The dawn of the 1970s found me searching for artists on my own, music that would not be hand-me-downs from my older sister. She had impeccable taste, mind you, introducing me to Donovan, The Doors, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker, among many others who arrived in our home via The Columbia Record Club.
But by 1970, there was a changing of the guard. Sadly, some greats had died prematurely, while still at their peak. The Beatles were in the process of breaking up. With my sister off at college and no longer a pipeline for new music, I had to discover it on my own.
I remember listening to “Roundabout” in my friend Gerry’s VW Beetle, as we cruised the streets in the hope of escaping the tedium of our teenage lives. Yes’s Baroque flights of fancy, Jon Anderson’s choirboy vocals–it all seemed so different from the blues-based rock we’d been raised on.
Chris Squire (March 4, 1948-June 27, 2015) had an early fondness for church music, which he channeled through a psychedelic phase before forming Yes with vocalist Jon Anderson. He remained a constant in Yes, its only bassist for 47 years.
His aggressive style, made crisp through the use of a pick and cleverly fed through two separate amps, allowed for much more melodic bass lines. The video featured below isolates the bass line of “Roundabout.” Another good example is a cover of “Heart of the Sunrise.”
For another tribute to Chris Squire and Yes, read Peter Catapano’s blog post for The New York Times.