1986 extended remix of "Irresistible" and "Rain in Venice". The remaining songs were newer recordings, most of which were recorded at the White House Studios in Bures, Suffolk, while several were remixed at Metropolis Studios. "New-Fashioned Way" had originally been recorded for El Gran Senor as an up-tempo track, while "The Lighthouse" used different instrumentation including a saxophone solo (as opposed to the violin solo on Yes You Can). Although at one point Harley had decided to drop the rest of the El Gran Senor album, in 1991, he reworked "New-Fashioned Way" for use in the live setlist. This led him to re-record the song for Yes You Can. Other 1980s recordings such as "Oh, How Happy" and "Sophistication" were left unreleased. "Star for a Week", one the oldest songs, had first been played live in 1979, while "Victim of Love" and "Fire in the Night" were two of the newer songs, written while on tour.[6]

In the Record Collector magazine of July 1992, Harley revealed: "I've just released a new album called "Yes You Can" in Europe, but it's not out in this country. I'm very proud of it. It sounds like a hundred and fifty grand album, and I've spent about a quarter of that on it. Because we were so well rehearsed we went in and played. I do use state of the art equipment. I've been 19 years in the business, as a professional, so I know a few tricks."[7] In effort to promote the 1992 European release of the album, "Irresistible" was released for the third and final time as a single. It was released on CD through Comeuppance in Europe.[8]

UK release[edit]

In the Record Collector interview of 1992, Harley was asked about the possibility of EMI releasing the album in the UK. Harley said:

"I don't know what they'll think of it. I just don't bloody know what they think of me in this country. I tell you what, it's not going to do the rounds. I'm too long in the tooth to suffer that. I don't like being rejected. This is a class record, I'm proud of it. I've worked years on it. I won't write those songs again. There are a couple on there that mean a lot to me and I want them to be heard by people. I have my own company, that's who paid for it. But I can't release it. I need a major label in this country to set it up and promote it properly. I want it to be with a major, not a small label. But it will only be offered one by one to people in a position of power. I don't want to be rejected by a guy who's scared of losing his job. They won't take risks. I would be a risk for British record companies. I imagine that a major label in this country might pick the album up if it wasn't, well, telephone numbers. And on the back of what? A hit compilation album? But I'll play 21 shows from next week onwards, and they'll all sell out. I'm not seventeen but this is a class record, and it could still sell in enormous quantities. It's very personal, but universal. It's very philosophical and asks a lot of questions. But what's the point? I don't want to talk about the album because no one's heard it."[7]

During 1993, Yes You Can was released in the UK by Food for Thought Records. To tie in with the UK release of the album, "Star for a Week (Dino)" was released as a promotional single.[9] The album did not make an entry in the UK Albums Chart.


All tracks were recorded at the White House Studios in Bures, Suffolk, except "Irresistible" (recorded at RAK Studios) and "Rain in Venice" (recorded at RAK Studios and Metropolis Studios). "Rain in Venice", "New-Fashioned Way", "The Lighthouse", "The Alibi" and "Promises" were remixed at Metropolis Studios, while "Victim of Love" and "Star for a Week (Dino)", "Fire in the Night", "Dancing on the Telephone" were remixed at White House Studios. "Irresistible" was remixed at Air Studios.[10]


The album was first released within Europe in 1992 on CD via CTE. It was marketed and distributed by Cte GmbH, Licensee, and manufactured in Switzerland.[11] In 1993, it was released via Food For Thought Records on CD and cassette in the UK with a re-arranged track listing.[12] In 1995, it was re-issued via Koch International and within the UK on 22 April 2002, it would be re-issued by Comeuppance, which was based on the European version.[13] On 6 October 2003, Voiceprint issued the album limitedly as a part of their "2 for One Series" along with Harley's 1979 studio album The Candidate.[14]

The album's European cover featured a hand-drawn portrait of Harley. The 1993 UK release featured a futuristic blue cover instead of the original European artwork.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Irresistible" Steve Harley 5:12
2. "Victim of Love" Harley, Ian Nice, Kevin Powell, Barry Wickens, Rick Driscoll 5:33
3. "Rain in Venice" Harley, Robin LeMesurier 4:51
4. "Star for a Week (Dino)" Harley 4:33
5. "Promises" Harley 4:47
6. "Fire in the Night" Harley 3:41
7. "The Alibi" Harley, Jim Cregan, Duncan Mackay, Stuart Elliott 6:07
8. "New-Fashioned Way" Harley, Mackay 7:17
9. "The Lighthouse" Harley 6:00
10. "Dancing on the Telephone" Harley, Cregan, Elliott 4:04

