The first half of the 1970s was an especially fertile period for British progressive rock, laying claim to classics such as Tarkus, Selling England by the Pound, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, The Dark Side of the Moon, and Thick as a Brick. Collectively these and other works represent the best British progressive rock had to offer. Yet, it's Yes's 1972 three-track masterpiece, Close to the Edge, that presents a snapshot of an adventurous rock band at the peak of its powers, daring to push itself musically, both as individuals and as a unit. In this absorbing chronicle, which draws upon dozens of original and archived interviews and features rare photographs and an extensive discography, acclaimed music journalist Will Romano examines why Close to the Edge is the ultimate prog rock album.
Yes had previously penned epic tracks for The Yes Album and Fragile, but nothing on the magnitude of the musical gems appearing on Close to the Edge. It's something of a small miracle – perhaps even magic – that the virtuoso quintet crafted such a cohesive and compelling album during an often-hectic recording process that very nearly relegated this monumental work to the dustbin of history. So potent was the power of Close to the Edge that even before its release it had forever shifted the personal dynamics of the group and the course of progressive rock. Rarely had Yes, or any rock outfit for that matter, been simultaneously so expansive and concise, spiritual and savage, profound and nebulous.