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Martin Popoff: Time And A Word: The Yes Story

Still fragile: the prog legends’ life story.

Martin Popoff Time And A Word: The Yes Story book cover

The Yes saga is complex enough without distracting asides about what Jethro Tull or Rush are up to, or Randy Bachman critiquing Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Not Fragile album. Context is obviously important when relating events of 40-plus years ago, but then so is relevance.

Martin Popoff wisely chooses a timeline format to tell the story and has exclusive interviews with the main participants, although they are not always the best narrators of their own soap opera.

Jon Anderson is mostly “backstroking in the clouds”, as Popoff memorably puts it; Chris Squire uses the word “interesting” whenever things get difficult; Steve Howe is too forgiving, at least until the 90s; and Bill Bruford sounds bored with the whole thing, so it’s left to Rick Wakeman and Alan White to say what they think.

Yes fans will find plenty of detail to savour, not least that Patrick Moraz’s keyboard set-up increased from five to 24 during the Relayer tour.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.