‘There could still be a Yes’: Chris Squire says time ought not to stop his legendary prog-rock group

Since its late-1960s founding, the pioneering progressive-rock band Yes has seen an ever-shifting line up transform its sound time and time again — to the point that bassist Chris Squire sees the group going on without him.

The long-time bassist, of course, is the lone member of Yes to have appeared on all of its many projects — from their folk-prog beginnings, through to its 1970s-era long-form triumphs, then a prog-pop remodel in the ’80s and onward into a new century.

Along the way, there have been — so far — some six keyboardists to join Squire. Also four singers, and four guitarists. Three drummers, too.

That kind of evolving personnel grouping, Squire has said, likely isn’t helping Yes’ chances for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But it might just give the group a chance to outlive all of its original members.

[ONE TRACK MIND: Chris Squire joined us to talk about a few favorite moments with Yes, along with studio collaborations with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Genesis' Steve Hackett.]

Considering that Yes is touring right now with Squire as the only contributor from its debut recording, the idea isn’t so far fetched. But how long could Yes conceivably last?

Actually, Squire says for millennia. Though, without him, of course.

“I have an interesting theory about it,” Squire says. “There could still be a Yes band a hundred years from now, though apart from some major medical breakthrough, I don’t think I’ll be in it. But, like a city symphony orchestra, I think there could be a version of Yes in a hundred or even two hundred years from now, basically honoring the music and presumably creating new music, as well. That will be a nice thing, I think.”

Yes’ six main keyboardists have included: Geoff Downes (1980-81 and since 2011); Tony Kaye (1968-71; 1982-94); Rick Wakeman (five different stints between 1971-2004); Patrick Moraz (1974-76); Igor Khoroshev (1997-2000); and Oliver Wakeman (2008-11).

The four principal vocalists have been: Jon Davison (since 2012); Jon Anderson (1968-80, 1983-2004); Trevor Horn (1980-81); and Benoit David (2008-12). The four guitarists: Steve Howe (off and on since 1970); Peter Banks (1968-70); Trevor Rabin (1982-94); and Billy Sherwood (1989-2000).

Here are the three drummers: Alan White (since 1972); Bill Bruford (1968-72, 1990-92); and Tony O’Reilly (1968).

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