You Say It's Your Birthday: Yes' Trevor Rabin

Wish Jill Sobule a happy birthday too.

Today is the birthday of Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin, born

in 1954 in Johannesgburg, South Africa. Yes was one of the most successful and

influential progressive-rock bands of the seventies, blending keyboards with

more traditional rock instruments and vocalist Jon Anderson's signature

high-pitched voice. After the band was formed by Anderson and bassist Chris

Squire in London in 1968, they brought in guitarist Peter Banks and keyboardist

Tony Kaye and began playing opening slots all over Britan, releasing two albums

by 1970. Because they weren't hitting it off with audiences in the U.S., their

record deal nearly fell through; Banks left the group, but they released The

Yes Album and finally made their peace with America.

A number of

lineup changes plagued the band, despite which they continued to record

knockout albums with elaborately-orchestrated numbers. Bruford left to form

King Crimson, wile Kaye went on to play with Badger. The meat-eating

keyboardist Rick Wakeman (who had replaced Kaye) had his differences with the

rest of group, all of whom were vegetarian teetotalers; Wakeman eventually left

in 1974, only to return two years later. Despite continued sales and popular

tours, the rotating-door syndrome destroyed the group's unity. Yes eventually

disbanded in 1980.

Though many of the musicians went on to other bands,

Yes reformed in 1983 with Anderson, Kaye, Squire, drummer Alan White and Rabin,

recording 90125 and the #1 single "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Gone were

the trappings of progressive rock, though the quintet continued to convey

strong, skilled songwriting. Rabin's work dominated the1987's Big

Generator; Anderson quit the band. Despite legal battles, the quartet was

allowed to continue recording under the name Yes, and even reunited with old

members for 1991's Union. Yes continues to record, its most recent

release being 1994's Talk. Other birthdays: Fred White (Earth, Wind &

Fire), Frank Cavanaugh (Filter), Graham "Suggs" MacPherson (Madness), and Jill

Sobule. -- Beth Winegarner