In 2015, the music world of our planet suffered a great loss. Chris Squire, legendary British bassist and founding member of YES, passed away on June 27. It can be said without exaggeration that an entire era of art-rock music of the 70s has gone with him. An era when music was an art, not a trade item, when musicians tried first of all to impress the ear with unusual rhythms and beautiful melodies, and only then thought about how to make money on it.
Chris Squire’s contribution to world rock music is invaluable. He influenced a huge number of musicians around the world, being one of the founders of such a style of rock music as progressive rock. As a permanent member of the famous band YES, created by him together with John Anderson, he gave the world countless musical masterpieces. Chris had his own and unique style of bass playing, aggressive, dynamic and at the same time very melodic. The peculiarity of his bass sound, the so-called “squire growl”, while maintaining the dense low frequencies of the bass guitar itself, is an easily recognizable and distinctive side of his outstanding talent. He was one of the first to use electronic effects on his guitar, such as a wah-wah pedal or a flanger, the sound of which became his hallmark. Chris has been playing the same 1999 Rickenbacker RM bass since 1965, repairing, sanding and repainting it numerous times.
Christopher Russell Edward Squire was born on March 4, 1948 in the English city of Kingsbury to a housewife and taxi driver. Unlike many of his peers who came to music from art colleges, Chris simply dropped out of school for her sake, after an incident with a teacher who wanted to force him to cut his long hair. Absolute ear for music and great taste manifested itself in little Chris as a child, when he sang in the church choir. The beginning of his real service to music was 1968, when he was 20 years old. The defining meeting took place in the Soho music club, where Chris met John Anderson, where he was working at that time. After talking, they found a lot in common in their views on music and decided that it was worth trying to join forces. This was the beginning of a long journey that led to the creation of ingenious creations as part of the legendary YES group.
A distinctive feature of the group was a beautiful, harmonious and balanced polyphony. John Anderson’s unique, very high-pitched voice paired well with Chris’s vocals. Singing in the church choir and the ability to build vocal choral parts had an effect. Combined with the powerful bass energy and vocals of Chris Squire, the romantic and angelically clear vocals of Jon Anderson, the virtuoso keys of Rick Wakeman, the inimitable guitar of Steve Howe and the dynamic drums of Bill Brafford and then Alan White, YES became exactly the YES we are. we know and love him.
It is worth noting separately the album “Drama” recorded in 1980. This album can be considered Chris’ second solo album, as it was recorded without the participation of John Anderson, who left the group at that time due to internal disagreements. It was a test, and some even predicted the failure of the album without Anderson’s voice. However, now, many consider “Drama” to be the best album in the entire history of YES. It was he who showed what influence Chris Squire has on the overall concept of music in YES.
In 1975, Chris Squire recorded his only solo album, Fish out of Water. The idea to do solo work for a while came from John Anderson during the group’s creative crisis. Then each musician of the group recorded a solo album. “It was an interesting experiment,” Chris recalled. The album “Fish out of Water” turned out in the best traditions of progressive rock with a bias towards symphony. Variable rhythm, syncopated bass beats, polyphony and complex composition constructions, everything that has always distinguished YES, manifested itself in full on this album. And of course, as always, very long compositions. There are only 5 things on the album that have now become classics. This album, in my opinion, best embodies the musical style and philosophy of Chris.
In 2000, Chris Squire created the “Conspiracy” project, which featured fellow YES bandmate Billy Sherwood. As part of this project, 2 albums were recorded: “Conspiracy” in 2000 and “The Unknown” in 2003. In 2012, together with guitarist Steve Hackett, Steve recorded a wonderful album “A Life Within a Day”, which became the debut and only album their joint project “Squackett”.
From the first day of the band’s founding until his last day of life, Chris Squire was and remains the only YES musician who never left the band. He was a member of the recordings of all her albums, and also helped colleagues in recording their solo albums. The real and permanent leader of a grandiose musical project. His music will forever remain in our hearts.