Note: This article has NOTHING TO DO with any comparison about who sucks and who's better, and if Yes music and Styx music have anything in common. This is all about the eerie similarities in both bands' histories.

Is it possible that Yes and Styx might be symbiotic twins? Is this some horrifying "cosmic joke" gone wrong? Is the fate of both bands intertwined, where they are blessed, cursed and fated to mirror and echo the successes, foibles, triumphs and tragedies of each other?

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The Story of [Yes|Styx]
Unintentional Symbiotic Twins!

[Yes|Styx] was formed in [1968|1972] by founders [Jon Anderson and Chris Squire|Dennis DeYoung and the Panozzo Brothers, with James “JY” Young]. The band, upon obtaining a recording contract, found themselves relatively unsuccessful for [2|4] albums worth of [psychedelic/pop/folk/rock fusion|prog-lite]. [Jon Anderson|Dennis DeYoung] emerged as main composer and lead singer, thankfully, as the less we hear of the other important co-founder [Chris Squire|James Young]’s solo singing, the better.

The band’s major turning point came when they ditched their original guitarist [Peter Banks|John Curulewski] and took on young, hyper, firebrand 23 year-old guitarist [Steve Howe|Tommy Shaw]. [Howe|Shaw] also proved to have songwriting skills, which became pivotal on their breakthrough album [The Yes Album|The Grand Illusion]. All of a sudden, [Yes|Styx] became platinum-selling superstars. The band bolstered their “classical” credentials by adding short pieces of classical music on their albums, like [“Cans and Brahms” by Brahms|“Little Fugue in G” by Bach and “Clair De Lune” by Debussy].

Even with the fame and sales of their core “classic album [trinity|quadrinity]” [The Yes Album/Fragile/Close to the Edge|The Grand Illusion/Pieces of Eight/Cornerstone/Paradise Theater], the band became critically maligned for their ambitious and over-reaching concept album [Tales from Topographic Oceans|Kilroy Was Here], based on [shastric scriptures|censorship and the Moral Majority]. Critics, and even some fans found the album [dense, meandering and inaccessible|absurd and laughable]. In later years, [Rick Wakeman|James Young] had disdained the album, dismissively quipping,“It was like [a woman’s padded bra|our Heaven’s Gate]”.

The petty squabbling and internal band power struggles were nothing new. In the past, there were always musical and creative differences between [Anderson|DeYoung] and the rest of the band. They disliked a lot of his music, thinking it was far too [twee|theatrical] for them to play. They wanted to rock out instead. In 1979, [Anderson|DeYoung] left, but had been [later|quickly] persuaded to return.

While the band fell apart at the seams, a live album [Yesshows|Caught in the Act] was released as a stopgap measure by the record company to desperately keep them in the public eye. It even became difficult to figure out who was in the band. Finally in [1980|1984] the band imploded. [Anderson|DeYoung and Shaw] went off and recorded solo projects. After the inactivity of [Yes|Styx] for [2|6] years, guitarist [Steve Howe|Tommy Shaw] joined forces in [1982|1989] with 'supergroup' [Asia|Damn Yankees] and produced a number of Billboard 'hits'.

Finally, in [1983|1991] [Yes|Styx] re-formed, albeit with a new replacement guitarist [Trevor Rabin|Glen Burtnik] and had a surprise comeback hit [“Owner of a Lonely Heart”|“Show Me the Way”]. That particular lineup did not last long and the band had a few more complicated personnel changes over the next several years. However, in [1991|1995], [Yes|Styx] re-united with their wayward, but beloved-by-the-fans guitarist [Steve Howe, along with other former members|Tommy Shaw] and embarked on a major reunion tour that was well received and well attended, with the band’s musical prowess undiminished since their 70’s heyday.

This revitalization was short-lived, as after another lengthy hiatus, founder and main singer [Anderson|DeYoung] found himself out of the very band he founded! This was due to medical reasons, as he had suffered a serious bout of [acute respiratory failure|rare viral illness], making it impossible for him to perform with the band.

The other members of [Yes|Styx] were still anxious to go on the road, so they recruited similarly high-pitched Canadian vocalist [Benoît David|Lawrence Gowan] to [substitute for|replace] their missing singer. This was controversial, as old-school fans of [Anderson|DeYoung] refused to accept the [substitute|replacement], even though [Benoît David|Lawrence Gowan] had a similar singing voice, and a proven track record in his pre-[Yes|Styx] band [Mystery|Gowan] as a both a singer and a songwriter.

As a side note, [Anderson|DeYoung] recorded several albums of non-rock material, such as [Latin-American music and New Age and Celtic Folk|Broadway musicals]. He had also toured as a solo act, performing new material, solo material and old hits from his estranged band [Yes|Styx], all while the band itself tours without him.

Over the past decade, [Yes|Styx] had released a goodly number of live contemporary (not archive) albums and videos, actually eclipsing by far the amount of studio releases of new material! Starting in [1996|1997] with their big reunion tour [Keys to Ascension|Return to the Paradise] on CMC International Records. Then, at the turn of the century (no pun intended), 5 more in amazingly (and bewilderingly) quick succession: [House of Yes, Symphonic Live, Live at Montreux 2003, Yes Acoustic and Songs From Tsongas|Arch Allies, Styx World, At the River's Edge, 21st Century Live and One with Everything].

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This article is Copyright 2009, K.F. Louie. May not be reproduced without the written permission of the author
First published on Yesfans.com.

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