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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

May
12
2009
12:16 am
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May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. Hall:

Thank you for the opportunity to guest post for you this week. It was quite the honor to be selected to be among the elite few given this chance to write before a wonderful audience and share my talents.  I’m relatively new to this blogging community, and I feel that this has been a brass ring for me in a way — something for which I can reach, grab hold, and be successful — pushing through my success back to my own blogging home where I can celebrate such victories.

Sadly, Mr. Hall, I feel that I have failed you.

You see — I had a wonderful idea in my head. One which came to me over the weekend. Something which would have been extremely special and which would have fit in appropriately with your usual blog fodder.  But due to certain factors, some within and some completely out of my control — I was not able to achieve this memorable task.

You see, I have a specific talent: I can start writing with one audience in mind and, before you realize it, I can select an entirely different audience within the span of one sentence. Instead of addressing this to Wayne, I’m now talking to you — the reader. You see how simple I made that look? It comes from quite a bit of practice. Sadly, it is a realized talent, one which manifested itself on this blog far more successfully than a perceived talent I thought I had.

For those of you unfamiliar with me, Wayne Hall and I happen to be very different in many ways.  However, there are three staples of our lives which we both share items in common. They are (a) our common love for frivolous government spending; (b) our common intrigue with 80s music being slapped together, track on-top-of track like a scrumptious dagwood sandwich; and (c) our common passion for the music of legendary rock band Yes. I chose to focus on the latter two qualities we have in common since I had a feeling someone else would post something about the first one.

The band Yes has gone through many incarnations in their 40+ years of existence.  Their arrival to a more mainstream crowd, however, came about in 1983 with the release of their 90125 album — the first of which to feature a guitarist and singer named Trevor Rabin. It was also produced by a former member of Yes, Trevor Horn, and spawned Yes’s first and only #1 hit, Owner of a Lonely Heart. I can’t lie — this was my gateway into the world of Yes, even though much of their music from the decade before sounded nothing like anything on 90125.

Perhaps their most atypical song was one on the second side of the LP, a piece called Leave It. It was a magical song with weird lyrics (a staple of all things Yes) and lots of vocal harmonies.  The music video was popular on MTV; in fact, there were fifteen different versions of the video created for novelty’s sake so that fans could figure out what subtle differences existed among them all.  The single for Leave It was released on ATCO records. And the B-side was a completely a capella version of the song.

Through the magic of my computer and sound editing software, I decided to give myself a challenge: to sing the a capella version of Leave It for this very blog entry.  To mask tracks of myself singing with other tracks of myself singing. To come together with eight voices of Shiny singing such a wonderfully atypical song of the band! It was going to be spectacular!

However, I gave up after recording three tracks of myself singing. I came to the realization that it simply sounded muddy. I do not have a recording studio in my home, and the cheap-o headphones I was using with the built in mic simply weren’t cutting it. Also. my voice sounded flat. And I couldn’t determine the harmonies for the first four measures of the song.

So I gave up.  And for that I’m ashamed.  How else could I demonstrate my common love of the music of Yes?  What other way could I demonstrate our shared interests?

And then I was thinking: Wait! People  make fun of Wayne all the time for his obsession with LOLCats!  What if I could somehow do something with that? True, I’m not a huge fan of LOLCats. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from the blogosphere, it’s important to pretend that you like certain things so people will like you and you’ll gain new readers! It is this healthy attitude which has allowed me to thrive through to today.

Which is why I present to you — LOLYes!

lolyes

I do understand that many of you don’t have the working knowledge of Yes that Wayne and I do. Because of this, I’ve decided to give you some rudementary background while I post these pictures.  For instance — the trippy logo above? Created by artist Roger Dean! It was used by Yes on most of their albums — but not all of them. They have consulted with other artists who have created different logos. But this one seems to have stuck.

lolyes-1

The fun thing about a band from the 60s which continues to tour is seeing how well (or poorly) these rockers age.  See the guy on the far right? That’s Steve Howe. He was in other bands like GTR and Asia. And he used to have a very strong mane of hair in the 80s.  And while his hands are truly a gift of guiltar playing from an early age,  his forehead has since emerged as a more prominent feature as of late.

lolyes-2

You see? They used to be more photogenic! Kind of. Their debut album, cleverly titled “Yes” came out in 1967 or 68 or something.  It had virtually no hits. But there was a song called “Dear Father” which I like quite a bit despite the repetition.

