Tuesday, June 30, 2015
CHRIS SQUIRE .... IN MEMORIAM
I have written about so-called "Progressive Rock", that strange and often misunderstood branch of modern music, on a number of occasions. The genre has its detractors, of course, but it has a legion of fans around the world. I am one of them, and, for me, the best practitioners of the genre were Yes.
I was introduced to Yes by my good friend Dave Jack when we were both in high school. Dave had been a fan before me, and he lent me a copy of his tape ( I believe it was 8 Track! ) of "Close to the Edge". I was instantly blown away by this strange, unique and wonderful music. I became an instant fan and began to acquire other Yes albums.
While all the musicians in Yes were superb, it was Chris' bass that caught my ear. Most bassists are content to establish a basic beat, rhythm or "bottom" to the music they are playing. Not Chris Squire. His bass was bold and large. There's no other way to describe it. It didn't overpower the rest of the music: instead, it set up a counter-point, a type of low register harmony that enhanced the music. He was aggressive and fearless in his playing: his sound challenged the listener and riveted attention to it. It was an identifiable part of the organic whole that was Yes.
I only saw Yes perform live once. That was in 1974 at Maple Leaf Gardens. They were on tour to support their recent album "Tales from Topographic Oceans". This album was next in line to their other successes: "The Yes Album", "Fragile", and "Close to the Edge." To be honest, "Tales ..." was not a full success. It was too long, too pretentious and difficult to sit through in the concert. But, even as a possible failure, it was a magnificent failure, and to watch the musicianship and listen to the grand and far reaching music was a pleasure.
Rest in peace, Chris. You were one of the greats.