Fly from Here

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Fly from Here
Fly from Here.jpg
Studio album by Yes
Released 22 June 2011 (2011-06-22)
Recorded October 2010–February 2011
Genre Progressive rock
Length 47:28
Label Frontiers (Europe, US)[1]
Avalon (Japan)
Producer Trevor Horn[2]
Yes chronology
Union Live
Fly from Here
In the Present – Live from Lyon
Singles from Fly from Here
  1. "We Can Fly"
    Released: 13 June 2011

Fly from Here is the twentieth studio album by the English rock band Yes, released on 22 June 2011 by Frontiers and Avalon Records. After a four-year hiatus, Yes resumed touring in 2009 with a line-up of bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and newcomers singer Benoît David and keyboardist Oliver Wakeman. Their first studio album in ten years, Fly from Here was recorded in 2010 and 2011 during breaks in touring and produced by former Yes singer and producer Trevor Horn. During the sessions, Wakeman was replaced by former Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes. Its centrepiece is "Fly from Here", a six-part, 23-minute suite that originates from Horn and Downes prior to them joining Yes in 1980.[2]

Fly from Here was released in Europe on 1 July and on 12 July in the United States. It received mixed and positive reviews from music critics and peaked at No. 30 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 36 on the U.S. Billboard 200. During the recording of the album, Downes replaced keyboardist Oliver Wakeman thus becoming a full-time member for the first time since 1981, and David was replaced by Jon Davison after contracting respiratory illness, during the album's subsequent tour. An alternative version of the album featuring newly recorded vocals by Horn, who was also in charge of the mixing, will be released in March 2018.[3]


In September 2004, the Yes line-up of singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and drummer Alan White began a five-year hiatus. By March 2008, plans for their Close to the Edge and Back Tour in celebration of the band's fortieth anniversary were in progress. Wakeman was advised not to participate due to health reasons and recommended his son Oliver Wakeman as a replacement, which the band accepted.[4][5] However, all plans were cancelled in May 2008 after Anderson had an asthma attack and was diagnosed with respiratory failure.[6] With further time required for Anderson to recover, Squire, White and Howe wished to waste no more time and continued with rehearsals for a rescheduled tour with Oliver Wakeman in the line-up. In June, during their search for a new singer, Squire invited Benoît David, a Canadian singer who fronted the Yes cover band Close to the Edge, to join the band.[7] Squire found out about David after he saw a video of the group performing on YouTube and was impressed with his ability to sing in a style similar to Anderson.[8] From November 2008 to December 2010, Yes toured worldwide and started to prepare material for a new studio album, their first since Magnification (2001).


Writing and recording

Work on the album began in March 2010 when the band were in Phoenix, Arizona. Ideas of songs from Howe, Squire, and Wakeman on a laptop were chosen to develop further with the intention of Howe and Wakeman as the album's producers with Wakeman as the engineer. Wakeman recalled a period of "lovely integration" between the three of them as they worked on the material.[9] Though Squire wished to be involved in the production and David unsure that the band were to be producing themselves, Wakeman suggested the idea of reuniting with Trevor Horn, who had replaced a departing Anderson in 1980 and sung on their tenth studio album Drama (1980) with Geoff Downes, his partner in The Buggles, on keyboards, to bring more validity to the album.[10][9] Initially the group wished to record "We Can Fly", a song that originated from a demo titled "We Can Fly from Here" that the pair had written and recorded prior to them joining Yes. The song was performed live during the Drama tour in 1980, and the band rehearsed it for a short while with former Yes drummer Bill Bruford replacing an injured White.[11][12][13] Horn denied Bruford's involvement and said it was in fact session drummer Paul Robinson.[14] When Yes disbanded in 1981, Horn and Downes recorded another a second demo version of "We Can Fly from Here", this time as a two-part song that was released as a bonus track on the 2010 reissue of the second Buggles studio album Adventures in Modern Recording.[15] Before David put down his vocal tracks, Horn recorded vocals himself for him to use as a guide, so David could "sing it exactly the same way".[16]

