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Thread: Yes-"Fragile" Turns 50!

  1. #1

    Yes-"Fragile" Turns 50!

    From In The Studio.net:

    Assessing the durable fourth album from London-based YES on the golden anniversary of its late November 1971 UK release ( about six weeks later in America), the seemingly timeless effort seems anything but Fragile . Unlike some other releases of the time by progressive rock peers, Fragile remains seemingly impervious to time in its appeal. Building on the momentum of a unique sound captured a mere nine months earlier on The YES Album , a key personnel upgrade at the trading deadline in the form of first-call studio and Strawbs keys wizard Rick Wakeman put a World Cup progressive rock player on the pitch to help record “Roundabout”,”South Side of the Sky”,”Long Distance Runaround”, and “Heart of the Sunrise”. Their result still a sonic marvel five decades later, Wakeman is joined by YES co-founder Jon Anderson here In the Studio for progressive rock affirmative action.

    To get a fresh perspective on the sonic smorgasbord that is Fragile , I focused on the 5.1 surround mixes from 2002 and 2015 of “South Side of the Sky” and “Heart of the Sunrise”. On that later tune, for all of the documented past quotes about drafting Rick Wakeman because of his embrace then of new cutting edge electronic synthesized keyboards, there is very impressive grand piano playing by Wakeman which stands out all the more because of the contrast. Now mind you, I am not a guitar player, but had grown up listening to country and western songs on my dad’s radio on WWVA, Wheeling WV plus “Hee Haw” on TV every Saturday night, so I knew the sound of Roy Clark’s “Country Gentleman” gee-tar. Except on “Southside of the Sky” from Fragile , YES guitarist Steve Howe was ROCKIN’ that thing, with blistering runs up the neck like Junior Johnson in turn four heading for the finish line. And this was a London-based Progressive Rock band!

    Read More & listen to Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman discuss Fragile Here:
    https://www.inthestudio.net/online-o...d/yes-fragile/

  2. #2
    Interesting article regarding the 9mt period that produced both The Yes Album as well as Fragile https://www.loudersound.com/news/yes...ySIKoVD4OPR-ws

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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Interesting article regarding the 9mt period that produced both The Yes Album as well as Fragile https://www.loudersound.com/news/yes...ySIKoVD4OPR-ws
    Enjoyed reading this! I appreciate your posting it. Incredible year for the band and music in general.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Interesting article regarding the 9mt period that produced both The Yes Album as well as Fragile https://www.loudersound.com/news/yes...ySIKoVD4OPR-ws
    Great article about the era in which Yes released two of the band's (and Prog's) signature albums.

  5. #5
    Thanks for this. I must’ve missed it when it was first published.

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    Member proggy_jazzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Interesting article regarding the 9mt period that produced both The Yes Album as well as Fragile https://www.loudersound.com/news/yes...ySIKoVD4OPR-ws
    I love both these albums, and the fact they were recorded so close together with a personnel change is remarkable, but it's also true that CttE was recorded and released within a year of Fragile, and that's equally astounding. All told, that run of three within a little more than a year and a half? Ridiculous.
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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    One of their best albums. I don't buy the nonsense about the solo individual pieces bringing it down. If anything it makes the album more interesting.
    When you list all the qualities that you despise and you realize you're describing yourself.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Interesting article regarding the 9mt period that produced both The Yes Album as well as Fragile https://www.loudersound.com/news/yes...ySIKoVD4OPR-ws
    A good read!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    I don't buy the nonsense about the solo individual pieces bringing it down. .
    I don't buy it either. It's my favorite Yes album. I could go years without hearing Roundabout but it's still my favorite Yes album.

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    Member Staun's Avatar
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    I remember always searching the FM dial for the long version of Roundabout. Yes music was all I wanted to hear.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    One of their best albums. I don't buy the nonsense about the solo individual pieces bringing it down. If anything it makes the album more interesting.
    Well I wouldn't call it nonsense. IMO most of the solo pieces do bring the album down, but Fragile is still one of my favorite records in spite of that.
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    The solo pieces are the glue. To me it's a masterpiece.

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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    The solo pieces are the glue. To me it's a masterpiece.
    Well put. CTTE has longer tracks so it doesn't really need the solo pieces but some of CTTE sort of drags a little bit (not AYAI though) whereas Fragile doesn't.
    When you list all the qualities that you despise and you realize you're describing yourself.

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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Well I wouldn't call it nonsense. IMO most of the solo pieces do bring the album down, but Fragile is still one of my favorite records in spite of that.
    So when you play the album you skip over all (or most) of the solo tracks then?

