Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Yes

[Note:  In 2017, Yes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.]

During their badly named Union tour, a revolving stage with eight musicians demonstrated an attempt at unity between two different camps of the band Yes [1]. These eight men: Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Tony Kaye, and Rick Wakerman formed different combinations of the band with different supporting players who would remain for an album or two with enough variety to have their own webpage for the different combinations of members [2]. Until cancer forced him to leave the band shortly before his death in June 2015, Chris Squire was the one constant in the band’s entire discography, a bass player content to let others shine while contributing to a dazzling array of albums with many different styles and with a great deal of difficulty in harmony. Yet it would be a great shame if the band Yes was only remembered for its tumultuous revolving lineup of members, given that the band has a long record of successful songs and albums and a significant, if complicated, cultural influence.

Yes’ Influence

Although Yes has had #1 hit on the mainstream charts (“Owner Of A Lonely Heart”), along with five additional top 40 hits (“Your Move,” “Roundabout,” “Leave It,” “Love Will Find A Way,” and “Rhythm Of Love,” along with three #1 hits on the Mainstream Rock Charts and six additional top ten hits there, it is the album charts where Yes has shown their greatest popularity. With two multi-platinum albums, seven additional platinum albums, and four additional gold albums, every one of their albums from 1971 to 1991 except for one hit gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in the United States [3], and that album was a hit in the UK, 1980’s Drama, recorded as a supergroup along with the Buggles (most famous for their hit “Video Killed The Radio Star”). Besides the immense influence of the band’s lengthy suites, and the band’s openness to mystical themes, perhaps the most telling aspect of the band’s influence is the way it motivated others to try to counter it. One example of this was the fact that their successful multi-platinum album Fragile prompted Canadian band Bachman-Turner Overdrive to record a response album called Not Fragile [4]. When one great band prompts a response from another, that ought to be an obvious sign of influence and popularity.

Why Yes Belongs In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Sustained popularity over the course of two decades, memorable songs that remain culturally significant, enough influence to inspire legions of haters and confuse critics, enough musicians to inspire a “Six Degrees Of Yes” game, and a compelling drive to create good music even if it means you have to play with people you have had problems with before makes Yes not only a band worthy of induction in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but a lesson for others on how to play nicely with others. Not only does the band itself have a complicated history, but the band’s immense creativity allowed it to collaborate with such diverse acts as the Buggles, Asia, and Vangelis (of “Chariots Of Fire” fame), aside from all of the tribute bands and bands formed by former members of the group (like XYZ and, most famously, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe). Their combination of rock, dance, jazz, classical, folk, and world music influences make them a compelling band to redress the continued snubbing of Progressive rock by the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Why Yes Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

They’ve been nominated before, but perhaps it has been difficult to figure out which eight-to-ten people belong on the list in Cleveland. The eight players in Union would be sufficient, adding the two members of the Buggles or Jon Davison (their current lead singer) or Billy Sherwood would work also, or it could be put up for a fan vote for who should be inducted in the 9th and 10th name slots. Other bands have this problem, and it shouldn’t prevent Yes from being inducted.

Verdict: Put them in—they’ve already been nominated once so clearly they are on someone’s radar, unlike some other worthy inductees. That should help.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_(Yes_album)

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Yes_band_members

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_discography

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_Fragile

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Yes

  1. Pingback: Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Foreigner | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Sven says:

    It is an absolute insulting abomination that the great and monumentally influential Prog band, YES, is not in the Rock Hall. I’m beginning to wonder if the Rock Hall is not worthy of YES (and a few other artists that have been snubbed, like Kate Bush).

  3. Adrian says:

    Interesting. I listened to Yes,and they were a huge influence on me early on as a musician. I think Progressive Rock is one of the best genres of music out there. Many bands are keeping the music alive today that Yes actually began back in their day. They do belong in the Rock Hall of Fame but now that they are inducting acts like N.W.A. it seems rather pointless to induct Yes. They ought to have a Prog Rock Hall of Fame (maybe they already do) and put them in there. Right next to bands like Marillion, Transatlantic, Dream Theater, Genesis and the Neal Morse Band who are also GREAT progressive rock bands who were heavily influenced by Yes.

    • I think a Progressive Rock HOF would be quite enjoyable to go to, although the RRHOF is designed to appeal to a wide audience, of which progressive fans are one element among many.

  4. Doug Gottlieb says:

    Long over due, but they made it!

  5. Pingback: Book Review: Time And A Word: The Yes Story | Edge Induced Cohesion

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