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Yes – The Yes Album (1971), Fragile (1971), Close to the Edge (1972)

April 30, 2021

[Albums 897 – 899 / 1001]

In a Baseball batting order, batters 3, 4, and 5 are often referred to as the “heart of the order.”

The lead-off hitter is important of course, as their job is to get things going, to get on base.

The 2nd batter aims to advance the runner.

Batters 3, 4, and 5?

They’re expected to produce, to bring ’em home.

Rewinding to the early ’90s Toronto Blue Jays, you had Roberto Alomar (or Paul Molitor) / Joe Carter / John Olereud as the heart of the order.

It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Rewinding to the early 70s, you have a ridiculously productive year and a half or so by the band Yes.

While I understand that their 1969 eponymous debut was important in terms of getting things started and its 1970 follow-up (Time and a Word) helped move the band forward, Yes really hit their stride on albums 3,4, and 5.

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Their 3rd album, The Yes Album, is their Robbie Alomar/Paul Molitor: Gold-Glove level dependable & could play with speed.

As demonstrated here by drummer Bill Bruford & guitarist Steve Howe, notably on the album bookends, Yours is No Disgrace & Perpetual Change.

And as the first Yes album on the 1001 list, it provided an opportunity for listeners to Catch the Taste!

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Their 4th album, Fragile, is their Joe Carter.

Maybe the batting average wasn’t as high as the #3 or #5 hitters, but is irrefutably responsible for some iconic moments.

Whereas “touch ’em all Joe” will remain an unforgettable call from the 1993 World Series, I won’t soon forget Chris Squire’s relentlessly strong bassline to Roundabout, nor the 3-part mid-song vocal harmonies from South Side of the Sky.

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Finally, their 5th album, Close to the Edge, is their John Olereud.

Perhaps without as many home runs or as much flash as the previous batters, he went on lengthy hitting streaks & continues to hold a team record .363 Batting Average.

And though Close to the Edge may not have had the flair or the individual powerhouse tracks of some of their previous efforts, the title track represented the lengthiest track in their catalogue at the time and the album as a whole continues to represent the group at their commercial peak.

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Verbalize the Positive

I look forward to seeing if the rest of the Yes discography lines up with the rest of the 1993 Blue Jays batting order, I’m hoping Relayer will line up neatly with Tony Fernandez!

From → 1970s

24 Comments
  1. All these decades listening to Yes and I’ve never before noticed the connection with baseball. Suppose it is possible the reason for the disconnect is that I don’t know thing one about that sport, not even the rules, but still.

    Thank you for the education, Geoff!

    • Anytime, Bruce!
      And I’m pleased to read that Yes can be enjoyed for decades, with or without any Baseball involvement!

  2. I think the overlong Tales from Topographic Oceans often means people don’t explore further, but Relayer and Going for the One are both great.

    • I see ‘Going for the One’ is their 8th album – and the Jays 8th batter won the World Series MVP in 1992, so hopefully that confirms the great Yes albums / Baseball theory!

      • And 1983’s 90125 (their 11th) is a surprisingly accomplished pop album – is there a baseball analogy for that? Cricket only has 11 batters in a team.

      • Perhaps the analogy works for a Cricket lineup too!

  3. The baseball analogy is perfect as you couldn’t be more right about these albums. These are the heart of their order. Does that mean 90125 is their designated hitter??

  4. Great stuff using baseball as a reference point. I still say that Moliter had the quickest bat speed ever when he swung. Amazing hitter. I recall seeing him back in Milwaukee (May 91) as we went to check out the Brewers as we were there to see Gunners and Paul went 3 for 4 with a couple driven in over I think it was Cleveland.
    Good times and “Yes” is a great band. lol

    • He was awesome. Remember Rance Mulliniks (sp?). Never wore batting gloves, and no tape on the bat handle. Just bare hand on wooden bat. Damn.

      • Rance had the best glasses

      • ha yeah, those too!

        I’ll never forget my grandfather always called Kelly Gruber “Ohfor.” As in, “here comes Gruber to the plate, he’s 0 for 3 today…” Always an oh-for. LOL

        One of the coolest things, as a kid, we went to the Ex to see the Jays play the Expos (a divisional meet-up) and after the game we met Dave Steib in the parking lot. He signed a ball for me. My dad got a pic of it. Alas, over the years it all wore off so now I have a ball he signed but I can’t prove it.

      • I think he set the record, going for 0 for 23 or so in a row in the 1992 playoffs – but broke out of it with a late inning home run at least (not to mention the missed call on the triple play)!

      • Sounds about right.

    • A GNR / Brewers double bill sounds like a good trip, Deke!
      Molitor was something else, still great base-running speed in his late 30s too, much faster than my late-30s speed!

  5. I’m here for this baseball analogy, and stayed for the 90s Blue Jays analogy. Olerud had the sweetest swing I’ve ever seen. That was about the last I ever watched of baseball, that team. Well done, I love it!

    • Cheers, Aaron!
      It’s true – after the 1994 strike, I don’t think I’ve seen very many games at all.
      I remember going to go see Halladay pitch at one point in the mid-2000s but that’s about it!

  6. I don’t know much about baseball, but I do know that The Yes Album and Close to the Edge are filled with loads of great stuff.

  7. This would make 91025 David Wells. A good album, not everyone likes it.

    Catch the taste, indeed. Robbie is in big, big trouble now!

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