What Did They Do Next Part 17b – Billy Sherwood – 455

Produced by Jeffrey Crecelius, Wayne Hall, Preston Frazier and Bill Govier

Billy Sherwood
Billy Sherwood – Photo by William Mulryne

Mark and I are back this week with the second part of our look at the World Trade album Euphoria in our what did they do next series this time featuring Billy Sherwood.

We also have a chance to give our two pence on a topic which compares Roger Dean’s approach to that of Yes themselves. I hope you find all that interesting.

  • What is Euphoria like?
  • How does Jay Schellen sound?
  • Does this sound like Open Your Eyes?

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

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Show notes and links:

YMP Patrons:


  • Jeffrey Crecelius
  • Preston Frazier
  • Bill Govier and
  • Wayne Hall


Aaron Steelman

Dave Owen

Mark James Lang

Paul Tomei

Joost Maglev

David Heyden

Martin Kjellberg

Paul Wilson

Bob Martilotta


Michael O’Connor

William Hayes
Brian Sullivan

David Pannell

Miguel Falcão

Lobate Scarp

Chris Bandini

David Watkinson

Neal Kaforey

Rachel Hadaway

Craig Estenes


Paul Hailes

Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs

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Fergus Cubbage

Scott Colombo

Fred Barringer

Scott Smith
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Guy R DeRome

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Steve Perry

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Steve Rode


Steve Scott

Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

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John Holden

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Robert and David

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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

2 replies on “What Did They Do Next Part 17b – Billy Sherwood – 455”

Another very interesting discussion. What our expectations are as fans probably comes down to where the band were creatively when we got the bug and especially when we saw them live for the first time. So the Yes audience will be fragmented into all kind of sub sets. I expect there are even some fans who don’t listen past the Yes Album. If you are under 50 and grew up with 80s radio then you may have a very different outlook to someone who was buying records long before anyone had heard of the Sex Pistols.

For me Yes is a European art music group combining British 60s R&B (in the old fashioned meaning of that term), 19th and early 20th century Classical music, Jazz influences with the sounds emanating from the mid to late 60s London Psychedelic scene. At the same time they were taking vocal harmony influences from American pop – Beach Boys on the one hand and the likes of on the 5th Dimension on the other.
However finessed and complex the music became it also always had some of that sweaty London 60s club scene feel to it. Especially on stage. Lyrically literalism was out. Expressionistic sound poetry was in.

So when you ask about expectations, I expect to hear a lot of those elements in some form or another. New influences and new sounds too but the essence of the band should still have some of all that about it and a fearlessness about not underestimating the audience’s ability to take on complex ideas – musically or lyrically.

So, like you Kevin, I am looking along the shelf housing my Yes collection and if I take out the live albums then the problematic period is the decade from 90125 through Talk. Those records were made by a group that had been named Cinema and was then rebranded for financial reasons. I don’t care who is in the line up or what the branding says. Good rock band by 80s standards (not a high bar) but it’s not Yes. No more than Bad Company could have continued as Free.

After that they for me suffer a mid-Atlantic identity crisis especially in the years when they could realistically still chase the mirage of significant airplay in the US market. Having hits may have been financially liberating but it was a creative handbrake.

Come the new century Magnification promised so much and shook off much of the Rabin era compromises and should have pointed an exciting way forward but instead they hit the creative buffers again. The timing of the release didn’t help but what Yes needs to sell tickets and what Yes needs to make great music seems to have been contradictory ever since.

Fly From Here has some magnificent moments but doesn’t that music really belong next to Drama in terms of the creative lineage? Would it even exist in that form without the holdover material from 1980? Arguable.

Yet when I hear Steve Howe’s recent solo and trio releases I get very excited about what they could be capable of as those albums carry l lot of the truly unique Yes spirit. Far more than From The Page. However they don’t have the line up to take best advantage of that promise.

I really like the DBA Skyscraper Souls record (was one of my albums of the year) but Downes isn’t Igor or Moraz. Especially Igor. Regardless of writing ability, without a classically trained European keyboard player of near-elite level range musicality they wont make another Yes record that meets my expectations. There is, in truth, probably room for two keyboard players in this band in this era and your comment about Oliver Wakeman staying in as a composer applies equally to Downes.

Billy is great at so many things and Jon is perfect but the drum sound on the last tour (with that massive thwacking migraine-inducing snare) is more Foreigner than Yes. Yes was a band with conservatoire instincts that rose to hockey arena level. They are not an arena band musically and there is definitely a difference. That for me sums up all their problems since the first big split. Best Yes music records since then? Change We Must and New Frontier. I was hopeful until the last year or so but in truth I don’t really expect the band to make another record as good as either of those two releases. Though I do ask myself why King Crimson seems to be in a constant state of reinvention and Yes settles for being a nostalgia machine.

What a very well considered and intelligent appraisal much of which I can agree with ….
Igor was a truly brilliant player he could literally play anything in the Yes canon….indeed I remember bumping into him I think on The Ladder tour and gushingly saying ” You are the best keyboard player Yes has ever had !!! ”
I pretty much have bought every Yes and alumni releases for the last 39 years and whilst there have been occasional dips in quality ….sorry to say this but a significant number of RW albums ( quantity over quality!!) …The Living Tree, Know and a few others generally the Yes ” family ” have produced good to excellent material over 5 decades which I have greatly enjoyed.
Your comments regarding Steve’s recent output is interesting …he is a wonderful musician and composer. I have of course all his solo output but I have to say I was a little disappointed with ” Love is”…the instrumentals were good and the songs were fine but they do sound like leftovers from Heaven and Earth which I actually enjoyed as an album but not as a Yes album if that makes any sense.
Contradicting myself I loved 90125 and Big Generator which were very much not one would expect from Yes but in my mind are very much Yes. I remember seeing Rush at the Birmingham NEC on the Hold Your Fire tour…and they played the whole of Big Generator on the PA before the show so I guess that liked it too.
In regard to World Trade I prefer the first and third albums over Euphoria but they are all very good I have all Billy’s solo, Circa, albums and many of the releases he has produced. I think without him Yes would have folded…his input to the band off and on for three decades is very significant. Ponder the Mystery!!

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