It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night (27 June 2015) in Phoenix, Arizona. We will have more information for you soon.
This page is being constantly updated as tributes are coming in. Please check back for updates.
Listen to Chris
We thought you might like to listen to Chris while reading these tributes, so we’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of a selection of Chris’s immense musical legacy – solo, with YES, Billy Sherwood, Steve Hackett, The Syn, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop and many others.
There’s so much great music – over 100 tracks, so you can reorder it as you wish, or listen in shuffle if you prefer.
Use the player on the right or the direct link to Spotify.
Please add your tributes for Chris in the Comments at the bottom of the page.
Message from Chris Squire’s wife, Scotland Squire, 8 July 2015
I just wanted to say thank you so much for the love from all of our friends.
Many of you have asked if you can send flowers but Chris asked that I make sure that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Mayo Clinic.
Please designate donations to Leukemia Research at Mayo Clinic Arizona in memory of Christopher Squire.
Donations can be called in to +1(480)301-8326
online at https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/christophersquire
or mailed directly to:
Mayo Clinic, Department of Development, 13400 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale, Arizona 85259 USA
I cannot thank all of you enough for your love and support throughout this very sad and difficult time.
Message from Chris Squire’s wife, Scotland Squire, 1 July 2015
My best friend and the love of my life Chris Squire will be cremated today in Scottsdale, Arizona at 3:00 pm.
However, knowing Chris, he might be running a bit late for the event; After all, he has always been the ‘late’ Chris Squire.
So at 3:00 pm Phoenix time, please take a moment to play your favorite Yes or Chris Squire song, or just think of your favorite Chris Squire memory.
Sending my love to all.
3pm Phoenix time in your time zone: link.
Jon Anderson, co-founder of YES
Chris was a very special part of my life; we were musical brothers. He was an amazingly unique bass player – very poetic – and had a wonderful knowledge of harmony. We met at a certain time when music was very open, and I feel blessed to have created some wonderful, adventurous, music with him. Chris had such a great sense of humor… he always said he was Darth Vader to my Obiwan. I always thought of him as Christopher Robin to my Winnie the Pooh.
We travelled a road less travelled and I’m so thankful that he climbed the musical mountains with me. Throughout everything, he was still my brother, and I’m so glad we were able to reconnect recently. I saw him in my meditation last night, and he was radiant. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.
Love and light…..Jon
It’s hard to imagine the future without Chris! I sense that he will be in our thoughts & minds for sometime.
He was a one-off, larger than life human being, who brought a serious amount to everything he was part of.
Long may his memory resonate through the lands.
Source: via email
It has been harder than I can say to put thoughts to words—to express the sense of loss I feel upon the passing of my cherished friend and band mate, Chris Squire.I am without one of the most important, most loved people in my life. I always called him “Christopher”; it was his formal name and a term of endearment that I hope conveyed my respect and affection for the man who was always a gentle but strong leader; a steadfast rock of my existence.
Partnered together for forty-three years as the complicated rhythm section of YES, throughout the years and in so many ways he was my true brother; the one I never had. He was the driving force in YES from the beginning and I admired his passion. Striving for musical perfection, he set the bar high for himself and expected nothing less from the musicians around him. With deep conviction, even through occasional differences of opinion, we were united in our belief of YES music and the need to keep it alive and interesting. Through good times and hard times, we were kindred spirits, I had his back and he had mine. We shared a sometimes unspoken communication, it was something we just knew and understood. We were relentless in our quest to create meaningful music that would live on with or without us—I just never expected to be without his company at this early time in our lives.
It will be more difficult than I can imagine to perform on stage without looking at that imposing pillar of strength alongside me. He will be missed the world over but none is greater than the loss in my heart. He is no longer a fish out of water, he is free and swimming in the big ocean now.
Gigi and I want to thank all of our dear friends who have left voicemails, sent emails and cards, and given us tremendous support through this difficult time. There are too many to respond to individually, but please know that we have listened to and read each and every one of your messages and greatly appreciate everyone who has reached out to us. We are truly blessed with love and friendship.
Our thoughts are with all the Squire family members and loved ones—you are in our hearts and prayers
I have so many wonderful memories of working with Chris and many of those in recent years. We once spent an entire journey after a gig trying to remember all the lyrics to “My Old Man’s A Dustman” – we eventually gave up on that one!
I’ll miss seeing him looking across the stage – a wink here and a wink there with that Mephistophelean grin particularly if something had gone slightly awry. He was a legendary bassist, loveable funny guy both on and off the stage. He took bass guitar to another level and inspired thousands of others, the undisputed king of the 4 strings. Many will cite Chris as the reason why they picked up the instrument in the first place.
We became close over the last few years, and spent a lot of time together socially as well as on the tours. He was always greatly entertaining with his countless tales of rock and roll, and his own personal spin on life. Despite his imposing figure, he had a really soft, gentle and charitable side. Always magnanimous to band, crew and fans alike. Although essentially captain of the YES ship he displayed very much a laissez-faire attitude towards the band and a nonchalance to life in general. I am eternally grateful that he was a great advocate of my playing and encouraged my own musical contributions. I learnt an enormous amount and gained great confidence from his support.
Many of the funny stories were from airports. His lateness was famous. Back on the Drama tour, we had a private jet and suitcases were always collected early from outside hotel room. Chris had somehow packed his trousers and shirt, turned up at the airport and got on the plane wearing just a long jacket and underpants. “Sorry I’m late” he said, without the slightest hint anything was untoward.
Another time we were all waiting to go on stage and – no Chris. Thus followed a panic to find out where he was. He had apparently fallen asleep in the bath and had to get the fire marshall to break down his hotel room door. We ended up taking the stage an hour late, with Chris arriving asking “is there a problem”?
But one thing for sure is that he always delivered. The stage was his world. His attention to the minutest details of the music was immense – you certainly couldn’t get away with playing the wrong inversions of the chords anywhere, or anything out of line. He would come over with his inimitable casual fashion and point out “That’s not quite right”.
As a person he loved life to the full – a glass of wine, fine food, tennis, motor racing, and an enthusiast for everything musical. His thunderous bass rig with the sub Taurus pedals rattling the stages was legendary – the ‘Wall of Doom’ as it was known housing some 30 speakers dominating an entire side of the stage. He was one of the few bassists who had the audacity to pick up a triple-necked instrument without the slightest hint of irony, and, probably the only one who could actually play the bloody thing!
A musician’s musician. A genius. I’m going to miss him greatly.
Chris was not only the Jimi Hendrix of the bass guitar and a beautiful songwriter, but a good friend to both my wife Maewe (Mumu) and me. During the near four years we lived closely with him, we often saw his sensitive and caring side, the family man. I used to enjoy appealing to his fun loving nature by making him laugh in his jovial and boisterous way. I feel immensely blessed to have had the rare chance to live and work beside such a dear soul. No words can express… ONLY LOVE can take Chris Squire’s place.
I knew, like many of us, that Chris was seriously ill with a rare form of leukaemia, but had heard the encouraging news that he was responding well to treatment and so felt optimistic that with treatment, love and prayer, he would beat it. Ironically I wrote to Paul Silveira, (the manager of YES), on Friday evening to enquire how Chris was and heard the desperately sad news yesterday. The phone has not stopped ringing and my inbox is overflowing with tributes from so many people which simply shows the effect that his contribution to music made to so many of us, musicians and fans alike. We have now lost, who for me, are the two greatest bass players classic rock has ever known. John Entwistle and now Chris. There can hardly be a bass player worth his salt who hasn’t been influenced by one or both of these great players. Chris took the art of making a bass guitar into a lead instrument to another stratosphere and coupled with his showmanship and concern for every single note he played, made him something special. Although Chris is no longer with us in human form, his music has not gone with him and that will be around long after all who read this will also have departed this mortal coil. That’s the great gift of music. That gift can be passed on with what has been created and so Chris will always live on. I, like all of you, send my heartfelt condolences to all Chris’s extended family and may there be some solace for them in knowing the impact he had on so many of us. Chris’s passing, truly marks the end of an era. Rick Wakeman 28th June 2015
Source: RWCC & Twitter
Thanks for your life Chris. You may be gone but the music lives on for ever. You’ve personally left me with great memories and great music — Rick Wakeman (@GrumpyOldRick) June 29, 2015
Really saddened to hear of the death of my old Yes band-mate, Chris Squire. I shall remember him fondly; one of the twin rocks upon which Yes was founded and, I believe, the only member to have been present and correct, Rickenbacker at the ready, on every tour. He and I had a working relationship built around our differences. Despite, or perhaps because of, the old chestnut about creative tension, it seemed, strangely, to work.
He had an approach that contrasted sharply with the somewhat monotonic, immobile bass parts of today. His lines were important; counter-melodic structural components that you were as likely to go away humming as the top line melody; little stand-alone works of art in themselves. Whenever I think of him, which is not infrequently, I think of the over-driven fuzz of the sinewy staccato hits in Close to the Edge (6’04” and on) or a couple of minutes later where he sounds like a tuba (8’.00”). While he may have taken a while to arrive at the finished article, it was always worth waiting for. And then he would sing a different part on top.
An individualist in an age when it was possible to establish individuality, Chris fearlessly staked out a whole protectorate of bass playing in which he was lord and master. I suspect he knew not only that he gave millions of people pleasure with his music, but also that he was fortunate to be able to do so. I offer sincere condolences to his family.
Adios, partner. Bill.
The photo is 1971, somewhere in Italy. L-R Steve Howe, Jon Anderson, Bill, Chris.
I am about as sad as I could be.
You all I’m sure know by now that Chris has passed.
I spoke to him about a week ago, and we were still laughing together.
Even though he had recently taken a turn for the worse, this was not totally unexpected, and the shock and sadness is extreme. I will miss him terribly.
An era is over. Music has lost a one of a kind, and I have lost a dear friend and brother. RIP
This has to be the hardest message I’ve ever written, I’m devastated losing Chris.
I met Chris in 1987, we became fast friends and remained so through all these many years. He was a big part of my world. He was my hero, playing bass and singing the way he did was such a huge inspiration. We made a lot of music together over the years, for which I’m eternally grateful. It was always something very special indeed to create with Chris. We seemed to always be on the same page with our ideas. Chris used to say to me “I guess it’s because we are both Pisces, our music always has a watery sort of vibe to it”. (I can hear his voice in my head as I write).
I went to visit with him (just before he fell ill) in Arizona, I got to spend time with him and his wonderful family. We had an amazing dinner and many laughs together. Chris came to my hotel to record a bass track on a new record I’m making called “CITIZEN” and he nailed it in classic Squire style. Five String in hand, playing great, with the amazing grin on his face. He was in the zone, little did I know at the time he was facing the battle that would eventually take him from us all.
