Close To The Edge by Will Romano (Backbeat Books)
An examination of how Yes’s Close to the Edge, amid a sea of prog rock activity in the early 1970s, stands alone as a masterpiece of the genre
The first half of the ’70s was an especially fertile period for British progressive rock, laying claim to classic albums such as Tarkus, Selling England By The Pound, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, The Dark Side Of The Moon, and Thick As A Brick. Collectively these and other works represent the best British progressive rock had to offer. Yet, it is Yes's 1972 three-track masterpiece, Close To The Edge, that presents a snapshot of an adventurous rock band at the peak of its powers, daring to push itself musically, both as individuals and as a unit.
In Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock
, acclaimed music journalist Will Romano, drawing upon dozens of original and archived interviews and featuring rare photographs and an extensive discography, examines why Close To The Edge is the ultimate prog rock album.
Yes had previously penned epic tracks for The Yes Album and Fragile, but nothing on the magnitude of the musical gems appearing on Close To The Edge. It's something of a small miracle – perhaps even magic – that the virtuoso quintet crafted such a cohesive and compelling album during an often-hectic recording process that very nearly relegated this monumental work to the dustbin of history. So potent was the power of Close To The Edge that, even before its release, it had forever shifted the personal dynamics of the group and the course of progressive rock. Rarely had Yes, or any rock outfit for that matter, been simultaneously so expansive and concise, spiritual and savage, profound and nebulous.
As Will Romano writes in his introduction, “CTTE is seen by many as a Holy Grail of progressive rock. I tend to agree, and as with any Grail quest, the question and the journey is often more important than that which you seek.”
In Close To The Edge: How Yes’s Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock,
Romano takes readers on a journey through the conception and creation of this quintessential prog rock album, and examines the almost incalculable influence it and Yes continue to have on modern music.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WILL ROMANO has written for such publications as the New York Post, New York Daily News, Guitar Player, Modern Drummer, American Way, and PLSN. He is the author of Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Illustrated History of Prog Rock, Prog Rock FAQ, and a ARSC Awards for Excellence finalist Big Boss Man: The Life & Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed, all published by Backbeat Books. He lives in New York.