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"Fragile" 50th Anniversary

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    "Fragile" 50th Anniversary

    Although we are about a month past the Official 50th of Fragile, in terms of visibility and recognition, we are pretty much right on the 50th Anniversary of its release right now. The "Roundabout" single was released in January '72, and began its slow ascent up the charts, peaking at #13 in March or April. Not sure when the actual album peaked (#4 according to Wikipedia), but in terms of general visibility of the Band and it's "arrival" to our musical consciousness, it is definitely an anniversary worth celebrating !

    What are your thoughts about it, is it still in your Top 10, has it aged well, or do you find it over-rated in relation to its siblings "The YES Album" and "Close to the Edge" ?
    Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-18-2022, 08:41 AM.

    #2
    It will always be a key milestone in Yes's growth and what a collection of songs, an interesting choice also to have one solo piece per member- I still love Mood for a Day and The Fish. An approachable yet highly progressive album with lots of experimentation on it, perfect to expand the Yes audience and the addition of Rick Wakeman was such a great choice! I love the middle section of South Side of the Sky with the piano and backing vocals, and of course Roundabout and Heart of the Sunrise will always be Yes favourites of mine, mainly for the rhythm section.

    It is my 5th favourite Yes album overall
    The Definitive YES Albums

    -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
    -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
    -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

    Comment


      #3
      Fragile was my first album purchase. When I first heard Roundabout I was totally stunned. I had never heard anything like that before. I was vaguely familiar with All Good People, and once I found out that it was also by Yes, I quickly bought The Yes Album. I have been a huge Yes fan every day since then. I think Fragile has held up well over the years. Roundabout is still an incredible tune to my ears, and Heart of the Sunrise, South Side of the Sky, and Long Distance Runaround remain among my favorites. Mood for a Day greatly influenced me to learn to play guitar, and begin creating my own guitar compositions, which I still enjoy doing these fifty years down the road. All of that is well worth celebrating.

      Comment


        #4
        Well, I still love it. Unlike TYA, I do actually like songs as on the studio album more than any given live versions. Adding on the "solo" pieces was a brilliant way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage, and one I wish they'd kept up with more (why Steve Howe is the only one to get "solo" pieces on successive albums, I can't <cough cough> imagine…). Much like Tull's similarly-vintaged Aqualung, a little variety goes a long way to anchor some songs, yet remains, as the kids say, all killer, no filler (or is that the other way around?). The contrast between the full-band pieces, where there is absolutely no holding back, and but yet everyone playing in sync, with the "solo" pieces where they have more freedom to come in and go as needed, shows one of the central conundrums of bands like this: instrumental titans, yes, but does everyone need to play on every song? Or with the same intensity? I'm quite fond of how, later, I'm Running leads into Holy Lamb, Birthright into The Meeting, Order of the Universe into Let's Pretend, New Language into Nine Voices, or even how the "lighter" songs like Madrigal, From the Balcony, and Soft as a Dove allow individuals to come to the forefront and help pace out an album.

