Before video killed the radio star, we had guitar heroes (Jimi, Jimmy, Eric, Eddie, John McLaughlin, Steve Howe…), drum heroes (Ginger, Bill Bruford, Carl Palmer, Tony Williams, Neil Peart, Billy Cobham…), keyboard heroes (Chick, Herbie, Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson…), vocal heroes (Freddy Mercury, Paul Rodgers, Bruce Dickenson, Ian Gillan…), band heroes (Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, the Wrecking Crew, Weather Report, Return to Forever, the Funk Brothers…) – the list goes on.
We had master instrumentalists who were recognized for their musicianship, not for their celebrity. Though we may not play to their level, we continually learn from them, and are inspired by their body of work every time we engage with our chosen tool of musical expression.
Among the most dynamic, inventive, and groundbreaking bass heroes in the glorious history of rock ‘n’ roll is Christopher Russell Edward Squire, the bandleader of progressive rock icons Yes. Along with Sir Paul, whom he was significantly influenced by, Squire put the Rickenbacker 4001 on the map and in the process, greatly expanded the tonal language of the bass by cranking the treble to levels hitherto unheard, and unacceptable in any genre of music.
What astonishes me most about Chris Squire is that he can reference classical passages and blues licks – often in a single composition. To pronounce Mr. Squire as a world class soloist and accompanist is an understatement as massive as Tales from Topographic Oceans! The breath of Chris Squire’s musical knowledge and curiosity reminds me of Miles Davis– who never stopped growing and moving forward regardless of the opinions of his so-called peers.
Most rock music followers are familiar with Chris Squire and Yes’ classic 1970s era, along with their pop inclinations during the 1980s – however there was never a time when Yes stood still or were at a loss for fresh ideas, sounds, and direction –despite the frequent disapproval of critics and nostalgic listeners.