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Classic Artists: Yes (2007)

Video  -  Documentary | Music  -  18 June 2007 (UK)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 19 users  
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The story of Yes is as controversial as their music. The twists and turns of band's career is now told for the first time in a series of exclusive interviews with Yes members past and ... See full summary »

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Cast

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Peter Banks ...
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Jack Barrie ...
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Bill Bruford ...
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Phil Carson ...
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Roy Clair ...
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Martyn Dean ...
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Roger Dean ...
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Geoff Downes ...
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Keith Emerson ...
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Jerry Greenberg ...
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Steve Howe ...
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Nigel Luby ...
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The story of Yes is as controversial as their music. The twists and turns of band's career is now told for the first time in a series of exclusive interviews with Yes members past and present for this definitive and fully authorised DVD documentary. Written by Chris Welch

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rock music | progressive rock | See All (2) »

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Their definitive fully authorized story in a 2 disc deluxe set See more »

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Documentary | Music

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18 June 2007 (UK)  »

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14 Hour Technicolour Dream
Written by Steve Nardelli and Andrew Pryce Jackman
Performed by The Syn, 1967
Taken from the single: 'Flowerman'
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YES: In So Many Words
19 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had just watched an excellent documentary on the British classic rock band Cream earlier this week when I discovered the same producers had given a similar treatment to the progressive rock band YES.

Any fan of prog rock knows that YES is the foundation of British progressive rock which is a fusion of various musical styles, including rock, folk, classical music, blues and jazz with exceptional musical talent. Other bands in the genre are Genesis (pre-80s), King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Soft Machine, UK, Caravan, as well as Canadian group, RUSH and U.S. group, Kansas. YES truly embodied the term "super group" with five individually-talented members and music that relied on each performer's part rather than just a supporting rhythm section holding up an ego-maniacal lead singer and flashy lead guitarist. Each member of YES has gone on to become leaders in their own right even after the fact, either as solo artists, songwriters or producers.

I followed the band right up to their 90125 album. Like in the Cream doc, writer Chris Welch and director Jon Brewer sit down with each current and former member of Yes individually and talk about the history of the band. Very thorough and introspective. And what a documentary it is. Three and a half hours of "talking head" interviews with a lot of back and forth edits between questions and band members. A lot of history of each member but mainly where it pertains to YES rather than go into their solo endeavors and side projects. Very fitting for a band that's been together over 40 years and all of them still alive and contributing to this movie. Some good archival footage too. The doc spans from the humble beginnings as a 60s folky band with their unique spin on covers right through their classic early 70s period, early 80s period with their union with The Buggles, their high profile Top 40 period with Trevor Rabin and into their current period as primarily a performing show band.

Bassist Chris Squire and singer Jon Anderson are the two founding members and the main figureheads for the documentary. Squire is the only member to play on every YES album and every YES song that has bass guitar, (except one song from Drama where he played piano while singer Trevor Horn played bass). Anderson has quit and returned several times. Almost equal input in the documentary comes from other original and classic members of YES including guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, guitarist Steve Howe and drummers Alan White and Bill Bruford. There are also interviews with vocalist and producer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes who were formerly known as The Buggles whose hit "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first video to be played on MTV. Horn and Downes joined YES for one album in 1980 (DRAMA). Horn also produced YES' next album, 90125 which became their most successful and biggest seller.

The only members missing (but well-mentioned) were original keyboardist Tony Kaye and one-album member keyboardist Patrick Moraz (Relayer '75) as well as some of the other short term members from the 90s and later (whose input for this doc surely weren't necessary however it would be nice to hear how they viewed their short tenures). There's a lot of "he said/he said" stuff. It is a band after all and bands that have been together this long tend to be like most strenuous marriages and relationships. Lots of egos, break-ups and make ups.

Also missing is guitarist/songwriter Trevor Rabin who helped salvage Yes in the 80s with his talent, tech savvy and songwriting who gets lots of blame and abuse for turning them into a commercial hit machine and splitting the band into two camps and gets accused of being a control freak and fighting for domination of the band. (In actuality, it's Squire who owns the name YES and is the deciding factor on who plays and what direction they will YES will go in musically). Unfortunately, Rabin's contribution to the documentary is almost non-existent except for a brief 45 sec interview clip obviously not done for this movie. If they even asked him about his time in YES, they edited it out and he only speaks of his current career as a film composer. It's a shame because though he's not considered a classic member (and rejected as a true YES member by die hard fans), he did provide them with their biggest top 40 hit and best selling album ("Owner of A Lonely Heart" and 90125, respectively) and revived the band's career after their heyday. YES might not still be playing together today if not for Rabin. It would have been nice to hear his side of the story. Would be interesting to know why he was censored or maybe he just refused to discus YES.

If you're a fan of YES or progressive rock, this is a MUST SEE documentary. Be warned: It is very long but never boring.


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