Best Yes Songs

Formed in London in the late 1960s, the progressive rock band Yes helped to shape the coming decades of music. But what were their top hits?

Read on for a quick list of the best Yes songs ever.

0. “Starship Trooper” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

We’ll start this list with a fan favorite, Starship Troopers! Now, I’ll admit. We mistakenly left this off during the first version of this list, and many fans rightfully let us know about it in the comments. So we’ve added it now. 🙂

1. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes

Song Year: 1983

In the 1980s, Yes had faded from the public eye. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” helped them make their comeback and cement themselves back into the music industry.

Debuting at #1 in the United States, Trevor Horn famously reworked the song several times. The impression from Horn was that no one would care about the track if they didn’t make it a spectacle. Eventually, he managed to convince the band to record the track.

Though Anderson gave new lyrics and Squire reworked the song, Rabin’s guitars punch the song. Signaling a turning point for the band, “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” is a flag in their already-immense discography.

2. “Love Will Find A Way” by Yes

Song Year: 1987

Probably the second most famous Yes song of all time, this song about unrequited love is a special one. For much of the tune, they sing of love finding a way if the couple wants it to. It sounds like a love song, until a line that talks about their partner wanting to get over them. That reveals the real meaning behind this hit.

3. “And You And I” by Yes

Song Year: 1972

Next on our list is one of Yes’s most legendary songs. Close To The Edge is arguably the band’s most popular album. This track is a ten-minute rock opera that comes from the band trying to push the envelope.

Despite personal issues among the band members during the album’s recording, it did not affect their musical abilities. It motivated them to push their limits. And You And I became a landmark track for Yes and highlighted the album’s perfection.

4. “Roundabout” by Yes

Song Year: 1972

“Roundabout” is a track that people who don’t know who Yes is can still recognize within seconds. After reaching the height of fame around its release, “Roundabout” had a strange resurgence.

Reappearing in the 2010s as a meme, this curious new resurgence is said to have introduced thousands of younger people to Yes. For its part, “Roundabout” was one of the songs that helped Yes break into the international scene. “Roundabout”’s album, Fragile, was viral in the United States.

“Roundabout” is such a staple that the band performed the track during their induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If you’re starting from scratch on learning Yes’s music, “Roundabout” is the first song to listen to.

5. “Close To The Edge” by Yes

Song Year: 1972

The title track of the album Close To The Edge is a song that most would claim to be the band’s best. Indeed, we’ve placed it so high because of its quality and because, Yes fans wouldn’t expect to see it any lower.

The song “Close To The Edge” is the album’s centerpiece. Its length of almost 19 minutes required multiple recording sessions. Drawing inspiration from Lord of the Rings and Sibelius’ symphonies, this track is a prime example of Yes’ musical excellence. Its grandeur and uniqueness make it a hit song.

6. “Heart Of The Sunrise” by Yes

Song Year: 1972

Closing out Fragile is a band that Bill Bruford considered to be the band’s ultimate template. Saying that the song had everything the band needed, he refers to the song as a shorter version of what Close To The Edge would become.

The song’s primary inspiration is the band slowly falling out of love with city life. Wanting to leave London and move to the outskirts of the countryside, the band writes a love letter to the sunrise.

7. “Yours Is No Disgrace” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

The Yes Album shows the band pushing their efforts in terms of music composition. Highlighting the band’s creativity and instrumentation, there are hints of Jimmy Hendrix and American influence on this song. From a reference to Bonanza to inspiration from Las Vegas, the song looks at the meaning of life.

There’s a strong religious note to the track as well. Jon Anderson once stated that the point of human life is to find a “divine connection with God.” Whether this song accomplishes that or not is your call.

8. “I’ve Seen All Good People” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

The Yes Album has hit after hit, but “I’ve Seen All Good People” is one of the more accessible. Progressive rock is typically hard to grasp for incoming fans. With 20-minute tracks and conceptual tracks, beginners are hard to convince.

“I’ve Seen All Good People” is a phenomenal track for keeping prog’s complexity without the inaccessibility. This 7-minute track brings everything to bear while remaining easy enough for newcomers.

This track is a can’t-miss with religious overtones and a cappella that grabs your soul.

9. “Siberian Khatru” by Yes

Song Year: 1972

Another concert staple, “Siberian Khatru,” is one of the iconic tracks for Bruford’s replacement, Alan White. The newcomer joined just before a world tour that opened with this track. As such, many classic fans associate the track with the end of Bruford’s time with the group before joining Crimson.

The symphonic track uses Siberia as a source of mystery for under nine minutes. Rivers, blue tails, and avian life add foreign exoticism to the band’s music.

