Yes, “Parallels” from Going For the One (1977): YESterdays

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Though Yes’ “Parallels” was a Chris Squire composition originally slated for his solo release Fish Out of Water, it hardly seems like an after thought.

The song quickly gains steam as it is propelled by Squire’s aggressive Fender bass, which is then quickly countered by Steve Howe’s clean electric guitar. Rick Wakeman provides a church-organ sound, which anchors “Parallels” sonically. Squire, an often-overlooked contributor to Yes’ lyrics, provided an uplifting and thematic proper setting to join Jon Anderson on vocals.

“When you’ve tried most everything and nothing’s taking you higher
When you come to realize you’ve been playing with fire
Hear me when I say to you, it’s really down to your heart

It’s the beginning of a new love in sight
You’ve got the way to make it all happen
Set it spinning, turning roundabout
Create a new dimension
When we are winning we can stop and shout
Making love towards perfection…”

“Parallels” states the obvious about Yes in that some of the best vocals the band recorded are when Anderson and Squire sing a song as a duet. Squire’s choir-inspired harmonies often leave this aspect of his vocal contribution overlooked.

Despite the fact that “Parallels” is a solo contribution, there is no doubt this is a Yes song, with Steve Howe’s rollicking guitar break and a rock-drum break from Alan White that moves perfectly into Rick Wakeman’s brief Moog synthesizer solo. “Parallels” has made intermittent appearances on Yes’ set list following its release on Going For the One. A return for the upcoming Asian tour by the world’s greatest progressive rock band is very welcome.

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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