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What if…the Paris sessions had been successful? 491

Produced by Wayne Hall, Jeffrey Crecelius and Preston Frazier

I had no time to do any news collation this week but I did have time to speak to the redoubtable Geoff Bailie and the equally impressive Mark Anthony K about what could have happened if the ill-fated Paris Sessions of 1979 had ended in a Yes album.

I also invited Geoff to give is thoughts on the forthcoming new Yes album, The Quest.

The Quest by Yes
  • What was that music like?
  • Was it worth finishing off?
  • Would we have had Drama or 90125 or anything else from the band?

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

We mentioned Starcastle in this episode:

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Tony Kaye at the Cinema sessions
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Show notes and links:

Join us in August to record episode 500 here:

Sadly, this trip has had to be cancelled due to travel restrictions. We hope to be able to reinstate the event next year.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_4749-1024x680.jpg
Lewis Clarke / West Devon : Yes Tor / CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • Jeffrey Crecelius
  • Preston Frazier 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

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David Watkinson

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Rachel Hadaway

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Paul Hailes

Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs

Doug Curran

Robert Nasir

Fergus Cubbage

Scott Colombo

Fred Barringer

Scott Smith
Geoff Bailie

Simon Barrow
Geoffrey Mason

Stephen Lambe

Guy R DeRome

Steve Dill

Henrik Antonsson

Steve Perry

Hogne Bø Pettersen

Steve Rode


Steve Scott

Jamie McQuinn

Steven Roehr

Ken Fuller

Terence Sadler

Michael Handerhan

Tim Stannard


Todd Dudley

John Cowan

Tony Handley

John Holden

Joseph Cottrell

John Parry

Keith Hoisington

John Thomson

Barry Gorsky

Alan Begg

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

10 replies on “What if…the Paris sessions had been successful? 491”

Starcastle! Oh how I loved them in 1976. I was sure they would be the next Yes. They put out two terrific prog rock albums. Then they put out an attempt to be a little more radio friendly…. Then they had their Love Beach moment… then disappeared.

Speaking of “Yessongs II,” I think that’s what we have in Yesshows. I’m surprised none of you mention it. It was released in Nov 1980 and from the wikis, it sounds like what you described.

Great to join you once again everyone!

Guy re YesShows being Yessongs 2… YesShows was certainly what came out in the end. Most sources say that it began life as the Yessongs 2 project but got derailed because of disagreements around the mix / performance choices which had been led by Squire… Tim Morse’s YesStories suggests Steve Howe in particular this objected and wanted a triple album. The artwork was done and then work stopped once the Drama line up got established… the mixes and artwork were returned to when this line up broke up, and issued as YesShows

I’ve not yet listened to the podcast but just wanted to say I bought the new LP edition of Olias yesterday on its release. I bought the original on its day of release in 1976.
I love the cover of The Quest album but probably won’t buy it. Yes without Anderson and Squire is not Yes for me

Hi Kevin and Mark.
A great discussion as usual. It was interesting to hear about the band’s demise regarding the two different camps wanting different styles of music and the relative values Jon Anderson put on various band members at that time. I can imagine that Steve Howe remembers those times and never wants to go back to them. Hence his determination not to let Jon rejoin the band.

Regarding Steve Howe being the producer of the new album, I’m sure he will try his best to make a classic record and show the world that Yes can be Yes without Jon Anderson. Let’s hope so.

Having now listened, I hugely enjoyed the discussion. I stand by my comment that Yes is not Yes without Jon and Chris. I qualify that by saying that while the current version of the band may be musically competent, they do not produce Yes music. The creativity died decades ago

I really enjoyed the discussion. There was one thing that I disagreed on though (well there would have to be). Jon and Vangelis had already collaborated before the Paris thing so whatever the outcome of this sessions we would still have had Jon & Vangelis albums.

I agree that there would have been no Drama or 90125 etc and would venture to say that there would not be a Yes anymore, though as you know, I don’t think Yes music has happened for decades

Interesting episode. Strikes me that the two camps in Paris were doing no more or less than responding emotionally to music’s prevailing commercial shifts.

Successful musicians are born survivors and responding to cultural change is part of that survival process. Being guitar players and coming from the Mod era, Howe and Squire were almost inevitably going to respond to Punk and New Wave with a tougher and tighter sound of their own. Led Zeppelin did the exact same thing with mixed results. Floyd’s Animals isn’t exactly easy listening either.

I remember being in Paris in ’78 and ’79 and it was all spiked hair and tight leather jackets (the Keef, Thunders, Mick Jones look). Patti Smith & Blondie. Everything day-glo, fast ‘n’ hard punk-pop fuelled by amphetamines. They wouldn’t have been able to walk down the street without being aware of it. So one faction responds one way and the other faction is repulsed and goes the other.

Wakeman, being a keyboard player (an instrument benefitting from incredibly fast moving technology in that era), and Jon leaning towards a New Age musical sensibility long before that term was used as a marketing label, were bound to respond differently.

The establishment of the Windham Hill label and the emergence of spiritually engaged electronic artists like Constance Demby and composers coming from the Pauline Oliveros school like Laurie Spiegel would almost certainly have had an impact on the pair of them. There was a clear route out for them that was far more their pace than a sound perhaps foreshadowing the burgeoning new wave of heavy metal.

Two factions both looking for ways to stay relevant in the music game but travelling along diametrically opposed paths.

PS – speaking of the Constance Demby thing I believe that she also had an influence on Vangelis. You can hear a lot of his “Blade Runner” score in her 1977 album “Skies Above Skies” and don’t under estimate the harp component in her music either.

I can highly recommend that record alongside “Sacred Space Music” and a multi artist compilation of early experiments in new age composition called “I Am The Center”. Laurie Spiegel’s ” Unseen Worlds” would also tick a lot of Rick / Jon fan’s boxes.

I was going to post my opinions on the Paris sessions……..but I have just heard ” The Ice Bridge ” my goodness this is what we hoped for , proper old school Yes with a modern twist…absolutely fantastic….well done to the team. I am really looking forward to the album.

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