Big Generator


  • Jon Anderson: Vocals
  • Tony Kaye: Keyboards
  • Trevor Rabin: Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
  • Chris Squire: Bass, Vocals
  • Alan White: drums, percussion, vocals

Big Generator is an album by British progressive rock band Yes from the year 1987. As a follow up to their successful album 90125 it was also the last album for their traditional record label Atlantic Records / ATCO With the 17th overall album Yes released their 12th studio work.


After the worldwide success of 90125 and the Single Owner of a Lonely Heart, the pressure on the band was immense. Record company and management expected at least equally successful follow-up album. But Yes had other ideas. The band floated to the top before an uninhibited approach to new material. Not every idea should definitely be made ​​into a song, but one thought, to let individual parts, which could find no satisfactory supplements stand alone. In the model we took the album Abbey Road by the Beatles, which had a similar design.

To the new approach to provide a new framework, guitarist and singer Trevor Rabin had suggested to record the album in the built- in a castle Lark Recording Studios of a friend in the Italian Carimate on Lake Como. This, according to his idea, would the band members, who lived now widely scattered over the globe, to draw them into a team and you save the record company money and the band taxes. However, not all had been in agreement with this decision. So Chris Squire had doubted from the beginning that they would have the same opportunities in the Italian studio as in Trevor Horn's SARM angestammtem London studio or in Trevor Rabin's own studio in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, all Yes musicians gathered after the end of the 90125 Tour ( last concert: February 9th, 1985 ) and the deserved vacation in September 1985 in Italy. The release of the album was made in January or February 1986 in the eye.

First, however, in November 1985 appeared the live mini-album 9012Live: The solos and, in December, Jon Anderson's solo album Three Ships. Not a good sign for the public. Because the expectations of the band were not redeem, an early publication date was unrealistic. Had Trevor Horn at 90125, a nearly finished album ( Trevor Rabin demos) only need to produce, he was now faced with a band in a different direction tended on the one hand as he and the members of which were also completely at odds with each other. Tensions between Horn and Tony Kaye, who had already built up during the work on 90125, now broke again. Horn said quite frankly, he did not want Tony Kaye on this album uses the keys. In fact, also plays on the Big Generator, like on 90125, not Tony Kaye the keyboards, but Trevor Rabin. There were now but problems between Horn and Anderson, as well as between the horn and Rabin. The latter brought more and more into the production of the new album one because he was dissatisfied with the work the horn and made horn his sole producer position in dispute - on an album, which was located at that time in the first place in a hotly contested within the band formation phase. Especially between Jon Anderson and Trevor Rabin on the one and Chris Squire on the other hand, there were often disputes, Anderson wanted to go back to the classic collective compositional style of the seventies, while Rabin and Squire favored the manufacture, concise song. These artistic disagreements certainly contributed private problems: Anderson had divorced from his wife Jenny early 80s, Squire had just freshly separated from his wife Nikki and lived recently in Hollywood, where he night after night party with Party celebrated - with the associated health problems.

The cooperation on the side of technicians, between the horn and the Engineer Steve Lipton, proved more difficult than expected. The two had first met in Italy, and Rabin's hope that they would be able to adapt well to each other, were not fulfilled. Endless dispute about the latest technical possibilities brought forward neither the band nor the album. In December 1985, Trevor Horn took the consequences and left Italy.

At this time, the promotion that was launched Atlantic, not just helpful for the band. In early 1986 Atlantic scattered rumors, the new album is comparable to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.

Yes Trevor Horn traveled afterwards to London, in the hope that in a familiar environment, the cooperation between the band and producer would work better. However, the differences in musical ideas of the participants were only more obvious there. While there was at this time - almost two years before the publication - some of the drum and bass tracks were recorded, but after a short time, Yes split up for good by Trevor Horn. Rabin was so unhappy with the drum sound on I'm running, that he left everything Alan White re-record later.

