Desert Island Yes CD – 289

YMPProduced by Preston Frazier, Bill Govier, Wayne Hall and Michel Arsenault.

We welcome Bob to the show to talk about what he would have on a 1 hour Yes CD! Mark also reviews Tales From Topographic Oceans!

  • What to leave out?
  • What to put on?
  • Live or studio tracks?

Listen to the episode then let us know what you think!

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and archive.org

38 thoughts on “Desert Island Yes CD – 289”

  1. Interesting question – 60 minutes of Yes to comfort us on a desert island.

    I guess if we take the premise seriously we have to acknowledge that if we’re stuck on a desert island we’re going to be lonely and miserable. For me that means the music has to be incredibly uplifting, or as Jon might put it, music that “channels the divine.” Because after all, what else is there besides the beach and coconuts.

    That criterion narrowed the selection down considerably to those few songs that best capture Jon’s vision of spiritual peace and enlightenment. And the three at the top of that list are:

    Close to the Edge
    The Revealing Science of God
    Awaken

    The last 6 minutes could be filled in with songs like Time and a Word, Soon (edit), Wonderous Stories, or Holy Lamb, but those three epics would hopefully be enough to keep me happy (or at least sane) until rescue arrives.

  2. Re Tales, according to Forgotten Yesterdays it was played, in its entirety, on the November/December 1973 UK tour BEFORE it was released. Can you imagine hearing Tales all the way through live before having the chance to hear it at home? (But what a setlist: Firebird Suite, Siberian Khatru, And You And I, Close To The Edge, The Revealing Science Of God, The Remembering, The Ancient, Ritual, and Roundabout)
    Fragile

    1. I loved Mark’s New State of Mind pick. That is one amazing song. It’s a sonic feast, and shows a little harder edge to Yes which had been missing for quite some time by the time that OYE was released. Like someone waking me from my Keys boredom coma and yelling WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. My thoughts exactly Steve…Although I don’t find Keys boring..it definitely lacks the power and excellent production and mix that Open Your Eyes has.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Nice review of Tales though it would have been great to have a longer treatment. I’m guessing your general take is the consensus view but I’d like to make a case for The Remembering.

    I used to fall asleep to side one in high school and many nights would just skip right to the second song. I think The Remembering contains some of the most subtly gorgeous keyboard work Rick has ever done. It’s a beautiful song that builds slowly and then wakes you up from your peaceful float with the wonderful “Relayer” section.

    For me, had it ended there (with the ethereal synth stuff from Rick after the Relayer section) it would still be a terrific song. However that is followed by what is perhaps the most emotionally climactic ending of any Yes epic.

    Surely… surely…

    1. Those are all excellent points for The Remembering. ..and like I said…I don’t hate it…it just seems to be a song where I loss interest…and then reconnect at the Ancient. But I will spin the album again this evening. ..and not do anyother aactivity while listening and see if it holds my attention.

      1. I suspect the first 10 minutes looses a few people which is a shame because the last half really picks up and gets better as it goes along. Enjoy your listen is let us know what you think/feel.

        Cheers!

    2. Rick’s keyboard parts in the opening section along with Chris’ fretless bass *sounds* like waves on the ocean!

    3. By the way I recently purchased the Steve Wilson remix of Fragile and couldn’t help noticing that on the early version of South Side of the Sky, Rick does a little keyboard noodle (on the Mellotron?) at just past the 2 minute mark that sounds remarkably similar to his intro (first 10 seconds or so) on The Remembering.

      Someone earlier mention the All Fighters Past track which was wonderful to hear how Tales may have sounded with Bill still on board. Seems the Fragile sessions were very fertile.

