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Yes singles part 16 – Keys to Ascension and Open Your Eyes – 335

Keys to Ascension and Open Your Eyes
Keys to Ascension and Open Your Eyes

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

We cover the Keys to Ascension albums as well as Open Your Eyes this week in our look at the Yes singles. It’s a complex and unclear picture!


  • What was going on in the band and with album releases?
  • Were there any singles?
  • Was this the most confused period of the band’s history?

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Yes Music PodcastYMP patrons:

Robert Nasir | Jeffrey Crecelius | Preston Frazier | Bill Govier | Wayne Hall |

Joseph Cottrell | Michael O’Connor | Paul Tomei | Geoffrey Mason | Lobate Scarp | Fergus Cubbage | Steve Dill | Steve Scott

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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

6 replies on “Yes singles part 16 – Keys to Ascension and Open Your Eyes – 335”

Enjoyed the Keys to Ascension 2 discussion this week. Your views are very similar to Rick’s as evidenced here

And if you want to know what Axis of Love that he mentions sounds like… it’s here

I think the existing KTA2 tracks plus Axis would have made an amazing album on their own.

Another excellent episode, as usual, and one I was especially interested in because this period of Yes is a big black hole for me. I’d become a Yes fan sometime between Big Generator and ABWH, but after the reunion of Union (which I ultimately didn’t care for), I lost interest in their new material for a long time. When Talk came out, it just sounded anachronistic to me – I thought the technically precise production sounded absolutely freeze-dried, and it sounded like dad-rock for another generation. That it didn’t sell well (despite, whatever other people will tell you, good promotion – it even had a TV commercial!) made it easy to miss. And as for Keys… it looked like a huge backward step for me, appearing like a live-album by an old line-up with two new studio tracks barely mentioned.

Open Your Eyes (the song) I definitely heard at the time of release. The local rock station had a thing they did where they would play a classic track from a famous band, followed by the announcer going “Classic artists…… then…. AND NOW!”, followed by their current album. And whatever the classic track was, when they crashed into Yes’s “Open Your Eyes”, I found it severely lacking *especially* when they had just played “Roundabout” or something right ahead of it. Although I’ve gone back and listened to all the 1990s-2000s albums I missed, I never bonded with OYE, and whenever I reach for some Yes it’s the album I always give the swerve. It’s a shame that it took me years and years to get back into Yes just because OYE seemed to confirm to me that Yes was a spent force. Thankfully they clawed back some respect and didn’t wind up on the state fair circuit.

I was really curious if this period would be covered at all, because in the 1990s even the biggest rock acts didn’t release actual ‘singles’ – it was mostly radio and video play, with no commercially released singles available except as promos or imports (which didn’t count towards the charts). The aim was to get the listener to buy the album, not a single. If you look at the major rock acts, like Pearl Jam for example, they sold truckloads of albums and had many huge, famous songs that didn’t chart (or barely did) simply because there was no single for the listener to buy – there were separate airplay charts and ‘rock radio’ charts because of this. I understand the UK is much more singles-focused than the US, which in my lifetime has always been very album-oriented. I’d have been very surprised if there was any commercially available single to buy, especially from Keys…., by a legacy band on two different independent labels.

Open Your Eyes (as mentioned before, the album I think of as “Cover Your Ears”) is always my least favorite Yes album. OK – not even “least favorite,” I just plain don’t like it. “Union” has a larger number of listenable songs on it. But – I did listen to the title track again, and it’s not the worst thing they’ve ever done. I even think it could be a great, stealth way to “open” a 50th anniversary show.

Mr. Cottrell, I could imagine how that would go …… “thank you ladies and gentlemen, that was called “Open Your Eyes”……. wait, come back everyone, where are you going?”

I joke of course, but it would definitely be a curveball, and I’m sure people would appreciate the nerve of it. The thrill of it might wear off after the first couple of minutes though.

I believe I’m right in saying that the song “Open Your Eyes” is a hidden track on the Squire/Sherwood album Conspiracy.

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