ORGAN: R.I.P Chris Squire, driver of those glorious Yes bass lines…



We’re sad to learn of the passing of Chris Squire, the widely-respected bass player best known for his work with one of the finest bands ever, Yes. Chris, aged 67, had been undergoing treatment, in his adopted home town of Phoenix, for acute erythroid leukemia, his illness had been widely reported over the last few months

“Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire,” his colleague in Yes, Geoffrey Downes, has tweeted this afternoon (Sunday).


Squire, born in London in 1948, was a founding member of Yes in 1968 and was the only musician to play on every one of their albums, from their self-titled 1969 debut to last year’s ‘Heaven & Earth.’ It had already been announced that Squire was taking a break from Yes, with Billy Sherwood taking his place on bass for their upcoming tour. The band’s first date of their upcoming tour, on August 7, will mark the first time they have ever performed live without Squire.

Chris Squire

Chris Squire

“In addition to his expertise on the Rickenbacker, and on backing vocals, on such landmark Yes albums as ‘Fragile,’ ‘Tales From Topographic Oceans,’ ‘Going For The One’ and ‘90125,’ Chris had a wealth of other key recordings in his catalogue. His 1975 solo album ‘Fish Out Of Water,’ which featured Yes colleagues Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz among others, was much revered.  Prior to Yes, he was a co-founder of The Syn, who toured and recorded for two years from 1965 and played a famous support slot for the Jimi Hendrix Experience at the Marquee Club in 1967. He played on Rick Wakeman’s ‘Six Wives Of Henry VIII’ in 1973 and on former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett’s ‘Out Of The Tunnel’s Mouth’ (2009) and ‘Beyond The Shrouded Horizon’ (2011), before the pair formed the much-lauded Squackett, releasing the album ‘A Life Within A Day’ in 2012”.

“You can deviate to the extent that you can put more into the concept and less into the playing,” Squire told Sounds in 1977. “That’s great for people who like concepts. But possibly the concept should be less important than the joy of playing.


“Really saddened to hear of the death of my old Yes band-mate, Chris Squire. I shall remember him fondly; one of the twin rocks upon which Yes was founded and, I believe, the only member to have been present and correct, Rickenbacker at the ready, on every tour. He and I had a working relationship built around our differences. Despite, or perhaps because of, the old chestnut about creative tension, it seemed, strangely, to work.

He had an approach that contrasted sharply with the somewhat monotonic, immobile bass parts of today. His lines were important; counter-melodic structural components that you were as likely to go away humming as the top line melody; little stand-alone works of art in themselves. Whenever I think of him, which is not infrequently, I think of the over-driven fuzz of the sinewy staccato hits in Close to the Edge (6’04” and on) or a couple of minutes later where he sounds like a tuba (8’.00”). While he may have taken a while to arrive at the finished article, it was always worth waiting for. And then he would sing a different part on top.

An individualist in an age when it was possible to establish individuality, Chris fearlessly staked out a whole protectorate of bass playing in which he was lord and master. I suspect he knew not only that he gave millions of people pleasure with his music, but also that he was fortunate to be able to do so. I offer sincere condolences to his family.

Adios, partner. Bill.”

R.I.P Chris Squire, let’s celebrate his life and music with that base line that ignites Roundabout




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