YES / Commercial Mainstream Consciousness From 90125 To Talk

Yes, are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their album Talk in an impressive four-disc set and double LP, which includes a recording of their show Canandaigua in New York on 19 June 1994. To put the Talk album into perspective, we need to go back to 1983 and the start of Trevor Rabin’s tenure in Yes.

90125 was the album that catapulted YES, one of the biggest progressive rock bands on the planet, into commercial mainstream consciousness. “Obviously, we are delighted at the success of 90125,” Chris Squire said in a recently unearthed interview with Robert Adams in 1994.

“Our audiences have grown dramatically,” Squire said, “especially here in the USA. We were selling out arenas for the first time in quite a few years. It was great spotting the diehard Yes fans from the stage and watching them go nuts when we played older songs in the set.

“The Owner Of A Lonely Heart section of the crowd looked aghast as we played As You And I and Starship Trooper. It was great fun for me to see that, and hopefully, it made a lot of our newer fans investigate our earlier material.”

The irony is that 90125 was never conceived as a Yes album. It was supposed to be the debut album by a brand new band called Cinema, featuring former Yes alumni Chris Squire, Alan White and Tony Kaye. 

Squire heard a demo album from Trevor Rabin, was shopping it around labels, and asked if he would like to join Cinema, using the songs that he had written. As recording progressed, Squire played some of the material to Jon Anderson and he loved it. 

Anderson was asked if he would consider being the band’s vocalist, and management suggested that they drop the name Cinema and make 90125 a new Yes album.

The follow-up album to 90125 was 1987’s Big Generator. Although not as commercially successful as its predecessor, Yes continued the more commercial sound of 90125 with more pop influences and added sprinkles of their progressive rock roots. Big Generator, like Talk, is also a very underrated album.

Vocalist Jon Anderson left Yes after the Big Generator tour and joined former Yes members in Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. After the release of their self-titled album, it was proposed that Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe join forces with Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, Alan White and Trevor Rabin for a new Yes album, which would be titled Union. 

Both the album and the subsequent tour were fraught with personality clashes and fragile / competing egos. “I Called It Onion,” was the famous quote from Rick Wakeman, “as I cried every time I heard it. They changed all my parts. I didn’t recognise anything I played. Basically, the producer invited all his mates to play on it. The only person not on there was my dog.”

At the culmination of the Union tour, Phil Carson approached Trevor Rabin and asked if he would write material for a new Yes album, which would be released on Carson’s new independent Victory label. Rabin agreed and wanted Rick Wakeman in the band, but issues between Wakeman’s manager and Yes management would prove insurmountable and Tony Kaye was brought in reuniting the 90125 and Big Generator line up of Yes.

Rabin also wanted Jon Anderson to be involved in the writing process from the very start, as Anderson felt pushed out during the sessions for Big Generator.

The initial writing sessions at Rabin’s home studio went really well with songs coming thick and fast. The rest of the band joined Rabin and Anderson in his studio to put final touches to the songs and recording began. 

Rabin wanted this album to be recorded entirely digitally, utilising fledgling digital recording technology. He had four Apple Mac computers linked together to record the album but it proved to be a major headache to get the technology to work. 

Software engineers, in collaboration with Trevor Rabin were constantly present upgrading the code in what would eventually become industry-standard ProTools to make the process easier and after many technical glitches and an earthquake, the Talk album was completed.

Talk was released on 21 March 1994 and was preceded by The Calling as the first single.

Yes – Talk – 30th Anniversary Edition

Deluxe box set edition featuring 8 bonus studio tracks and previously unreleased live concertavailable as 2-LP limited edition white vinyl/4-cd/1-cd.

Expanded 4-CD Edition:

Single CD Edition:

Limited Edition White Vinyl:

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