Heaven & Earth Revisited – 226

Heaven & Earth
The most recent Yes studio album

There’s a huge amount going on in the extended world of Yes but Mark and I take some time out to look back at the most recent studio album and re-assess its merits.

  • Were the band ready to make this album?
  • Is there any progressive music on it?
  • Should it be at the bottom of the Yes album list?

Show notes and links

The spurious Yes show in London

Anderson Stolt teaser:

Preston Frazier on Siberian Khatru

TV promo spot for the More Drama Tour 2005:

The Syn Press release for the More Drama Tour

Nick Baker’s amazing Yes item

Preston Frazier’s amazing Yes items

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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
About the Author

Kevin

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26 thoughts on “Heaven & Earth Revisited – 226

  1. Mark–I don’t know if you realized it, but you accidentally called the album “Heaven and Hell.” Three times! Since I’m confident you didn’t mean the Vangelis album…a Freudian slip…?

  2. Hello, Kevin,
    After spending most of 2015 listening to four or five YMPs each week, I now feel less connected in 2016, even though I’m though I’m “current.” I have to wait a whole week for more?! πŸ™‚

    After you revisited Big Generator, I made a point of listening to all the studio albums in chronological order from BG forward. I entered the process remembering that Open Your Eyes, Fly From Here, and Heaven & Earth were my three LEAST favorite Yes albums. But listening more carefully through Open Your Eyes, I found more to enjoy, and more worthy of my time and respect. The same was true of Fly From Here. Heaven & Earth? Meh. Well, maybe I’ll like it more after a couple more years go by. I’m still optimistic about the next Yes studio album, should there be one — even if Davison is the main song writer. I think they can produce great songs, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    Top ten list? I tried this some time back. I find that sometimes CTTE, Tales, and Relayer would all be in my top five; and other times, none of them are in my top ten. How great is it that we have such a variety of Yes music riches to reach for, no matter what mood we’re in?

    I have at least a handful of other thoughts I’ll share when your podcasts hit on those various topics.

    One last thing. Neither Yes nor ARW are coming to the Pacific Northwest on their North American tours, and I’m not sure a road trip fits the family schedule or budget. … very sad. We’ll see.

    1. Thanks Karl and sorry I can’t produce more episodes more often!! I am planning something for the 5 year anniversary however… Great to read your thoughts – keep them coming!

  3. Looking back, it seems your Yes alphabet ended with ‘T.’ … the next time your stuck for an idea for the next podcast.

    1. Yes I am aware of that and really look forward to completing the alphabet. I need to be at home for the research on those which I am increasingly less of the time at the moment. One day… Thanks for the comment!

  4. I actually had tickets for the More Drama tour. They were scheduled for Cleveland, about 5 hours from my home. I was very disappointed when it was cancelled. I also never bought the story about visas. Sadly, it was a down time for Yes and this was probably considered “less Yes” than those who say “no Jon no Yes” (a camp to which I do not belong).

  5. Greetings Kevin,
    Really???? Oh no…yes that was a slip….and to honest…ever since they aannounced the title for that album…I’ve always had that slip up occur. You have to understand that one of my favorite albums of all time is Black Sabbaths’ s “Heaven and Hell”. So it seems every time i begin with Heaven….Hell slips in as well. But yes…Immeant Heaven and Earth. You have keen hearing my friend.
    Thank you for your comments.

    Mark Anthony K

  6. Greetings Jamie
    Yeah I also was going to go to this when it was to arrive in Toronto. But Irremember hearing on the radio that it was cancelled. The Dj at the time also read something about visa difficulties. .but he wasn’t having any of it. He came right out on the air and said that he had good reason to believe that ticket sales were soft.

    Interesting. ..who knows what the truth is..
    Thanks again for listening and your support.

    Mark Anthony K

  7. Hello Kevin and Mark,
    Well
    H&E I was able to listen to for about a year on my long commute to work each day and I would listen to the entire album. Yes it has its moments and we all know its not a Yes master piece, however that being said I still enjoy it however I to am a bit older now and enjoy many things that I never thought I would.
    I believe Chris was amazing on this album all things considered I mean know one really knows what was going on inside his body at the time but I do know that the disease that took his life was brewing in his body for a while.
    I don’t mean to sound morbid in anyway but I think it was the right time for this album.
    Myself never being able to make an album and play various instruments,Its not as bad as people say it is,
    I believe that Yes will make another album in time and lets face it Jon Anderson is an amazing song writer and its apparent with what he is doing now.

    Cheers

    1. Hello Paul,
      Thank you for your great comments. I’m impressed that you were able to listen to Heaven and Earth for a whole year. Again everyone has different tastes and this shows an example of how time has not changed your opinion on the album.

      Thanks for your support and for listening.

      Mark Anthony K

    2. Thanks Paul. Yes I think the future is bright for Yes and Yes-related music, even without Chris – such a loss still today and always!

  8. Hi Kevin and Mark,

    thanks for the latest episodes. I’ve not been an avid listener as many others are, but now I found a great app to stream podcasts to my favourite audio devices (i.e. the radio in my bedroom) I’m listening more often again.

    Concerning Heaven & Earth: it is the only Yes album I don’t own in physical format. Since I had a Google Play account at the time it was released I streamed it a lot when it came out, and really tried to give it a chance. Somehow I’m struck by the complete level of blandness that comes from it. And really, I gave it a big chance, streamed it a lot, and though it sounds like Yes somehow there is no single moment I get excited from the music on there. The Game has a quite nice progression and that’s about as far as it gets.