    4. I agree, The Remembering is an overlooked gem. It is definitely a slower burner; takes a while to take off.

  4. …First of all, it’s not yet past midnite, but it is most definitely beyond my first glass of wine…

    …dammit…

    …Alright, you two! This was a great idea for an episode. I was thinking of something along these lines, but I just did not get around to suggesting it. My idea was more in line with the BBC “Desert Island Discs” format: you get to pick eight pieces, no matter what the time constraints… ah, well…

    …so, here is your great mistake: I assume we are creating our own, personal Yes playlist, which we are now going to burn to a CD in standard “.aiff” format -(let’s not even get into what we might be capable of if we were to create an MP3 disc!) prior to embarking on whatever adventure leads us to being stranded on this theoritical island. . . A standard CD can contain up to – approximately – 79 minutes of minutes of music, so I am NOT GOING TO WASTE ALMOST TWENTY MINUTES OF DISC SPACE BECAUSE OF SOME RANDOM “ONE HOUR” OF YES MUSIC DEVISED BY OTHERS WHO ARE NOT GOING TO BE STRANDED WITH ME on this “Desert Island” where we have the ability and technology to at least listen to our most recent playlist… which contains a FULL CD of music…

    …so, here we go… 79 minutes and counting…

    “Yours Is No Disgrace” – the “Yessongs:” version: the BEST version of my favorite Yes song; the recording from (Progeny) Knoxville, TN, perfectly and so subtly edited by Eddie Offord into a masterpiece. 14:24

    “Heart Of The Sunrise” – from Progeny disc 7: this is 97% of the performance on Yessongs, and, again, my favorite rendition of this song. 11:40

    “And You And I” – from ‘Progeny,’ disc 7 again – the recording used on ‘Yessongs,’ but it sounds SO MUCH BETTER. 11:06

    So, that takes care of ‘The Yes Album,’ ‘Fragile,’ ‘Close To The Edge’ and ‘Yessongs (the greatest live album OF ALL TIME) – four albums in three tracks..;

    Approximately 41:45 to go…

    ‘The Gates Of Delirium’ – because… AAAAAAARGH! I can’t include this because… SHIT!…

    …so, ‘Sound Chaser,’ instead (9:30) because… AAAAAAARGH… 32:15 remaining….

    ‘Awaken’ – the studio version from “GFTO” – because one must ALWAYS revert to the original. 15:31

    16:45 remain…

    ‘Finally’ from ‘The Ladder’ – 6:02

    ‘Tempus Fugit’ – 5:16…

    …five and a half minutes, or thereabouts, remain…

    ‘Onward,’ from ‘Tormato, at 5 minutes, six seconds, fills the bill… approximately 78 and one half minutes of the best I can scrounge from what we have to work with…

    …without all the ‘Drama’…

    Tempus Fugit (because Chris!)
    Yours Is No Disgrace (live)
    Heart Of The Sunrise (live)
    And You And I (live)
    Sound Chaser
    Awaken
    Onward
    Finally

    …so, I get my eight tracks, in the end… …finally…

    …onward…

    …nice review of ‘TFTO’ – my first exposure to Yes was ‘The Ancient,’ though I didn’t know what it was at the time… my second was ‘The Gates Of Delirium’…

    ‘The Revealing Science Of God’ – Rick Wakeman’s BEST SYNTHESIZER SOLO EVER!…
    ‘The Remembering’ – some of Alan and Chris’s best work together (their first studio work together), during the ‘Relayer’ refrains, especially after “Fail Safe Now!”. . .
    ‘The Ancient’ – Steve Howe’s journey into the darkest depths of nightmare…
    ‘Ritual’ – the proggiest prog ever progged upon progetivity.

    Again, a great episode, you two – thanks for the continuous fun…

    1. Hahaha…excellent comment…as usual. ..and I sense some hostility towards the 60 minute restriction. Lol!!! Oh well..I’ll let it slide. Excellent choice of songs. ..I like the fact that you selected from Progeny. ..which in my opinion is much superior to Yessongs. .sonically speaking.

