Big Generator released September 17, 1987 reunited the same line up from the previous incarnation that brought us 90125, albeit a much better effort in my all-encompassing opinion. More than three years in the making (not by choice, I assure you – lots of technical glitches in the recording process and studio scheduling snafus were to blame), the songwriting evokes some gospel influence and Beach Boys harmonic doo wop singing as evident by the opening track, Rhythm of Love and Almost Like Love. On the epic scale, Trevor Rabin’s technical prowess really shines on I’m Running and Shoot High, Aim Low. Carlos Castaneda peyote plundering and religious leanings makes a return in possibly one of Jon Anderson’s best penned songs of the eighties on Holy Lamb (Song For Harmonic Converge) which closes the album beautifully.
Love Will Find a Way was a song that Rabin had originally written for Stevie Nicks. Her procrastination in getting around to record it led Rabin to pull it and give it to the band to work on. Incidentally, the last line in the chorus “I eat at Chez Nous” refers to a fine exquisite high-priced restaurant in Toluca Lake that’s in business this day located along Riverside Drive that’s not far where my high school best friend Linda Freeman Yarosh currently resides in Burbank, California.
The album cover continues the computer generated graphic artwork trend from the last album. Roger Dean would not return to the Yes camp for another two years. Well, sort of, as we’ll find out in tomorrow’s episode.
Recently Wikipedia has generated some big dirt on the making of this album that wasn’t around ten years ago when I originally posted this entry:
Big Generator is the twelfth studio album by progressive rock band Yes. Released in 1987, it is the group’s last studio album released on Atlantic Records‘ Atco subsidiary label and the follow-up to their massively successful 1983 album 90125.
A laborious album to make, Big Generator’s sessions dragged on for two years, largely because of creative differences. Guitarist Trevor Rabin was aiming to progress beyond 90125, while founding lead vocalist Jon Anderson was beginning to yearn for more traditional Yes music. Trevor Horn, who was a major factor in the success of Yes’ previous disc 90125, was part of the early recording sessions. However, he dropped out after a few months due in major part to his inability to get along with keyboardist Tony Kaye. In a 2011 interview with LineaRock Italy, Anderson stated that Horn had told Anderson to stay away from the rehearsal and recording sessions for three months, presumably so that Horn could develop material with the other band members. The band recorded some material in Italy (“Shoot High Aim Low“), moved to London to produce “Rhythm of Love”, and finally to Los Angeles to produce the final tracks for the album. Rabin assumed the production duties after the departure of Horn, and is credited for pulling together the final line-up of music on the disc.
The result was an album that was successful commercially, with two songs reaching the US Top 40: “Love Will Find a Way” (also a No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock chart) and “Rhythm of Love” (their last US Top 40 hit). The album was not as popular as 90125, and feeling that the band was going in a direction he did not want to pursue, Jon Anderson began working on other projects at the conclusion of the Big Generator tour in 1988 including a partial reformation with his Yes band mates from the 1970s as Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
Missing from the Yes “expanded and re-mastered” 2003/2004 series by Rhino/Warner (like Yessongs, Yesshows and 9012Live: The Solos), Big Generator was finally re-mastered (with inverted stereo image) and expanded in 2009 by Isao Kikuchi, the album was published by Warner Music Japan as part of their “Yes SHM-CD Papersleeve” series. The album was finally reissued, remastered and expanded with bonus tracks internationally as a part of the box set The Studio Albums 1969-1987, released 2 December 2013 internationally and 24 December 2013 in the US.
Big Generator (Atco 790,522) reached #17 in the UK, and #15 in the US during a chart stay of 30 weeks.
What’s a real shame of a pisser it was that at the time when Rhino were producing these reissues they didn’t include one for Big Generator because they felt that there wasn’t much bonus material to include on the re-master which is really nothing more than a bunch of bullshit. I happen to know there is a bootleg CD full of demos and studio run-through of tracks for Big Generator on the black Yes market. Since I can’t find the track listing for what would supposedly be on that ‘bonus disc’ of the studio album box set, I appreciate if someone who is in possession of it to please forward the bonus material information to me in care at email@example.com .
SONGS / TRACK–LISTING
- Rhythm of Love (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire) Total time: 4:49
- Big Generator (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire/White) Total time: 4:43
- Shoot High, Aim Low (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire/White) Total time: 7:04
- Almost Like Love (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire) Total time: 5:01
- Love Will Find A Way (Rabin) Total time: 4:50
- Final Eyes (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire) Total time: 6:26
- I’m Running (Anderson/Kaye/Rabin/Squire/White) Total time: 7:38
- Holy Lamb (Song for Harmonic Convergence) (Anderson) Total time: 3:19
Personnel: the same as the last album now dubbed by Yes net freaks as YES WEST. Guests: Soul List (James Zavala, Lee R. Thornberg, Nick Lane, Greg Smith) — horns Almost Like Love. James Zavala — harmonica Love Will Find A Way.
Favorite lyric line: Exchanges in the currency of humans bought and sold/ and the leaders seem to lose control – Shoot High, Aim Low (White/Kaye/Rabin/Anderson/Squire) Produced by Yes, Trevor Rabin, Paul De Villiers, Trevor Horn. Recorded in Italy, SARM and Air Studios in London and various studios in Los Angeles.