One week after I returned home from Arizona, Chris phoned me and told me the worst news. He very bravely told me he had Leukemia. I feel apart, he remained strong and said he’s got the fight in him and it’s full steam ahead to battle it. A week or so goes by…
Chris phoned me again, this time to say things had advanced to the point that touring in the near future was impossible for him. He began explaining that Yes had to continue for the fans and that while he had never missed a Yes show in 40 years this was one he would in fact have to sit out. Chris asked me at that point to step in and play with Yes while he dealt with his health issue. This was very difficult to hear… because I knew how heartbreaking it must have been for him to not be well enough to go out. I explained to him that because of my love for him and Yes music, of course I would do it, but under the understanding that he would be returning to the band as soon as he had fully recovered. He agreed…
From that conversation forward we were speaking on the phone about the various nuances of the music, bass parts etc… Just last week or so… he phoned and for some reason the tone and tenor was different. It was as if he was the father telling his son a final farewell, cloaked in an upbeat voice and manner but never the less. This would be the final conversation we would have. My heart is broken for losing my friend, for his family’s loss and the many many fans I know who loved him.
Chris said to me, “play the music, be yourself and make me proud”. It’s my true desire now live up to his wishes. He will forever live on in my heart and I will miss him terribly.
I’m still having a very hard time believing it. Absolutely heartbroken. Condolences and love to The entire Squire family. Thanks to everyone for the messages…
Source: Facebook & email
The news of Chris’s passing is very sad.
He was a special friend and a phenomenal musician, always eager to go beyond the outreaches of creativity.
During my years as a member of Yes and even outside of the band, strongly embedded in my memory, are some of the extraordinary sessions we used to have together; like an “empathy of minds and souls” jamming together to the rhythms of frequencies, all distances abbreviated by the pure spontaneity of spirits roaming freely, all barriers seemingly abolished!
My deepest heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to Chris’s Family and loved ones.
Rock on, Chris!
I feel very privileged to have shared the stage and personal moments with you. I can still feel your huge hand on my shoulder and your warm presence. During the three years that we shared moments together, I never sensed that you placed yourself above me.
You will always be in my heart.
Memories of Chris
It was just over 2 weeks ago that I was rushing around my house desperately packing up everything in preparation for our move the next day to our new home. I had left all my studio and office stuff until the last minute so I could make sure I was able to work up until the last second before our internet got switched off and the keyboards had to be packed away.
I needed some music on to help relieve the monotony of making up boxes and for some strange reason I chose to listen to ‘Live from Lyon’ – the triple live album I performed on with Yes during our time together.
It was an album I was very proud to have been on but due to the nature of my departure from the band I had decided not to listen to Yes music any more. But for some reason I had an overwhelming urge to listen to it and relive some of the happy times we had during those tours. Moving home – an ending and a beginning together. I wondered whether that was behind my decision to play the record…
I decided to stop for a bit and have a quick cup of coffee. I had my laptop set up on the dining room table and as the kettle was boiling I decided to check my email. A message flashed up from Paul Silveira the Yes tour manager. ‘That’s odd’ I thought as the sound of Astral Traveller drifted down the stairs from my music room above.
I opened the email and was shocked to read that Chris had lost his battle with Leukemia.
I had had little contact with Chris since I left the band, just a single email with his honest feeling about how he had never thought I would be out of the band for which I was grateful.
4 years came and went and I read the news that Chris was battling leukemia and I decided to drop him a quick email to wish him a speedy recovery. Chris replied with his thanks and his hopes that all was going well for me and my family. That was on the 19th May. Little did I know that a little under 6 weeks later he would no longer be with us.
I said to my wife that I couldn’t believe Chris had passed away and made my way back up to my music room where Astral Traveller had moved into Yours is no Disgrace. I turned off the record, sat quietly for a while and then had to carry on the task of packing everything away for the move the next day.
The last two weeks have been a blur – I have been sorting out the new house, getting kids settled into new schools, finding our where the supermarkets are and all the other necessary things you forget about when moving.
So here I am this evening in my new music room listening to the second half of the ‘Live from Lyon’ album which I had stopped 2 weeks ago and I realised that it was finally beginning to sink in about what had happened. I decided I wanted to write something about my time with the band and with Chris in particular.
If you have ever visited my website you may be aware that I write tour stories after every tour and there are a few there about the tours with Yes so I will not be repeating stories from those write ups but will pick some specific instances which I hold particularly dear and I hope will go someway to sharing some of my experiences with Chris.
Many people will have thoughts that when I was young the Yes guys were always round our house drinking fruit juice, herbal tea, whisky and beer (decide who would be drinking what yourselves…) and coming up with great music. That may well be true but unfortunately I wasn’t born when Fragile came out. (I am mentioned in the booklet though – referred to ‘one future offspring’).
Close to the Edge – I was 6 months – Tales – probably 2 years. By the time Dad had left and rejoined for Going for the One my mum and Dad had separated and I was 5. So my memories of Chris from that period are non-existent. I met Chris fleetingly during the 35 anniversary tour but only to say hi to.
I had always had a good relationship with Steve Howe after getting reaquainted with him during the ABWH years. After I was invited to join the band in early 2008 (and subsequently for the Jon-less version in late 2008) Steve invited me to meet up with Chris in a bar in London.
I headed off and after meeting up with Steve – headed to the restaurant. Chris walked in – he had arrived in a mini which I found quite amusing – particularly when you realise how tall Chris was. He came in and said hi and I remember thinking was a distinctive voice he had.
We sat down and started chatting about the upcoming tour, about unusual pieces that could go into the set and surprise people. I remember I had an early smart phone – pre-iphone – some slide out qwerty keyboard thing with a stylus. Chris had the same phone and we started chatting about it and phone technology in general whilst Steve had gone to the bar. I’m pretty good at working out whether I’ll get on with someone and was confident that I would get on well with Chris.
2 months later and I was arriving at a Canadian airport to be met by Paul Silveira. I was slightly apprehensive. I had had one week of rehearsal on my own working out the parts for the tour and we now had 2 weeks to get battle ready – I had a new keyboard tech and a completely new keyboard set up which I had yet to see. Yep, apprehensive would be a good word. So would understatement!
Anyway I asked Paul if we were heading off to the hotel and he replied that we were waiting for Chris and Scotty – who I was yet to meet. Anyway Scotty and Chris shortly arrived and Chris said hi, introduced Scotty who was pregnant and very nice.
We started rehearsals and over the next few weeks I spent a lot of time with ‘The Squires’ and often ate out with them. Chris and I would often chat about the music and I was amazed at how good his memory was.
A great example was I remember we were rehearsing Siberian Khatru and after we finished he asked if he could have a word about a part that I wasn’t playing.
He explained that it was a minor version of the main riff that came later in the piece as a reprise of the original riff. I said that I didn’t know what part he was referring to and asked him to point it out on the original. We got to the point and Chris said ‘there’. I listened and couldn’t hear any keyboard part. And so we replayed it and again Chris went ‘there!’. Again I couldn’t hear it.
I said to Chris that I couldn’t hear it to which he agreed that it wasn’t on the record after all. However he said that he remembered the part being worked out in the studio but obviously hadn’t made it to the final mix and would I mind recreating it. I thought that was a great challenge – recreate a part no-one had ever heard except Chris in his memory banks!
I did have a go however and was very proud when I played Chris what I thought it should be and he said ‘That’s it! Can you put that in to the song at next rehearsal please?’
The tour was a blast – I really felt that I was getting comfortable by show 5 at the Mohegan Sun in the US and by this time I had started to get a reputation as a shopper for clothes and gifts for my family. I don’t really drink and so I would spend my free time looking for things I thought my son and wife would like. I missed them terrible but this helped keep them close to me in an odd way. I spent a lot of time with Scotty choosing clothes and toys and I think this was noted by Chris as when ever we had a tv spot of video recording he’d bring a shirt up to me and ask my opinion as to how it would look on screen. One particularly colourful version was chosen for the 3D shoot for Machine Messiah – the link for which can be found on my twitter feed.
I may jump around a bit now as my memories come back to me and so the chronological order may go a bit haywire but that’s how memories work so apologies in advance.
When we were on tour around Europe we toured on a bus which was a lot of fun. Especially as Chris bought the whole family on it. Scotty, Scotty’s mum and their daughter Xilan who would fly up and down the aisle in her wheeled walker. We would do shows and there would be the aftershow ice barrel full of bear and wine and you would always see a baby’s bottle of milk in amongst it which I remember taking a photo of as I thought it was quite amusing! Chris and I would stay up late on the bus talking about doing a new record and re-booting the band in a brand new way.
I also remember I played a part on Astral Traveller and which Chris mirrored my line with a bass part. One day shortly before we recorded Live From Lyon we were chatting about this part and how it never quite went together as well as it should.
We were talking after the show and Chris said ‘I don’t know why it doesn’t sound right, it’s just a run down from C’. ‘No’ – I replied – ‘it’s a run from B’. ‘It’s C’ he countered – ‘I remember doing it in the studio’. I knew better than to argue with the famous memory but we agreed to have another listen to the original recording which we slowed down in Pro-tools.
And Chris was right. He did start on C.
But Tony Kaye started on B!
We were both right! So we agreed to sync the two parts to make it gel a little better in the live show.
I remember picking up Chris and Scotty on a trip they made down to Devon to Steve Howe’s house where we discussed all the plans for the new album we wanted to write (it didn’t happen in it’s intended form – the album eventually become the Fly From Here album).
Anyway – another piece we were working on was a Yes reworking of a classical piece – I forget which now – but it was a great idea and would have been a lot of fun. We also listened to a few of Chris’ pieces which I really enjoyed and spent quite a bit of time working on arrangements with him. We were all sat in Steve’s kitchen and I was listening to the two of the reminisce about the writing sessions for The Yes Album. A day to remember.
We had lots of great material which never saw the light of day – some of which I have here with Chris’s parts on. One particular track we co-wrote which I was very proud of is called Gift of Love and I’ve just found it in my library and it’s currently playing. I’d forgotten about how good that one was – and I’ve just found a completely different arrangement of The Man You See in Me which we recorded in Pheonix during the writing sessions and a few of the other demo sessions we recorded which were never used.
It’s always amazed me how music can take you right back to a time and place. I am currently in the rental house we all lived in in Pheonix in the US for 3 weeks to record the demos.
That’s just reminded me of the evening after recording this version of The Man You See In Me, Chris and I went with Benoit to see Muse perform and Benoit getting a speeding ticket on the way back to the rental house we were writing in. I don’t know if he ever paid the fine though, I’ll have to drop him (or the authorities) a line and find out.
Fast forward a year or so and we were all Oklahoma when our stage was wrecked by a tornado and all of our equipment was seriously damaged or written off. We had a couple of days to repair and source new instruments – I remember seeing one of Chris’ basses and asking if it was every going to be repairable and he just looked at me and shrugged. I know it had upset him more that he let on though as it was a special one from his collection.