  5. Great show so let me get started, and just to be clear all my selections are studio recordings.
    1) Survival 6:23
    2) Then 5:44
    3) Perpetual Change 8:58
    4) South Side of the Sky 8:02
    5) Siberian Khatru 8:55
    6) The Revealing Science of God 20:25
    7) Onward 4:05
    Now it is in my mind impossible to compress Yes into 60 minute CD. However If we are to be stranded on a dessert Island we first must have a song like Survival,to keep me moving in the right direction. Having been a Yes fan for 48 years I have a lot of the music imprinted into my Mind..
    So I had to have Onward as my last song knowing that its much like the beginning and we always need to move forward or Onward but I think like Josephs comment above is true you could put more music onto the CD. However I did go over by a few seconds but I could live with my choices until the end. As far as album art work that again almost impossible for me as well I would love all of them but Relayer would be one that I would like to have hanging on my wall.
    Seen half of tales in 1976 and I loved it,always will and enjoy it to this day I think its a master work!
    Great show Gentle men

    1. Excellent selections Paul…I’m jealous that you were able to convince yourself to select a song from the debut album….I tried and tried….the best I was able to do was pick Astral Traveller from Time and a Word. I’m curious if your lack of any newer songs was predetermined. ..or it just happened.

  6. And You & I 10.09
    Southside of the Sky 8.01
    Soon (single edit) 4.18
    Awaken 15.38
    Heavenly Lightning Medley* (Wembley 18 10 78) 22.00

    * Time and A Word, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Survival inc Ritual, Perpetual Change, Gates of Delirium (climax)

    1. Good episode chaps. I just can’t make my mind up, however the Yes medley section from Wembley in 1978 is stunning. Awaken is in as is The Revealing Science of God. Oh my goodness it’s tough eh. South Side oh yes, but it’s hard because maybe I should try it the other way..try and fit as many different tracks in as possible. I wonder how many we could get in that hour…just a thought

      Anyway it’s all fun.
      Dave

    2. Excellent! ! Finally someone chose the Big Medley…did you feel this made selecting the rest of the songs easier??

        1. Love the show. Has been one of the great discoveries of the last year. Can’t believe it has been going to long without my knowing about it.

          As for The Big Medley. The other four tracks were easy picks. I couldn’t live without Awaken, And You & I and South Side of the Sky. Soon would be my time-efficient reminder of Relayer and the QPR show (which was my first big gig). So that left me with 22 minutes ish.

          I needed more freewheeling Chris Squire playing on my disc and there is a lot of that in the Big Medley. It was competing with the studio America, the QPR Sweet Dreams, the Yessongs versions of CTTE, Long Distance Runaround / Fish and Starship Trooper for space.

          This music has become so deeply embedded in my life over the last 43 years since first hearing Fragile that sometimes all I need is a little reminder of one of the big pieces and I can do every detail of the rest in my head. IIRC you said something similar on the show. The 1978 medley is perfect for that. I was also tempted by the TFTO single edits for the same reason.

  7. Okay, I’m game. This is really really hard, but t I got the whole thing into (oddly) EXACTLY 60 minutes:

    Track 1: Sound Chaser (Relayer) – Relayer is my favorite album by Yes, (or anyone else for that matter), and I’m using the three songs from Relayer to represent pretty much every aspect of what I enjoy from Yes’ classic period. I have two more songs coming later from the main sequence for different reasons – 9:30

    Track 2: To Ascend (Heaven & Earth) – Gotta have something from the Post Jon years. My first choice was “Subway Walls”, however, it would have taken too much time in this insane 60 minute vice 80 minute CD. So instead I have the achingly gorgeous ballad “To Ascend” to mellow my nerves after Sound Chaser. Jon D and Chris’s lovely vocals, lush instrumentation….. The 2nd best song from the FFH/H&E period. – (4:44)

    Track 3: The Fish (Fragile) – I’m going to need a real Chris showcase since I can’t have Heart of the Sunrise or Subway Walls. Yeah, I know he’s all over Relayer as well, but this is more focused on just him. (2:38)

