Ranking the Discography: Yes Part IV: Fragile (1971)

Fragile is an album with three firsts. It was the first album to have a cover by Roger Dean, and feature the iconic Yes logo. It’s also the first album to feature Rick Wakeman, who replaced founding keyboardist Tony Kaye due to his reluctance to use electronic keyboards.


Jon Anderson: vocals

Steve Howe: guitars, backing vocals

Chris Squire: bass, backing vocals

Rick Wakeman: Hammond organ, grand piano, RMI 368 Electra-Piano and Harpsichord, Mellotron, and Minimoog synthesizer

Bill Bruford: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Roundabout”: This is a collaborative song written by both Anderson and Howe. It was inspired by the several roundabouts that the band travelled through on the previous tour while in Scotland. I love how each member gets a chance to show off and how quietly it starts.
  2. “Cans and Brahms”: This is an arrangement of the third movement of Brahms’ 4th symphony, arranged by Wakeman. It allows him to show off his prowess on all his instruments.
  3. “We Have Heaven”: This short vocal is almost cacophonic.
  4. “South Side of the Sky: Anderson claims this song is about climbing mountains. It has a beautiful intro with soft winds and Thunder before Wakeman starts his piano and more harmonies.
  5. “Five per Cent For Nothing”: This gets its title from the departure of the band’s original manager, Roy Flynn, who had negotiated a deal that gave him five percent of their earnings. It’s the only song written by Bruford, and also their shortest (only 39 seconds)
  6. “Long Distance Runaround”: This song was originally a B-side, but became a surprise hit. Anderson wrote it as a criticism of religious hypocrisy.
  7. “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)”: This is Squire’s solo track, named after a prehistoric fish Anderson found in Guiness’ Book of World Records.
  8. “Mood For a Day”: This is the album’s second instrumental, this time an acoustic track performed by Howe.
  9. “Heart of the Sunrise”: The album closes with its longest track, inspired by being lost in the city. Like many of the songs, it starts off quietly and rises to lush instrumentation.

Final Verdict: An excellent album that shows that even with such a huge change, Yes can still produce a masterpiece.

Grade: A+


Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

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