Top 10 Songs by: Yes

  • Someone said that you only really like a band if you have real trouble deciding what your top 10 songs of theirs are. Good point. It turns out that not as many acts meet that criterion as I would have thought. But when I remember one, I make up a playlist for it…

10. Soon (35th Anniversary Collection edit)

Relayer’s “The Gates of Delirium” is a bit jazz-rock for me, especially when it goes into a percussion battle, but then it turns into one of those lovely Jon Anderson symphonic poems. I could have included similar concluding sections from Tales From Topographic Oceans’ “The Ancient” (“And I heard a million voices singing…”) or “Ritual” (“Nous Sommes Du Soleil”) – but “Soon” it is.

9. Time And A Word

I needed something from the early albums, just to show that (unlike with, say, Genesis), I do quite like them. For some reason I adored this track as a teenager, and have always remained fond of it.

8. Into The Lens

Yes were one of my favourite bands long before they transformed completely into an 80s rock band, but unlike many fans, I thought this incarnation was just as exciting. And I was there at the Rainbow in 1980 when they played almost all of Drama and many of the much older fans around me walked out noisily. Almost a punk rock moment for a prog-loving teenager.

7. Turn Of The Century

Going For The One was the first Yes album I bought on its release, and may still be my favourite. More than two tracks made the 20-song-long shortlist here.

6. Fly From Here Pt.I – We Can Fly (Return Trip version)

Apparently they played this live in 1980, but I don’t remember it. The song wasn’t released until 2011, and then got an even better version on Fly From Here – Return Trip in 2018. Originally recorded by Horn and Downes for The Buggles, I don’t think that version of the song got released until many years later either.

5. Awaken

Going For The One again. In the late 70s and early 80s, you got your prog where you could, and Tommy Vance’s Friday Night Rock Show was the place where I got mine, along with Radio Caroline. I remember the excitement of a listeners poll to determine the best ever Yes songs, and my total surprise that this was number one. What fine taste Radio One listeners had.

4. Machine Messiah

What an opening. What a production. Another one from Drama, and still one of my favourite air guitar songs ever.

3. Hearts

The song which has grown on me much later. I think 90125 was Yes’ most successful album ever in the USA, but I never really ‘got’ it. Maybe I’d moved on to more pop by 1983. Love it now though.

2. Starship Trooper

Just to prove it’s not all about the mid-period stuff for me, a classic which nobody will disagree with. A coda which is up there with “Layla”, “Have You Ever Had It Blue” and “Uncertain Smile”. Actually no, it’s even better.

1. And You And I

I probably should have had the title track from Close To The Edge in this list; it was a really tough call to leave it out. But this one just had to be there. “Yes rarely again achieved something so complete in both conception and execution” says Nick Deriso talking to Jon Anderson here. It “may truly be Yes at the peak of its powers” says Preston Frazier here.

All Top 10s in this series…

    The “Cambridge Independent” Newspaper

    If you haven’t seen it yet, the Cambridge Independent is a major new weekly newspaper for the area. I’ve really put this blog post up because a month after its launch, the newspaper still hasn’t managed to get Google to rank its website at all, and I suspect a lot of people will be searching for it online in vain. So here’s a link to the newspaper’s website!

    Cambridge Independent –

    I suspect that in the rush to get the print issue out (which is rightly the main thing), the newspaper neglected to invest in a little search engine optimisation, which might have made a big difference to its online traffic and the general awareness of the title.

    The newspaper itself has got off to a good start, but you’d expect a quality product as it clearly has a decent amount of investment and it includes a lot of experienced former Cambridge News people on its staff. Here’s the Cambridge TV report on its launch for you to watch:

    My local newsagent on Cherry Hinton Road reports that although there was very little interest or awareness of the newspaper at its launch, after three weeks copies started to shift in quite decent numbers, and he’s been quite impressed. My own full self-interest disclosure coming up: I’m a member of Smarter Cambridge Transport, and the newspaper has given us a regular column, which I got to write this week (see below).

    Cambridge Independent Column

    Copies are £1, but less if you take out a regular subscription, which seems to be a decent offer. They give you vouchers which you can redeem at your newsagent each week, or (round here at least) you can leave them with the newsagent and have it delivered.

    Our Christmas After-Lunch Picture Quiz

    The Christmas After-Lunch Picture Quiz has become a bit of a tradition in our family, and I thought I’d post this year’s here on the blog so that if any of you wanted to steal it and use it in your own household or at your own party, you could. Note this is the 2015 version – see above for the latest update. Feel free to take as much credit as you like. The quiz shows thirty people who’ve been in the news this year, and all you need to do is name them. It’s been designed so that Uncle Alf is as likely to get the answers as little Hayden, Jayden and Kayden, and it usually generates a lot of “ooh, hang on, I know this”. You could probably use it as a picture round for a pub quiz too. If you still want the 2015 quiz, here is the low-resolution version. If you want the full printable version, here it is in high-resolution version (an 11Mb PDF). But I recommend this year’s version at the top!

