We talk about London in the 70s and Tormato with music Journalist and Yes book author, Chris Welch – 559

Produced by Ken Fuller, Wayne Hall and Jeffrey Crecelius

This week we met the delightful Chris Welch who wrote one of the most important books about Yes, Close To The Edge – The Yes Story. Journalist for Melody Maker, Kerrang and many other publications, Chris has known the band from its earliest days and we very much enjoyed talking to him about those days in the early 70s as well as his trip to Advision to see the band recording Tormato. It was a  great conversation so we hope you enjoy it as well.

  • What was it like in London in the early 70s?
  • Did punk kill prog?
  • How was the atmosphere in Advision?

Take a listen to the episode and then let us know what you think below!

Chris’ Melody Maker Studio report and Tormato review:

Facebook has just changed how pages work which means that I’ve had to establish a new place for us to post and discuss Yes-related happenings. It’s a new group entitled, rather creatively, YMP Discussion Group. For the moment it’s open to anyone to join but I’ll be adding rules and joining requirements when I have time. One of the advantages of the new format is that all members of the group have the same ability to post content, so it’s a bit more egalitarian, or somesuch. Please do search for the group and join in.

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up at to the email newsletter. PRESALE IS UNDERWAY (for subscribers only)! If you sign up now, for free, you can have access to the newsletters you’ve missed. It really helps to know people are looking forward to reading the culmination of my decades of Tormato obsession.

Not final artwork or title – just me messing about with one of Jeremy North’s photos

YMP Patrons:


  • Ken Fuller
  • Jeffrey Crecelius and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

Mark James Lang
Paul Tomei
Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Paul Wilson
Martin Kjellberg
Bob Martilotta
Michael O’Connor
William Hayes
Brian Sullivan

David Pannell

Lobate Scarp
Miguel Falcão
Chris Bandini

David Watkinson

Neal Kaforey
Rachel Hadaway
Craig Estenes
Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs
Paul Hailes
Doug Curran

Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage
Scott Colombo
Fred Barringer
Geoff Bailie
Simon Barrow
Geoffrey Mason

Stephen Lambe
Guy R DeRome
Steve Dill
Henrik Antonsson
Steve Perry

Hogne Bø Pettersen
Steve Rode
Declan Logue
Steve Scott
Todd Dudley
Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

John Parry
Keith Hoisington
Alan Begg
Terence Sadler
John Holden
Barry Gorsky
Michael Handerhan
Tim Stannard

Joseph Cottrell
John Thomson
John Cowan
Tony Handley

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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:

5 replies on “We talk about London in the 70s and Tormato with music Journalist and Yes book author, Chris Welch – 559”

Chris is a lovely man and to have his stories and memories to hand still is a treat. Always helpful to me as I was for his book. He made some very interesting points and insights on why Tormato was a good Yes album, I liked the points that it was varied and a return to the early years of shortened songs.

The cover, well he is pretty clear on that one, but the question is who had the final say to go to print with that cover and name and not pull it?

It’s always great to hear Chris Welch talk or to write about his early years in London in the 60s & 70s, especially his relationship with Yes. The band members still have fond memories of Chris’ support of them in that time period. I highly recommend Chris’ Yes book, “Close to the Edge-the Story of Yes,” for those who don’t have it. You can find it many place online, such as Amazon. I also agree with Chris regarding “Tormato” as being a great album, not the miss that many say today in their revisionist history. I was there at the time on the air as a radio dj, and the songs got a lot of play and the album sold many copies, going gold.

Are you kidding? Haven’t you read Welch’s book? He HATES their epic period, which is my favorite period. I could tell because he couldn’t find anything nice to say about Tales and Relayer, and not even “Awaken.” He called those long tracks “indigestible.” I think me and my friends were just younger than Welch. Our first concerts we either TALES or the RELAYER tour (me) and we thought that was the peak of their artistic freedom and creative prowess.

Back in the late 70’s I kept loads of cuttings of articles taken from the music press regarding my favourite bands, Yes and Genesis/Peter Gabriel. I always liked Chris Welch’s attitude as he was still a supporter when most of the others had succumbed to the whole punk thing which was itself a media fad.
He was of course wrong to think Tormato was any good, especially thinking it was better than TFTO or Relayer which are the two best Yes albums.
The music press was always driven by these fads which was a self perpetuating cycle. I remember other hype stories such as the arrival of Bruce Springsteen hailed as the new Bob Dylan by all the press in the same week. Clever manipulation by agents etc. The term Dinosaur Band was from that period which usually meant prog rock giants but with absolutely no reason other than to follow the trend to say that the press was following the latest new thing.
The music press has always been lazy in that it follows the trends rather than report on actuality. It is also so revisionist by claiming to be the first to promote some new thing.
As an aside, the highlight of the show for me was hearing Rachel Hadaway’s voice and review of the show she attended. For years I’ve thought you should get an interview with her as she seems to be the only woman among your list of patrons. Let’s hear more from her please.

Chris is a good writer and a really decent guy. He has an interestingly different take on ‘Tomato’. Among other things, it fits with his more pop-oriented sensibility, which unfortunately led him not to appreciate the band’s much more exploratory work on ‘Tales’ or ‘Relayer’.

We should mention his new book on Keith Emerson (Rocket 88 Books, 2022), based on interviews with those who knew or engaged with Keith, plus previously unseen photos from family, friends, and professional photographers.

Those who offer comment on Emerson and his legacy include Rick Wakeman, Alan White, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes, so there’s a Yes connection in there, too.

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