    After listening to the podcast yesterday I put on the album again, and I’m afraid again it failed to excite me.

    Concerning stuff that should be given a second change. I remember buying the Yes backlog around the time I became a fan in the early ’90s. This included Big Generator which I never gave a lot of spins. After some years of extensively listening to the rest of the backlog I remember picking up BG and falling madly in love with the track Final Eyes. It resulted into weeks of listening to BG on repeat. I’m also quite fond of I’m Running, but FInal Eyes was my absolute smashing favourite. It might seem like an odd, loose collection of musical ideas at first glance, but some of the melodic work on there is amazing, and if you listen to some of the more recent Rabin work (like his Jacaranda album which is amazing) the song really makes sense in the Yes catalog. Big Generator to me is a relevant album.

    Kind regards,

    Joost.

    1. Thanks Joost and great to hear you are listening more regularly! Every time I go back to Big Generator it surprises me. I get put off by the ‘big singles’ when, as you say, there is so much more to it than that. πŸ™‚

  9. Hello Kevin,
    First of all, it is very obvious how excited you are after the experience of seeing Yes in concert last week. I’m sure it was this renewed excitement about this line-up that prompted you to give H&E another chance. After listening to this podcast, I, too, gave it another listen. Well, part of it. My opinion hasn’t changed either. It is still at the bottom of the list for all the reasons that most have noted already.

    But, great podcast and thanks. Keep it up!

    Guy

    1. Thanks Guy. It’s another case of what might have been, I think. Steve Howe’s comments about the band not being ready to record keep echoing round my head. However, waiting would have meant no Chris Squire on it of course.

  10. Another comment for Mark (which seems kind of weird as it’s Kevin’s show, but, oh well, we’re all just one big weird obsessive family, right?)… you mentioned “Tormato” a bit and, yes, while it was a bit of a let-down after “GFTO” I think it stands up pretty well on it’s own merits. . . but here’s the cool part: I recall reading an interview with Wakeman a few years back – God only knows in what publication – where he said that “Tormato” could have been as rich and deep and fully imagined as “Going For The One”. . . “…if only we had been allowed to finish it.” Apparently, according to Rick, the band was ready to go back in to the studio to do A LOT of overdubbing, but the label said “NO, YOU NEED TO GET AN ALBUM OUT,” and basically just took it away from them and released it in unfinished form. Makes you wonder what might have been…

    1. Hello Joseph,
      First let me start by saying this IS Kevin’s show and always will be…I’m very honored to be working with him on such a fantastic podcast. And while I do put in my input and 2 pence (see what I did there. ..haha) Kevin will always have the final say in everything.

      Now regarding Tormato..I total believe that’s what happened..if you think about it..Yes were on a roll having Rick return to the band and since the label probably wanted to cash in on this good fortune…they probably rushed them out of the studio and back on the road. Like I said…this album has really grown on me over this year. .so yes it would be interesting to imagine what it would have sounded like fully completed.

      Mark

      1. I really can’t imagine what Tormato could have become – as it’s already the best studio album by far πŸ˜‰

  11. Weelllll, I certainly can’y leave that unchallenged! Also, this is a response to a post on the YMP Facebook page from May 18th… so, here we go, from Least Good to Bestesest:

    21. Open Your Eyes
    20/19 (tie) Keys To Ascension 1 and 2 (or 2 and 1… whatever)
    18. Heaven And Earth
    17. Fly From Here
    16. Talk
    15. Magnification
    14. Union
    13. YES
    12. Time And A Word
    11. Big Generator
    10. The Ladder
    9. 90125
    8. Tormato (SO sorry, Kevin!)
    7. Drama
    6. Fragile
    5. The Yes Album
    4. Close To The Edge
    3. Tales From Topographic Oceans
    2. Relayer
    1. Going For The One

    …afetr you get below about number 12 it just becomes a matter of whether or not I remember ANYTHING off the album…

    I’d be interested to see how other “family” members rank these…

  12. My list is like this:

    1 Close To The Edge (perfect), Tales From Topographic Oceans (perfect but relaxed), Relayer (perfect but manic… that Telecaster is orgasmic).

    2 The Yes Album & Fragile – I prefer Yessongs because TYE is SO studio-bound and Fragile has those silly solo tracks, but these are great songs.

    3 Going For The One – but hey, Steven Wilson, please remove all the reverb!
    Tormato – bright and colourful and energetic with only a few real flaws – Onward’s pizzicato, Damian’s incompetence, “rock is the medium” and “40-second screamdown” all make me shudder.

    4 90125 – as perfect a Yes album as you could have without Steve Howe, i.e. not quite.

    5 Yes – a few soppy moments but hey it was the 60s!
    Time And A Word – side 1 is awesome and so powerfully produced.
    Heaven & Earth – a few soppy moments but he these guys were IN their 60s!
    Drama – seriously disappointing and when I bought it in 1980 but I’ve just heard it live and will be happy to do so again next year.

    6 Big Generator – Rhythm Of Love is a great pop song.
    Open Your Eyes – New State Of Mind (pop again) and possibly one or two others. Basically Billy was a shot in the arm.
    Talk – I haven’t really listened to enough yet, having only just got it. Probably OK.

    Everything else I could happily forget. Basically from the 1995 reunion onwards they couldn’t write a tune to save their lives until Jon Davison arrived, so all the albums they made in the interim are completely directionless noodling.

    I can’t understand why more people didn’t find Fly From Here an incredibly dull and pointless look backwards. Nothing against Benoit, he’s a great singer and I really like the In The Present live album.

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