Yes “Close To The Edge”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#645 in the Series) is Yes,Close To The Edge

A  friend once told me a story about this record that I would have a hard time verifying as he has been to hell and back, but the story was that he took a class at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) at which the syllabus for the semester covered only the meaning and interpretation  of the epic and classic title track of one of the best, if not the best ever record by this band of immensely talented musicians that were either ahead of their time, before their time, or most likely in a time that few would ever understand.

This is likely the height of the creative period for this iteration of my favorite band of all time, and it certainly contains my favorite song (“And You and I”, with “Awaken” a close second). There are only three songs on this album, and it starts with a solid rock guitar mixed with some of Rick Wakeman’s harpsichord along with Chris Squire’s incredible bass and Bill Bruford’s drum. Lead vocalist Jon Anderson gets solo writing credit for “And You and I”, this song starts with a pretty acoustic solo highlighted with harmonics and punctuated with synthesizer.

“Siberian Khatru” has long been a fan favorite and was known for years as their live set opener.

This was the last studio record of Bill Bruford as well. He would be replaced by John Lennon’s drummer Alan White for the recording of the band’s next release, Tales From Topographical Oceans.

Produced by Eddie Offord, there is an interesting alternate version of this which leaves out what could be heard as an off key chorus and also adds more guitar in the ending section.  Steve Howe is his masterful self not only on lead but pedal steel guitar as well.  You may have heard better use of a pedal steel guitar, I know I have not.

The album closes with what was at the time the entire side B of the record and which covers some lyrics which cause anyone to ponder their true meaning, but all of the music works like an orchestra, especially the vocals which break the song up into two unforgettable parts. How a song as long as this manages not to be too long and demands you listen to it in its entirety and parts is as big a mystery as what the song means.

The  cover features the art of Roger Dean as did its predecessor (Fragile) and though I was only 12 years old when it was a new release, I could only imagine how high it must have made a music fan of the time feel. I have mentioned before in this space that if you could only take 12  records, or 8-tracks or cassettes or CD’s with you to the moon, not only would this be high on my list, it also could make you feel like the band must have spent some time in the solar system to put out something this awesome.

If you have not listened it for a while, give it another spin. And no, you don’t have to be high to enjoy it, rather it will make you high to hear this kind of creativity by such a phenomenal group of musicians.

A big thank you to the talented “RelayerJim” for the use of his 3d logo. Check out his site for more tasty logos

— John Driscoll, Chicago, Illinois, USA

 Track Listing

Side One

  1. Close to the Edge: The SolidTime of Change/Total Mass Retain/I Get Up – 18:42
Side Two
  1. And You and I: Cord of Life/Eclipse/The Preacher the Teacher/Apocalypse – 10:08
  2. Siberian Khatru – 8:54


  • Jon Anderson – vocals
  • Steve Howe – guitars, vocals
  • Chris Squire – bass, vocals
  • Rick Wakeman – keyboards
  • Bill Bruford – drums, percussion


Back to the Cool Album Home Page
Here is the complete album followed by the three songs live

Here are some more progressive rock albums that we’ve featured

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Posted by Larry Carta

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