Spiritual metaphors bring the audience through an epic journey of adventure. Considered one of the band’s discography peaks, it’s a unique track in their arsenal.

10. “The Gates Of Delirium” by Yes

Song Year: 1974

Famously inspired by Tolstoy’s War And Peace, “The Gates Of Delirium” manages almost to be as long. At almost 22 minutes long, this track spans the entire first side of its vinyl release.

Performed in its entirety live for a tour, Alan White has described the track as the most challenging piece in Yes’s discography. Requiring precision, energy, and a world of stamina, it’s a track that likely can’t be topped.

However, it’s a difficult sell for people that don’t have nearly half an hour to listen to a single song. Still, the song is a mammoth track that brings unique ideas to bear that you won’t find anywhere else.

11. “Long Distance Runaround” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

“Long Distance Runaround” is one of Yes’s shorter songs. Considered one of Fragile’s top tracks, the band’s complex sound is an allegory for religious confusion.

Bringing the religious influence to bear in the track, Anderson describes the track as a search for the sound of God. Appearing in their live setlists regularly remains a staple of the band’s discography.

12. “Sound Chaser” by Yes

Song Year: 1974

Speaking of chasing sound, “Sound Chaser” is a frantic and intense track. This track is one of improv, with instrumentalist Patrick Moraz saying he had instantly composed the opening after being tasked with it in his introduction to the band.

This track also stretches Alan White’s abilities to their peak. Complex instrumentation and mind-boggling composition make this track a challenging introduction but an impressive show-stopper.

13. “Turn Of The Century” by Yes

Song Year: 1977

Considered a peak of unity between music and lyrics, “Turn of the Century” is one of few cases where the band worked cohesively. With line-up changes and tension between the members, songs often fell to Anderson. Here, Anderson, Howe, and White all wrote together.

Following a sculptor who falls in love with his work, the song is mystical and strange. The concept is as complex as the instrumentation here.

14. “The Revealing Science Of God (Dance Of Dawn)” by Yes

Song Year: 1973

Bringing religion back into the mix, Tales From Topographic Oceans comes through as a double album. “The Revealing Science Of God” takes up the entire first side of the first half.

Written as a reaction to Roundabout’s success, the band thinks of their sudden fame. Looking at their now-global reach, the band both celebrates and mourns.

15. “Perpetual Change” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

“Perpetual Change” is a band that many have used to typify Yes. With many believing it relates to the band’s constantly-changing line-up, hundreds of articles use this song for a title.

Replacing several band members for a handful of years led to the member’s relationships to strain. The band found a surge of stress and success combined with multiple other factors. Meditating on the nature of the universe and humanity’s place within, religious spirituality returns.

16. “Going For The One” by Yes

Song Year: 1977

Landing at the halfway point is one of Yes’s most accessible songs. “Going For The One” is a song most would consider less proggy than the rest of their discography.

That isn’t to say it’s simple or off-genre. There’s still a staggering amount of complexity to this opening track. Synthesizer leads, and incredible harmonies ensure you still know you’re listening to Yes.

Still, there’s just enough to set this track apart from the rest of their discography. It’s a great track, but one that’s decidedly different from the band’s usual routine.

17. “South Side Of The Sky” by Yes

“South Side Of The Sky” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

Keeping the theme of being “un-Yes” is one of their heaviest tracks. “South Side Of The Sky” brings heavy instrumentation reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. The eight-minute track off of Fragile is enough to remind you that Yes is more than technical perfection (though there’s plenty of that to go around).

This track focuses on climbing mountains, metaphorically and literally. As heavy as it is inspiring, “South Side Of The Sky” shows a rarely-seen side of Yes.

18. “Awaken” by Yes

Song Year: 1977

1977’s Going For The One is an album some classic fans consider a final creative stamp from the “Mark IV” line-up. The 15-minute closing track “Awaken” is one of the core reasons for that belief.

With a hymnal quality to the song and church organ solos, the band’s instrumental creativity shines here. It’s a stunning track that’s difficult to understate. You’ll have to hear this one to truly understand how well the band performs on the iconic track.

19. “Onward” by Yes

Song Year: 1978

Yes fans are rolling their eyes to see us, including “Onward.” Even Yes themselves aren’t fans of their ninth studio album, Tormato. Anderson is famously quoted as saying they were already crucifying themselves for the album before fans voiced discontent.

Still, that isn’t to say there’s nothing salvageable on the album. Plenty of Yes fans were happy with Tormato, and songs like “Onward” are what give it that redemption. With orchestral arrangements and the vibe of a quiet ballad, many consider this track the best off of Tormato.

