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Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock by Will Romano review

One man’s mission to detail everything about one album

Cover art of Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock by Will Romano

To say that Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock is a labour of love would be to gravely undersell it, for this book is clearly the result of Herculean levels of forensic academic study. Author Will Romano claims to have listened to the album more than a thousand times in researching the book, and a bibliography that stretches for pages suggests that no stone was left unturned during his mission to understand its wondrous story.

Along the way he discusses the novels of Herman Hesse, 17th-century Japanese art and the election of Richard Nixon, while true prog aficionados will be delighted at the amount of space given over to examining time signatures. There’s a lot of conjecture when it comes to explaining Jon Anderson’s lyrics, and some of Romano’s conclusions are a little convenient, but this book is never less than thoughtful. It’s exhaustive, and exhausting.

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 35 years in music industry, online for 22. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.