Yes Keyboardist Explains The Secret To The Band’s ‘Close To The Edge’

During a recent conversation with Mercury News, former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman reflected on the best album his ex-band ever put out. According to the musician, it’s ‘Close to the Edge,’ and there’s a reason why.

After achieving a commercial and critical hit with their fourth album ‘Fragile’ and touring in support of the record, Yes regrouped to prepare material for a follow-up. The band released its fifth studio album named ‘Close to the Edge‘ on September 13, 1972. The album has multiple unique aspects compared to the other works of the band, such as an 18-minute title track inspired by the novel ‘Siddhartha.’

The record became the band’s most tremendous commercial success at the time of release as it peaked at no. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and no. 3 on the US Billboard 200, which is the highest position Yes has ever reached. It’s fair to say that this album is widely considered one of the best, if not the best album, the band ever released to this date. Fans aren’t the only people who think ‘Close to the Edge’ is a masterpiece since Rick Wakeman, one of the album’s creators, recently reflected on it during an interview.

After he was asked about his favorite album of Yes, Wakeman immediately named this record and revealed further details about its making. The keyboardist stated that the band did extraordinary things on that album that they usually couldn’t do. If you ask him, the band defied the odds considering that the technology was behind the musicians’ ideas and visions at that time. The fact that they managed to pull the album off with the absence of adequate technology is what makes this record so unique.

When asked about his favorite Yes album, Wakeman revealed:

“‘Close to the Edge.‘ It’s almost 50 years old, and I don’t know technically how the hell we made that album. We did things that really we shouldn’t be able to do technically. I think it was the last album made in my view where technology was way behind what musicians wanted to do, certainly with us. So to me, it’s a very very special album. And I think it was during the period of time when the band was at one of its peaks; everyone was playing really well.”

‘Close to the Edge’ required so much work that original drummer Bill Bruford quit the band after recording it. Considering the album was particularly laborious to make, the musician left his spot to King Crimson, which made this album the last one to feature Bruford.