Between the release of this album and 90125 – I finally got up the nerve and made the trek across America to settle in Cardiff-By-The-Sea, Ca in 1985 (and then later, Encinitas) after stops in Virginia (to clear up matters in that perhaps Tamar Proper and I could work things out, but the ring eventually got returned to me), Kansas City, Lincoln, Neb, and Aztec, NM to visit members of family both on my mother and father’s side. My aunt Meghan helped me find a room for rent in a house owned by some unmarried drunk couple of which the woman (I believe her name was Winona) had a very cute daughter who went by the name of Jennifer Ellis – after like a year of heavily flirtation when she would visit from her home in Orange County I was starting to succumb under her zany lustful spell.
The tablature book of music composed by Yes was a birthday present given to me by Linda Freeman of which I still utilize and possess to this day.
The following mini-saga may serve as a small explanation of how I may have gotten amnesia and had forgotten all about Linda and all her siblings. When Thanksgiving came around in 1986, Jennifer had shown up at the house with a broken or sprained leg she had received from a skiing accident and wound up on crutches. After everybody had been stuffed and lured off to sweet Tryptophan Sweet Dreamland, except for me and Jennifer, because, you know, she had this girlish figure she was concerned about. I wasn’t crazy about turkey and stuffing dinners in those days was flipping on the television (probably looking for Doctor Who or a Blake’s 7 episode to watch) and I had heard Jennifer shuffling around in the kitchen, maybe getting herself a beer out of the refrigerator when all of a sudden there came a crashing sound of pots and pans being dropped on the linoleum floor.
And then came a desperate plea for help.
I went to see what had happened.
There was Jennifer sprawled out on the kitchen floor, all legs a spread, her crutches flung out beneath her – crying for someone to help her get back up on her feet, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off her crunched up mini-skirt and her long shapely legs.
All of a sudden, I was hypnotized by the sight of her bright white panties like a beacon of shattering light. I never knew that the sight of a plaster cast and white panties, could look so, well, …..VERY ENTICING.
It’s as she knew I was staring right directly at them (and giving me a slight affirmative grin of approval) , it almost seemed as if she had ….
Planned it that way.
Nah, it must have been my imagination playing hormonal tricks on me
She was very grateful that there was someone within earshot to help, so later that day she showed me her appreciation by treating me to this movie: (From Beyond).
And it was from that moment on, that the names of Linda Freeman and Tamar Proper were instantly purged from my memory.
That face fading, just simply fading….fading away, never to be heard from again.
My aunt Meghan had helped me get a job working on packing vitamins and health food products in a warehouse not far from Solana Beach which I kept for four and a half years. Bought shitload of comic books and cassettes and basically become nothing but a beach bum recluse trapped in a limbo of paradise. I began study, precious study, of the cheeky bikini bottom anatomy at various strip clubs mostly occupied by Camp Pendleton jarheads and tried to keep up in Coors lights Consumption 101 with Jennifer Ellis’ brother, Jene who I wind up moving in with as his roommate (actually my room was a laundry room converted into a bedroom) in a condo surrounded by a lagoon that teemed with wildlife such as water moccasins and roaming coyotes. I seem to share more of a rapport with another roommate by the name of John Gorman, as we seemed to have shared a passion for the same bands. We both ended up going to check out Yes’ Big Generator tour together at the San Diego Sports Arena. I admit, I don’t remember a single moment of it because we so fucking blitzed out of our gourds on whatever stadium size beers they were serving.
Now serving at Carl’s Jr. – singles slices of cheese.
On our way home from the concert, I’ll never forget this delightful prank that John played of which I thought was so fucking hilarious to this very day: We were both so hammered after the concert that we pulled up to a Carl’s Jr drive thru service window and belligerently ordered a couple of slices of cheese off the menu for only 30 cents apiece. “On what burger would you want that served on? The drive through teller said over the loudspeaker: John yelled back, “I DON’T WANT A BURGER, I WANT A SINGLE SLICE OF CHEESE. IF YOU’RE NOT SERVING SINGLE SLICES OF CHEESE, THEN WHY IS IT LISTED ON THE FUCKING MENU?? Then we drove up, picked up our slices of cheese and bolted out of the drive through window without even paying, laughing our asses off all the way back home, I have a better cognizant memory of Roger Water’s solo tour at the same venue to be more easily accessible. I realize I had to calm my ass down when it came to these massive bouts of blackout alcohol consumption
Another noteworthy memory of the summer of 1987 was my return to Hollywood since I was fourteen in the summer of 1978. I had gone to check out Marillion over at the Hollywood Palladium, of which I had no choice to do since they canceled their concert in San Diego close to where I lived. During moments of heavy mosh pit ping ponging to the band’s encore of “Market Square Heroes” I got slammed hard into another person who got slammed by somebody else in the crowd carrying this big homemade banner of the band’s logo.
We turned with fists clenched about to fend each other off – and I realized it was none other than Joe Zullo, a fellow Yes compatriot such as myself from Parsippany High School.
What the fuck were the odds of running into a former classmate of yours from 3,000 miles away in a nightclub located in Hollywood, California?
Then outside the venue, I got to reunite with the rest of the Zullos, Mark and Mike. Michael Zullo was his usual dickish self that his standard method of greeting me was to ram into me like a bull and throw me into a thicket of bushes located behind the theater – but I didn’t care, I ignored the gashes and scratches on my ass as I was just so happy to see them . So, not really having plans on taking the last Greyhound back to Oceanside, we had a couple of drinks over at the Frolic Room and later I was invited to their apartment where I got to meet the rest of their Canoga Park cohorts Vache Avanesyan and Steve Gaubert for the first time.
In the next chapter, I start getting a little serious with this Jennifer character leading up to the question of when is a Yes album not really a Yes album – but yet, you really think it is?