    Track 4: It Can Happen – My favorite shorter piece from the Rabin Years. It has most of everything I like from the Rabin lineup. I’d rather have The Calling, Shoot High Aim Low, Endless Dream, State of Play, Real Love, Hearts, or Final Eyes, but tick tock. Plus, I love this song. I remember when it was in heavy rotation on both MTV and the radio. I never tired of it, and always got into it when it came on. (5:30)

    Track 5: The Gates of Delirium (Symphonic Live) – So I have all three Relayer songs, so at least I’m going to have an alternate version of one of them. This presentation with the youth orchestra, Tom Brislin, and Jon A in particularly top form is pure awesomeness. (23:31)

    Track 6: Don’t Kill the Whale (Tormato) – There you go Kevin. A Tormato song taking up valuable time on the only 60 minutes of Yes I’m ever going to hear again, (Unless I’m rescued……wow, what If I’m spotted and rescued by Cruise to the Edge? How awsome would that be?). I wanted on odd ball piece from a classic era lineup taking a stab at commercial top 40 radio, five full years ahead of Owner of a Lonely Heart. I loved this song from the first time I heard it. Another Chris masterpiece. (3:58)

    Track 7: To Be Over (Relayer) – My third Relayer pick closes out my pitifully short 1 hour set. It’s a magnificent closer. (9:17)

    So, yeah, I couldn’t part with a single Relayer Track, no matter how hard I thought about this thing. For And You and I, I have the Soon movement of Gates. For Heart of the Sunrise and South Side of the Sky I have Sound Chaser and portions of Gates. For Close the Edge and Tales I’ve got Gates and To Be Over, etc. Relayer just has it all for me, and still was able to represent 4 more yes facets. All and all I’m okay with this for my only Yes music. Hey…..Do I get 60 minute Genesis, Queen, Johnny Cash and Moody Blues discs too?

    1. A 60 minute Genesis would be even more work than this one. The ‘Seconds Out’ version of Suppers Ready (required!) takes up almost 25 minutes… 60 minutes of Johnny Cash could cover a lot of ground, however. Again, if I’m going to burn my own CD playlist, I’m gonna fill the darned thing up!

    2. Wow…I must say….of all the fantastic lists I’ve looked at here…yours ( Steve Roehr) surprised me the most…the shock is based on the selection of a Heaven and Earth song. Definitely a daring selection…and to stare it’s the 2nd best song from the FFH/H&E period! Wow….or as the British would say ….Crikey! !

    3. Great list. Love the focus on Relayer – that was my first Yes album experienced on release rather than in catch up mode. Would have loved to hear them do more with Moraz but then there is the risk of a world without Awaken as we know it today. Would I swap that incredible milestone for a more expetimental and fusion oriented band surviving into the 80s? Probably. Anything rather than revisit the break up of the Squire/Howe partnership. I would definitely prefer to lose 90125, Big Generator and Talk if it meant a decade of Yes dealing with the 80s punching it out with Weather Report and Return to Forever rather than Flock of Seagulls and Tears For Fears.

  8. PS – I also enjoyed Mark’s review of Tales quite a bit. But I do have to side with Greg. I think “The Remembering” might get sold short sometimes. It is a great piece of music which at first lulls, but then takes you through quite a journey, and then finishes beautifully.

  9. Very much enjoyed this weeks ep….what can you say?….. a 60 mins CD/download of the best of Yes …..imposssible …I enjoyed mark’s picks and Kevin’s were interesting too ……but seriously …Walls As a sum up of the Rabin era ?…… very sad.
    Kevin your reference to the first album suggesting a track on your ulimate CD ….to me suggest that you ment to say Beyond and Before and not Yesterday and Today …..there is no classic driving bass in Y and T…..it is a lovely but rather mellow track …..BnB opens the album ….with The Squire bass and Yes harmonies…. totally Yes.

  10. The Remembering is the most oceanic song on Tales from Topographic *Oceans*! It sounds like the waves of the sea. As for my 60 mins of Yes:
    1) Close to the Edge–this is what made me a Yes fan so I can’t leave it (ha!) off.
    2) Turn of the Century–goes thru my head all the time!
    3) Perpertual Change–Wanted the Yessongs version but a little to long, so the studio it is.
    4) On the Silent Wings of Freedom–so sublime.
    5) Magnification–wanted something from either The Ladder or Magnification albums.
    6) To Be Over–thought the closer should be peaceful and soothing.

