Yes, “Then” from Time and a Word (1970): YESterdays

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A quite durable composition, Jon Anderson’s “Then” has been a staple in the Yes catalog since its appearance on 1970’s Time and a Word. The song was part of Yes’ BBC appearances from January and March of 1970, as well as the live recordings almost a year later taken at Gothenburg, and later as part of The Word Is Live set. “Then” subsequently made an appearances on the In A Word and YesYears compilations.

That durability is partly due to an inventive and frenzied drum part courtesy of Bill Bruford. Though a Yes member for a brief time in Yes’ long history, Bruford had a habit of propelling the band in a way more conventional drummers would not. Here, his inventive snare and high-hat work helps to make “Then” one on the best songs in Yes’ canon thus far.

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Credit must also go to Tony Kaye, whose organ is sublime, yet moves the solo section of the song with authority. Jon Anderson continues to develop his lyric writing with solid results, and uses the lower end of his voice effectively. The combination of Kaye, Bruford with fine guitar licks from Peter Banks makes the addition of string on the track seem very much an afterthought. Indeed, the live BCC recordings confirm this.

Some of the elements that would make Yes the world’s greatest progressive rock band are only hinted. Chris Squire’s bass guitar, ofr instance, could be more prominent, and the use of harmony only appears in the bridge. But let’s not quibble: “Then” is one of the best songs from the original line-up of Yes.

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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