Steve Howe Says His Acoustic Guitar Made The Yes Song ‘Roundabout’ A Hit

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In a recent interview with Jazz Guitar Today, Yes’ Steve Howe shared his thoughts on playing the acoustic guitar on their iconic hit ‘Roundabout.’

Steve Howe stepped into the music industry at the young age of 12. Before being a part of Yes, he worked with various bands such as The Syndicats, Tomorrow, and Bodast. His outstanding talent as a guitarist and excellent songwriting skills made Yes a household name and a commercial success. The band has managed to release twenty-two studio albums to date.

What made Howe unique and prominent in the music scene was his desire to create his sound without the influence of other artists. This desire has earned him recognition as one of the most influential guitarists for his sound, style, and experimentation with different guitars.

Moreover, his distinctive guitar playing and innovative approach worked out when Yes released ‘Roundabout‘ on their fourth studio album ‘Fragile’ in November 1971. Singer Jon Anderson and the guitarist wrote the song that brought success to the band by peaking at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, later turning into an all-time Yes classic.

During a recent conversation, Steve Howe stated that playing the acoustic guitar on ‘Roundabout’ was a risky move. The rocker added that he realized he had a particular electrical playing style, but he never just played the acoustic guitar when everyone else was jamming out together. Howe eventually said it was worth the risk as the song was a hit because he played the acoustic guitar.

Howe’s thoughts on playing the acoustic guitar on the Yes hit:

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is risky.’ I could start to feel that my electric playing had a certain style. But never had I stuck my neck out so much as to have Bruford, Squire, Rick Wakeman, Jon Anderson all playing, and all I’m doing is playing acoustic guitar. It was adventurous, and the risk paid off!

Below, you can see Steve Howe’s interview and listen to ‘Roundabout.’