Yes, “Man in a White Car” from Drama (1980): YESterdays

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I see a man in a white car
Move like a ghost on the skyline
Take all your dreams
And you throw them away
Man in a white car

That’s it. While initially there doesn’t seem like there’s much to these Trevor Horn lyrics, “Man in a White Car” – credited to the entire band Yes – does serve as a vehicle for Geoff Downes’ Fairlight CMI synthesizers.

The orchestral passages are strong and authentic. Indeed, the accompanying tympani, snare drum and acoustic guitar from what may be Alan White with Steve Howe (or another Downes program) only adds to the ominous feeling created by the eerie vocoder-enhanced vocal from Horn.

“Man in a White Car,” or “White Car” as it is sometimes identified, is not the greatest track on Drama from the world’s greatest progressive rock band. But it does have a Buggles/new wave edge, which not only makes it fitting but also a weirdly engaging live piece on the Drama/Tales from Topographic Oceans tour Yes undertook beginning in late 2016.

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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