Steve Howe Gives A Secret About Yes’ Latest Album ‘Heaven & Earth’

In an interview with Louder Sound, guitarist Steve Howe shared his thoughts about Yes‘ twenty-first studio album ‘Heaven & Earth,’ failing as a record but having a sleeve that the illustrator Roger Dean well executed.

‘Heaven & Earth’ was the first album with lead vocalist Jon Davison and the last to feature founding bassist Chris Squire before he passed away in 2015. The album was released in 2014, but it mainly received mixed reviews. The current band members, including Steve Howe, acknowledged that the album was one-dimensional and didn’t have the dynamics necessary for a Yes album.

After a seven-year hiatus, the band returned to the rock scene with their follow-up, ‘The Quest,’ released in 2021. It aimed to bring to the fans a new tracklist that was much better than what its predecessor could provide at the time. In a recent interview, the band’s guitarist Howe shared that their twenty-second album, ‘The Quest,’ had to portray an improvement from the ‘Heaven & Earth’ album.

Then, speaking of ‘Heaven & Earth,’ the musician admitted that he liked the sleeve of the album that the illustrator Roger Dean had made more than the actual record itself. Howe further explained that the making of the album was complex, and he knew that the producer was the person that had held power to shape the album and how it sounded. The producer had control of the feeling, progression, and development of the material, and ultimately the finished record didn’t appeal to any of them.

Steve Howe’s words on the ‘Heaven & Earth’ album:

“I would agree with that completely. I won’t keep this a secret any longer – I said to Roger Dean: ‘The sleeve is better than the record.’ ‘Heaven & Earth’ was a troublesome record to make, and that’s because the producer is responsible for more than the way the record sounds; they control the atmosphere, the inter-band feeling, and the progression and development of the music.”

Yes will resume touring in Europe next summer, on which the band will perform their 1974 album ‘Relayer’ in its entirety, along with some classics from their extensive catalog.