Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An "architect" of progressive rock passes away

Peter Banks died last Thursday of apparent heart failure at the age of 65.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the name or what he did, this will help:  the BBC's Danny Baker and Big George often called Banks "The Architect of Progressive Music."

Peter Banks (left) with Yes, along with Tony Kaye, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, and Jon Anderson.
Banks' role in the history of progressive rock came about when he worked with a bass player named Chris Squire, and that relationship developed into a group that called itself Yes.  He was part of the group's eponymous debut album in 1969 that contained songs like "Yesterday and Today," a Yes classic in "Survival," and a cover of Lennon-McCartney's "Every Little Thing."

From there it was the 1970 album "Time and a Word," with original songs like "Astral Traveller" and the album's title track, along with two more covers -- Richie Havens' "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed" and Stephen Stills' "Everydays."

That second album was the beginning of the end for Banks' time with Yes, despite some memorable playing from him on the songs "Then" and "The Prophet."  There was a parting of the ways stylistically speaking, and Banks was released which led to Steve Howe coming in on guitar -- even being pictured on the U.S. version of the album cover instead of Banks -- and the rest is Yes history.

From there, Banks formed the prog band Flash which would later include former Yes Keyboardist Tony Kaye.  There was also a memorable solo album, "Two Sides of Peter Banks," which featured Jan Akkerman, John Wetton, and Phil Collins.

It may be that not everyone knows the name Peter Banks.  But a part of his music will live on for a long time to come.

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