GURU: TEN TRUE SUMMERS AND THE PP GURU WILL BE LAUGHING TOO
The PP Guru is making sure this summer goes out with a blast when he finishes up dipping his Roger Dean's Yes logo designed cookie cutters into the peyote pancake batter and serve up a steaming stack of old cosmic rocking pigs in a blanket classics via the new Live CD box set, the Word is Live now available through Rhino Records and the new 2004 DVD concert extravangza, Songs From Tsongas released through Image Entertainment. Image is also responsible for their last handful of DVD releases including the documentary Yesspeak and the unplugged shows of Yes Acoustic. Since the PP Guru will not be listening or watching these products until Labor Day (PP Guru fingers crossed for that special Fed Ex package arriving from Bogota to show up any minute now), he is currently immersed in a chronological trip down high memory lane by playing a classic Yes albume per day.
We have now probably reached the pinnacle in Yes' career with their fourth studio release of Fragile- on January 4, 1972 (US version- the English version was released two months earlier) - just a week's shy of the PP Guru's eighth birthday. Fragile was the point where everything about the band practically changed overnight- an event that probably wouldn't repeat its' success until the reformation of the band in 1983 for the 90125 album. The format of the songs spread across the gamut of two to three minute interludes spotlighting each solo member to 10 minute dramatic epics such as the likes of South Side of the Sky & Heart of the Sunrise composed and performed by the entire band. The addition of Royal College of Music drop out Rick Wakeman whose skills in classical and jazz keyboard improvisations was unsurpassed with perhaps the exception of Keith Emerson, brought a distinctive new sound and palate to accompany Jon Anderson's celestial crisp choir voice and Chris Squire's melodic bass playing and the album cover itself was the first to feature the wispy aerial lustrous landscapes of contemporary artist Roger Dean - although his trademark logo for the band wouldn't be making its' debut until next year's Close to the Edge.
The most riveting landmark achievement that cemented Yes's hold in the pop music culture was that the first track off this album, Roundabout became nearly a American FM staple anthem for many years to come- as well as their first breakout US single, although the version the PP Guru had in looping in his mind was severely edited down to four minutes.
Roundabout has practically been around long enough since the PP Guru could do basic arithmetic, read Doc Savage books, and write long-winded aspiring cornball comic book dialogue.
The PP Guru remembers that it was the first actual tune that he heard played on his handheld AM transistor radio that he could happily sing along and snap his fingers to during the spring and summer (another one, Billy Paul's Me - the PP Guru and Mrs. Angelina Jolie - we've got a thing going on - comes to forefront of the PP Guru's mind) . When the PP Guru's half sister got a record player for her birthday- the PP Guru's twin aunts both pitched in to buy the PP Guru for Christmas a Kay Tel 4 disc record collection featuring the Superstars of the 70's to play on it when she wasn't around. The collection besides including theRoundabout single, also featured artists that would also be instrumental in the PP Guru's musical musings such as Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, Deep Purple's Hush, Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, Crosby, Stills & Nash's Marakesh Express, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Lucky Man, along with many others too numerous to mention.
For the longest time, the PP Guru thought that Roundabout was nothing more than a four minute song- but imagine his surprise when in of all places, a home economics class in seventh grade, some fellow female classmate (a fat and ugly one too) brought in Fragile as a easy listening day music we could listen to after winding up a seventh period on a Friday afternoon. The PP Guru had never before seen Roger Dean's album cover and when that opening ominous feedback sound off Chris Squire's amp (not to mention engineer Eddie Offord's genius of patching in those phase cancelling effects behind the monitoring board) resonated off of Steve Howe's gentle acoustic guitar pluckerings and then to just lavishly explode into a jagged razor sharp rhythm percussive canon of Bill Bruford's thumping toms toms with Squire trying to undercut him with a rapid array of distorted bass line , the PP Guru knew that he was in for the listening experience of his life - not knowing that the original version of the song clocked in at over 8 and a half minutes! There was a whole middle section that PP Guru never knew existed with Anderson's elfish voice chirping something about a sailor who sees the rim of the land and eagles dancing wings flourished by Wakeman's stoic organ passages. The PP Guru knew from that moment forward that this was a mandatory item that would help mentor him to a pathway that has been set for him to follow.
So the PP Guru clipped out a RCA record of the month club ad out of a Marvel Comic - he doesn't know offhand which one it actually was, but it might as well have been this one:
The first ever Amazing Spider-Man comic he bought with his allowance money and therefore proceeded to order Fragile along with Led Zeppelin II and IV and some long ago forgotten Black Sabbath record and sent off his quarter. Within a few weeks they were delivered within a few weeks to the PP Guru's doorstep. The PP Guru's mom didn't dig the fact that a bill came along asking for a additional two dollars and change for postage and handing- but hey ma, those are the fucking breaks. The PP Guru had his first copy of Fragile in his cagey little hands and that was more important than life itself.....to a young impressionable eight year old.
