1972 Yes – Roundabout
Bass player Chris Squire formed the band Mabel Greer’s Toyshop in London in 1967. The owner of a nearby club introduced Chris to Jon Anderson, and the two discovered they shared interests in harmonies and music by Simon and Garfunkel. Drummer Bill Bruford, piano player Tony Kaye, and guitar player Peter Banks joined the pair to form the band Yes.
They released their first album in 1969. Roger Dean designed the covers for most of the group’s early albums, giving them a distinctive look.
The group first breached the US Hot 100 in 1971 with Your Move, the first single from their second album. The song was roughly the first half of the album track I’ve Seen All Good People; the entire song ran over six minutes. The record only reached #40 on the Hot 100.
While touring in a bus in support of the album, the group encountered an endless number of roundabouts (many years before they became common in the US). That bus ride led a stoned Jon to jot down lyrics that eventually turned into the lead song on Fragile, their third album. The album version of Roundabout ran over eight minutes.
They cut that down to three and a half minutes on the single. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100, making it the group’s second most successful single in the US.
The group recorded their next single in 1972 as part of the sessions for Fragile. The song was a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s album cut, America, from their 1968 album, Bookends.
Yes did not include the full version of the song on any of their albums until years later. The original recording ran over ten minutes. They again cut down the single version, this time to about four minutes. It snuck up to #40 on the Hot 100 and then faded away.
The only way fans could initially listen to the original long version was to buy one of their record company’s sampler albums, The New Age of Atlantic. The record company finally included the complete version of the song on the group’s compilation album Yesterdays in 1975. The song later got added onto the remastered Fragile CD (which is where it belonged).
Even classic rock stations seem to have misplaced their copy of Roundabout and seem much more likely to play their chart-topping single Owner Of A Lonely Heart instead. The single only ran about four minutes, but the video lasted over six minutes thanks to some footage of the group members morphing into animals, a snake, and a bird.
The lineup for the band has changed over the years, with 19 different musicians working in the band full-time. Yes disbanded in 2004 and reformed in 2008.
Yes is still an active group that tours and records music, but the only early members still in the group are Steve Howe and Alan White.
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