    I know there are many people out there who share your opinion on that but I really don't see it that way. Sure, I could probably do without five percent and Cans and Brahms (especially five percent)but I think they add something anyway. It's like they are saying this is who we are and this is what each of us are capable of as not just musicians but as composers. Also, how come nobody complains about the two shorter tracks on the Yes album and it's always the shorter tracks on Fragile? Mood For a Day fits in much better on Fragile than the live clap does on TYA. The boogie rock songs on the early Kansas albums fit in better than that one and it doesn't help that it's a live track on a studio album.
    Last edited by Digital_Man; 12-01-2021 at 12:35 AM.
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    5% Fer Nuthin' is my favorite of the solo tracks.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    One of their best albums. I don't buy the nonsense about the solo individual pieces bringing it down. If anything it makes the album more interesting.
    And I don't buy the nonsense that the solo tracks on Fragile bog the album down either. Even though Yes admitted that solo tracks were to make up for the fact that they didn't have enough material for a full LP, they still work for me (especially Chis Squire's 'The Fish'). Also, if they didn't do those solo interludes on Fragile, they'd probably do something similar on one of their later LPs (after all, the whole band made solo albums between 1975 & 1976).

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by starless and bible black View Post
    And I don't buy the nonsense that the solo tracks on Fragile bog the album down either. Even though Yes admitted that solo tracks were to make up for the fact that they didn't have enough material for a full LP, they still work for me (especially Chis Squire's 'The Fish'). Also, if they didn't do those solo interludes on Fragile, they'd probably do something similar on one of their later LPs (after all, the whole band made solo albums between 1975 & 1976).
    At one point there was talk of including live tracks.. Yes started work on their next studio album that was originally conceived as a double album with a combination of studio and live tracks. The concept could not be realised due to the increased amount of time required to make it. Ideas to record in Miami, Florida with producer Tom Dowd also never came to fruition

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    So when you play the album you skip over all (or most) of the solo tracks then?
    Actually I do, at least when listening to it digitally. The only solo track I never skip is "The Fish". Sometimes I will listen to "Cans and Brahms" though. I've heard them all many times over the years, they just don't do a lot for me when situated next to the full band pieces.


    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    I know there are many people out there who share your opinion on that but I really don't see it that way. Sure, I could probably do without five percent and Cans and Brahms (especially five percent)but I think they add something anyway. It's like they are saying this is who we are and this is what each of us are capable of as not just musicians but as composers. Also, how come nobody complains about the two shorter tracks on the Yes album and it's always the shorter tracks on Fragile? Mood For a Day fits in much better on Fragile than the live clap does on TYA. The boogie rock songs on the early Kansas albums fit in better than that one and it doesn't help that it's a live track on a studio album.
    It's okay if we don't agree on it. I just don't think it's fair to call it "nonsense" if others feel that the solo tracks hold the album back. To me, the solo pieces break up the flow of Fragile and make it feel less cohesive. Maybe I'm wrong though. It's still an essential record for any music fan, IMO.

    When it comes to The Yes Album and its shorter songs, I always skip "Clap" -- but I rather like "A Venture"!
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    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Actually I do, at least when listening to it digitally. The only solo track I never skip is "The Fish". Sometimes I will listen to "Cans and Brahms" though. I've heard them all many times over the years, they just don't do a lot for me when situated next to the full band pieces.




    It's okay if we don't agree on it. I just don't think it's fair to call it "nonsense" if others feel that the solo tracks hold the album back. To me, the solo pieces break up the flow of Fragile and make it feel less cohesive. Maybe I'm wrong though. It's still an essential record for any music fan, IMO.

    When it comes to The Yes Album and its shorter songs, I always skip "Clap" -- but I rather like "A Venture"!
    I didn't call it nonsense in the part you quoted just there though. I called it nonsense earlier. Besides, others agreed with me. Yes, I think it's nonsense though. You can say it's nonsense for them to be on there and I can say it's nonsense for people to make a big issue out of them being there, complaining about them and wanting to skip over them. Yes, I do think you're wrong but you are entitled to your opinion. Actually, many others seem to agree with you but I just don't happen to be one of them.
    Last edited by Digital_Man; 12-01-2021 at 01:18 PM.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    The solo pieces are the glue. To me it's a masterpiece.
    I agree the solo pieces are the glue, but a shitty glue so the album falls apart :P
    I love the band tracks and think they are amongst the best of the band, on the other hand could definitely live without cans and brahms, the clap, we have heaven.
    Actually love 5% and of course the fish is also fine.

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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flytomars View Post
    I agree the solo pieces are the glue, but a shitty glue so the album falls apart :P
    I love the band tracks and think they are amongst the best of the band, on the other hand could definitely live without cans and brahms, the clap, we have heaven.
    Actually love 5% and of course the fish is also fine.
    Clap is on TYA though not Fragile.
    When you list all the qualities that you despise and you realize you're describing yourself.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Man View Post
    Clap is on TYA though not Fragile.
    That's right, I meant mood for a day of course.
    Same same :-P

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    Well, I forgot that the Fish is a solo track. So it (Fish) would be the best solo track. But since Long Distance segues into The Fish I don't think of it as a solo track.

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    Happy memories of lying in bed in the dark as a teenager with my dad's crappy headphones plugged into my crappy boombox and being almost overcome with emotion listening to Heart of the Sunrise direct off of a crappy C90. Blew my tiny mind.
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