Favorite all time lyric: Were we ever colder on that day, a million miles away- it seemed of all eternity........YEAH! - South Side of the Sky by Jon Anderson & Chris Squire.
Long time waiting to hear a sound from: ~ Coat
|Album by Yes|
|Release||November 1, 1971|
|Length||41 min 16 s|
|Producer||Yes and Eddie Offord|
|The Yes Album |
|Close to the Edge |
Fragile is the fourth album by British progressive rock band Yes. It is best known for the song "Roundabout", which was released in an edited version as a US single and became the band's best-known song. This was Rick Wakeman's first album with Yes - and also their first trans-atlantic Top 10 release.
Fragile was issued in the UK in November 1971, but held over in North America for a further two months because of the still-growing momentum of The Yes Album. The Rhino remaster's citing of Fragile as having been released on 4 January 1972 is actually the US release date.
The album was intended to showcase the band members' solo talents. "Cans and Brahms" is a piece by Johannes Brahms arranged by Rick Wakeman; "We Have Heaven" is a Jon Anderson solo in which he sings all the vocal parts (a technique he later used on his solo album Olias of Sunhillow); while "Five Per Cent For Nothing", "The Fish" and "Mood For A Day" are solo pieces by Bill Bruford, Chris Squire and Steve Howe, respectively. The rest of the songs are all group performances.
The cover design by Roger Dean depicts a tiny planet on the front. On the back, the planet has begun to break up and the population is escaping in a wooden space glider - a concept that was to inspire Anderson's Olias Of Sunhillow, as well as the film Floating Islands. The inside of the sleeve features two additional paintings and several photographs by Dean.
Painting by Roger Dean from the inner-right cover of the Yes album Fragile, 1971.
- "Roundabout" (Jon Anderson/Steve Howe) - 8:33
- "Cans And Brahms" (Johannes Brahms, Arr. Rick Wakeman)- 1:38
- "We Have Heaven" (Jon Anderson) - 1:40
- "South Side Of The Sky" (Jon Anderson/Chris Squire) - 7:58
- "Five Per Cent For Nothing" (Bill Bruford) - 0:35
- "Long Distance Runaround" (Jon Anderson) - 3:30
- "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" (Chris Squire) - 2:39
- "Mood For A Day" (Steve Howe) - 3:00
- "Heart Of The Sunrise" (Jon Anderson/Chris Squire/Bill Bruford) - 11:27
- Includes a hidden reprise of "We Have Heaven" at the very end
- Jon Anderson: Vocals
- Chris Squire: Bass guitars, vocals
- Steve Howe: Electric and acoustic guitars, vocals
- Rick Wakeman: Organ (music), Grand piano (Electric Piano and Harpsichord), Mellotron, Synthesizer
- Bill Bruford: Drums, Percussion
- Fragile, CD booklet essay, Bill Martin, c.2003
- "Top Pop Albums 1955-2001", Joel Whitburn, c.2002
Roger Dean (born August 31, 1944) is a contemporary artist best known for his work on album covers, which began in the late 1960s. He was born in England, but spent most of his childhood moving around the world with his British Army father. The family returned to England in 1959 and Dean earned a National Diploma of Design from the Canterbury School of Art. In 1968, he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London.
His first album cover work was for a group called Gun. In 1971, Dean produced the first album cover for the African group Osibisa, which attracted a lot of attention to his work. Later that year, he began the partnership for which he is best known, designing his first album cover (Fragile) for the progressive rock band Yes. Dean designed the classic Yes logo, which first appeared on the album Close to the Edge and has created covers for the band as recently as 1999 (The Ladder). Yes guitarist Steve Howe said, "There is a pretty tight bond between our sound and Roger's art."
Known primarily for the dreamy, other-worldly scenes he has created for Yes, Budgie , Uriah Heep, Gentle Giant and other bands, Dean has said, "I don't really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter." Many of his paintings use mixed media including gouache, watercolor, ink, enamel, crayon and collage.
Two compilations of his work, Views (1975) and Magnetic Storm (1984), have been published. In addition, his architectural and furniture work has been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Royal Academy. In recent years, he has focused a great deal on his architectural ideas, finally building a number of homes he has designed over the years.
In early 2005, Dean has announced plans to create a feature film titled Floating Islands. This film will be produced by Roger Dean and David Mousley. The story is based on the underlying theme depicted in the album artwork for Yes. It will feature 3D animated renderings of classic Dean images and music by Yes.
Roger travels every summer to the North East Art Rock Festival, or NEARFest, as the invited guest, and has designed their logo for the majority of the festivals history. He welcomes the chance to meet many of his fans in person and has signed thousands of autographs of his work.> Dean has lived in Brighton since 1972. (... complete in link)
Sparky: Fragile's LP was one of the first Roger Dean covers I remember hunting down.