Yes And Jon Anderson Content To Go Separate Ways

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Jon Anderson does not sound like the kind of guy who holds a grudge. Long-known as a very spiritual kind of fellow, he has come to terms with the physical limitations that are preventing him from taking his old spot in front of legendary progressive rock group Yes.

In a recent telephone interview with the The Hamilton Spectator, Anderson sounds like a man who has made peace with his place in the grand scheme of things, as well as with this former band mates. Although initially miffed when he learned that the rest of the group would embark on the planned 40th anniversary tour without him, he’s since reached the conclusion that, “They were busy. They were just guys who had to make a living.”

Anderson concedes that he is in no shape to handle the kind of tour schedule that Yes had planned. A severe asthma attack that nearly ended his life in 2008 has greatly reduced his ability to push himself to the limits that he once could.

“My body would never be able to do what they do. I can’t do four or five shows a week, or all this hotel travelling. My body just wouldn’t take it,” he says.

Regarding his stand-in, a singer from a Montreal Yes tribute band, Anderson now seems flattered, and agrees that selecting Benoit David as his replacement was not a mistake. “Imitation is the biggest form of flattery,” he says.

Although it appears that Jon Anderson is retired from Yes, he remains hopeful that he will have the opportunity to spend a little time with his old friends. “Maybe we’ll get together when we go to the Hall of Fame,” he says. “It’ll happen when it happens. It’s not something I dwell upon.”

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Anderson is just sitting around reading the paper, however. In addition to the occasional solo appearances he makes, he is also working on two operas and three musicals. He also enjoys painting, something that his recovery period allowed him to devote more time to.

Optimistic about the future, Anderson predicts that his best music is yet to come. “You can’t think that the best music I ever made was in 1972,” he says.

Reflecting on some of the great material that came out of that time period, such as The Yes Album, Close to the Edge and Fragile, it would seem that Anderson has his work cut out for him. One thing seems pretty certain, however. We have not heard the last from Jon Anderson.

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  1. Dana Elise September 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Dear Jon,
    I am so sadd and broken hearted to hear this news. “Yes” will never be the same without you, ever. We went to see Yes at the Hollywood Bowl in July and we were so dissapointed, really. Your magic spirit was not there and it was really hard to sit through, even though we love the other band members, it felt like they were cheating on you. I know this is a bit immature, but truly how we felt. Unfortunately that will be the last time we do that. We have been extreme long time fans, we have travel far and wide to see your concerts. My husband and I played your music for our wedding 24 years ago and you have a deep place in our hearts as a High Priest, your spirit has truly touched ours.

    We wish you perfect health and Joy, now and always. Please let us know when you are performing and we will be there. Best and warm regards, Dana & Bob payinda

  2. Barry Washinsky December 8, 2010 at 10:46 am

    The first time I saw YES was at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pa. doing the “Relayer” tour! I was hooked then and still am. I recently saw the group play in Blue Ash, Ohio and I missed Jon’s appearence and his astounding voice! I have the upmost respect for the other members. His replacement is very good but it’s not Jon! I am looking forward to seeing Jon play!

  3. Mark Kermode January 25, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Yes played this past summer at the PNC Bank Center in NJ. I just couldnt bring myself to go with out Jon being in the lineup. Saw them too many times with him. First one was in ’74. Relayer tour at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City. Last was the 35th anniversary tour at MSG.

  4. Edward Vinson March 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    The first Yes show was 1972 in Houston with Poco and Linda Ronstand and the Stone Temple Ponies. I do look forward to seeing Jons’ evolution and what is next for him. He doesn’t have to travel to make Great music and the rumor of an Anderson,Wakeman,Rabon project sets my heart ablaze with anticipation!

  5. Orphie March 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Yes without Jon is just an echo of the past. It’s time for YES to pack it in, as they’ve become an embarrassment. Maybe Trevor Horn can whip them into some kind of shape for a new CD, but without Jon. . it’s never going to be the same. I’m done with them.

  6. Margaret March 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I’ll miss you Jon. I saw you first with Yes during the Fragile Tour in Edinburgh, Scotland in October 1971, wonderful. Love and light to you and yours.

  7. David c Deal March 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I am so happy you have settled in to the “Changes”. You, and the others, changed my musical life when I first saw you play “Close To The Edge” in Chicago, I believe 1970. Your music and your lyrics have been an inspiration to my own musical journey as well as to my life. Your new projects sounds wonderful. All the best.

  8. LexiEliot March 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Respectful of Steve Howe and Chris Squire’s intentions, which I cannot doubt are the best~ I really think it’s time YES either took a break or ended- and a new band name applied to the creators of Fly From Here.
    I don’t know the entire Yes discography, but to me, Yes has a flavor of light in the darkness, of peace, of~ yep- love. That is Jon Anderson. And the rest of Yes, behind Jon, were phenomenal.
    It’s not that there isn’t merit in Fly From Here, or in the new incarnation – with Benoit David.
    But come on guys— The new “Yes” is not the old Yes. Fly From Here lyrics, for a start, have a tenseness about them that about gives this listener a panic attack– and THAT: is not Jon Anderson/Yes.
    The new band- Buggles writers? Plus Squire and Howe. Why not rename yourselves something about the reason behind the project or your new view– you are all seasoned, incredible musicians- but you don’t sound like Yes to me. Thanks for listening. LexiEliot

  9. kelly mccartney May 15, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    jon,you will always be the voice of yes!!

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