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

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In the morning when you rise,
Do you open up your eyes, see what I see?
Do you see the same things ev’ry day?
Do you think of a way to start the day
Getting things in proportion?
Spread the news and help the world go ’round.

These lyrics, composed by Jon Anderson and his former bandmate David Foster, start a theme which continued through Anderson’s tenure with Yes. “Time and a Word,” the first single from the album, may well be one of the least progressive songs the world’s greatest progressive rock band has performed but the song’s lyrical appeal still makes it a fan favorite.

Released in May 1970. “Time and a Word” starts with the tremolo treated electric guitar from Peter Banks, which is quickly followed by a conventional 4/4 backbeat from Bill Bruford. Chris Squire’s aggressive, yet melodic bass playing hints of what the next four decades of Yes will bring. Tony Kaye’s oscillating organ and tender piano parts add to the song’s foundation. Jon Anderson, singing effectively in his lower register, conveys an earnest and touching lyric which is supported by a light acoustic guitar touch from Foster.

<<< BACKWARD (“Astral Traveller”) ||| ONWARD (“Yours Is No Disgrace”) >>>

The only downside to Yes’ “Time and a Word” is the annoying string section on the tag of the song. Peter Banks was right: the strings detracted from the music on the album. By the time this studio project was released, Banks had been forced out of the band — and a new era was ushered in for progressive rock with thr arrival of Steve Howe.

This unlikely Yes ballad is an effective closer to Time and a Word, and the song has displayed a striking durability. It was a part of Yes’ 2015 American summer tour setlist, and also appears on the new Anderson-Ponty band album.

Good music endures even beyond the fact Yes has now continues without any original members. Indeed, the word is love.

Preston Frazier’s YESterdays is a song-by-song feature that explores 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; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at
Preston Frazier
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