Three days later and we were at the Greek in LA performing to a sell out crowd. I was busy programming my new rented moog with all my sounds right up until the show start and Chris was busy chatting to Richard, his bass tech, about whether his basses were all going to work ok.
We started the show and I remember feeling a huge sigh of relief as I realised the keyboards I had sourced were all working as expected. I looked across at Chris (we were always on stage next to each other) and he seemed happy. Suddenly one of his pieces of equipment failed and I watched as he maintained his composure in front of the crowd whilst Richard worked feverishly in the background trying to repair the damaged rack unit. I remember that night in particular as that was the night that Trevor Rabin guested with us and I know that Chris really enjoyed playing ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ that night!
Over the years of working with the band Chris nicknamed me the ‘facilitator’ as I was pretty good at getting agreements from all members of the band and help get everyones opinions heard and taken on board. No easy task in a band like Yes!
One of the nicest things I remember Chris saying to Benoit David (Yes singer at the time) and I was that he was so proud of the line up and how he didn’t think there was a Yes song that the band couldn’t deliver. High praise indeed and I take great strength from that during those occasional days when as a musician you doubt yourself (I have yet to meet a musician who doesn’t go through those feelings!).
One of my last memories which reminds me of that was on my last tour with the band. After I had been replaced I was contracted to finish one last tour, ‘The Rites of Spring’ tour and I remember the first rehearsal being a bit awkward.
I was stood behind my keyboard rig when the rest of the band walked in. They all looked at me a bit sheepishly and then Chris said ‘Right lets start with Parallels, Oliver can you remind me how it goes’. This was a nice touch as Chris and I had spent a long time dissecting the original version to make sure we recreated it as close to the original as possible and it showed how much he appreciated the work we’d put in! It put us all in a more relaxed state and the tour went well.
I could go on for hours with different memories, some which I will keep to myself, others which I may recount at a future date but I will always be proud to have been Chris’s band mate and, I hope, friend.
I am still finding it difficult to think of Chris as not being here any more but I was pleased to have been around him during a particularly happy period in his life with Scotty and Xilan and his music will continue to inspire and enthrall people across the world.
Cheers Chris, next time I hear thunder – I’ll remember your Rickenbacker and amp stack right next to the keyboards and know you’re still playing up there!
Chris Squire was an imposing force of originality. He was a true composer, reflected not only in his memorable bass lines, but also through his ear for vocal harmonies. From the time he co-founded Yes to the present day, these contributions were pillars of the band’s identity. I’ve seen an outpouring of sentiment from musicians and fans alike, sharing that Chris made an impact on their lives. This is true for my own life, in ways I would’ve never expected.
It was an otherworldly experience to have played keyboards with Yes. Here was the band that I grew up loving, and the next thing I knew, I was on stage with the band watching “The Fish” stride towards my keyboard station. We were performing “Starship Trooper”, and, as would happen nightly on tour, I would experience a distracting sense of delight every time I joined in with the group’s vocal harmony. Chris was very focused on this aspect of the band, and no matter where he was on that expansive stage, he was tuned in to whatever parts the rest of the band were singing. Chris often wanted me to sing his exact parts along with him, to create a rich unison effect. It was through learning these melodies that I found a deeper appreciation for his creativity, and how much his voice was a key ingredient to the Yes magic. Each time I sang with the group, I would have to stave off either chills or laughter, as there was usually a very demanding keyboard bit happening right around the corner (or even at the same time). I had no choice but to stay present in the music, even when the man with the Rickenbacker was strutting towards me with a sly smile that says “it’s time for your solo, Tom. Go for it.”
As I got to know Chris on tour, I saw a man who was always thinking of music. He would hear melodies and bass lines in the background of life. Years later, when I visited backstage after a Yes concert, he came right up to me to give me a big hug. And there was that smile, taking me back to those times on stage. Thanks for the memories, Chris.
Very sorry to hear the news that Chris’s died on Saturday night from leukemia. It was a great shock even though we were told it was likely. Chris was a huge force in Prog, in Rock and in Music, a major heartbeat has stopped. Chris will be missed by his family, by the band, by his millions of fans and friends and I will miss him.
Better men than I pay respects to he who was “the world’s greatest living electric bassist’ Chris Squire
I’ve been allowed to post my humble tribute to honor him & for at least some small personal closure.
I personally couldn’t ever imagine a world without Chris.
I will never be the same again because of him and without him.
He and his lifelong mates invented another level of awareness and a body of work the entire planet recognizes like no other in history.
When we need to find strength & faith & love we’ve always listened to his songs.
We met in a beautiful place where the spirit is closest the earth.
We simply shared a mutual love of new ideas & found amazing similarities are just a short ride away.
We loved each other genuinely in some small way.
He validated my lifetime commitment to originality and I hope I showed him my heart
full of the same simple good man he always shared with me.
I knew we thought of each other when we were far away.
I’ll never forget what he’s given for me.
I’ll love you forever old friend.
Richard Davis, Chris’s guitar tech
This is a great loss. Chris (or ‘Fish’ as many of us called him) was not only one of the best bass players on the planet, he inspired young musicians everywhere. His sound was unique, easily recognizable—impossible to duplicate. His musical compositions and vocal harmonies were strongly influenced by his youth as a choirboy. He was one of a kind.
YES has been though many incarnations: the one constant was Fish.
He was a pillar of YES, from the beginning until the end. He was late to every rehearsal, but once plugged in he was invaluable, no vital, to the music.
Chris was the only original member of the band that was there when I started with them in 1968. He has been a true friend for 47 years. YES has been the main influence of my life; I owe them so much that can never be repaid.
My heart goes out to his family.
Long live Fish!
Sad news indeed x RIP Chris Squire.
— Adam Wakeman (@Wakemanofficial) June 28, 2015
Mabel Greer’s Toyshop
We are very sad to hear that Chris passed away last night. Along with Clive, Bob and Peter Banks, Chris was at the beginning of Mabel and of course YES. He leaves us with many memories of which we are truly grateful… thank you Chris, we will miss you..
Rotosound Music Strings
We are all very shocked and saddened here at Rotosound today to hear of the passing of Chris Squire.
My father James How introduced me to Chris and Yes in around 1975 I remember at Earls Court. I won’t ever forget that !
A true gentleman and an amazing and unique bass player and songwriter.
I also remember having the pleasure of sitting next to his mum at the Royal Albert Hall in the families exclusive box…..
One of our truly great musical pioneers…..
Just put the final touches on the Roman’s World Chris Squire Tribute Show. I hope you can join us as we celebrate the life and music of an amazing musician. Tributes from members of CIRCA, Glass Hammer, Molly Hatchet, 41Point9, Hipnostic, Strunz & Farah and a very special tribute by Billy Sherwood.
Very special thanks to Jimmy Haun, Banner Thomas (Jcm Jeanne), Steve Babb, Bob Madsen, Rob Swanson, Ardeshir Farah and, of course, to Billy.
Join us Sunday July 5th at 1:00 pm PST on www.ravenradio.
Tom Gagliardi, GagliArchives
4 HOUR RADIO TRIBUTE TO CHRIS SATURDAY 10PM EDT
Greetings and heavy hearted condolences from the radio staff of the Gagliarchives Radio Philadelphia and 88.9FM WBZC in Philadelphia. http://gagliarchives.com
I normally wouldn’t contact you directly in regards to music airplay we feature from time to time, but for obvious, sad reasons, I felt you should know that we as a radio program are deeply distraught over Chris Squire’s passing as I am sure all of you are as are his adoring fans.
I am writing you to let you know we are going to feature a 4 hour radio tribute to Chris highlighting his extensive catalog which obviously will include Yes music but also his solo album and a lot of his collaborative work with Conspiracy, Steve Hackett and so much more that can be done in 4 plus hours. We are going to be featuring many of the interviews we had with him over the years as well, and I don’t know if you would feel this is news worthy material for the website, but I felt it would be best to let you know that we are doing this.
Please know we feel for the entire Yes family and Chris was one of the reasons why I stuck to producing this program when I was ready to quit in the mid 1990’s. It may not mean much, but he was the motor to not just Yes, but to my spirit and heart in loving what I bring to our international audience week after week with the radio program. He truly was my therapy and was loved by all who heard our spotlights on a monthly basis. If you are interested in wanting to listen and/or spread the word, it would be appreciated greatly.
Here is the information:
The program begins Saturday night at 10PM EDT
Here are the links and how to listen:
Join us on our in-studio Ustream.tv channel at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/gagliarchives to watch us on our online TV Channel
You can listen through Windows Media at http://staff.bcc.edu/z889/stream/z889.asx
Quicktime at http://staff.bcc.edu/z889/stream/z889.qtl and through
Shoutcast at http://staff.bcc.edu/z889/stream/z889-stream.pls and through
Aural Moon both live tonight and replayed Tuesday morning at 11AM at http://auralmoon.com/playlinks/auralmoon56kmp3.pls
or locally in the Philadelphia/South Jersey/Jersey shore area at 88.9/95.1/100.7FM
If you would like to spread the word on this, we are greatly appreciative. If not, we will understand.
Our hearts are with you and we will make the Yes family very proud on Saturday night.
The Gagliarchives radio program is world’s most listened to progressive rock radio program since 1991 both on the FM dial and the internet. Join us for our weekly spotlights!
Visit Our Sites:
Ustream.TV Channel Live Saturday Nights
Tune Into The Gagliarchives at 88.9FM – 95.1FM – 100.7FM Saturday Nights from 10PM-2AM EST
Heard around the world at z889.org & Auralmoon.com and seen live at Ustream.TV/Gagliarchives
Source: Email & Facebook
Miguel Falcão – Spotify Playlist
This selection of songs are an exercise of trying to contemplate Chris’ career as a bass player, singer and songwriter in many of his projects, from different perspectives. The intention is not to state a “best of” or to establish any order of importance of the songs here featured. However I do love all these songs very much. Each one has its own particular beauties and meanings throughout my life as an admirer of Chris’.
While many artists would dream of being in a handful of songs, for Chris the challenge is to select “only” 50, and thus there are many other songs not here which could be selected. We are fortunate to have them forever – surely Chris’ Music will continue to inspire us and future generations.
Cruise To The Edge
We are looking to create a special video presentation from all of us with Cruise to the Edge and would like you to post your favorite picture of Chris Squire.. Maybe it’s from CTTE, or another concert, etc…. All photos are welcome!
Add your photos to the comments on this Facebook page.
Roy Clair (Clair Companies)
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chris Squire. I had the pleasure of touring with Chris as Yes’ sound company, and I was continually marveled by Chris’ unique musical sound. He was always fun to be around with his upbeat personality and quiet humor. The world lost a talented man who will be greatly missed.
Seijiro Udo, UDO Artists Inc.
Words simply cannot express the deepest sadness I felt in my heart when I heard of the tragic passing of Chris Squire. Please accept my utmost condolences. Chris was truly a legendary musician who with his unique performance changed the fax of rock music. More than that he was a wonderful man and I greatly enjoyed his company and
friendship which started in the early 70’s. I pray that you, the other members and especially his family and loved ones would be able to find peace in the love-filled memories you all have of him.
