Yes, “Changes” from 90125 (1983): YESterdays

“Changes,” like the prior song on Yes’ 1983 smash album 90125, resulted from a rework of a Cinema song submission. Unlike “It Can Happen,” which was primarily the work of bassist Chris Squire, “Changes” was basically the brainchild of Trevor Rabin.

Fortunately, Yes producer Trevor Horn was able to tighten the arrangement and Alan White wrote the sequenced xylophone intro, which he programmed on a Fairlight CMI synth to give song a distinct progressive rock, yet modern feel. The world’s greatest progressive rock band seems to pull out all the stops, yet “Changes” never seems bloated.

There are touches of piano, possibly from Yes co-founder Tony Kaye, which harmonize with the sequenced percussion. Chris Squire and Alan White’s bass and drum parts are distinctly clear and challenging. White continues to demonstrate his versatility and innovative style, while Squire makes what could be an ordinary bass track extraordinary.

Rabin’s vocals carry most of the song, with fine contributions by Jon Anderson. Anderson also seems to have added lyrical and arrangement ideas, which earned him co-writing credits with Rabin and White. Trevor Rabin’s guitar work should also not go unmentioned. “Changes” shows his depth and skill, as he moves from stadium-rock power chords, to heavy melodic passages to a Steve Howe-like electric solo before the bridge and back with seeming ease.

“Changes” is an often-overlooked Yes classic, and a testament to a how great the band was during the Rabin era.

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