20. “Time And A Word” by Yes

Song Year: 1970

Jumping back to Yes’s earliest days, this title track from their second album is one of their earliest flagships. Written back in 1969 by Anderson and Foster, the once-guitarist Peter Banks added layers of art to the track.

Many find the instrumentation on this track to be reminiscent of the Beatles. Others feel that the brass and string instruments on the album should be more to bother with. Regardless of which side of the divide you land on, “Time And A Word” is a phenomenal singalong track.

21. “Parallels” by Yes

Song Year: 1977

“Parallels” is a daunting track that makes Yes’s common religious themes take a dominant shape. Filled with Wakeman playing the pipe organ in Saint Martin’s Church of Switzerland, there’s a certain coming-to-church feeling from the track.

The song was meant to appear previously on Squire’s Fish Out Of Water. However, the restrictions of vinyl forced him to reconsider where the song would appear. Eventually, Squire offered the song to Yes during their trip to Switzerland.

22. “Machine Messiah” by Yes

Song Year: 1980

Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were the creative powerhouses for much of the band’s life. With the two both calling it quits, many thought that Yes would dry up. How could such a creative void be filled?

Turns out quite quickly. The band came together with the album Drama, bringing the opener “Machine Messiah” to a doom rock anthem. Trevor Horn showed his vocal chops was just as fleshed out as Andersons, and Alan White’s technical capabilities shined brightly. The song was just as much a statement to the departing members as to the worried fans.

23. “Changes” by Yes

Song Year: 1983

As Yes was so often wont to do, 90125 showed lineup changes wouldn’t hold them back. Newcomer Trevor Rabin brought a new rock sound to the band that countered Howe’s classical influences. But it was Rabin’s lyrics that held the actual change.

Born out of his frustration dealing with record executives, the song focused on the changes in his life and career. Though the song is sad, it’s one of the band’s more dominant anthems.

24. “America” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

“America” is another shock on this list to many fans. The extravagant instrumentation and nearly-frantic time signature switches have split the fans on this track. While some feel there’s an incredible amount of genius on display, others feel the band was unnecessarily showing off.

Regardless of your feeling about the instrumentation, “America” is one of the most iconic songs in progressive rock. Toss this nearly-eleven-minute behemoth on and try to count how many signature changes you hear.

25. “The Fish” by Yes

Song Year: 1971

As our list enters its final portion, we have some of Yes’s more esoteric songs. “The Fish,” often paired with the subtitle “(Schindleria Praematurus),” is one of their stranger tracks.

Working as a showcase for Chris Squire, the title is based on his nickname. Squire alleges that he had earned the nickname “The Fish” for his propensity for long baths. Whether that influence is shown on the track is difficult, but Squire finds time to toss on one of Yes’s best guitar solos.

26. “Endless Dream” by Yes

Song Year: 1994

“Endless Dream” is part of a three-part fifteen-minute epic that closes out its respective album. With a dominance that leads many to consider it the title track of the album Talk, this closer to their fourteenth studio album is a flagship note.

While Talk is an album many consider undervalued, its popularity in the mid-90s is hard to understate. Though it didn’t make the waves in prog many wanted, it remained trendy among fans.

27. “Leave It” by Yes

Song Year: 1983

With “Owner of A Lonely Heart” has made waves for the band, Yes attempted to recreate the magic. “Leave It” was a fantastic attempt, though it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Squire brings a groovy bassline, while Rabin and Horn bring catchy earworms to the song. With a slick production and a curious music video, “Leave It” is a fantastic product of the 80s.

28. “Don’t Kill The Whale” by Yes

Song Year: 1978

Closing out our list is another track from Tormato that salvages the otherwise-lackluster album. It’s well-documented that Yes were strained during this album’s recording, but “Don’t Kill The Whale” is a moment of unity.

Squire and Anderson based this song around an environmental poem Anderson had written. Wakeman brought his Polymoog to create a whale-like ambiance, landing a strange track that brought the album up to snuff.

Top Yes Songs, Final Thoughts

Prog fans recognize their massive discography and work in helping set the standards for coming bands.

Yes had an incredible influence, from songs pushing twenty minutes long to storied, conceptual music with complex instrumentation. It’s difficult to fully explain how much Yes’s impact on the music industry. But what isn’t difficult to explain is how many hits the band has under their belt.

Whether you prefer their Mark IV lineup or are one of Tormato’s diehard fans, Yes has a storied history of giving you the best of the best. We hope our list has given you a good spot to start your playlist as you work to appreciate this prog giant’s influence.

Did we forget your favorite Yes track? Be sure to let us know what songs you’d like to hear us mention next time!

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