UDO Artists Inc.
Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters
To the greatest most unusual bass player of all time and my close friend. Chris Squire – RIP
In The Studio with Redbeard
We are saddened to learn of the passing of Yes co-founder, bassist Chris Squire. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and bandmates.
Chris Squire has passed…but his music and legacy will live forever. More on his death when I can compose myself…this is Scott. Ed Sciaky was my very close friend and I’m the Scott who is usually posting on his Facebook page. This is me with Ed, Chris and Alan years ago in a promotional appearance in Bryn Mawr, PA outside of Philly the night before the Magnification tour show at the Mann. I hope to be writing about Chris in further detail this week. I have plenty of memories as I met him numerous times because of my friendship with Ed and have seen YES live about 75 times.
I am devastated by the news of Chris Squire’s passing. A special pal and a man who defined the progressive genre. Open to all styles with a love of orchestras and choirs as well as thunderous rock, his passing leaves a huge hole in the heart of music. His ingenious sound was unique. Farewell my friend. I loved making the Squackett album with you and all the other projects we worked on together, including your recent work with me on Love Song to a Vampire… It feels like only yesterday. Thank you for all the good times. Saying you will be missed is a complete understatement, and my heart goes out to Scotty and all your family. Warmest wishes to all, Steve
It’s taken me some time to adjust to Chris’s passing. I probably won’t. He was a great friend and a great musician. God knows the grief that his family are going through – let alone Alan White and Geoff Downes and ALL of YES. My heart goes out to them. May God rest you in his musical heavens, Chris. Keith Emerson.
I am very saddened to hear about the recent passing of my old and respected friend Chris Squire. Chris was a decent and loving person, not to mention a great musician, bass player and singer. What most people are not aware of is that Chris and I shared an apartment together in London during the early nineteen seventies and as a consequence became very close friends. I will definitely miss him. Best Greg Lake. June 29, 2015
Shocked to hear of the passing of Chris Squire, one of the great bass players. RIP
— Geezer Butler (@GZRMusic) June 28, 2015
Thank you for all of the amazing music Chris Squire. You will surely be missed.
— John Petrucci (@JPetrucci) June 28, 2015
Dave La Rue (Dixie Dregs/Steve Morse)
It’s a sad day for the bass community. Chris Squire of Yes has passed away at the age of 67. He was one of a kind, and he will be missed. My thoughts go out to his family and all who knew him. R.I.P.
RIP. Chris Squire
Chris Squire was a great rock bassist and a friend. Back in 1974 when me and Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House were playing in London, Chris, Jon Anderson and Allan White from their band YES, took us out to lunch at an amazing Indian Restaurant. It was the first that I had ever eaten Indian cuisine. Fond memories. YES members were big fans of fusion musicians as they loved The Eleventh House, Return To Forever and other fusion bands. Rest in peace Chris Squire
Brian May (Queen)
Very sad to hear of the passing of Chris Squire, bass player of the progressive rock band YES, today.
Chris was a truly unique bass player. The word ‘unique’ is used a lot, these days, of course, but in Chris’s case, it’s undisputable. His bass playing style was a million miles away from the low-pitched thud of most bassists of the time. His bass guitar was wired up to make an incisive full-frequency range ‘clank’ that had the presence of an orchestra when he played on his own.
Blended into the intricacies of the arrangements in his band’s music, it formed a massively strong backbone in both rhythm and pitch. As young musicians, we boys in Queen were huge fans of Yes. We had a loose connection with them, since Freddie had worked in Kensington Market alongside Tony Kaye, their original keyboard player. We regularly saw Yes playing around London in their very early days – when they were still playing covers, among them a very impressive version of ‘Something’s Coming’ from West Side Story.
In these early days they were learning their harmony skills which later emerged strongly in their own compositions … like ‘I’ve Seen All Good People’, etc. Chris was a founder member of the band along with singer Jon Anderson, and was a major writer and arranger as well as bassist. I saw the band many times all through their very convoluted history, but one early impression stick in my mind.
I was on the Entertainments Committee of my college – Imperial College – and we booked them to play in our Great Hall just after they’d returned from a tour in the USA supporting Iron Butterfly. We were around in the hall when Yes were doing their sound check. At each side of the stage were the speakers of their PA … their amplification system. Now in those days, PA’s were usually made from a valve amplifier putting out about 200 watts in power (compare that with modern systems which pump out hundreds of thousands of watts). The amp would feed small cabinets which held some conventional loudspeakers – the kind that people had in their home radios and record players. The Yes system was shockingly different. It comprised massive square black boxes (known as ‘Bins’ – for the low frequencies) and large metal fan-shaped devices sitting on top (known as ‘Horns’).
Our jaws dropped. We’d never seen anything like it. We asked them later how this came about and they told us that this was the Iron Butterfly system, designed to put across one of the loudest bands in the world at that time. For Yes, it was not so much about being loud, as being clear. To put across multi-part harmonies on top of a loud rock band required a lot of spare power, or all that would come out would be distortion, since you were trying to make those delicate harmonies compete with the sound coming out of loud guitars and drums actually on stage, in the ‘back line’.
For us this was vital information. We, as Queen, were planning to do exactly that … make vocal harmonies sit on top of a band sound that was going to be louder and more ‘heavy’ in content than Yes’s. So if this new kind of system worked, this was what we wanted. Of course there was one small snag … we had no money !!
But was all this sophistication going to solve every problem? Chris Squire strolled on to the stage and picked up his already plugged-in Rickenbacker bass, and turned it up to do the check. But before he played a note, he frowned and said, in what seemed like a shocked tone (and the implication that this was in no way his problem): “There’s a buzz!” Immediately three or four guys rushed on from the wings and scurried around looking equally concerned. Now to us, at the time, being beginners with no money and no gear, this seemed incredibly grand ! Couldn’t he sort out his own buzz? What was this world where other people turned on your amp and plugged you in?
But as time went on, we realised this is more a matter of focus. As a performer you try to optimise your efforts as regards performing. You actually can’t do that if you’re worrying about the technical side of things as well. You pay other folks good money to do that … and if you don’t, you’re actually putting someone out of a job ! The whole touring team thing depends on everyone being a specialist in what they do, and that’s how you achieve excellence. It’s just one of the lessons we, Queen, learned from YES, and, very specially, the amazing and truly unique Chris Squire.
I should probably mention that as a player he was a virtuoso; I think just about every bass player I know would confirm that view.
May he rest in peace and happiness, knowing he played a great part in changing Rock for ever.
Sincere condolences to his family and friends, and the guys he pioneered wondrous harmony progressive faerie-inspired Rock with.
Source: Brian May Website
We are saddened to learn of the passing of legendary rock bassist Chris Squire, co-founder of the band Yes. Geddy offered a few words about what Chris meant to him as a bass player: “Although we never met, I’m so sorry to hear about Chris Squire from Yes passing. As a bass player and innovator on the instrument he was a huge inspiration to me. Simply put, he was one of the greatest rock bassists of all time. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
We lost one of the greatest musicians of all time.. an innovator-true legend.. a friend and hero. RIP Chris Squire. You will be so missed
Very sad to hear of Chris Squire’s passing. We were friends for over 45 years. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. — John Wetton (@arkangel2605) June 28, 2015
Last night, with some old friends in distant places, I shared a conference call and toast to the memory of the great bassist Chris Squire.
We discussed how we’d been deeply influenced by his music, we shared stories, favorite concerts and songs – and even realized that in a convoluted way we had only met each other, back in the early 80’s, because of Chris.
He re-wrote the rules of playing bass lines, he gave his instrument a voice uniquely his, and he touched many of us with his music. What more can you aspire to.
With Chris Squire, Billy Sheehan and Jason How of Rotosound.
Thank you Chris….you are the reason that I play bass. Fish Out Of Water will be on endless loop until further notice.
An incredibly sad day. Chris Squire, one of the greatest bassists of all time and co-founder of Yes, has passed away. He’s one of the core reasons for my interests far and beyond conventional rock norms, as I’m sure is true for so many of you as well. Apart from contributing to so much profound music, virtually every rock bassist owes the man an enormous debt of gratitude for the innovative spirit he brought to the instrument.
Chris Squire’s passing had made tonight’s final night of the Terry Riley Festival in SF, celebrating his 80th birthday, all the more poignant. Tonight, Kronos Quartet will perform Riley’s two-hour epic “Salome: Dances For Peace” — a sentiment Chris would have dug. Appreciate all the living legends like Riley and go see them EVERY opportunity you get, folks. The clock is ticking for all of us. Experience as much live music as you can. There is no greater experience of living in the moment than a concert experience.
I’m stunned by the sad news of Chris Squire’s passing. He was a game changer influential bassists and founding member of YES. Life’s too short, hug your heroes🎸Rest in Peace bass master🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Michael Anthony (Van Halen)
I am saddened today to hear of the passing of Chris Squire of Yes. Besides being one hell of a bass player that I drew inspiration from, I also had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Chris when Van Halen was touring Europe years ago. He took the time to hang with someone who was relatively unheard of and that was very cool! Chris, you will be missed. Another great rock bassist taken from us way too soon.
Paul Stanley (KISS)
RIP Chris Squire Legendary Yes band bass player, vocalist & cornerstone of YES. Condolences to family.
Gene Simmons (KISS)
Last night the world lost one its most gifted musicians. Rest In Peace Chris Squire. It was an honor to call you my friend.
— JOE BONAMASSA (@JBONAMASSA) June 28, 2015
My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Scotty and his whole family.
— JOE BONAMASSA (@JBONAMASSA) June 28, 2015
My two friends Chris a few years ago.It was like with BB and others great to know your heros are great people as well pic.twitter.com/MZ0Itnfcky
— JOE BONAMASSA (@JBONAMASSA) June 29, 2015
Immensely saddened to hear of the passing of Chris Squire a hugely talented and iconic bass player.Owner of Lonely Heart for example his style gave “Yes” soul.The early 80’s saw The Plant Band at Pike’s Hotel in Ibiza conceiving what was to become “Principle Of Moment’s’ Chris was a frequent visitor and friendships were formed.Much later we played together in L.A.Although our roots were different we shared a love of all things musical and the same birthday. I wish him peace.
