Few people know what progressive rock music is, but if you’re new to the genre or a diehard prog rock fanatic, the Yes Music podcast is the place to go.
Subtitled “One fan’s exploration of the greatest progressive rock band of all time”, Kevin Mulryne and his Yes Music podcast delves into the band Yes, their 40+ years of producing landmark albums and makes for a pleasant end to a busy week.
Yes for the uninitiated
Who are Yes and why should we tune into a podcast about them? Quite simply, they are a band of uber-musicians that have rarely followed trends and in the process produced some of the most elaborately beautiful compositions in the history of music.
That sounds like a big call — I mean, there is an awful lot of music produced throughout human history. I like to think that if the great composers of the past were around in the 20th century, they would have ended up being in bands like Yes.
For example, head over to the interweb, fire up Spotify and listen to the ethereal 18 minute Close to the Edge track on the album of the same name. I challenge anyone to find a more dazzling and effecting composition from a rock band. Don’t stop there, keep the album playing and take in the beautiful And You And I — a long time staple in the Yes setlist and a stunning piece in its own right.
Yes, like the prog rock genre they helped pioneer, defy an off the shelf categorisation. Indeed, progressive music is characterised by exceptional musicianship and more elaborate, often unpredictable arrangements. This fact by itself is what makes the genre so intriguing — you can never predict how one album will sound from an artist’s previous release.
This is certainly true of Yes. In a span from 1971-1980, Yes produced what purists would call “classic Yes”, redefining the genre and blazing the trail for generations of musicians — not just progressive rockers. However, the procession of albums made critics and fans of the band scratch their heads; what ere Yes going to next?? This evident in the fact that no one saw the band producing a record like 1974’s Tales from Topographic Oceans — a double LP comprised of four 20 minute pieces.
A grand concept
Yes is more of a grander, transcendent concept rather than any one collection of musicians. The band has had so many lineup changes throughout the decades that it is sometimes hard to keep track of, but the classic lineup (and most enduring) would be:
- Jon Anderson — vocals and arguably the single most important factor in the Yes soundscape
- Chris Squire — co-founder of the group with Jon Anderson
- Steve Howe — probably the most underrated guitarist ever
- Rick Wakeman — an extraordinarily talented keyboard player and prolific composer
- Alan White — took the reins admirably after Bill Bruford left the band in 1972.
The band underwent its most dramatic change in the 1980s with the introduction of now film score composer Trevor Rabin, producing probably their most well-known hit Owner of a Lonely Heart
on the stadium rock sounding 90125 album.
About the Yes Music Podcast
Having the exciting proposition of spending some iTunes vouchers that I got for Christmas, I plugged “Yes” in the search bar and amongst the enormous back catalogue, the search returned a podcast.
“A Yes Music Podcast,” I exclaimed! Intrigued I had to give it a listen and impressed I was. The host, Kevin Mulryne, is based in the West Midlands region of the UK (Stratford-upon-Avon), which lends a degree of street cred for me as it is hard to imagine a podcast dedicated to Yes without a soothing British accent.
So the podcast is an excellent introduction for people looking to find out about Yes and their extensive back catalogue. Kevin’s take on the 1996 Yes double album Keys to Ascension was a sufficient sales pitch for me and I dashed off at once to purchase it via the iTunes store.
Kevin’s passion is undeniable and his descriptions of Yes songs often evoke powerful emotions for me, a fan who shares that passion and knows exactly what Kevin means when he says “and that my friends is a Yes champagne moment”.
If you’re a Yes fan, or curious as to why there are numerous fans claiming that Yes music is in class of its own, listen to Kevin’s spellbinding exploration into the greatest progressive rock band of all time. There is no better Yes resource around.