The first recording session took place between 3 October–12 November 2010 at SARM West Coast Studios in Los Angeles, California, and lasted around six weeks in total with Horn present for two of them.[9] After Horn left to work on other commitments, the band recorded other songs for the album, particularly "Into the Storm", "Hour of Need", and "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be".[10] After recording resumed in the first week of January 2011 with Horn returning, the band had thought about of extending "We Can Fly" into a long track and agreed to pursue it; Howe later said: "We couldn't turn that down. It was too good an offer".[10] Wakeman, however, questioned the band developing the song further as they had already had new material of theirs to work on which Horn was interested in.[9] "We Can Fly" then became part of a six-part suite titled "Fly from Here" that runs for 23 minutes.[17] The two "We Can Fly from Here" demos from Horn and Downes, plus an unreleased third, were used as the basis of the "We Can Fly", "Sad Night at the Airfield", and "Madman at the Screens" sections of the suite.[18] The reissue of Adventures in Modern Recording also contained "Riding a Tide", another Buggles demo that was reworked into "Life on a Film Set". Further contributions to the "Fly from Here" suite were made by Squire and Howe, the latter contributing the two-minute instrumental section "Bumpy Ride".[19] With Horn's involvement into the suite, the band did not feel having an album with only his partial contribution would not make sense, so they successfully got Horn to oversee the other tracks and produce the entire album.[10] After a break in recording for the Christmas holidays, Wakeman was due to return to the studio in early 2011 but he learned that the band had been working with Downes more over time, and wished for Downes to replace him on keyboards.[2][20][21][10] Howe reasoned Wakeman's departure that as a co-writer of the original "Fly from Here" demos, Downes would have a better feel for the album's material.[10] Wakeman then took the tracks that he worked on with Howe and Squire, removed their parts, and used it for collaborations with Gordon Giltrap and his solo album, Cultural Vandals.[9]

Horn produced the album using the digital audio workstation software Pro Tools. The album was mixed in April 2011 at SARM West Studios in London, where additional vocals were recorded. Tim Weidner, who had also worked on Magnification, was hired to mix and engineer the album.[19] When the album was completed, Howe was pleased with its overall length as he can listen through without feeling tired by the end, and recognised the band had made a record that the band were all happy with.[10]


In the "Fly from Here" suite, Howe plays his Gibson ES-175, his signature model 6-string Martin MC-38, and a 12-string Martin J12-16 guitars. "Sad Night at the Airfield" features 16 bars of Howe on a Ramirez Spanish 1A, during which he follows the vocal melody closely.[10] He was inspired to do so from hearing songs by Alison Krauss and Union Station. The section also features Howe playing a Fender Dual 6 Professional steel guitar which allowed him to play high notes.[10] The song also features Horn playing his Gibson acoustic guitar during the introduction, of which squeaking can be heard as a result of his playing.[10] Howe tried using a Fender Stratocaster for the pizzicato to "We Can Fly", but his distaste for its sound made him switch to a Gibson Les Paul Junior and use the Stratocaster elsewhere.[10]

"The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be" was co-written by Squire with friends Gerard Johnson and Simon Sessler. The song was set to have David sing the lead vocals, but the singer was "not too crazy" about it and insisted that Squire sing it instead.[22] The band told him that the song should be sung by the lead singer, but Horn decided to record it with Squire regardless, which David felt happy about as he thought Squire sang it better than he could.[22] "Hour of Need", credited solely to Howe (and sung by him in unison with David), is a personal song that deals with the need to solve world problems such as food and water shortages, and use of nature's resources.[10] After the song was recorded, Horn suggested to the group that they add more instrumentation to it, which prompted them to record a longer version with instrumental sections before and after. The introduction originated from one of Howe's demos that borrows ideas from Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo. Horn did not have the piece in mind when he suggested the idea and felt it did not fit the overall theme of the album, so it was used as a bonus track on the Japanese edition.[10] "Solitaire" is an acoustic guitar solo by Howe. It is a piece that was in development for several years prior to recording. Bits of the piece date back to when he was preparing material for his solo album Motif (2008) but felt it was not ready for release on an album as it needed further work. Howe plays a custom built Theo Scharpach SKD, a handmade steel-string acoustic guitar built for him in 1989.[10] "Into the Storm" features an introduction developed by Howe, which did not feature one at all in its original form. The lyrics were written collectively and with relative ease; Howe described them: "Very light. It's a series of in-jokes by the band. [...] a little tongue in cheek".[10] The song originated from a bass riff from Squire that was among the ideas discussed while the band were in Phoenix, played with added flanger and phaser effects. David contributed parts of the lyrics and the melody, including the chorus in a 7/8 time signature, and felt good to have contributed to the album.[16]

