No. 88: Yes, ‘Roundabout’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs
From the dramatic fade in, classical style guitar riff, thundering bass on through that earth shaking climax, Yes‘ ‘Roundabout’ is a masterpiece and one of the prime slabs of progressive rock ever recorded.
The lead track from the band’s fourth album, 1971′s ‘Fragile,’ its power and glory hasn’t diminished in the 40 years since its release. It’s an obvious choice for our month-long look at the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.
Though the band had made great strides in reaching a wider audience with their third release, ‘The Yes Album,’ it would be ‘Fragile’ that would take them to the upper regions of the rock world.
The album was the first to feature new keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who joined the already incredible musical ensemble of Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Bill Bruford and Jon Anderson. Released at the height of the progressive rock movement, ‘Fragile,’ as a whole, and ‘Roundabout’ specifically helped to define the genre.
The intricate playing, full on dynamic rock and roll, strong melodies and great harmonies made it irresistible to underground FM radio as well as the top 40, where a three minute edit of the eight minute song made it to No. 13 in the US Top 100 singles chart.
Yes would travel through even more adventurous terrain, sometimes venturing too far into no man’s land (‘Relayer,’ anyone?), but this was their high water mark of the era. It still sends chills up the spine of our very prog beings.