Yes, “A Venture” from The Yes Album (1971): YESterdays

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One of the shortest tracks on The Yes Album, Jon Anderson’s “A Venture” likely would have been a popular favorite on most progressive rock albums of that era — yet it’s is often overlooked by fans and even the band. On one level, it’s easy to see why this is so, as “A Venture” follows the concert favorite “I’ve Seen All Good People.” But ultimately this track’s fate points to how strong all the compositions on The Yes Album are.

Unlike “Clap,” which was truly solo a composition from Steve Howe (and played only by Howe), Anderson’s song is arranged by the band — giving “A Venture” a musical heft which matches its narrative heft.

Lyrically, Jon Anderson is much more direct than with his other contributions elsewhere on The Yes Album. He crafted these lyrics with a punchy rhythmic cadence which belies their simplicity.

He told all his sons of all the antics of adventure
Then he told another one who drove himself to drink
Not to hide away, hide away
Better men have realized alone is not a venture
A decent man have realize alone is not a venture
Just to hide away, hide away…

Meanwhile, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire employ a deceptively straight-forward rhythm that builds and builds in complexity. Not to be outdone, Anderson and Chris Squire combine in a harmony which would become one of the signatures of the still-young band.

Many would say that the musical fireworks in the song come from keyboardist Tony Kaye. Kaye had proven to be an ace organist during his initial three album tenure with the band, and on “A Venture” he steps forward with a rollicking piano attack which wraps up the song with a neat bow.

Clocking in at 3:21, “A Venture” is just a tad longer than “Clap” — the shortest song on the record — and its economy works well. Still, if you’re looking for a longer version, head over the Steven Wilson-helmed DVD edition of The Yes Album, which features a concluding Steve Howe solo that didn’t make the original final mix.

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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