The cover was designed by artist Roger Dean, who has created many of the group's previous album covers.[17] It is a painting he started in 1970 but had remained uncompleted. He finished it in the style of his current works, but the colour and texture were kept from the original.[23]

Release and reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 5.1/10 [33]
Metacritic 53/100 [32]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[24]
Blurt Magazine 7/10 stars[25]
Daily Express 3/5 stars[26]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[27]
Paste Magazine 8.2/10[28]
PopMatters 6/10[29]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[30]
Sputnikmusic 2/5 stars[31]

Fly from Here was released on 22 June 2011.[2]

2018 version

In December 2017, it was announced that a new version of Fly from Here with new lead vocals and mixes by Horn was complete. The album will launch in March 2018 at the two-day fan convention in London during the band's fiftieth anniversary tour, and will feature an unreleased track recorded by the group.[3]

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Fly from Here – Overture" Trevor Horn, Geoff Downes 1:53
2. "Fly from Here, Part I: We Can Fly" Horn, Downes, Chris Squire 6:00
3. "Fly from Here, Part II: Sad Night at the Airfield" Horn, Downes 6:41
4. "Fly from Here, Part III: Madman at the Screens" Horn, Downes 5:16
5. "Fly from Here, Part IV: Bumpy Ride" Steve Howe 2:15
6. "Fly from Here, Part V: We Can Fly (Reprise)" Horn, Downes, Squire 1:44
7. "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be" Squire, Gerard Johnson, Simon Sessler 5:07
8. "Life on a Film Set" Horn, Downes 5:01
9. "Hour of Need" Howe 3:07
10. "Solitaire" Howe 3:30
11. "Into the Storm" Squire, Oliver Wakeman, Howe, Horn, Benoît David, Alan White 6:54


Credits adapted from the album's liner notes.[19]


Additional musicians

  • Oliver Wakeman – additional keyboards on "We Can Fly", "We Can Fly (Reprise)", and "Hour of Need"
  • Trevor Horn – backing vocals, additional keyboards, additional acoustic guitar on "Sad Night at the Airfield"[10]
  • Luís Jardim – percussion
  • Gerard Johnson – piano on "The Man You Always Wanted Me to Be"


  • Tim Weidner – mixing, engineering
  • John Davis – mastering at Metropolis Studios, London
  • Patrick MacDougall – additional engineering
  • Mark Lewis – additional engineering
  • Graham Archer – additional engineering
  • Simon Bloor – assistant engineer
  • Andy Hughes – assistant engineer
  • Edd Hartwell – assistant engineer
  • Brad Brooks – assistant engineer
  • Curtis Schwartz – engineering on "Solitaire"
  • Steve Howe – engineering on "Solitaire"
  • Rob Shanahan – photographs
  • Roger Dean – paintings, font, Yes logos
  • Giulio Cataldo – booklet design

Chart performance

Charts (2011) Peak
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[34] 16
Scottish Albums Chart[35] 19
French Albums Chart[36] 134
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[37] 39
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[38] 31
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[39] 24
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[40] 43
Belgium (Wa)[41] 45
Japanese Album Chart[42] 56
UK Albums Chart[43] 30
US Billboard 200[44] 36
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[45] 7
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[46] 9
US Top Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[47] 4

Fly From Here entered the French charts at number 147 and climbed to 134 a week later.[36] The album entered the Japanese charts at number 56,[42] the UK charts at number 30,[48] selling 5,242 copies in its first week,[49] and the Scottish charts at number 19. The album made number 43 in the Netherlands and number 31 in Sweden.[38] The album debuted at number 36 in the US, dropping to number 97 in its second week, making it the first Yes album since Talk to spend two weeks in the top 100.


