Search - Yes :: Fragile

Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

2003 remastered reissue of 1972 album includes two bonus tracks, 'America' & 'Roundabout' (Early Rough Mix). Digipak in a slipcase. Elektra/Rhino.


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CD Details

All Artists: Yes
Title: Fragile
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Elektra / Wea
Original Release Date: 1/1/1972
Re-Release Date: 1/14/2003
Album Type: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Progressive, Progressive Rock, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR), Arena Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 081227378929, 4943674041268


Album Description
2003 remastered reissue of 1972 album includes two bonus tracks, 'America' & 'Roundabout' (Early Rough Mix). Digipak in a slipcase. Elektra/Rhino.

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CD Reviews

Unbelievable technical ability balanced with warmth and emot
Jeffrey J.Park | Massachusetts, USA | 12/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This 1972 album showed Yes starting to move even further into the realm of progressive rock and features the classic lineup of Chris Squire (Rickenbacker bass, vocals); Rick Wakeman (Synthesizers, mellotron, Hammond organ, piano); Steve Howe (acoustic and electric guitars, vocals); Bill Bruford (drums; percussion); and Jon Anderson (lead vocals; guitar). I think it goes without saying that this lineup would produce some of the finest material released by Yes and was comprised of virtuosos. Certainly, all of this is very much present on Fragile, which I personally consider a showcase of staggering instrumental skill that is very warm and inviting somehow.

Because of contractual problems largely stemming from Rick Wakeman, Fragile consists of three band compositions and several smaller solo pieces. The three band compositions are excellent and include the alternately ripping and melodramatic Heart of the Sunrise (their response to 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson, 1969); South Side of the Sky (about a failed mission to Antarctica I think); and the classic piece Roundabout. The solo pieces vary in quality and include the excellent Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Jon wrote Long Distance Runaround, while The Fish is a Squire tour de force on the electric bass with percussion by Bill); Rick Wakeman's Cans and Brahms (extracts from Brahms's 4th Symphony in E Minor Third Movement performed on an arsenal of synthesizers) (Rick did not like Cans and Brahms at all); Steve Howe's excellent acoustic solo piece Mood for a Day; Bill Bruford's painfully short and unfinished sounding instrumental piece Five Percent for Nothing (a slam on the band manager apparently); and finally, Jon Anderson's We Have Heaven. As a bassist and avid worshipper of Squire, The Fish is hands down my favorite, although I generally like all of the solo pieces.

Overall, the music on Fragile is simply amazing and has all of the emotional punch (some might say melodrama) of tracks like Survival (1969); and Starship Trooper (1971), yet with the instrumental sophistication that would mark all of the 1970s work. Some very melodramatic moments can be heard on Heart of Sunrise, which is an absolutely super 10'34"; and South Side of the Sky is certainly not without drama. However, what really got me when I first listened to this album over 25 years ago (and to this very day) is the playing - these guys were in a class by themselves when it came to sheer virtuosity. Although the playing can get overwhelming at times, it is nicely leavened by softer, acoustic passages (on guitar and piano) and Jon Anderson's high pitched vocals. Along with some unbelievable vocal harmonies, this makes for one amazing listening experience.

With respect to the cover art (the first with Roger Dean), I feel that the painting of the tiny and "fragile" world on the front cover is very warm and intimate despite the planet being surrounded by the cold vacuum of outer space. Of course, on the back cover this peaceful world is depicted as breaking up - a very different scene from the front cover. The neat thing is that the breaking up of the planet was reiterated on the live Yessongs album. As I recall, I used to stare at the "large" cover art on the Fragile LP and it was very much a part of the listening experience. Then again, the cover art was very important for me on all of the Yes albums (even Drama (1980)) and is something I feel compelled to mention when I review any of their works.

The remastering on this album is incredible and (sort of) takes me back to the vinyl days. The booklet is excellent and features the original album artwork; a ton of liner notes; and photos of the band. Although the liner notes are pretty much old hat for the typical Yes freak (such as myself), they should prove informative to lots of folks. The excellent bonus track America was a very nice addition that was originally recorded for the 1972 Atlantic sampler LP "Age of Atlantic". Although I did not own this LP, I did own the compilation album "Yesterdays", which also featured America. The other bonus track includes an early rough mix of Roundabout that really does not add much.

