Yes - Fragile
Classic Rock
9 songs (39:52)
Release year: 1972
Yes, Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Jeff

More than any other group in the progressive rock genre, it was Yes that turned music from a cult preference into one of the prevailing trends of the 70's. Progressive rock began as an outgrowth of the extended improvisations pioneered in the late 60's by such groups as Cream and Jimi Hendrix.

Progressive rock incorporated instrumental sections into the tune's structure, and was divided into movements like a symphony, with classical influences being one of the music's most dominant characteristics. Yes's music can be best described as "orchestral rock".

Yes released their fourth album "Fragile" at the end of 1971. It made it to the number four position on the U.S. charts in March of 1972, and with that success, Yes found a substantial audience ready to listen. What makes "Fragile" a very special Yes album is that five of the nine tracks are the individual ideas arranged and organized by the band members as individuals.

"Roundabout" is the most memorable of all Yes songs with its much recognized guitar intro. This is also one of many Yes sings in which Chris Squire uses his bass as a lead instrument due to his treble-boosted sound. Rick Wakeman, the classically trained prodigy, provides an amazing keyboard solo while Bill Bruford adds some fantastic percussion parts.

"Cans and Brahms" is an adaptation from Brahm's 4th symphony in E minor, 3rd movement. On this track, Wakeman plays electric piano, which takes the place of the strings, grand piano and electric harpsichord to play the parts of the reeds, and synthesizer to take the place of the contra bassoon.

"We Have Heaven" is a multi layered personal arrangement by Jon Anderson in which he sings all the vocal parts. This leads right into "South Side of the Sky", which includes the sounds of a closing door, footsteps and wind. This song has a fair mix of heavy, loud playing and light, soft playing.

"Five Per Cent For Nothing" is a sixteen bar tune by drummer Bill Bruford. It is played twice by Yes and is taken directly from the percussion line.

"Long Distance Runaround" is another popular Yes track that begins with some harmonies by the electric piano and guitar. Anderson's vocal work is superb. This leads into "The Fish", a tune written by Chris Squire where each riff, rhythm and melody is produced by using different bass guitar sounds.

"Mood For A Day" is a solo acoustic guitar piece written and performed by Steve Howe. It is played with much feeling and smoothness. It has a Spanish guitar style to it.

"Heart of the Sunrise" contains some of Bruford's best drumming, including quick snare rolls. It also has some haunting keyboards, thumping bass and Anderson's melodic vocal power. What I like most about this track is the time changes and shifts the dynamics, as well as all the instruments playing different parts along the same melody line.

Today, "Fragile', along with "The Yes Album" and "90125", remains one of the few Yes albums to still receive airplay. The classic line up of Wakeman, White, Howe, Anderson and Squire continue to tour and play many of the classic Yes songs in the live setting. "Fragile" is progressive rock at it's finest!

Killing Songs :
Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish, Heart of the Sunrise
Jeff quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Yes that we have reviewed:
Yes - Live At Montreux - 2003 - DVD/CD reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Yes - Magnification reviewed by Dom and quoted 89 / 100
Yes - Yes, Friends And Relatives - Volume 2 reviewed by Danny and quoted no quote
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