Yes, “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” from ‘Fragile’ (1971): YESterdays

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“The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus),” from Yes’ 1971 album Fragile, is a fitting contribution from the late, great Chris Squire. The song, which takes its name from both Squire’s nickname and Jon Anderson’s request to name the song partially after a prehistoric fish, is well crafted and gives the bassist an opportunity to shine while still bringing out special moments from Steve Howe and Alan White.

The track seamlessly emerges from the inventive guitar harmonics of Steve Howe from the earlier “Long Distance Runaround.” Howe’s Gibson sets the pace which is promptly followed by the steady syncopation of high-hat and snare drum from Bill Bruford. Elements of cowbell and kalimba are sprinkled in the mix before the main theme of the song is established by Squire’s Rickenbacker 4001 model bass.

Things build around the bass, with Howe adding a wah-wah pedal effect; then a tambourine enters into the mix. Squire’s bass is delayed and/or doubled, building the track more and more. An unexpected twist occurs as Anderson and Squire repeat the mantra, “Schindleria Praematurus,” Before you know it, two and a half minutes have passed and it’s over.

“The Fish” has been played in its original form on many Yes tours, and is included in the last official live release featuring Chris Squire. “Whitefish,” a combination of an Alan White solo and Chris Squire’s “Fish” solos is also available on at least three official Yes releases.

Chris Squire, born more than 68 years ago on March 4, 1948, won’t get to hear Billy Sherwood, his handpicked successor, play this trademark solo composition on the Yes European tour this year. However, I’m sure he’d be pleased that the world’s greatest progressive rock band lives on.

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

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