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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Yes - 1980 Drama
Yes - 1980 Drama

ALBUM: Drama
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: SD 16019
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1989, Atlantic, 81473-2 * 1994, Rhino, R2 73795 * 2010, Atlantic, 16019-2


LINEUP: Steve Howe - guitars * Chris Squire - bass * Alan White - drums * Trevor Horn - vocals * Geoff Downes - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Machine Messiah * 02 White Car * 03 Does It Really Happen * 04 Into The Lens * 05 Run Through The Light * 06 Tempus Fugit

WEBLINKS: www.yesworld.com

Back in 1979, I recall buying my first ever Yes album, 1978's 'Tormato'. Not the best representation of the band I will admit, and since procuring many of their albums since, it hasn't gone up the pecking order either. Their next album 'Drama' was an oddity to say the least, but not for the music contained within. Due to the public indifference to 'Tormato', mainstays Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman took a leave of absence from the band. Despite this setback, the remaining three members Howe, Squire and White continued on. Enter the pairing of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, a.k.a The Buggles who were working in an adjacent studio. With introductions and musical comparisons made, the pair were invited to join Yes. Duly accepted, the now five piece set about working on material for 'Drama', a combination of material pre-and-post Horn/Downes' arrival. As can be imagined, the Yes sound underwent its first significant change, and success for the album was pretty good, no doubt helped by The Buggles earlier exposure worldwide due to 1979's smash hit 'Video Killed The Radio Star' and 1980' subsequent album 'The Age Of Plastic'.

The Songs
Not that 'Drama' is throwaway pop, but the prevailing new wave and power pop genres did cast a shadow over so many bands of the day, Yes being no exception, but not overly so in terms of the material on this album, consider also the inclusion of two renowned pop exponents within their ranks. The stretched out prog sequences of opener 'Machine Messiah' are trademark Yes moments, before Downes' sweet keyboards kick in. However, it is the hard driving rhythm section of Squire and White who provide much of the catalyst for this track, with Horn emulating Anderson's style admirably. At 10 minutes it's a meaty composition, unlike the 1 min 20 excursion of 'White Car' which comes and goes like peak hour traffic. 'Does It Really Happen' is a track written before Horn and Downes joined, it sounds mostly like a pomp rock track derived from our favourite sub-genre of melodic rock. 'Into The Lens' is a heavily regimented affair initially, before vocal/piano parts soften the song. This track also appeared on The Buggles second album 'Adventures In Modern Recording' as 'I Am A Camera', the songtitle appearing frequently within the lyrics of 'Into The Lens'. 'Run Through The Light' is an ebb/flow affair, but is atypical of the trademark Yes sound. The last track on this 6-track album is the prog/pomp workout of 'Tempus Fugit', again the high-flying guitar parts of Howe and the strong masculine bass of Squire dominate precedings.

In Summary
This version of Yes lasted for just on a year. Recorded during the Northern Hemisphere spring and early summer of 1980, the album was eventually released in August 1980, doing very well in the UK where it went to #2. The band toured on the back of 'Drama' for the rest of the year, the USA though was a hard sell, not doing the same amount of trade as the UK. Problems with Trevor Horn's voice troubled the band and he eventually had to pull out, Yes pulling the plug in early 1981. Meanwhile, The Buggles had released their second album during this period, Downes and Howe then decided to join forces with John Wetton and Carl Palmer to form the mega-successful Asia, while the newest version of Yes would reconvene with Trevor Rabin and Tony Kaye in tow for their equally mega successful 1983 release '90125', incidentally produced by Trevor Horn. So winners all round then..

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Yes 
#1 | reyno-roxx on August 22 2011 13:02:03
Many loathed it, but I thought this Yes line-up was pretty good. It stopped them going stagnant in some respects and set them up for what would come next....
#2 | trillion1999 on October 15 2011 00:13:02
My favorites are White Car and Into The Lens.music
#3 | Eric on May 10 2012 13:40:36
I didn't have issue with this record at the time and it sounds even better now. If only the new progressive bands sounded this good...
#4 | tompa on December 29 2014 22:37:09
The album that opened my eyes to Yes. When most diehards turned their back on them. Bringing the Buggle-Boys in shouldn't work but it did.
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