Steve Hogarth, Mike and Pete (Marillion)
We were very sad to hear the news about Chris Squire. Please see Steve Hogarth’s message below. We also have tributes from Mark and Pete: “Very saddened to hear of the passing of Chris Squire. A massive influence on bass players, way beyond the Progressive genre.” – Pete. “I grew up listening to Yes, I was listening to them this morning and will probably be listening to them when I¹m 90 if I live that long. It¹s a sad loss that Chris Squire should die so young. He was one of rock music’s greats.” – Mark Kelly. Every once in a while, a musician comes along who redefines the sound of a musical instrument and how it can be used in the making of art. Such people are true innovators and rare talents. Chris Squire was just that. He brought his instrument – the bass – to the front of Yes’s music and endowed it with fabulous rasping, grinding melodic tones normally reserved for lead instruments. I first heard his chromatic upward run at the intro of “Starship Trooper” on the groundbreaking “The Yes Album”. It was playing at a party when I was 17 and it knocked me out. From then on I was listening… I was fortunate to meet him last year on the “Cruise to the Edge” and I was a good deal more nervous than I look in this picture. He was a almost a foot taller than me and quite a daunting figure, in addition to the awe I was already in. A giant, physically and musically. Another true great has left us behind. Rest in peace, Chris – h – Steve Hogarth
Source: stevehogarth.com & Marillion’s Facebook
There is a dark cloud over us all today:-( I’ve just heard that Chris Squire has passed away. There was a post on Billy Sherwood’s page that was soon removed and I hoped it was a hack. However both John Wetton and Geoff Downes tweeted to confirm we have lost him. I first saw him on stage at the Edinburgh Usher Hall back in 1975. It was my very first concert and I was catching my then favorite band. I admit to being so impressed with the big guy on bass that It played a big part when I welcomed the suggestion from friends to adopt his nickname. It was a bit embarrassing when we first met backstage in L.A. when I was on an American tour with Marillion. “Fish meet Fish” being the introduction. We met several times over the years and I have fond memories of a lovely guy with a brooding dark side that oozed danger. We partied very hard a few times and opened quite a few story boxes in the late hours of a morning. He was a brilliantly talented bass player and master musician and I hold him up there with the best I have ever seen or heard. Another legend lost, RIP Fish.
A few days ago we’re reached by the sad news that Chris Squire had passed away. It’s hard to fathom. One of my very first progressive rock records I ever bought was ”Close to the edge”, if it wasn’t the very first. One thing is for sure and that’s that Yes introduced a whole new world of music to me that I didn’t know existed. Changed me. Changed the way I think about music. Changed how I write music. Changed my record collection. My preferences. Chris Squire certainly had a great part in that. And I’m just one Yes fan in a legion of millions. Thank you Chris from us in Opeth. Condolences to his family and bandmates.
We are saddened by the passing of one of the greatest prog-rock bassists in music, Mr. Chris Squire. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, all the Yes (official) fans and his brothers and band-mates in his extended Yes family. RIP Chris.
James “JY” Young (Styx)
Very sad to hear of Chris’ passing. Along with John Entwhistle of the Who, Chris was at the top of my list of great British bass players. His sound was powerful, unique, and he along with Entwhistle and to some degree Jack Bruce, brought the bass out to the front of the mix. It was an honor for Styx to share the stage with Chris and Yes in 2011 as we toured across North America. I cannot say I got to know him well, but it was incredible to hear him every night up close and personal. His hands were so strong that when he high-fived me on stage on the last night of our 2011 tour, he nearly took my hand off! He will be missed.
Ricky Phillips (Styx)
The first time I met Chris, I told him I was sure I owed him for being such an influence on my playing. He thrust his palm forward and said, ‘Well, pay up!’ When I was about 18, I heard he had whittled down an English coin into a pick as part of his sound and I immediately made an attempt to do the same. It forced me to develop my pick playing, and not just rely on my fingers. I was fortunate enough to tour with Yes a few years back and I truly enjoyed my conversations with Chris. One day, he asked me a few questions about my gear and what I was running through. Well, that opened the flood gates for me to fire back with twice as many questions about his rig and how he got his sound. I’ll always have that as a cherished memory. Thank you, Chris. You’ll always be fondly remembered and revered. Read More: Rockers React to Yes Legend Chris Squire’s Death | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/chris-squire-twitter-tribute/?trackback=tsmclip
“My heart is broken over the news of Chris Squire’s passing,” Styx vocalist/guitarist Tommy Shaw says exclusively to Styxworld. “His driving bass was the backbone and the motor of Yes music, and his style is instantly recognizable. He was a true powerhouse.” Styx and Yes joined forces for a 22-date summer tour in 2011 that was dubbed the “Progressive U.S. Tour.” On the 2007 Shaw Blades Influence album, Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades covered “Your Move,” one of the most indelible and enduring tracks from Yes’ seminal 1971 release, Fragile. In the liner notes to Influence, Tommy wrote, “This is a combination of tipping our hat to the original, separating it from the second half of Yes’ version, and book-ending it with the original composition.” Tommy tells Styxworld, “When we toured with Yes a few years ago, Chris became very comfortable with our relaxed backstage vibe. We shared meals and a lot of laughs. But the sweetest thing was seeing him coming out on our stage on the last night of the tour [on August 3, 2011, at the Shoreline Amiptheatre in Mountainview, California] to dance with his little girl near the end of our set. “What a sweetheart,” Tommy concludes. “It’s just unthinkable, him not being on this earth. God speed, Chris Squire.” On his Facebook page, Styx drummer Todd Sucherman wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chris Squire. We toured with Yes in 2011, and it was so much fun. He came out and danced with his young daughter during our set on the last night of the tour. Condolences to his family and bandmates. RIP, musical giant.” Styx vocalist/keyboardist Lawrence Gowan posted a photo of one of Squire’s famed basses and added, “I took this photo (fuzzy though it appears due to a shaky photographer) of Chris Squire’s bass as it lay side stage awaiting his hands during our tour with Yes in 2011. Standing alone next to Chris’s bass that day, I stared at it a long time, realizing how much I revered him and this relic. Since I was a teenager dreaming of a life in music, all the wondrous magic he’d conjured from this instrument had made such an impact on my life! Thank you, Chris Squire. May your music live forever!” On March 26, 2014, Squire and your Styxologist were discussing Yes’ Heaven & Earth album and how much he admired his father for building the family’s hi-fi system when he was growing up in the Kingsbury area of London, England, and said, “He was ahead of his time, actually.” So were you, Chris. Yours is no disgrace. Rest in peace.
Steve Stevens (Billy Idol)
In light of Chris Squire’s passing, I thought it appropriate to post this interview with Chris & Steve Howe, upon releasing their solo records. Prog musicians are often painted as ego maniacal stuffy fuckers. Chris Squire was so far from that. He was funky, loved to laugh and party….totally aware of great traditional R&B and blues. As this shows in 1975, these were just two guys trying to express themselves creatively and better their craft. That’s what called being a true musician. People are saying that with Chris’s passing, it’s the end of an era. Well, right now somewhere, there is a 12 year old boy or girl discovering the Fragile record for the first time (like I did) and the spark will reawaken. I am hopeful for the future and will continue to yell from the rooftops the greats that inspired me to do what i do today. I will miss Chris Squire, but cherish what i learned from him forever.
chris squire could rock the shit out of rickenbacker .R.I.P.
— Flea (@flea333) June 29, 2015
Paying my respects to Chris Squire. He was a giant on the bass going back to the 60’s. His playing and music bought a lot of joy to a lot of people over many years..
I’m sorry to hear that Chris Squire is gone. he was a great player in one of the best rock bands ever. He forged his own unique style, something few musicians can say. Chris came to hear The Bears once and loved the band. later he said in an interview The Bears were the most exciting live band he’d heard since The Who in the 60’s. A huge compliment. Speaking of The Who, I know the 3 bassists who influenced a young Julie Slick were Jack Bruce, John Entwhistle, and Chris Squire. All greats of their time. It’s your time now Julie, and you deserve it. Rest in peace, Chris. So…when I heard Chris Squire had passed away my first thoughts were of Julie Slick because I knew how much his playing meant to her. Here is my real tribute to Chris: In the early 1970s I was a starving guitarist. I had joined a new band called Zarada (supposedly it was Czechoslovakian for “garden”). I guess you had to be there. The Beatles were gone and now we were caught up in the newest music, something called “Progressive Rock”. We were entirely immersed in the music of two bands, King Crimson and Yes. “Roundabout” was playing on the radio about every other 10 minutes and it was announced Yes were coming to play in my town (Cincinnati) at a large club called Reflections. Through some local finagling Zarada managed to be the first of two opening acts for Yes. It was our first and only performance, we sucked the moon out of the sky. And that was the end of Zarada. But earlier that afternoon I got to watch Yes’s soundcheck. First my favorite drummer Bill Bruford came out to tune his drums and play a few fills. I was apoplectic. Then Chris Squire appeared on stage, made a few remarks to the soundman (as I have done 1000 times since) and launched into Fish. I had never heard a bass player play what he played then and my idea of bass playing has never been the same since. And that’s my tribute.
Lost the great bassist Chris Squire of Yes today, he was an incredible visionary in the progressive world and a very kind man, he was actually the first rockstar I met in 1974. I was 14 and snuck backstage with my friend, he gave us passes and let us stay. Later in life we crossed paths in Hollywood and I ended up jamming with him long hours in the hills at his home in Laurel Canyon over drinks and other assorted fun. We dove into musical expression and many laughs along the way. He challenged me to learn the entire album Tales from Topographic Oceans which is a tough being it is 4 songs of 20 mins each. I gave it my best shot and ended up at Chris’s house for 3 days playing it. The progressive world has lost a Giant today, I’m glad I was able to make some incredible noise with you, fine sir, and will see you on the other side someday.
A true Prog Rock Bass playing legend has left Mother Earth today, for that great overcrowded green room in the sky! Chris inspired so many bass players, and he has left a musical legacy that will continue to inspire musicians for years to come! RIP Chris!
I’m absolutely FLOORED to hear the news of Chris Squire passing away…I had the honor of touring w Yes in 2004…Chris was a bass pioneer
Im very saddened to hear about Chris Chris Squire’s passing. He was a incredible musical force on this planet and we will all miss him and his music so much.
