Yes, “Sweetness” from Yes (1969): YESterdays

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Yes reached back into its own members’ back catalog for the penultimate track on their self-titled 1969 debut. “Sweetness” was originally composed for the first album by Mabel Greer’s Toyshop by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Toyshop founder Clive Bayley.

Unfortunately — or, maybe, fortunately for fans of what would become the world’s greatest progressive rock band — Squire and Anderson chose to move on to Yes, as even as Mabel Greer’s Toyshop imploded under its own weight. “Sweetness” doesn’t hint much at what’s to come for Yes, though, presenting as a fine pop song rather than a progressive one.

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The introductory harmonies provide a brief showcase for the Yes choir. Jon Anderson faithfully sings a rather straight-forward love song, effectively using his range, while Tony Kaye’s organ provides the main instrumental spark. It’s pleasant, well played, but not particularly memorable.

That didn’t stop “Sweetness” from becoming the first single by Yes, released on September 29, 1969. It shows a fledgling band that hasn’t quite become more than the sum of its parts. Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, meanwhile, didn’t complete that initial studio effort until 2015. Included on A New Way of Life is a good version of “Sweetness” to contrast with the old Yes song.

Preston Frazier’s new YESterdays is a song-by-song feature that will explore the unforgettable musical legacy of Yes. The series runs every other Tuesday.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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