        Comment


          #5
          It remains a pivotal piece of work, the precursor to Close to the Edge, Tales and Relayer. A major commercial success, which helps of course, but for the band a big confidence-builder, which is perhaps the big thing for me.
          I bought Close to the Edge in the summer of 1973 with birthday money. I got Fragile not long after, I think with money from my Grandad for digging his garden. Prior to seeing them live in November 73 on the Tales Tour, they were the only Yes albums I'd heard.
          I very much prefer the group tracks to the solo ones, though We Have Heaven is an ingenious piece and makes a great introduction to South Side of the Sky, and of course returns briefly to close the album after Heart of the Sunrise. The Fish to me has always felt like a continuation of Long Distance Runaround by other means. Mood for a Day I still find to be Steve's finest acoustic solo piece. There were rumours at some point that an orchestrated version of it was in the offing, not sure now when that was but it seems to have slipped away and been forgotten.
          I've always wanted more of Five Percent For Nothing, about 90% more in fact! The way they tried to do it on the full album show was a failure for me, a big disappointment.
          Cans and Brahms is what it is. I know of the contractual issues that prevented Rick from including a piece of his own, but most likely that would have been an early version of something from Six Wives. Anyway, hearing Cans and Brahms led to me buying Brahms 4th Symphony a yea or so later, and beginning a life-long love of his music.
          Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Heart of the Sunrise, and Long Distance Runaround are major pieces of Yesmusic, at the time the furthest they'd gone in 'breaking new ground'. Fifty+ years on their stature remains undiminished.
          Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
          Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by carlmarx38 View Post
            Although we are about a month past the Official 50th of Fragile, in terms of visibility and recognition, we are pretty much right on the 50th Anniversary of its release right now. The "Roundabout" single was released in January '72, and began its slow ascent up the charts, peaking at #13 in March or April. Not sure when the actual album peaked (#4 according to Wikipedia), but in terms of general visibility of the Band and it's "arrival" to our musical consciousness, it is definitely an anniversary worth celebrating !

            What are your thoughts about it, is it still in your Top 10, has it aged well, or do you find it over-rated in relation to its siblings "The YES Album" and "Close to the Edge" ?
            Although I do like many of the songs from it, I can't remember the last time I actually played it. I have played much of the Yes canon more than once recently but not Fragile.

            For me its probably the least favourite of the mighty Yes Albums which include for me the Rabin era
            Last edited by highfell; 01-18-2022, 12:25 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Same here. The arrangements and playing are really sharp, but the material (for me) is pretty iffy.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by highfell View Post

                Although I do like many of the songs from it, I can't remember the last time I actually played it. I have played much of the Yes canon more than once recently but not Fragile.

                For me its probably the least favourite of the mighty Yes Albums which include for me the Rabin era
                That's pretty much what counts for me as well. In my league of the nine Yes-Masterworks with Talk being the most recent one it is on 8, followed by 90125 on 9.

                But no doubt - it is a great album, in the Yescanon by the way unique for it is the album with the most transparent and airy sound. And the funkyness of the original Roundabout was never reached in a live-version.

                I also agree that the cool Five Percent For Nothing is a waste, it should be much longer. And I found it really annyoing that they did not play it longer and jammed a little about it on the full-album-tour in 2016, but well, that's just the Yes-official we have now
                Last edited by PeterCologne; 01-18-2022, 02:34 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  A groundbreaking album, it remains as important today as it was fifty years ago. It was the first Yes album that I bought new, having previously acquired a second hand copy of Yesshows and borrowed Close to the Edge from a friend. So when I played it in 1982 it was all new to me. I was blown away! At that time I was rather lukewarm on CTTE, but this album clinched it for me.

                  The intervening years have maybe dulled some of that amazement especially with the live overexposure of some of the tracks, yet I can still play the album from start to finish and love every second.

                  A true classic!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by PeterCologne View Post
                    I also agree that the cool Five Percent For Nothing is a waste, it should be much longer. And I found it really annyoing that they did not play it longer and jammed a little about it on the full-album-tour in 2016, but well, that's just the Yes-official we have now
                    Your ability to insert a complaint about YesO into every post is impressive!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ash Armstrong View Post
                      Mood for a Day I still find to be Steve's finest acoustic solo piece. There were rumours at some point that an orchestrated version of it was in the offing, not sure now when that was but it seems to have slipped away and been forgotten.

                      Well there was this version :


                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by carlmarx38 View Post


                        Well there was this version :

                        Ah, I'd actually forgotten that. Must be getting old....
                        it does sound a bit like the orchestral part has been bolted on to the guitar part. I seem to remember reading about a long, orchestral version of it. Might have been Patrick Moraz talked about it, so a long time ago....
                        Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
                        Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The record is timeless. My first copies of Fragile and TYA were used copies from a flea market, and I wore em out even further, until I could buy new (second press) ones. Originals came much later. Lol.