    My Top 20 Songs of the Year for 2015. Enjoy.

    One of the joys of streaming audio is that you can listen to new music all year long and just file away anything you particularly like into a “best of the year”playlist. Here it is on Spotify if you fancy a full listen. This year the list reached reached 74 songs, slightly up on 2014 but well down on 2012 and 2013. From that list, here’s the Top 20, with the usual rule that only one song per artist is allowed. Enjoy.

    20 Weight of Love by The Black Keys

    19 Get Better by Frank Turner

    18 Needle And A Knife by Tennis

    17 The Tower by Pure Bathing Culture

    16 Pages Of Gold by Flo Morrissey

    15 On the Swings by Sarah Cracknell

    14 Nothing But a Fool by New Order

    13 Satellites by Mew

    12 What Time Do You Call This? by Elbow

    11 Immortals by Jean-Michel Jarre

    10 A Boat Lies Waiting by David Gilmour

    9 Loud Places by Jamie xx

    8 I Can Change by Brandon Flowers

    7 I Am Yours by Monster Monster

    6 Lake Song by The Decemberists

    5 Tompkins Square Park by Mumford & Sons

    4 Love Song of the Beta Male by Stornoway

    3 Mount the Air by The Unthanks

    2 New York Raining by Charles Hamilton, Rita Ora

    1 The Other Side by Public Service Broadcasting

    Movies of the Year 2014

    Just in time! I set myself the extremely ambitious target of watching 52 movies released in 2014 during the year, and made it by binge-watching (for me) four movies in four days up to New Year’s Eve. Admittedly my target was to watch 52 movies at the cinema, but I cheated slightly at the end and watched a handful on download or DVD. But my excuse was that these were the movies I’d missed at the cinema which I thought still might make my Top Ten, and I needed to see them. Next year let’s try for 52 at the cinema, but that’s going to rely on Cineworld Cambridge not being sold off to a chain without an Unlimited card. We can but hope.

    So here we go then, 51 movies categorised into five ratings. And one I don’t know what to make of.



    OK, I’ll put this group into some sort of order. But I suspect if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll change it. All of them are terrific movies.

    10. The Lego Movie

    Hilarious on many levels, like all great kids’ movies.

    9. Gone Girl

    Gripping thriller, especially as I managed not to hear about the twist before seeing it.

    8. Belle

    Not a huge fan of period drama usually, but a cut above.

    7. The Imitation Game

    Just about got away with all the exposition necessary for a wide audience.

    6. Paddington

    So pleased I saw this – it will become a kids’ classic – but so much for adults too.

    5. The Grand Budapest Hotel

    Funny in such a strange way. Really want to see this again some time.

    4. Pride

    As Mark Kermode said, just makes you want to go out and punch the air. Fabulous.

    3. Frank

    Strange, funny, brilliant and quite affecting.

    2. Edge Of Tomorrow

    Simply a great, edge-of-your-seat thriller but with some hilarious moments too.

    1. Boyhood

    Amazing. Just got better in the days after watching it, as I thought more about it.



    These were all great too, and to be honest, if and when I watch any of them again, I’ll probably think “that could have been in the Top Ten”.

    Begin Again
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
    The Double
    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
    The Monuments Men
    The Wolf of Wall Street
    What We Did On Our Holiday



    These were all movies which I enjoyed, and came home saying good things about.

    A Long Way Down
    Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    Muppets Most Wanted
    Soul Boys of the Western World
    The Armstrong Lie
    The Love Punch
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    Walking on Sunshine



    What it says. Not necessarily bad movies, but ones which I’m not sure I can remember what happened, and which I won’t be anxious to watch when they come on the telly.

    Before I Go To Sleep
    Cuban Fury
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    Last Vegas
    The Amazing Spider-Man 2
    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
    The Maze Runner
    The Rewrite
    The Two Faces of January
    X-Men: Days of Future Past



    In the case of the two comedies, just dreadful movies. In the case of the other three, they might have been decent movies to many people, but after reading such good reviews, for me they were just huge letdowns.

    22 Jump Street
    American Hustle
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Mr Turner
    Night at the Museum 3

    And finally, my “I’VE NO IDEA WHAT TO SAY” award goes to Under The Skin. One of the oddest movies I’ve ever seen. I can understand those charts which made it the movie of the year because it’s certainly remarkable. But I don’t know what to make of it.

    What do you think of the chart?

    O2 Arena Parking Tips 2019

    (Updated regularly)

    This post lists what I’ve found out about parking at the Greenwich, London O2 Arena (the old Millennium Dome), and my experience of event parking there. I hope it’s useful, and please use the comments to add anything else which you know! The article was originally written at the end of 2014, but has been continually updated. More importantly, the comments thread at the bottom has taken on a life of its own and now, going into 2019, it’s just as useful as the article itself, so do read everything. If you’re short on time, read the introduction here, then scroll all the way to the bottom and start reading the most recent comments first.

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