Jerry Greenberg, Atlantic Records ex-President, Billboard
Greenberg remembers how his easygoing relationship with Squire helped Yes break through with the hit “Roundabout.” Chris Squire, bassist and founding member of prog rock legends Yes, died Saturday at age 67, following a bout with leukemia. “For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years,” the band’s statement read. A chat with veteran record executive Jerry Greenberg affirms all this and more. Yes signed with Atlantic in 1969, around the same time Squire was breaking in with the label that would name him president by 1974, making him (at 32) the youngest to pull off the feat. But outside of business, Greenberg forged a genuine friendship with the Yes leader that endured through the end of Squire’s days. Here are Greenberg’s memories of Squire, as told to Billboard’s Chris Payne: I started back in 1969 with Yes and became very close to Chris. I knew the whole band, but somehow I latched onto him. He had a great personality and was always friendly. I think he had some extra respect for me, being a drummer and musician. At that time I was the head of promotions at Atlantic. I was the guy that went to the band and told them if they did a shortened version of “Roundabout,” they could have a Top 40 hit. They weren’t sure how to edit it, so I went in and did it with an engineer. That was the beginning of really breaking the band with that single. I’ve had nothing but really fond memories with the band and Chris. We’d been working on a documentary about my life for the last three years. I think I saw Chris two or three years ago and we got an interview from him. I called him two months ago, just before he found out he had leukemia: “Chris, I want to check on something. I remember you guys gave me a drum set as a Christmas present back in the early ’70s. I went out and sat in with you guys — was that at Madison Square Garden or Nassau Coliseum?” He was like, “That was Nassau Coliseum; I remember it!” We talked, laughed, and joked about it. I hadn’t spoken to him or seen him in years, but we just spoke two or three months ago. He was just a great guy, a great bass player. If you think about it, bass players and drummers are the foundation for any band. You obviously have the guitarist and vocalist, but without a good bass player, it’s hard to succeed in any band. Chris was there from the very beginning. He founded the band with Jon Anderson. Back in the early days with Atlantic, we used to get a new album from the band every year — in ’71, ’72, ’73, ’74. They toured after almost every release and were just an amazing rock band, but with jazz and classical influences, which were noted in all of their songs and arrangements. You’d probably walk into any Yes concert and the room was probably more filled with marijuana than any concert you attended (Laughs). You could go to a Stones concert or an AC/DC concert — but I don’t care who you are — you’d get high at a Yes concert. I was head of promotion at the time. I was wired in with a lot of DJs and knew what would and would not get played. One of my greatest accomplishments was being involved in the edit on “Roundabout” and convincing (Led Zeppelin’s) Jimmy Page to let me do an edit on “Whole Lotta Love.” I was the responsible for convincing these bands to make Top 40 radio records that could get massive exposure and eventually break the bands. I sent to the radio stations the longer and the shorter versions of “Roundabout” and gave them the option. In their documentary, Steve Howe or Alan White says, “Jerry Greenberg wanted a short version to get it on AM radio. We allowed him to make the edit on the record and we had a big hit!” So I feel I had something to do with their careers. Jon Anderson was into whatever he was into… very spiritual… incense. He was off in his own corner in the dressing room. You wouldn’t get much out of him. Chris was basically the leader of the band. I remember when I first got involved with the group, we were in England and we really hit it off. He goes, “Oh you gotta come to my house for dinner!” It wasn’t a business relationship. It was a musician-musician relationship and not a record company business relationship.
RIP Chris Squire. a legend, a pioneer and a huge inspiration on music in general. Very sad to hear about his passing. Such and awesome bass player with an interesting melodic and rhythmic approach – truly inspiring
I met Chris a few times at various events and Yes shows. I was always excited to meet such a legend. He inspired so many musicians and embraced us all with his great music.
In recent years I was fortunate enough to work with the band YES as the mastering engineer on one studio album ” Heaven & Earth ” and two double live album CDs and DVDs: ” Like it is – Live at the Bristol Hippodrome” and “Live at Mesa”.
Those moments and his music will always be remembered.
Thank you for the music Chris Squire RIP
Miguel Falcão and friends
Play For Chris! Published on 13 Jun 2015 We LOVE you Chris! Dear Friends, Here is the video #playforChris, which is the result of the fantastic collaboration of 28 individuals. This is a message of Love from us, surely representing all Chris’ fans and friends around the world, who wanted to demonstrate their Love and affection. Thank you very much to each one of you who participated, or shown interest and support for this initiative. Hopefully it will send positive energies to the Chris Squire we love so much! Onward! Miguel P.S.: There is a virtual candle room where you can light a candle for Chris and write a prayer. Each candle lasts for 48 hours. Please keep the “light burning brightly” for the Keeper of the Flame. You can find the link here, or looking on facebook/twitter for the hashtag #candlesforChris. I also set up another facebook/twitter hashtag where you can simply post your pictures of flowers as a thought-gift #flowersforChris. Please add the hashtag to your post as well.
Part of a generation of players who paid their dues through the ‘50s and early ‘60s, if not exactly leading the charge of the psychedelic brigade, The Syn and later, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, were part of the infantry slogging their way around the clubs of London and the provinces at precisely the point at which pop and rock started to experiment; something which Chris Squire, if you’ll forgive the expression, took to like a fish to water by the time Yes were underway.
Though the Rickenbacker bass could never be considered a small guitar, against Squire’s formidable height and frame it seemed tiny. However, the sound he extracted from those four strings bordered on the monumental. With a self-assurance that steadily grew from Yes’s 1969 self-titled debut, Squire’s brand of bass playing wasn’t content to merely fill in the root notes or light and shade via a passing phrase.
Under his agile fingers there were no parts of song that he regarded as being out of bounds, or which he thought might not benefit from his application of unconventional harmonies, rhythmic counterpunches or his melodic capabilities. Adept at switching from a thunderous growling support to expressive, loquacious lead lines, often within the same composition, Squire was a bassist who took risks rather than simply make do.
That fiery inventiveness helped Squire liberate the bass guitar from its traditional back line role of sharing the heavy lifting in the rhythm section, and repositioned it, when required, as an instrument capable of delicate and nuanced articulation. Blessed with brains and brawn, that presence and drive were a cornerstone upon which Yes’ success was ultimately built and maintained.
It’s staggering to think that the surging bass lines that provided the high octane fuel propelling Yours Is No Disgrace and the bold leaps setting-up Steve Howe’s exultant solo at the end of Starship Trooper sprang from the fertile imagination of a young man just 22 years old when Yes recorded The Yes Album in the Autumn of 1970.
More than that though, Chris Squire, even at that stage, had acquired a signature sound which made him stand out from the crowd, It’s something that most, if not all, musicians aspire to but which very few ever achieve.
If you heard those rasping, galloping metal-rimed notes you knew it couldn’t be anyone else. Always assertive, sometimes reckless, sometimes inordinately showy, it didn’t just come from the type of string he used, or a make of amplifier, or the twist of the treble pot on his guitar. That trademark tone, and the attitude it embodied and expressed, came from deep within the man himself.
His Rickenbacker bass sounded, more often than not, like it could blow a hole in the wall, and with a voice that when meshed in harmony with his band mates, sounded like it could charm the angels down from heaven. Those two seemingly contradictory elements made Chris Squire a force to be reckoned with.
The phenomenal success which Yes received following Fragile, Close To The Edge and Relayer put them into the premier league of rock stars and with it, the extravagant lifestyle of Rolls Royces, fine wines, and other flummeries which Squire enthusiastically embraced.
Laconic in the extreme, there are numerous accounts threaded throughout the history and chronicles of Yes of Squire keeping his band mates hanging around, a personality trait that occasioned irritation and frustration. Similarly, his habit of slowly deliberating a potential course of action, or the efficacy of one mix over another led to what might be benignly referred by some as “creative tension” but which others regard (off the record) as “fucking infuriating”.
By his own admission he could be obstinate and periodically bloody-minded. Sometimes viewed as possessing a degree of ruthlessness, his determination to keep Yes on the road as a working entity showed how tenacious he was. The decision to carry on working without Jon Anderson in 1980, and especially in 2008, following the singer’s respiratory illness, caused controversy and bad blood within the group and fandom.
Yet away from the cut and thrust of internecine politics, the man played like a dream. For all that ferocity, firepower and huge muscularity that pushed and knotted Yes’s ambitions together into a cohesive and unstoppable proposition, he also incorporated a wonderful economy that kept things simple and true. Outside of Yes, 1975’s Fish Out Of Water, arguably the most consistent of Yes member’s solo albums, counts a high watermark in an already overcrowded and brilliant back catalogue, as was the criminally underrated 2005 side project, Syndestructible by an updated line-up of his old band The Syn.
But it’s with Yes that he’ll be remembered. Sometimes when he was strutting about the stage he could look like a bit of a bruiser. Thrusting his bass about the place, he might be about to pick a fight as pluck a string. Belligerent and willfully mercurial, he’d scowl one moment and flash a grin the next. But if you got close enough you’d see a twinkle in his eye. He loved being where he was, being on stage reveling in the acclaim, always playing to the crowd.
Talking to him over the telephone when writing the liner notes for the 5.1 surround sound edition of Close To The Edge, I asked how he felt after completing such an ambitious record. “I remember thinking…” there was a pause as he cast his mind back to 1972. It was a very long pause. For a moment I thought the line had been lost. “I remember thinking… we’d done a good job”, he said in the midst of a short gurgling laugh.
A good job doesn’t even begin to cover it. Chris Squire and the music he helped create has been a part of our lives for so long. That’s why we feel his passing so keenly. The news of his death coming so quickly after his diagnosis in May compounds the sense of shock which so many have expressed around the world. While Progressive music has lost a unique voice he leaves behind a truly remarkable legacy for which we are thankful.
Source: Team Rock
Chris Squire by Adam Sweeting, The Guardian
Co-founder of the prog rock group Yes whose bass playing moulded their unique sound
Having been a founding member of Yes in 1968, Chris Squire, who has died aged 67 from leukaemia, remained committed to the group for the next 47 years. Squire, the band’s bass player, retained ownership of the Yes name even during a period of instability in the late 1980s, when other members split away to form Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe. He was the only member to play on every one of Yes’s 21 studio albums, from their debut, Yes (1969), to Heaven & Earth (2014); and helped to write much of the band’s material.
While many fans regard the group’s 70s work, such as The Yes Album (1971), Close to the Edge (1972) and Tales From Topographic Oceans (1973), as their creative pinnacle, it was 90125 – recorded after the group had split up and then reformed – that became their most commercially successful. Released in 1983, the album sold 8m copies worldwide and gave the band their only US chart-topper, with Owner of a Lonely Heart (which reached No 28 in the UK).
Squire’s favourite instrument was a 1964 Rickenbacker bass guitar, which he played throughout his career. It helped to mould his agile, melodic sound and gave it a cutting tone that ensured that it was prominent in the group’s sound, particularly so since Squire often played in a higher register than many rock bassists. This reflected the influence of one of his idols, John Entwistle of the Who. “I developed that trebly bass thing a little further,” said Squire, who would visit the Marquee club, London, weekly in the mid-60s to see the Who play.
The origins of Yes lay in a meeting between Squire and the singer Jon Anderson in May 1968, when Anderson was working at a club in Wardour Street called La Chasse, near the Marquee. Squire had just emerged from a period of seclusion, apparently prompted by a bad reaction to a dose of home-made LSD, during which he had obsessively practised his bass playing.
Squire, born in Kingsbury, north London, the son of a cab driver, had begun his musical career as a choirboy at St Andrew’s church. He had previously played in a group called the Syn, which also featured the future Yes guitarist Peter Banks. After focusing on Motown soul music, the Syn had begun to indulge their own psychedelic leanings, and, according to Squire, “were like a precursor of Yes”.
