Music, of course, has played a huge role in my life. As a child, I remember being in the arms of my Grandmother (Mamaw), her dancing to ABBA’s “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen”. As a teenager, I remember my Sister and I singing out at the top of our lungs the entirety of Alanis Morisette’s album, “Jagged Little Pill”, in the backseat of the family car. As a young adult, I remember experiencing the wave of emo wash over me when I first heard My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay” and “Helena”. As I have grown over the years my musical tastes have gotten braver and more expansive with The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Mars Volta, and Radiohead entering the playlist.
Nothing can easily explain the range of genres I currently enjoy. It only makes sense for me to start with the first progressive rock band I ever remember listening to, Yes.
I won’t lie and tell you that I’m the world’s biggest Yes fan. I honestly don’t currently own any of their albums, and before you ask, yes I still buy artifact CDs. I vividly remember hearing “Roundabout” for the first time. I was sitting in my Aunt’s car, outside of her home. While we were waiting, she turned on the stereo and the opening acoustic guitar soon followed by one of the craziest bass lines, immediately grabbed my attention and did not let go. The vocalist comes in with a voice that I still to this day think of as one of the most memorable in rock history. High pitched but, controlled, piercing through all the deep bass tones and technical drumming straight into your ears.
The song felt like it went on forever when I was younger. Now I think of it as the right length. An absolute masterclass in what progressive rock was supposed to be and shaping the future of the genre at the same time.
Recently, Yes was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. An institution that I’m not terribly fond of but, important nonetheless. Yes absolutely deserves to be honored among the most famous, talented, and defining artists of music. Even on the basis of just one song.