Writers: Jon Anderson and Steve Howe
Producers: Eddie Offord and Yes
Recorded: Early summer 1972 at Advision Studio, London
Released: September 1972
|Players:||Jon Anderson — vocals
Steve Howe — guitar, vocals
Chris Squire — bass, vocals
Rick Wakeman — keyboards
Bill Bruford — drums
|Album:||Close To The Edge (Atlantic)|
The 18-minute, side-long title track from Yes’s fifth album, “Close To The Edge” was conceived by vocalist Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe while the band was touring to promote their Fragile album. Anderson and Howe pieced it together from individual bits of music each was working on.
Yes rehearsed “Close To The Edge” at a dance studio in London’s Shepherd’s Bush section, learning it piece-by-piece but ultimately being able to play it all the way through.
In the studio, however, the group and producer Eddie Offord recorded “Close To The Edge” in piecemeal fashion, using heavy editing and tape loops to achieve the finished version. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman recalls one effects tape that was 40 feet long and looped into various sections of the song.
At one point, a studio cleaning lady accidentally discarded some of the tape that was needed for the song, resulting in a frantic search before they finally recovered the sections.
Tempers occasionally flared up during the recording, particularly between bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford as they tried to lock in their parts. Bruford, in fact, left the band after the album was recorded and was replaced by Alan White.
The effort proved worth it, however — Close To The Edge became Yes’s highest-charting album ever, hitting Number Three on the Billboard 200 and Number Four in the U.K.
Although “Close To The Edge” itself was too long to release as a single, another track from the album, “And You And I,” peaked at Number 42 on the Billboard Hot 100.