  1. ^ "Frontiers Records: Fly from Here". Frontiers Records. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Tatangelo, Wade (10 March 2011). "Yes' Squire on band's first album in a decade". Bradenton Herald. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Munro, Scott (7 December 2017). "Yes announce weekend of London events to celebrate 50th anniversary". Team Rock. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  4. ^ Tiano, Mike (20 March 2008). "1 February 2008 interview with Jon Anderson from Notes from the Edge #305". Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Notes From the Edge - Conversation with Oliver Wakeman [NFTE #307]". Notes from the Edge. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Bychawski, Adam (4 June 2008). "Yes cancel 40th anniversary tour". NME. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Kirkman 2016, p. 146.
  8. ^ Kirkman 2013, p. 158.
  9. ^ a b c d e Kirkman 2016, p. 142.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Prasad, Anil (2012). "Steve Howe – Into the Storm". Innerviews. Retrieved 30 April 2016. 
  11. ^ Welch 2003, p. 190, 196
  12. ^ Greene, Andy (25 March 2011). "Yes Reunite With 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' Producer Trevor Horn". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Word is Live – Yes". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Kirkman 2016, p. 255.
  15. ^ "Adventures in Modern Recording – The Buggles". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Kirkman 2016, p. 150.
  17. ^ a b Miscali, Nikki M. (22 March 2011). "Affirmative Action". The Weekender. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. 
  18. ^ Classic Rock Presents... Prog, July 2011
  19. ^ a b c Fly from Here [Limited Edition Digipak] (Media notes). Frontiers Records. 2011. FR CDVD 520. 
  20. ^ Knopper, Steve (17 March 2011). "Squire's bass a constant on Yes' musical adventure". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  21. ^ LaFont, Aaron (7 March 2011). "Astral Traveler: An Interview with Chris Squire". Offbeat. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Kirkman 2016, p. 148.
  23. ^ citation needed
  24. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Fly From Here -Yes". All Music Guide. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  25. ^ Chiu, David (15 July 2011). "Yes: Fly From Here – review". Blurt Magazine. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  26. ^ Gage, Simon (1 July 2011). "Yes: Fly From Here (Frontiers)". Daily Express. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  27. ^ Simpson, Dave (14 July 2011). "Yes: Fly From Here – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  28. ^ Reed, Ryan (11 July 2011). "Yes-Fly from here". Pastemagazine. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  29. ^ Garratt, John (13 July 2011). "Yes: Fly From Here | PopMatters". Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  30. ^ "Fly From Here - Rolling Stone". 
  31. ^ Robin, Smith (1 July 2011). "Yes – Fly from Here". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  32. ^ "Fly From Here - Yes". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  33. ^ "Fly From Here by Yes reviews". Any Decent Music. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  34. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  35. ^ "Scottish Albums Chart". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  36. ^ a b "Le classement des Albums Nouveautes". Disque en France (Week of 27 June 2011 to 03/07/2011). Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  37. ^ " – Yes – Fly From Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  38. ^ a b " – Yes – Fly From Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  39. ^ " – Yes – Fly From Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  40. ^ " – Yes – Fly From Here" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  41. ^ Yes – Fly From Here. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  42. ^ a b "Fly from Here". Oricon. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  43. ^ "Album Top 40 from the Official UK Charts Company". Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  44. ^ "Yes Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  45. ^ "Yes Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  46. ^ "Yes Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  47. ^ "Yes Chart History (Top Tastemaker Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  48. ^ "The Official UK Albums Chart Update". BBC Radio 1. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  49. ^ Beyoncé remains at top of album charts with narrow lead over Adele, by Alan Jones, Music Week, 10 July 2011

External links

  • Official band website at YesWorld
  • June 2011 interview with Alan White
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