12 Sep Album of the Day: Yes (09/13/1972)
Yes released two albums in 1972, Fragile in January and Close To The Edge on September 13. The former was their breakout album and established Yes as the leaders in the burgeoning progressive rock movement. The latter became the definitive progressive rock album. Close To The Edge brought together all of the pieces of the trademark Yes sound: expansive, multi-layered, organ-dominated mixtures of classical, choral, and gothic sounds over rock and jazz underpinnings with Jon Anderson’s choirboy tenor delivering eclectic, mystical lyrics at the center. Close To The Edge is cohesive where its predecessor was a showcase of individual musical talents. It contains only three songs, none less than nine minutes, and was well received both critically and commercially. Close To The Edge topped at #3 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K., and a cut down version of the 10-minute “And You And I” posted at #49 on the Billboard singles chart. But the band’s time at the pinnacle of the art/prog rock genre would be brief. Drummer Bill Bruford left to join King Crimson immediately following the Close To The Edge recording sessions. And the follow-up LP, Tales Of Topographical Oceans, 16-months in the making, was a disaster of overindulgent pretentiousness that sold well but was critically sneered at. But as prog-rock classics go, Close To The Edge is one of the best.