Chris Squire: 10 Of The Best
As a tribute to prog's founding father, we look at his finest musical moments.
Saluting the extraordinary genius of a man in whose hands the bass became different kind of instrument.
Yes’ 1969 debut unveiled the band and the seemingly rocket-fuelled bass playing of 21-year-old Chris Squire. Survival sets out the Yes template: sugar-sweet Jon Anderson vocal, lead guitar and keyboards playing tag and Squire’s thunderous Rickenbacker running rings around the lot of them.
Starship Trooper (1970)
In 1969, America had just put a man on the moon, but it sounds like Yes were following close behind. Arguably the first big Yes anthem, Starship Trooper is the perfect mix of starry-eyed wonder and pure bombast. Squire’s gravity-defying bassline seems to float over the whole thing, like the titular astronaut in a gravity-free environment.
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (1971)
Squire’s nickname was The Fish, after his habit of taking long baths in the band’s shared house. It was also the name he gave to his solo showcase on Yes’ 1971 album, Fragile. With each band member allowed a solo spot, the potential for musical masturbation is vast. But Squire keeps it in his pants. This is simply a great track, with funk-rock bass lines weaving around Bill Bruford’s almost motorik drumming.
Fragile’s lead-off song was almost a hit single, combining as it does head-spinning time signatures and a perfect pop melody. Squire’s elastic bassline is the glue that holds everything together. But despite his bandmates falling over each other to display their virtuoso skills, Squire still finds time to show off. Sample the fancy little run at 4:34.
Heart of The Sunrise (1971)
Yes’ salute to the elemental power of nature was another standout on Fragile. Squire’s jousting bass slogging it out with Rick Wakeman’s keys on the opening section alone suggests tectonic plates shifting and whole continents being swallowed. Later used in the soundtrack to Vincent Gallo’s indie-noir drama Buffalo 66.