Taking an early influence from Paul McCartney, bassist Chris Squire truly pushed boundaries in the late sixties and early 70s and took the four stringed instrument into new territory. Using the rhythmic instrument as a lead, Squire gave the bass a distinctive voice and with progressive rock band Yes, he subsequently became a huge influence upon bassists around the world.
Prior to his death in 2015, Squire gave his blessing for Yes to continue without him. In many ways, any form of Yes without Squire seemed like an odd proposition since his writing and arranging skills were always pivotal to everything, but the official Yes (featuring long-time members Stece Howe and Alan White, alongside vocalist Jon Davison) have toured harder and more extensively than ever, keen to keep Squire’s memory and legacy alive. With Yes releasing their own tribute in October 2018 via Cherry Red Records (including new recordings by Yes men Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood), it’s only right that the band’s founding father should have his own tribute too, and while on the surface, this US release ‘A Life In Yes’ (issued via Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid) doesn’t appear quite as glossy as its UK counterpart, it is every bit as interesting. A few recordings even make it an essential listen.
In 2015, multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood found himself ahead of a rather daunting task. He was hand picked by his close friend, Mr. Chris Squire, to be the bass man for progressive rock legends Yes, after Squire – founder member and only constant – discovered his ongoing fight against leukemia would soon be lost. It was obviously a job he’d would rather not have, but given the circumstances, he was the most obvious and sympathetic choice. In many ways, the only choice. Sherwood’s links with Yes go back a long way, of course: he’d previously been involved with the band in an on/off role since the turn of the 90s, if anyone could fill the void and at least have half a chance of fan acceptance, it would be Billy Sherwood. Looking back even farther, Sherwood’s own music with Lodgic and World Trade had showed parallels with the more commercial sounds of Yes. The 1989 World Trade debut, especially, often sounded like the album Yes might have unleashed after ‘Big Generator’ had they continued along the shiny, techy, AOR-prog path.
In June 2015 the world lost one of its finest musicians. Mr. Chris Squire, founder and only constant member of Yes was not only one of the best bass players in progressive and classic rock circles, but one of the finest bassists, period. Perhaps only second to Jack Bruce in terms of huge influence, Squire’s playing was always near the pinnacle of brilliance.
He could be simple, complex, lyrical…and sometimes all within the confines of the same passage of music. It may sound cliched, but Squire was a man who knew how it felt to be one with his instrument of choice, someone able to really make their bass speak.
At Real Gone, we’ve always been huge fans of Yes – in most, if not all incarnations – and it’s unlikely a week passes without at least one Yes album being spun.
On June 27th 2015, legendary bassist Chris Squire lost his battle with leukaemia. He was known to millions as the founding – and only constant – member of progressive rock titans Yes. His trademark sound provided the heard of the band’s ever evolving sound for twenty one studio albums and several live releases over a period of five decades.
Whether delivering a psychedelic sound, as per the first two Yes releases – an extension of musical themes practiced in Squire’s earlier band The Syn – or shaping the progressive rock of the seventies, or even the pop/rock band Yes eventually became in the 1980s, Squire could often be relied upon to steer his musical vision with some absolutely stellar performances.