I’m going to venture from my standard blog theme of travel and photography a talk about Chris Squire and my relation to his passing, for isn’t that what blogs are for, talking about yourself and your relation to the larger world?
For those unfamiliar with who Chris Squire was, he was the self-taught bassist and co-founder of the band Yes. If you don’t know who Yes is, they are a band formed in 1968 that became an icon of Progressive Rock in the 1970’s but most likely known for the hit “Owner of a Lonely Heart” from the early 1980’s, which is a rather un-Yes-ish song. Either way, Chris Squire was the only member of Yes to perform on all 20 studio albums, so it can be said rather unequivocally, he was the glue that held the band together.
So there’s your crash course in Yes history. I was introduced to the 1970’s version of Yes when I was 16 and musically was never the same. Yes’ music was entirely original, complex, and challenging. Not only did their music smash the standard form of what rock music was with songs well eclipsing the 4:00 mark and unique musical structures, such as movements within songs, the lyrics were of another nature as well. Not just straight forward songs about love, but here were lyrics about all manner of things philosophical and regarding human nature and the metaphysical. They demanded your attention and required interpretation. Chris Squire was in many parts responsible for those lyrics and for the complex structures of the music. Yes is a band that can be listened to multiple times…hundreds of times…and the listener will still discover something new. All this, I would one day learn, was called Progressive Rock, a genera I am still heavily involved in today. Of course, I would later learn there are other bands similar in some ways to Yes. Because of Yes and Chris Squire, I demand more from the music I listen to, and become quite frustrated and annoyed by music that simply doesn’t try (I realize that’s a generic, interpretable statement). If you’re looking to listen to some classic Yes, I’d recommend The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge.
Chris Squire was the first bassist that made me realize the bass doesn’t have to be something in the background of a song, just keeping time, a standard member of the rhythm section. The bass can be a featured instrument, as complex as any in the band. Yes taught me the same regarding the drums. Because of this, Chris Squire is perhaps one of the most influential Bassist in Rock, certainly Progressive Rock. Without this instruction, I doubt I would enjoy not only prog, but jazz music as well.
I was fortunate to see Yes last August in concert. I’m now in my mid-40s and I listened to Yes just yesterday. It saddens me to say this is probably it for Yes in regards of studio albums. They might still tour, but the classic Yes lineup that everyone was hoping would reunite (Squire, Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford) will never happen now.
It is a sad passing and one I’m rather devastated by. Cheers to you Chris Squire and thank you. Blessings to you family, friends, and bandmates.