Yes, “I’m Running” from Big Generator (1987) YESterdays

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“I’m Running,” the penultimate song on Yes’ 1987 album Big Generator, steps out of the arena haze with an interesting but not totally successful gambit. The group-written composition was developed based on an Alan White drum track which was refined, re-recorded and paired with a Chris Squire bass track.

Of course, part of being a progressive rock bands means bending convention. “I’m Running” does that giving the listener a fantastic Squire bass part, another strong Jon Anderson vocal, and interesting lyric and modern keyboard sounds from Tony Kaye and Trevor Rabin. Rabin’s acoustic guitar is strong, but it will never make you think he’s Steve Howe. The electric guitar leads and solo would be great, if only the overall song could match them in concept.

Of the three tracks written by Anderson, Rabin, Squire, Kaye and White for Yes’ Big Generator, this one is the least successful. Part of the reason is the back beat seems forced and for the world’s greatest progressive rock band, downright weird. Yes does try “world music” on The Ladder. It’s hard to says which effort of the two is more painful.

In the end, “I’m Learning” seems like a bad joining of good and well-played musical ideas. If this isn’t your cup of tea, only “Holy Lamb” remains on Big Generator before we head face first into the car crash that is Yes’ 1991 release Union.


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 slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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  • soulquest7

    Heads up: Trevor Rabin called “Holy Lamb” a “blot” on Big Generator, but the only blot is the huge power chords he put on the song, something he felt compelled to do all over the album which caused Anderson to regard the album as a blot on the band’s career, precipitating the ABWH reunion. I still kind of like the album, though preferably in small doses because of the lack of melodicism. “I’m Running” was a monster track, but I was at one of the few shows where it was performed (Springfield, Illinois)– the audience didn’t get it at all. When it was over, they reacted like nothing had happened. I remember Trevor kind of leaning over and saying something to a band member about it. It was then that I realized that the mainstream rock fans that had globbed on to the band for 90125 didn’t have the kind of listening ears that could comprehend that level of musical complexity.

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