lolyes-3

That’s Steve Howe on guitar sometime in the mid-1980s! See what I mean about his hair? And speaking of hair, the guy with the tambourine on the left is not Doug Henning. It’s Jon Anderson, the lead singer for quite a big chunk of the group’s history. His voice is amazing. His taste in all clothes loose and comfortable on stage is just fun.

lolyes-4

The 70s were kind to Yes. And their prescription eyewear. (Can you spot Jon Anderson? Hint: sleeves…)

lolyes-5

“Yours is No Disgrace” is a powerful song off of The Yes Album. It’s about the world’s involvement with the Vietname War. I think. Honestly, I haven’t thought about it. I’ve seen Yes in concert three times, and each time they’ve opened with this song. Powerful.

lolyes-6

South Side of the Sky was a rare, deep track off of their 1972 critically-acclaimed Fragile album.  It was lesser known than their infamous hit Roundabout from that very album. They usually don’t play the song. And it has nothing to do with the length of the drummer’s shorts. (Not Alan White; he didn’t join the band until right after Fragile was released. But he’s in the picture above.)

lolyes-7

Going for the One was a departure for Yes in the late 1970s. They were inclined to record long symphony-type pieces with different movements. Take, for instance, their Tales From Topographic Oceans double album.  One song on each side. four sides, four songs. Not great if you have an attention span issue.  But Going For The One went back to shorter songs with more of an edgy, rocky feel to it.

lolyes-8

That’s Chris Squire — the bassist for the band. He has more shelf life with Yes than anyone else! However, there was a period of time during which one of the lineups of the band decided to depart from Yes and form a group called “Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe” (ABWH) while Yes was still in existence with a different lineup. ABWH plus Chris Squire were the lineup for Fragile. They just… well, it was rumored that they didn’t get along well. But in 1990, Yes and ABWH merged and released an album called Union, which was bascially both groups just putting their own songs on. But Chris Squire was able to lay down some bass tracks for ABWH after all.

Oh — and the tour was pretty cool — an eight-member Yes performing. In the round. Fun times…

lolyes-9

Jon Anderson had to cancel the tour last year because of some vocal problems. Poor guy. But poor Wayne! He felt very let down when this happened. Sadly, Jon will not be on tour this season for their latest lineup. Speedy Recovery, Mr. Anderson!

You know what? Me singing Leave It would have been a whole lot better. Again, Mr. Whall, I apologize.

Sincerely,

— Shiny

And lo, the people did comment thus:

8 Comments

  1. whall says:

    This. Was. Awesome.

    (btw, there is no Jon Anderson in the nerd-o glasses picture – that was from the Drama era, where Geoff Downes (middle) and Trevor Horn (right) from the Buggles (Video Killed the Radio Star, anyone? First video on MTV?) joined up with White, Howe and Squire to make the YES lineup in 1980. It’s the only YES Album NOT to have Jon Anderson as a singer.)

    So, I’ve got some audio projects I’m working on. maybe we can collaborate?

    (correct answer is YES)

  2. Dave2 says:

    LOL!

    Dave2´s last blog post..Bullet Sunday 131

  3. snackiepoo says:

    See now THIS I can get into! Nice job, Shineballs!

    snackiepoo´s last blog post..My Heart Will Go On And On…

  4. Sybil Law says:

    I had the BIGGEST crush on Trevor Rabin back in the day!
    Yes!
    This was hilarious!

    Sybil Law´s last blog post..Love….

  5. Avitable says:

    My eyes say LOLYES but my heart says LOLNO.

    Avitable´s last blog post..The Tower of Techno-Babel

  6. martymankins says:

    Shiny… shiny… [bleeping] incredible. absol-[bleeping]-lutely incredible.

    We still want to hear the version of Leave It you were going to make…. muddy or not. Us readers of whall.org can wait.

  7. Caroline Locke says:

    I love,live and breathe YES.And have accepted the Present line-up.But I pray for Jon and my beloved Rick’s return.WITH Benoit.

  8. “Leave It”, the a capella version was almost as exciting as the radio hit. They used to be criticized for being too perfect in concert and in the studio, so they introduced bum harmonies in Relayer to satisfy the magazine critics. I have so much to share about this band, and the things you’d seen in concerts and read, but it seems that after the 1974 Relayer, things got drab for me until 90125. After that, more drab. I’ll look into “Fly from Here” when released. I’m not really a musician, so I can’t criticize anyone, but all I know is that they, like so many other long standing bands, aren’t very exciting anymore.

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