The group worked up material, mostly at a farmhouse in Devonshire, England, before heading to Advision Studios where they tracked with producer-engineer Eddy Offord. Many of the songs were long (two of them come in at over nine minutes a piece), and as Howe sees it, they set a standard that Yes would follow on future discs.
“We weren’t going to be obvious and predictable," he says. "We didn't want to do three-minute songs for the radio, although we did manage to get a lot of radio play. Bill loved to play challenging music – I don’t think he was very used to 4/4 time, in fact. And I was one of those people who dug in and said, ‘I’m not going to play blues.’ We had a lot of musical integrity and held tightly to our ideals."
Much like Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who also recorded at Advison and would compete with Yes for studio time there, the band had total freedom to create – no pesky A&R guys lurked about asking for hit singles. "But it wasn’t like we were just jamming with no point," Howe says. "Everything had to matter. You had to play parts; you had to know what you were doing."
As for being deemed 'prog,' the guitarist says that he didn't hear the term until years later. "Prog has a certain stigma to it – flared trousers and grandiose indulgence," he says. "Yes were more of a feet-on-the-floor band. We knew we were quality, and we thought, There’s no way people won’t buy what we’re doing, because we’re too good.” [Laughs]
"I came up with the idea that we should play an album in full," says Howe, "and then it went to two and eventually to three. Certain venues will only allow us to play for an hour and a half, in which case we'll play The Yes Album and Close To The Edge. For the places that let us play as long as we like, we'll do all three. It's going to be a great night, and I can't wait to explore all of this exceptional music live."
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