    Now according to Spotify, that’s 59 mins, so 1 minute for a .pdf of Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding per GK Chesterton’s choice of desert island reading!

    I wanted to go with all live tracks, but most are much longer than the studio versions!

    1. “Guide to Practical Shipbuilding” – Lol, brilliant!

      Your list is my 2nd favorite with the exception of Magnification (I prefer the songs on The Ladder). Silent Wings is the best song on what I think is a poorly produced but very underrated Yes album, and To Be Over is sublime in ways similar to The Remembering. And Turn of the Century… one of the few Yes songs that can make me cry like a baby. Sadly this song never seems to play well in a live setting, but that studio version… wow!

    2. Lol…..What can I say Mark? I want something from every period, and I like H&E more than FFH which I thought was kind of a failed attempt at rekindling the Drama sound. They even drug out an unfinished Drama track. H&E for some reason resonated immediately with my wife and daughter. In fact, it’s one of our most played albums these days because of the whole family appeal thing. It’s a pop album at it’s core, and yes, it would have been nice if they had more time, and even less RTB to get it done, but it is what it is. A nice snapshot of current Yes. Not an attempted dragnet of past glories. It just comes off much more honest to me, and .gulp. fresh.

      You’ll be especially shocked that my 1st favorite song from the FFH/H&E period is also from H&E. Subway Walls. Next, (After the aforementioned “To Ascend”) would probably be the FFH Suite, with special emphasis on Sad Night at the Airfield.

      Crikey….I like that. ………

      Cheers. Thanks guys for the great show

  11. Just listened to the podcast “here’s the thing with Alec Baldwin” an interview with “the Shirley Bassey of rock and roll” according to a review Jon read. Find out how he met Vangelis and how some Yes songs came together.

  12. Wow. Not just one, but two fellow Chesterton fans at a Yes website. I’m beside myself with wonder. The guy changed my life and entire worldview.

  13. Songs that impacted me the most in the order of which they did.
    2:09 Cinema
    8:29 Roundabout
    8:02 South side of the Sky
    8:55 Siberian Khatru
    5:58 Parallels
    3:47 Into the Lens (single version)
    1:53 Fly From Here Overture
    7:47 On the Silent Wings of Freedom
    9: 41 Yours is No Disgrace

    And I tried to come up with a review of Tales from Topographic Oceans, listening on my i-pod, so without having to get up and flip it over, but I quickly fell asleep. Guess which part woke me up. I fell asleep again…guess which part woke me up a second time.

  14. I often used to think Tales would make a fantastic 3 sides of an album (didn’t Rick once complain a lot of it felt like padding?) However, whenever I’ve tried to analyse which parts I’d leave out I’ve come unstuck – nearly all seems essential. “Nearly all” because the one exception is the first part of “The Remembering”. In retrospect I’m not sure there’s too much, even of that, rather it feels slow because it fails to develop in the way that most Yesmusic does (or at least Yesmusic of the main sequence). After we get the first 2nd vocal theme “High the memory carries on” it returns to the opening theme but with identical instrumentation, harmonies etc. It just feels like we’ve take a step backwards.
    Progressive music that repeats rather than progresses?
    Brian Sullivan’s case for “Oceanic” holds some water (sorry), but even when each seqence of waves reach the shoreline the next has progressed a little further up the beach (or regressed a little further down)
    I’d still be tempted to make a 60 minute Dessert Island Compilation from Tales 1&4 with an edit of 2&3 making up the 18+ minutes left.
    But then no “Gates”? No “Your’s is No Disgrace”? Nothing from CTTE? Impossible.
    BTW +1 to Steve Roehr for “To Ascend”. A beautiful song which ascends beautifully. No shock to me that you included it.

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