Yessongs (album)

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This article is about the live album. For the concert film, see Yessongs (film).
Yessongs front cover.jpg
Live album by Yes
Released 18 May 1973
Recorded February, November & December 1972
Length 2:09:55
Label Atlantic
Producer Yes, Eddie Offord
Yes chronology
Close to the Edge
Tales from Topographic Oceans

Yessongs is the first live album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released as a triple album in May 1973 on Atlantic Records. The album is a compilation of recordings from their Fragile and Close to the Edge tours between February and December 1972. The two Fragile tour tracks feature Bill Bruford on drums; the remaining songs feature his replacement, Alan White.

Yessongs was a commercial success for the band, reaching number 7 in the UK and number 12 in the U.S. It received a mostly positive reception from critics; much of the album's criticism was directed towards its audio quality. The album was certified platinum in 1998 by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over one million copies.

In October 1975, Yessongs, a concert film of the same name was released, documenting Yes's show at the Rainbow Theatre, London on 15 December 1972.

In May 2015, Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two, a collection of North American shows from the Close to the Edge tour was released, featuring source recordings used on Yessongs, excluding the British performances featuring Bill Bruford. Progeny was remastered using modern technology to compensate for the audio flaws of the original recordings, and received unqualified praise.



The album opens with the closing section from Igor Stravinsky's orchestral work The Firebird, which has been a standard opening for the majority of Yes concerts since 1971. The two tracks from the Fragile tour — "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" — feature Bill Bruford on drums. The remaining tracks have his replacement, Alan White. Bruford performs a drum solo on "Perpetual Change", which is preceded by an extended guitar performance by Howe accompanied by Bruford and Squire. "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" is considerably longer than the studio version with bassist Chris Squire playing an extended solo. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman performs a medley of excerpts from his solo album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Singer Jon Anderson sings a passage from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring before the medley. "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".

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[1] in the UK and number 12 in the US.[2] 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[3]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[4]


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)

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

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Music Recording date & location Length
1. "Opening (Excerpt from Firebird Suite)"   Igor Stravinsky 20 November 1972; Uniondale, New York ("Firebird Suite" intro only) 3:47
2. "Siberian Khatru"   Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman 15 November 1972; Knoxville, Tennessee 9:03
3. "Heart of the Sunrise"   Anderson, Bill Bruford, Chris Squire 12 November 1972; Greensboro, North Carolina 11:33
Side two
No. Title Music Recording date & location Length
1. "Perpetual Change"   Anderson, Squire 19 and/or 23 February 1972; 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 12 November 1972; Greensboro, North Carolina 9:33
Side three
No. Title Music Recording date & location Length
1. "Mood for a Day"   Howe 20 November 1972; Uniondale, New York 2:53
2. "Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII"   Wakeman 14 November 1972; Athens, Georgia (1st two thirds) +
20 November 1972; Uniondale, New York (final third)
3. "Roundabout"   Anderson, Howe 1 November 1972; Ottawa, ON (1st portion only) 8:33
Side four
No. Title Music Recording date & location Length
1. "I've Seen All Good People"
  • a. "Your Move"
  • b. "All Good People"  
Anderson, Squire Unknown 7:09
2. "Long Distance Runaround"/"The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)"   Anderson, Squire 19 and/or 23 February 1972; New York City, New York 13:37
Side five
No. Title Music Recording date & location 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 15 or 16 December 1972; London, UK 18:13
Side six
No. Title Music Recording date & location Length
1. "Yours Is No Disgrace"   Anderson, Squire, Howe, Bruford, Tony Kaye 14 November 1972; Athens, Georgia 14:23
2. "Starship Trooper"
  • a. "Life Seeker"
  • b. "Disillusion"
  • c. "Würm"  
Anderson, Howe, Squire 15 or 16 December 1972; London, UK 10:08

Recording dates and locations[edit]

The original album sleeve did not include any details on the source of the album's recordings.

By audio comparison, "Close to the Edge" and "Starship Trooper" were recorded at the Rainbow Theatre on 15 or 16 December 1972 as they were included in the Yessongs film.

It is assumed that "Perpetual Change" and "Long Distance Runaround"/"The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" come from shows at the Academy of Music from 19 and 23 February.[5]

The release of Progeny: Seven Shows from Seventy-Two reveals further audio similarities:

  • the first portion of "Roundabout" is from Ottawa, Ontario on 1 November;
  • "Heart of the Sunrise" and "And You and I" are from Greensboro, North Carolina on 12 November;
  • the first two thirds of "Excerpts from 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII'" are from Athens, Georgia on 14 November;
  • "Siberian Khatru" is from Knoxville, Tennessee on 15 November;
  • "Yours is no Disgrace" is from Athens, Georgia on 14 November
  • the "Firebird Suite" intro (including the Mellotron/bass pedal link piece), the final third of "Excerpts from 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII'" and "Mood for a Day" are from Uniondale, New York on 20 November.

("I've Seen All Good People" and "Roundabout" from 5:26 onward do not match any specific performances on the Progeny set or in the Yessongs film; they may be culled from the performances at the Rainbow which were not used in the film, or may be from performances which were later overdubbed.)


Sales chart certifications[edit]

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


  1. ^ "UK chart history – Yes Yessongs". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Billboard albums chart info – Yes Yessongs at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  3. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Album review Yes Yessongs at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  4. ^ Tiven, Jon (7 June 1973). "Yes: Yessongs". Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "(1973) Australian Tourbook". 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. The band's 1973 Australian tour program reads: A live album will probably be put together from the Academy concerts, and if the high standard of production that Yes have maintained in their studio work is applied here, then one of the great live rock albums should follow. 

External links[edit]