Geoffrey Downes reports that his friend and frequent bandmate, bassist Chris Squire of Yes, has died, some months after a diagnosis of cancer. He was 65.
Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire. #yes
— Geoffrey Downes (@asiageoff) June 28, 2015
Over the course of my concert-going life, Yes may have been the band I have seen most frequently, somewhere around 5 times. Squire, of course, was the constant at all of them, the steady point in a band known for shifting lineups. When I lured one of my closest college friends to a show on the 90125 tour (because of the “opening act” — Bugs Bunny cartoons on the big screen), Squire was his usual devastating self, blending astounding playing and fine backing vocals. He was even able to pull off wearing a cape (Granted, that’s not so unusual in prog, but still…) My friend then listened to Yes almost exclusively for the next few years, becoming a deacon in the Church of Chris. He even bought a bass and an amp, although I think he sold it a few years later. That’s the kind of impact Chris Squire had.
I figured I’d share a few tracks on which Squire performed. The first one is from 1967, actually pre-dating the formation of Yes — it’s a group called The Syn, with a musical celebration of a notorious psychedelic gathering.
The next one is a Yes number, from the unfairly maligned Drama album. Coincidentally enough, I was listening to this while grading papers yesterday. Friend, occasional commenter, and professional bassist Michael Dearing has told me he frequently uses this song in warm-ups and practice. Not a bad endorsement, to my mind.
Finally, this one just happens to be one of my favorite Yes tracks — not least because of Squire’s vocals in the middle section (starting with”Loneliness is a power”…). This version is from the tour my friend and I caught thirty-one years back. And yes, he’s wearing the cape.
So long, Mr. Squire — thanks for the music.