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[16]
24.000 Dischi (Italian Dalai editore book) 2/5 stars[17]

Dave Thompson of AllMusic retrospectively reviewed the album, writing: "It's a sad state of affairs, but the best of Yes You Can was never going to make it onto a studio recording. Rather, it resides in the live environment where the songs almost unanimously came to life. There, both "Star for a Week (Dino)" and "The Lighthouse" emerge with vibrant electricity, as emotionally charged as any old favourites, as deliciously delivered as they deserved. In the studio, however, though the quality remains, the emotion pales, and Harley's energies – hitherto rejuvenated after so long in abeyance – flag accordingly. There are some heartwarming moments on this album. "Irresistable [sic]" very nearly is, "The Alibi" is a rousing number not dissimilar to one of the less-played corners of The Best Years of Our Lives, and the aforementioned "Star for a Week" has a fragile soul that even the lifeless accompaniment cannot totally extinguish. Elsewhere, however, "Victim of Love," the most commercial offering, is simultaneously little improvement on those soulless ditties that consumed Harley's mid-late '70s nadir, while both "Dancing on the Telephone" and "Rain in Venice" are hamstrung by his continued insistence on playing word games – and his continued inability to win them all. Yes You Can is not the revival for which fans had been hoping for; and that Harley had been threatening via some often brilliant live shows. But excuse the inadequacies and overlook the lifelessness, and the core of the songs remains sound and proud. And after some of Harley's past releases, even that is something to celebrate."[16]


  • Steve Harley – vocals (all tracks), 12-string acoustic guitar (track 9), harmonica (tracks 2, 9), producer (all tracks)
  • Harvey Hinsley – guitar (track 1)
  • Jim Cregan – acoustic guitar (track 3)
  • Robin Le Mesurier – electric guitar (track 3)
  • Alan Darby – guitar (tracks 4-5, 7, 10)
  • Rick Driscoll – rhythm guitar (track 5), guitar (track 9)
  • Robbie Gladwell – guitar (tracks 6, 8)
  • Nick Pynn – violin (tracks 4, 7), rhythm guitar (track 8), acoustic guitar (track 10)
  • Barry Wickens – acoustic guitar (track 2), violin (tracks 2, 5, 9)
  • Adrian Lee – keyboards (track 1)
  • Duncan Mackay – keyboards (track 3)
  • Ian Nice - keyboards (tracks 2, 4-10)
  • Kevin Powell – bass (tracks 2, 5, 9)
  • Billy Dyer - bass (tracks 4, 7-8, 10)
  • Mark Brzezicki - drums (track 1)
  • Stuart Elliott – drums (tracks 2, 5, 9)
  • Dave Mattacks – drums (track 3)
  • Paul Francis – drums (tracks 4, 6-7, 10), hand-snare (track 8)
  • Mickie Most – producer (tracks 1, 3)
  • Matt Butler – producer (tracks 2-10), engineer (tracks 2-10)
  • Mike Nocito – engineer (tracks 1, 3)
  • Simon Smart – engineer (tracks 2, 5, 9)
  • Stuart Breed - remixing (track 1)
  • Ian Jones – mastering
  • Steve Rooke – mastering
  • Kevin Williamson – illustrations


  1. ^ "Yes You Can". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Steve Harley – Irresistible / Lucky Man (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (1989). The 'Come Back, All is Forgiven' Tour Official Programme. Print Simplicity. 
  4. ^ Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (1990). On Tour 1990 - Official Programme. Showtime Print and Graphics. 
  5. ^ Steve Harley – Yes You Can Tour 1992 – Tour Programme – Spot on Print Organisation
  6. ^ "Grand Senor". Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Page 14". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Steve Harley – Irresistible (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Steve Harley – Star for a Week (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Steve Harley – Yes You Can (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Yes You Can". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Candidates/Yes You Can (Limited Edition): Music". 6 October 2003. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Images for Steve Harley – Yes You Can". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Thompson, Dave. "Yes You Can – Steve Harley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Ventiquattromila dischi. Guida a tutti i dischi degli artisti e gruppi piů ... – Google Books". Retrieved 22 May 2013.