The band then left London and also presented the album in Rabin's studio in Los Angeles finished. It was released on September 28, 1987 - nearly two years after the originally targeted release date. Trevor Rabin had last as the sole producer, and later Paul DeVilliers had been consulted. This Rabin was ultimately responsible for songwriting, vocals, guitars, keyboards, arrangements, production and mixing of the album - which did not please all band members alike. So Chris Squire was dissatisfied with the comparatively rather weak bass sound on the album. Jon Anderson showed in retrospect even extremely frustrated with his position in the band. Rabin had distinguished himself as a bandleader and Anderson pushed aside. He had increasingly approached with finished songs to the band, and when they had once admitted to the songs, Anderson had no chance to sway his fellow musicians. His only original contribution to Big Generator is the song Holy Lamb ( Song for Harmonic Convergence ). Rabin also had clear ideas of his own songs, and had no use for the inspiration always open approach Andersons. He was in it from the record company and management, clearly saw the future of the band on the pop-rock track from 90125, supported increasingly by Chris Squire, who had found on the worldwide success of the band's favor and therefore the change of style does not preclude presented. Consequently, Jon Anderson left the band after the completion of the Big Generator tour. He founded with Bill Bruford, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman the Yes offshoot Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe to return to the classic Yes music.



  • Big Generator reached # 17 in the UK charts and number 15 in the American charts.
  • Love will find a Way was written by Trevor Rabin actually for Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, but Squire and White liked it and so the song was recorded by Yes.
  • Because of the long development time are numerous, yet mostly unpublished versions of some pieces, such as by Shoot High, Aim Low, which initially had a different end ( this was played by the band, however, live) or Final Eyes, whose verse during the work at least one time was completely recomposed. The alternate ending of Rhythm of Love is played live by the band to this day.
  • The collaboration of Jon Anderson declined due to the increasing tensions in the band. Holy Lamb ( Song for Harmonic Convergence ) is the only Anderson song that was recorded for Big Generator. Were not included The Arms of Love and Let's Pretend, both of which were taken during the work on Big Generator. Let's Pretend was later heard in a significantly shortened version on the album Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
  • Also not recorded Promenade, Mussorgsky an arrangement Rabin. The demo for this piece was later released on Trevor Rabin album 90124.



  • Jon Anderson - Vocals
  • Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals (Background)
  • Trevor Rabin - Guitar, Vocals (Background) Keyboards
  • Tony Kaye - keyboards
  • Alan White - drums, percussion


  • Jimmy " Z" Zavala - harmonica, horn
  • Trevor Horn - Horn
  • Greg Smith - Horn
  • Nick Lane - Horn
  • Lee Thornburg - Horn
  • Greg " Frosty" Smith - Horn


The cover was designed again by Garry Mouat of Assorted Images. A designed by fantasy artist Roger Dean Yes new logo was not used. It appears for the first time on the follow-up album Union.


According to the first with this album actually incipient conversion of tape on finished songs that were not composed of individual members of the band and of the whole group together, also includes Big Generator comparatively simple pop-rock songs that are not among the more sophisticated compositions of the seventies fit. However, differences can be identified: on the one hand, there are simple, mostly shorter songs like Love will find a Way, Shoot high, aim low or Holy Lamb, on the other hand demanding and usually longer pieces, most notably I'm running, the is now well recognized in the best fan base. Difficulties had many followers of the band, however, with innovations such as the Latin - colorings of about Almost Like Love and the use of brass, which goes back to an idea Trevor Rabin. In summary, one can say though, that Yes indeed consolidated their new style with big generator and had faced some simplistic song structures on 90125 even further developed, given the growing tensions in the band, which eventually led to the exit Jon Anderson, and the widely diverging opinions within the fan base has remained the album both for the band and for their followers a double-edged sword.


Some live recordings of the Big Generator tour can be heard on The Word Is Live, The Union Tour Live and Songs from Tsongas.

Sources and links

  • "Big Generator" is mentioned in all newer Yes biographies. A comprehensive bibliography of the band can be found on the sides of the Progressive Rock Bibliography ( ), an English-language website.
  • Reviews to Big Generator on the Baby Blue Pages
  • Entry in the Yescography

Yes (1969 ) | Time and a Word (1970 ) | The Yes Album ( 1971) | Fragile (1972 ) | Close to the Edge (1972 ) | Tales from Topographic Oceans (1974 ) | Relayer (1974 ) | Going for the One (1977 ) | Tormato (1978 ) | Drama (1980 ) | 90125 (1983 ) | Big generator (1987 ) | Union ( 1991 ) | Talk ( 1994 ) | Keys to Ascension (1996 ) | Keys to Ascension 2 (1997 ) | Open Your Eyes (1997 ) | The Ladder (1999 ) | Magnification (2001 ) | Fly from Here (2011)

  • Album ( Progressive Rock )
  • Album 1987
  • Yes album