Squire and Anderson swiftly discovered they shared much musical common ground, and were both fans of such harmony-driven artists as Simon & Garfunkel, the Byrds and the Beatles. They began writing songs together, and recruited the drummer Bill Bruford (who had briefly been a member of R&B band Savoy Brown), keyboard player Tony Kaye and guitarist Banks (with whom Squire had recently been dabbling in a group called Mabel Greer’s Toyshop). On 4 August 1968, Yes made their live debut at East Mersea Youth Camp in Essex, and the following night played at the Marquee. They were subsequently given a residency at the club and were chosen to be the opening act for Cream’s farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall in December 1968. The following year Atlantic Records signed them to a worldwide deal.
The debut album was a strange but ambitious mixture of original material and cover versions, including ingenious reworkings of the Beatles’ Every Little Thing and the Byrds’ I See You. “I think everyone in the band had leanings towards orchestral music, which we translated into an electric approach,” said Squire. Time and a Word followed nearly a year later, in a similar vein but with the addition of a real orchestra.
Banks quit, and his replacement, Steve Howe, brought an energy and stylistic range that greatly benefited the group. He would also become a regular writing partner with Squire. The proof was writ large throughout The Yes Album, which contained some all-time Yes classics (notably Starship Trooper and Yours Is No Disgrace, both partly written by Squire) and reached No 4 in the UK charts and 40 in the US.
The group now embarked on their first golden era, with Fragile (1971) – their first album packaged in Roger Dean’s unique artwork – and Close to the Edge (1972), the latter a persuasive showcase for the group’s burgeoning skills at writing and performing complex, extended pieces. It went platinum in Britain and the US.
The double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) topped the UK chart and went to No 6 in the US, but its sprawling grandiosity now earned them accusations of prog-rock pretentiousness. The music press also enjoyed mocking Yes for their vegetarian diets, a trait seen as being distinctly not rock’n’roll. Musically, Relayer (1974) represented a retreat to a more conservative approach, and included another benchmark piece, Gates of Delirium, but was followed by a period of stocktaking during which Squire recorded the solo album Fish Out of Water, which featured Bill Bruford and Yes’s latest keyboard player Patrick Moraz. The 1975 compilation album Yesterdays included Yes’s extraordinary version of Simon & Garfunkel’s America, which had been recorded some years earlier.
Yes were back on the road in 1976, playing to a record-breaking crowd of 130,000 at the JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, on a tour that saw them play to 1.2 million fans. Their next albums, Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978), introduced a looser, rockier Yes which earned them further top 10 chart placings on both sides of the Atlantic.
Anderson and the then-keyboard player Rick Wakeman both quit in 1980, though the day was temporarily saved by the addition of the vocalist Trevor Horn, and Geoff Downes on keyboards (partners in the pop act the Buggles). Nonetheless the group split after touring in the wake of the 1980 album Drama (“we were all sick of each other and needed a break,” as Squire put it). Squire and the drummer Alan White went off to experiment with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page in a project called XYZ, which failed to progress beyond the rehearsal stage.
Then the pair met the South African musician Trevor Rabin in Los Angeles, formed a group called Cinema which also included Horn and Kaye, and decided it might be a good idea to get back in touch with Anderson and re-form Yes. The rebuilt band recorded the blockbuster album 90125, then enjoyed further success with Big Generator (1987) and Union (1991). The latter featured an eight-piece lineup incorporating players from the splinter group Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, who had split off in 1988.
Subsequent recordings met with dwindling sales, but the Yes brand name remained strong. When Squire stepped down earlier this year following his leukaemia diagnosis, Billy Sherwood replaced him on bass.
Squire is survived by his third wife, Scotland, and their daughter, Xilan; by two daughters, Chandrika and Camille, and a stepdaughter Carmen, from his first marriage; and by a son, Cameron, from his second.
Christopher Russell Edward Squire, musician and composer, born 4 March 1948; died 27 June 2015
Source: The Guardian
Yes Bassist Chris Squire: An Appreciation by Gary Graff, Billboard
There are specific sonic and stylistic totems that are hallmarks of progressive rock: lengthy songs, intricate arrangements, flashy musicianship, trippy cover art.
And Chris Squire’s bass playing.
The Yes co-founder – who passed away Sunday from leukemia at the age of 67 – was a vital pioneer in one of rock’s most ardently debated and controversial sub-genres. He was a melodic kindred spirit to the likes of Paul McCartney and the Who’s John Entwistle and Cream’s Jack Bruce, creating dynamic parts that danced between the busy, complex work of his bandmates. His sound was round, full and present, both filling a pocket that helped propel Yes’ songs and standing out like any soloist.
“It was both a conscious and unconscious thing,” Squire once said of his style. “Obviously we were trying to be more advanced, more sophisticated, push the music ahead a little more – like a lot of other groups were doing at the time. But at the same time, I was just doing what felt natural and right for the song. It wasn’t just about showing off; it was about making (the songs) better.”
Musicians Respond to Chris Squire’s Death on Social Media
Jon Liebman of 1st Bassman, who’s published six instructional bass books and operates ForBassPlayersOnly.com, said on Sunday that Squire “was a true music pioneer and a major influence for so many bass players. Prior to Yes, nobody else was doing what Chris created. He launched the whole prog rock genre.”
Earlier this year, Rage Against the Machine’s Tim Commerford, a self-confessed “bass snob,” said that Squire “is the only pick player that I like. I don’t even consider using a pick on the bass as bass playing; that’s more like playing guitar on the bass. But (Squire) had that kind of pick/thumb together that made this just unbelievable sound. Like ‘Roundabout,’ the bass sound on that is still one of my favorite bass sounds of all time, just the tone of it.”
Squire’s commitment to music was established early on. The son of a cab driver, he possessed a voice good enough for the choirs at his church and school. Influenced by McCartney and the Beatles, he began playing bass when he was 16, and when he was suspended from school in 1964 for having post-Beatles hair that was deemed too long, he took the money designated for a haircut and used it for other things, dropping out of school entirely. He acquired his trademark Rickenbacker 4001 bass in 1965 while playing in a band called Boosey & Hawkes; he also played with the Selfs, the Syn and Mabel Greer`s Toyshop before meeting singer Jon Anderson in the Soho club La Chasse, which led to Yes’ formation.
“Like a lot of other musicians at the time, we really wanted to push the boundaries and explore and not feel held in check by conventional rock ‘n’ roll rules,” former singer Anderson recalls. “We were quite determined to be original.”
Yes followed the lead of the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum and, of course, the Beatles post-Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, fusing melodic pop conventions with advanced compositional ambitions. While the group’s first two albums explored advanced forms of pop, lengthy, suite-like songs such as “Roundabout,” “Starship Trooper,” “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “I’ve Seen All Good People/Your Move” soon defined its ambitions. Its “Close to the Edge” was a nearly 19-minute piece that filled up the entire first side of the 1972 album of the same name. “Tales From Topographic Oceans” the following year featured just one song on each of its four sides. Squire’s bass was a dominant force in every song, while “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” from 1971’s Fragile became his personal showpiece (and gave him a nickname to boot).
“His versatility was nothing short of incredible,” Liebman said. “From his crunchy, gritty line in ‘Roundabout’ to the jazzy twist he gave to ‘Yours is No Disgrace,’ Chris gave every song just what it needed. He was capable of so much, but as a songwriter and bandleader, too.”
Yes certainly found a fan base for these musical explorations. The group has notched nine platinum and four more gold albums, while 1983’s 90215 was a triple-platinum commercial breakthrough that gave Yes its only No. 1 hit single, “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” But rock radio gave life to so many others, and Yes remains a vital cog in the Classic Rock wheel today. But Squire stressed that Yes grew to view individual songs as components on the more important albums.
“Back in the day, the album was king in many ways,” he once explained. “And, of course, we were very tied in with the birth of FM/college radio in the States, and what we were doing suited the format of those young radio stations. So it was good timing for us.”
Squire also enjoyed the distinction of being the only member of Yes to remain in the lineup continuously throughout the group’s career. “Yes is what I like doing more than anything else,” he said at one point. “Somewhere along the way, as people came and went, it fell to me to kind of keep it going and oversee the spirit of the enterprise, as it were.” Squire also guided Yes through some delicate member changes, including the departures of Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman in 1979 and the subsequent arrival of the Buggles (Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes) to replace them, what seemed to be the end of the band in 1981, replacing an ailing Anderson in 2008 and bumping Wakeman’s son Oliver to make room for Downe’s return in 2011.
“I can imagine a lot of fans are very disappointed Yes couldn’t stay together as a group and had to splinter into what it is now,” Squire said recently. “But that doesn’t take away from the great work we’ve done over the years, over a helluva long time. And after awhile you start realizing that change is good for you. It’s healthy.”
His allegiance to Yes notwithstanding, Squire did find time for outside projects. His 1975 solo album Fish Out of Water was well-received, and he resurrected The Syn in 2004. He and Yes drummer Alan White dallied with a post-Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in the short-lived XYZ (or Ex Yes and Zeppelin), and he and Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett released one album, A Life Within a Day, as Squackett. “I’ve admired his playing for a long time,” Hackett noted at the time. “The great moments of Yes are legend, and when I started playing with him, it was like stepping into that world and having a great foundation to build upon.”
As social media filled up with messages of fellow musicians and fans mourning Squire’s death, Yes is preparing for the Aug. 7 launch of its summer tour with Toto – the first Yes show ever without Squire, who had already announced a leave of absence in order to deal with his disease. What the band chooses to do in the future remains to be seen, but even in Squire’s absence, its music will continue to be defined by those singular, instantly identifiable parts he created through the years.
Chris Squire, founding member of Yes, By Will Harris, A.V. Club
Bassist Chris Squire, a founding member of Yes and the only member of the band to have played on all 21 of their studio albums, died yesterday at the age of 67 from acute erythroid leukemia, just over a month after having been first diagnosed with the disease.
Born on March 4, 1948 in London, England, Squire may have been predominantly defined by his work with Yes, which began with their self-titled debut album in 1969 and continued through their most recent studio release, 2014’s Heaven & Earth, but for fans of British psychedelia, he was also known for the time he spent as a member of The Syn, alongside another future Yes member, guitarist Peter Banks.
Although The Syn broke up in 1967, with Squire and Banks moving on to the equally psychedelic-sounding Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, the members of The Syn stayed in touch over the decades, eventually reforming in 2004 and recording the first proper studio album of their career, 2005’s Syndestrucible.
(While Squire played on Syndestructable and helped support its release via a few live dates, he confirmed that he’d left The Syn behind once again in May 2006, a departure which – based on a somewhat terse statement issued via Squire’s official website – the band apparently wasn’t going out of their way to draw attention to.)
As for the band known as Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, their membership soon shifted, as did their name, and on August 4, 1968, the new lineup – Squire, Banks,vocalist Jon Anderson, drummer Bill Bruford, and organist/pianist Tony Kaye – made their live debut under their new name: Yes.
It took a bit of time for Yes to evolve into the prog-rock giants that they ultimately became during the course of the 1970s, but Squire was there from the start, when they favored covers of The Beatles and Buffalo Springfield as often as original compositions. After the addition of Steve Howe to their ranks, however, the band delivered 1971’s The Yes Album, a classic effort which arguably set the musical tone for the remainder of their career.
