Yes, “To Be Over” from Relayer (1974): YESterdays

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“To Be Over,” the closing track on Relayer, demonstrates the creative high that Yes was on in 1974.

Steve Howe’s acoustic guitar and Fender steel guitar play prominent roles musically. Howe employs his electric sitar to set the mood, while Chris Squire uses a Fender Jazz bass to add the contrast. Lyrically, Jon Anderson seems to forge the word play of the prior two songs, yet is just as effective in conjuring visions of change, and relationships.

The song builds, and by the half-way point Patrick Moraz’s synthesizer signals a change of textures. Howe switches effortlessly from steel to Fender Telecaster and just then Alan White dramatically picks up the pace with his ride cymbal and bass drums. Moraz’s string synthesizers soar over the melody.

The Yes choir is particularly effective on “To Be Over,” as Chris Squire and Jon Anderson seem to blend effortlessly while Steve Howe holds down the bottom ranges. The song continues to build over a foundation of chanting, electric sitar and Moraz’s harpsichord like synthesizer before coming to an end.

Unfortunately, “To Be Over” marked the end of Patrick Moraz’s tenure in Yes, as the band moved to bring Rick Wakeman nack into the fold for the more conventional Going For the One album. Still, Moraz earned his place in Yes history, contributing to one of the most unique albums in the main sequence of Yes albums – from The Yes Album to Tormato. Relayer was also one of the most successful, as the album peaked at No. 5 on the U.S. charts.

The world’s greatest progressive rock band went on to take an almost four-year break before regrouping for a self-produced and more accessible follow-up, but more on that next time.

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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