Looking back, the three years between the disco and pop oriented sounds of 1976 and the majestic jumble of influences that fill 1979 are a huge gulf. By 1979, disco was on it’s last legs, punk had firmly given airtime to what we now think of as new wave and the pop music of the day was about as strong as it had been since 1975.
After demo sessions in 1979 turned sour, long-serving vocalist Jon Anderson departed from Yes after a decade of performing as both frontman and songwriter. Keyboard player Rick Wakeman departed at the same time, thus leaving the band without two of their key members. They filled the void with vocalist producer Trevor Horn and keyboard player Geoff Downes who, at that time, were both members of pop duo Buggles. The new Yes line up of Horn (vocals), Downes (keys), Steve Howe (guitar), Chris Squire (bass) and Alan White (drums) clicked, but the resulting album – ‘Drama’ (released in August 1980) – is a release which polarises fans.