As if to prove that they’d finally gotten it right, it took less than a year for Yes to deliver their next album, Fragile, which – in addition to featuring the song which would earn the band more airplay than any other in their career (“Roundabout”) – gave the members each a chance to step out with a solo composition. Squire’s contribution to the cause was an instrumental, “The Fish (Schindleria Praemeturus).”
The fish motif would recur a few years later, when Squire released his debut solo album, 1975’s Fish Out of Water. Although the album was not a massive commercial success, it did hit #69 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and #25 on the UK Albums chart, with the record making a further splash via Squire’s appearance on the BBC music program, The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Despite the advent of punk, Yes continued fighting the prog-rock fight throughout the remainder of the ’70s. In a 2012 interview with the A.V. Club, Squire reflected on how little the musical turmoil of the era affected him and his bandmates.
“You know, right around that time—’76, ’77, ’78—we were selling out stadiums in America, so the punk movement was sort of just… We looked upon it as quaint,” said Squire, laughing. “So we didn’t think about it very much, really. But I recognize the validity of that now. It was a certain revolution against perceived pomposity, I guess, on the part of bands like us and ELP and Genesis, I guess, to an extent, too. But, you know, we didn’t really notice it that much.”
After Anderson’s departure from Yes in 1980, the band soldiered onward with Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn of The Buggles joining up for the Drama album, but in March 1981 Yes was formally dissolved, with Squire and the band’s drummer, Alan White, briefly collaborating with Jimmy Page on a project called XYZ, which was short for “ex-Yes and Zeppelin.” Although the group never got beyond recording a series of highly-bootlegged demos, Squire and White released a single under their own names: “Run with the Fox,” a holiday-oriented tune which arrived in late 1981.
The following year, Squire and White made the acquaintance of Trevor Rabin, formerly of the band Rabbitt, and after a brief stint under the name Cinema, the trio added Jon Anderson and Tony Kaye to their ranks, and a new lineup of Yes was born. With another former member handling production (Trevor Horn), the band recorded and released 90125, an album which brought Yes into the ‘80s in a big way.
After the success of 90125, Yes never really went away again (although they did have to endure some significant squabbling within their ranks during the late 1980s and early 1990s while the whole Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe / Union thing ran its course), and while Squire occasionally stepped away between albums and tours to do side projects, like Squackett, his 2012 collaboration with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, he remained a Yes stalwart throughout it all.
In the video press kit for 2014’s Heaven & Earth, Squire reflected on the longevity of the band. “I would never have thought it was possible – or even have thought about it being possible – back in 1968 when we got together in the first place,” said Squire. “It’s just been surprising that we’ve managed to keep the ball rolling this long.”
Indeed, the ball seems set to continue rolling without Squire, with the band scheduled to kick off a tour with Toto later this summer. This may seem heartless on the surface, but in Yes’s defense, Squire had announced his official hiatus from the band last month, and it isn’t as though the lineup hasn’t survived any number of changes over the course of the last 47 years. Given Squire’s ubiquitous presence up to this point, it’s impossible to imagine that that his absence won’t be felt in the band’s performances, but with his compositions still featuring in each and every set list , there’s no doubt that his musical legacy in Yes will continue onward through the night and beyond.
Source: The A.V. Club
Remembering Chris Squire, the Very Loud, Beating Heart of Yes by David Weigel, Slate
Chris Squire was a plodder. The bassist and co-founder of Yes, who died this weekend after a battle with leukemia, claimed to have “never seriously learned anything” about his instrument until he was 16. He earned the nickname “Fish” from band mates who grew restless waiting for him to finish long baths. The band’s first drummer, Bill Bruford, recalled that when Yes was recording its most complicated music, he would pass out from exhaustion only to wake at 3 a.m. and see Squire at work behind the mixing board. “He moved slowly,” joked Bruford, “and could thus outlast everyone else in the room.”
Thanks to Squire, Yes outlasted almost every one of its progressive rock contemporaries. Squire co-founded the band in 1968, when he was 20 years old. Last month, when he announced that cancer would keep him offstage, he called it “the first time since the band formed in 1968 that they’ll perform live without me.” That rattled fans. Up to then, to go see Yes—a band that usually contained at least three virtuosos at any given time—meant to go watch Chris Squire plus whoever he played with.
Squire was unpretentious about his discovery of the bass. According to author Chris Welch in his biography Yes: Close to the Edge, Squire got into rock ’n’ roll belatedly, and only picked an instrument after a guitarist friend told him, “You’re tall and you’ve got quite big hands.” (Squire stood 6-foot-4.) Squire played the Rickenbacker bass as a lead instrument, bursting with melodies.
And he was self-taught, crediting much of his technique to an eight-month period spent recovering from a bad acid trip. Squire played with a pick, but judiciously let his fingers hit the strings, too, clipping the notes. He wired the Rickenbacker to run in stereo, through a guitar amplifier and a bass amplifier. “I learned to do a few tricks that other people hadn’t done before,” Squire told Welch. “I developed that trebly bass thing a little further.”
The first sound on the band’s 1969 debut album was Squire’s fuzz-toned bass. He was playing a single note, at deafening volume, until the rest of the band joined in for “Beyond and Before.” Squire’s bass was high in the mix, a counterbalance to Peter Banks’ psychedelic guitar swirls. “The only amp setting Chris Squire ever had was loud and louder,” Banks recalled in his memoir. “Chris was always being asked to turn down, and he would reply, ‘Only if Peter turns down! He’s the one who’s too loud!’”
After two albums, Banks would be unceremoniously replaced by Steve Howe. The new guitarist had a lighter, more classical touch, which contrasted more strongly with Squire. “Steve was playing that big hollowbody Gibson ES-175,” Squire told an interviewer in 2012. “That was basically a jazz guitar, and it had a lot of body and low-end to it. Somehow or other, the two sounds worked well together.”
He was describing the classic iteration of Yes. From 1970 to 1979, Yes grew into one of rock’s most ambitious bands. Drummer Bill Bruford left; keyboard player Rick Wakeman joined, then left, then unfurled his cape and joined again. This was the band that broke big with “Roundabout,” a song that begins with pastoral, processed guitar and gets its drive from Squire’s racing bass lines. And along with Howe, Squire would join Anderson in rich, soft harmonies and vocal melodies. This was the band that could sweetly sing the mantra of “I’ve Seen All Good People”—“’cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time”—over an organ, let it fade, and then let Squire lead the pivot into a rock song.
This was also the band that recorded multiple side-long suites of music, culminating with Tales From Topographic Oceans, four songs that filled two records and were played in their entirety, to quietly frustrated audiences.
“Most popular records are action-packed to the last semi-quaver,” Squire argued to an interviewer in NME in 1975. “Between the heavy, important themes there were those areas that were possibly a little cloudy. Possibly people mistook that for being indefinite, as opposed to merely relaxing. And possibly it bored some people listening to those things.”
When critics turned on “progressive rock,” this music was the first casualty. It had staying power, and it would be rediscovered, in large part because of Squire’s melodic playing. He grounded the music, no matter how far it had drifted into space. “His lines were important; counter-melodic structural components that you were as likely to go away humming as the top line melody; little stand-alone works of art in themselves,” Bruford wrote on Facebook after learning of Squire’s death. “Whenever I think of him, which is not infrequently, I think of the over-driven fuzz of the sinewy staccato hits in ‘Close to the Edge’ (6’04” and on) or a couple of minutes later where he sounds like a tuba (8’00”).”
The “classic” line-up of Yes petered out after Tormato, an album that includes both a genuine Squire love song (“Onward”) and songs where his bass tone seems to have dropped out of George Clinton’s mothership (“Don’t Kill the Whale”). When Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left the band, Squire replaced them with the Buggles. Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, who were about to have a hit with “Video Killed the Radio Star,” were plunked into a 12-year old progressive rock band.
This incarnation of Yes’ album, Drama, was better than it had any right to be, but the band came apart when the venues stopped filling up. It was resurrected by a combination of corporate calculation and Squire’s own doggedness. He kept making music with the band’s drummer, Alan White. Atlantic Records connected them with Trevor Rabin, a talented young guitarist whom the label didn’t know what to do with. This was how Trevor Horn, one of the godfathers of synth-pop, ended up producing “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” a song grounded by Chris Squire’s simple, tugging bass line. Years after the band had been written off, voila: Yes had a No. 1 hit. “I never thought Yes would ever have a No. 1 record [on] the black [R&B] charts,” Squire told me in 2014. “But there you are, we did.”
That was the band’s only No. 1. Yes toured, then went on hiatus. Yes reformed, then went on hiatus again. Squire’s own musical legacy was secure, but he would not stop playing, and he insisted on keeping it light. He felt like recording some Christmas carols, so he put together an album titled Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir. He wanted to collaborate with Steve Hackett, the guitarist from Genesis’ most ambitious years; the resulting duo was dubbed “Squackett.”
The last time I saw Squire or his band was on the Cruise to the Edge, a luxury trip from Florida to Mexico where Yes played three of the classic ’70s records in a row, every fuzzed note and solo and block chord. This was pure fan service. “It adds some excitement for the audience, in terms of knowing what the next track is, of knowing which track follows the other,” Squire told me cheerfully. “It’s a good concept.”
Onstage, Squire looked perfectly happy. But that was not the highlight of his cruise. Each night, the more musically-inclined passengers took over a lounge to play through hours-long setlists of progressive rock classics. On the second to last night they played “Gates of Delirium,” Yes’ longest and most melodically complex song, inspired by War and Peace and grounded by Squire’s bass lines. Squire and his family walked in on the performance, unannounced. He sat on a wraparound leather couch, daubing away tears as five fans played every note of a 22-minute Yes song. The bass was mixed very loud.
Sad news. We’ve lost Prog Rocks greatest ever Bass player. RIP Chris Squire. Phenomenal YES musician.
— Simply Red (@SimplyRedHQ) June 28, 2015
Sad day — rest in peace Chris Squire. Wonderful guy, spectacular player. Certainly one of the founding fathers of modern bass and more. — Billy Sheehan (@BillyonBass) June 29, 2015
Although I still feel too sad to write this, I feel like I need to put something down in the hope it will focus my mind on the matter and give me some where to go with the passing of Chris Squire.
Put simply, he is the reason I chose to become a career musician. At the age of fifteen I remember thinking to myself, while listening to Yes; “Now that’s something I would love to do.”
Chris’ tone and techniques have inspired a might army of axe welding maestros over the years and music has lost a champion now he is gone. I was grateful to have known him and played with him briefly.
If the youth of the world are to find a happy professional future they need more people like him to inspire and set them on a higher path, with a sense purpose. I’m grateful to him for giving me that.
Thank you Chris. May your CLANG resonate throughout all eternity!!