Top 10 Yes Songs

Yes is the quintessential progressive rock band. Therefore, if you want to listen to the Colin’s Review picks for the Top 10 Yes songs, you better free up your entire day. Most of these songs are longer than 10 minutes. Some of them break 20. But that’s exactly what makes prog rock so transcendent (and, ultimately, so lovably pretentious).

The Top 10 Yes songs are filled with boundless imagination, incredible musicianship and a signature brand of inspired excess that only could have existed — and thrived — back in the 1970s.

10. “And You and I”

Jon Anderson’s enigmatic lyrics are often indecipherable, yet the ultimate message is always spelled out simply: L-O-V-E. “And You and I” is Yes at their most romantic — soaring mellotron, lush 12-string guitar and flower-power idealism stretched out over 10 minutes.

9. “Going for the One”

Guitarist Steve Howe was comfortable playing any style, and that includes old-school rock & roll. Nowhere is this more evident than “Going for the One,” a cosmic country-and-western number that features nonstop steel guitar. Even though this is one of Yes’ most uncharacteristic songs, it remains one of their very best.

8. “To Be Over”

The most underrated song from Yes’ most underrated album, “To Be Over” concludes the otherwise chaotic Relayer on a beautifully peaceful note. The nine-minute song is easygoing yet intricate, understated yet climactic, and features one of Howe’s greatest pedal steel guitar solos.

7. “Siberian Khatru”

It’s no surprise that every song (all three of them) from Yes’ greatest album, Close to the Edge, features in this Top 10. “Siberian Khatru” is a high-speed frenzy that contains a little bit of everything — hard rock riffs, Stravinsky-inspired interludes, harpsichords, steel guitars, electric sitar, Eastern mysticism and Arabic chants. Only Yes could pull this off.

6. “Long Distance Runaround”

Although “Roundabout” may have been Yes’ biggest hit (and probably this list’s most surprising snub), “Long Distance Runaround” will forever remain the band’s greatest pop masterpiece. Built around Chris Squire’s crunchy bass guitar, the relatively minimal song is a perfect example of prog without pretension.

Yes performing live in 1972 - Top 10 Yes Songs

5. “Heart of the Sunrise”

“Heart of the Sunrise” is the crown jewel of Fragile, showcasing everything that Yes — and progressive rock as a whole — had to offer: scorching guitars, complex drum-and-bass interplay, Beatles-inspired melodies, lengthy song-suites traversing through several permutations and recapitulations, all combined into a seamless mini-symphony of dynamic musical invention.

4. “Close to the Edge”

Only in 1972 could an album with just three songs go platinum. The iconic 18-minute title track from Close to the Edge takes us on a technicolor tour through the “seasons of man,” replete with heavenly vocals, Siddhartha-inspired lyrics and church organ in abundance. As far as prog rock epics go, “Close to the Edge” is the perfect place for new Yes fans to start.

3. “The Gates of Delirium”

In 1974, Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz replaced Rick Wakeman and brought with him a jazzier sound and an array of expensive new synthesizers. Even though Moraz only lasted for one album, his experimental tendencies were perfect for Relayer’s adventurous style. He immediately makes an imprint on “The Gates of Delirium,” a 21-minute epic that features an extended instrumental “battle” sequence. But it’s the serene pedal steel conclusion (otherwise known as “Soon”) that turns the song from an intricate musical exercise to a sublime masterpiece.

2. “Starship Trooper”

The addition of Steve Howe in 1971 was the crucial component that pushed Yes over the edge, allowing the band to become more daring and progressive as a result. “Starship Trooper” is an eye-opening early masterpiece, featuring powerful riffs, beautiful harmonies and an extended psychedelic coda called “Würm” (that’s German for “worm,” in case you didn’t know) that builds and builds before finally exploding in electric guitar catharsis.

1. “Awaken”

 There’s something magical about all great Yes songs, but there’s something even more sublime at work when it comes to “Awaken,” a 15-minute ode to our non-denominational Creator. Self-indulgent in all the right ways, “Awaken” features harp, church organ, incantatory choir melodies and a floating outro that qualifies as one of the most beautiful passages of music I’ve ever heard. It’s a perfect song, and ‘there’s no doubt, no doubt’ that it is Yes’ greatest work of art.

Top 10 Yes Songs – Honorable Mentions

Some honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut for the Colin’s Review Top 10 Yes songs include but aren’t limited to: “The Clap,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “South Side of the Sky,” “America” and “Tempus Fugit.”

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Top 10 Yes Songs

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