                          I still play it often, and in the original order (LOL 😉). Much to my wife’s chagrin. HOTS and Jon’s vocals soar !!!

                          This is Yes at its peak at that time, still climbing from TYA, only to be surpassed by the next record......

                          TYA - Fragile - CTTE, the best 3 in a row from any band ever.

                          I will grant that I do tire of hearing Roundabout as the live encore, but that is the only negaitve I personally associate with Fragile.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I think I found the Billboard chart for the first week FRAGILE cracked the Top 10......was week of Feb. 19, 1972. Here is the complete Top 10 for that week :


                            1. Don McLean - American Pie
                            2. George Harrison - Concert For Bangla Desh
                            3. Carole King - Music
                            4. Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks, 1964-1971
                            5. Led Zeppelin IV
                            6. Faces - A Nod is As Good as a Wink
                            7. Traffic - Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
                            8. YES - FRAGILE
                            9. Nilsson Schmilsson
                            10. ELP - Pictures At An Exhibition


                            Comment


                              #15
                              Fragile was the second album I purchased by Yes(the first being Drama). Later in the day, I turned around and went back and bought 90125. This was early 1985. I had vague memory of Roundabout, that vocal section at the end(Oh, THAT song...) that I had heard as a kid. I also noticed Bruford's name as the drummer, as I already was a fan of King Crimson(Oh, he plays in...). I wasn't hard to like this album, I thought 'solo' sections were unique as were the descriptions of them in the credits inside that brown gatefold. I already knew ELP as well, so the idea of virtuoso classical sections from 'rock' bands was a little up my alley at the time.

                              True, that Roundabout and a couple other bits are well worn, and I confess that when seeing Yes live I'll use Roundabout to hit the restroom to avoid the long line for the men's room on the way out. Sacrilege to some, but hey, almost every live album has a Roundabout and you can rely on Roundabout as an encore. At this point I'm not missing a shock surprise If I step away for four minutes. But when I listen to the Fragile album and the studio album versions of these songs, I can get into the details and it doesn't sounds as tired. Sometimes Fragile hits the spot, I pulled it out earlier this month. It's the only Yes album that sounds like that.

                              Fragile isn't in my top ten however, more in the middle of the batch, as I like a number of Yes albums a little more. But it's a unique album with a different angle in that it has solos and it's the album that introduces us to Rick Wakeman, Yes's own Keith Emerson. Favorite moments include HOTS, up to that point Yes' magnum opus, their longest epic yet before they really got into the long stuff. Plus, the beautiful piano work on South Side Of The Sky and that song's very Fish Out Of Water middle section, and I've always liked Long Distance Runaround. That bass line. And yeah, 5% For Nothing should have been longer, it's not like they didn't have space for another minute of that or two. As part of the album series tour, well, no it didn't work so well - you kinda need Bruford for that. It sounded too beefy. But if you take it as something else, like the intro for something else, it's not bad - it just sounds like something else. They couldn't seem to play 5% For Nothing, and when they tried, it came out as a different thing altogether.

                              Thought: if Yes wants to mine the nostalgia cave, and seeing as people are always making(often lesser) sequels to a blockbuster, what about Fragile II? You see Bat Out Of Hell II or III, Tubular Bells II or III or MXCIII or whatever he's on now, Thick As A Brick II, Return To The Center Of The Earth, etc. It wouldn't be a bad move for another Howe solo piece as he's got many of them lying around, A Billy bass solo, an electronic NDO Geoff Downes piece, a solo Jon Davison song with just him and acoustic guitar, and the two drummers could do something as a duo piece. Add a few new songs both long and short and bang - Fragile II. It would be familiar in its format but different in that it's mostly different players from the first time out. That way it wouldn't be compared too much to the original. Fragile II....think about it.

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