Chris Squire, Prog-Rock demigod…

Chris Squire was not only a founding member of Yes and thus a Prog-Rock demigod – he was also one of the most gifted bassists in the history of rock….

Chris Squire with his Rickenbacker (image courtesy YesWorld.com)

By now most of you who pay attention to such things are aware that Chris Squire, a founding member of Prog-Rock legends Yes, died last night in Phoenix, AZ, of a rare form of leukemia. He was 67.

Squire was/is primarily known as a “player’s player,” a moniker I think he’d like to be remembered by and one any bass player with chops that regularly entered “how’d he do that?” territory certainly deserves.

Some 18 musicians and singers have been members of Yes since its formation in 1968. Numerous great guitarists, drummers, keyboardists, and vocalists have passed through the band.

They’ve had only one bass player.

Rather than dwell on things like his technical innovations (Squire, for instance, rewired his precious 1964 Rickenbacker 4001 back in the early ’70’s to make it a stereo instrument running dual lines from  treble and bass pickups, a setup that’s now available from both Rick and other instrument makers), let’s just hear the man do what he did so brilliantly – play bass.

Here are the isolated bass figures from the Yes classic “Roundabout”:

And here he is killing it with the boys in a live 1972 version of the same song.

There’s a word for that bass work. Greatness.

I’m imagining John and George somewhere in the ether trying to decide among John Entwistle, Jack Bruce, and Chris Squire for bass, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell, and John Bonham on drums.

George: “They’re all so great. Does it matter who we choose, John? We can’t go wrong.”

John: “That’s why it’s called paradise, George.”

Godspeed, Chris Squire. You’ll be joining a great band….

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About Jim Booth

Novelist, college professor, rock musician - are we getting the band back together? Maybe....
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