Big progressive rock news today. Legendary music producer Trevor Horn will be working with Yes for a new album, to be titled Fly From Here. It is the first studio album for Yes in ten years, while it’s the first time Horn and Yes have worked together since 1987’s Big Generator. Will this album work for fans in 2011? Perhaps.
Some useless facts. This is the third time Horn and Yes have worked together. The first time was when he and keyboardist Geoff Downes, both of them known as two-thirds of the group The Buggles, became members of Yes for their album Drama. Horn served as the band’s new vocalist (replacing Jon Anderson. The album was somewhat of a flop and they split up. Two years later, bassist Chris Squier wanted to make new music and formed Cinema. Eventually, Cinema eventually became a Yes project again, Jon Anderson rejoined the group, and Horn (being one of the “it” producers at the time) was asked to join in as producer. It was Horn who made it possible to place Yes on pop radio for good. Horn worked on a few tracks for their follow-up album four years later, Big Generator, although many felt that the album’s core came from guitarist which many felt was more of a vehicle for guitarist Trevor Rabin, who joined the band for 90125.
Horn will have worked with Yes under three different singers: himself, Anderson, and the band’s current vocalist, Benoit David (Anderson had fallen ill three years ago and was given doctor’s orders to rest. The group didn’t want to wait around and chose to tour without him, which moved Anderson to comment publicly that he was disappointed by their decision.)
Yes have been together as a band since 1968, with bassist Squire being the only member to have been with the group throughout their 43-year duration. Let’s be honest though: while Yes’ “classic period” and their 90125 album (which is 28 years old and no doubt classic, but purists will say “no, give me The Yes Album over that electronic clickety-clack) will remain FM radio staples, can this album make an impact on buyers in 2011? On older buyers, indeed. For fans of Horn, definitely. Or is the album merely an advertisement of sorts so that they’ll be able to say “we have new music, which most of the public will ignore but by the way, we’re going on tour”? Plus, a singer that is a complete unknown, and Horn knows how fans reacted to Yes when he was their singer. Looking back, Drama is a really good album but David is unproven. However, Journey has had Arnel Pineda as their lead vocalist for the last few years, and has managed to gain a loyal following not only by Journey fans, but by Filipino fans around the world who love that “their boy” is in one of their favorite groups. Will people be that loyal to David? Hard to say, since Yes has never had that kind of youthful following like Journey did. Only time will tell (and yes, that was an Asia reference, a group that featured Yes/Buggles keyboardist Downes and guitarist Steve Howe, who is also in this incarnation of Yes).
At the end of the year, we’ll see how well this re-re-union between Horn and Yes worked out. Cheers to both.