All in all, an incredible Yes album that is very highly recommended along with all of their works from 1971 -1977."
The 1972 Classic Yes Release Finally Sounds Terrific!
highway_star | Hallandale, Florida United States | 05/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Released in 1972, "Fragile" is a progressive rock masterpiece that should be in all rock lovers cd collection. As excellent an album as it was, it produced just one major hit in "Roundabout". I remember hearing the song played repeatedly on radio back then and never got sick of it. The entire album is full of excellent, well crafted songs such as "Heart Of The Sunrise", "Long Distance Runaround", "South Side Of The Sky" and the above mentioned "Roundabout". Of note, this album was also keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman's debut with the band and there's a definate classical influence in the songs with the addition of Wakeman (listen to "Cans And Brahms"). This special edition of "Fragile" contains two bonus tracks in "America" (the full 10 min. version) and an extra version of "Roundabout" (Early Rough Mix) which is similar to the original version except that the vocals and harmonizing are more pronounced and the arrangement is different in certain parts. There's also a thirteen page booklet included which tells about the songs on the album as well as some nice color photos of the members of the band. The digipack that holds the disc is also very attractive. Soundwise this new remastered version is far superior to the early 90's remaster in that the sound is cleaner, more mid-range, bottom end and punch has been added. If you enjoy seventy's classic rock such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Genesis, King Crimson, etc. "Fragile" is a must have. Highly Recommended."
The definitive symphonic prog album
Michael Topper | Pacific Palisades, California United States | 09/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although "Close To The Edge" beats it out for the crown of best Yes album, and repeated listens to "Relayer" reveal countless layers and subtleties, "Fragile" is the album I would recommend as a starting point for Yes--and since Yes is the definitive symphonic prog act, it provides an excellent starting point for prog in general. Although the five brief solo pieces scattered in-between the epics are frequently thought to have made it sound a little disjointed, every track is strong, with the one exception of Wakeman's pleasantly dull "Cans And Brahms" (its brevity is, however, an advantage in this case!)."Roundabout" is the group's most overplayed track and one even the most devoted fans might get tired of after the ten-zillionth listen, but fresh ears cannot deny its brillliant composition, playing and production, with stunning harmonies and definitive guitar and keyboard solos. Speaking of stunning harmonies, "We Have Heaven" bursts from the speakers like a postcard from above
and will have you singing along in no-time. Offsetting its optimism is the darker "South Side Of The Sky", oddly overlooked
by the group over the years (apparently it was too difficult even for them to play live!) and thus a very fresh listen. The howling wind and footsteps (reminiscent of Pink Floyd) presage a monster guitar riff that carries the track, although the jazzy piano/vocal interlude is perhaps the highlight. At times during the playing of this album one is tempted to think that this is the direction The Beatles may have gone in had they continued with the experimentation of "Abbey Road". Bruford's 30-second "5% For Nothing" acts as a novelty introduction to "Long Distance Runaround", in which Yes implants their unique musical approach onto the conventional three-minute pop song. Lyrically, this is one of the album's strongest statements, being a subtly phrased questioning of religion. The song melds with Squire's pulsing bass experiment "The Fish", in which he overdubs dozens of basses (fuzz, wah-wah, both, you name it) on top of each other playing variations on a kinetic riff that rocks extremely hard. Not only will one be dazzled by Squire's prowess, but the appearance of a more straightforward rocker is exactly what the album needs at this point. Indeed, I'm tempted to name "The Fish" one of the greatest rock instrumentals ever. Howe's moody, Spanish acoustic guitar piece "Mood For A Day" follows, influenced heavily by Segovia and very tastefully played with a "less is more" approach unusual for this genre of prog. That is not the case with the closing "Heart Of The Sunrise", however, which remains my all-time favorite Yes work and one of the best prog songs ever (note how this album has the best of everything--best pop song, best instrumental, best epics...). The peaks and valleys in this song are quite extreme and frame what is, at its heart, actually a simple ballad with an emotional lyric that paints abstract impressions with words. The way the group embellish this "simple ballad" to classical proportions, playing contrapuntal bits and extended keyboard variations that twist and turn against each other along with Howe's screaming metal-ish opening guitar riff, is like a picture-perfect advertisement for the virtues of progressive rock. As a pop song, "Heart Of The Sunrise" would have been charming but minor. As a ten-minute epic, the track manages to touch on all moods and emotions, while not a single note is wasted; the themes are all carefully composed and interwoven into each other for maximum atmospheric impact. When a reprise of "We Have Heaven" bursts in and fades out just as quickly at the close, one is tempted to simply press "play" all over again. Yes' sound crafted here is like the perfect natural buzz; endorphins are sparked and heightened virtually every second this CD is in the machine. Indeed, I have at times sung along to this in the car with friends and had a blast. Wakeman is almost certainly the definitive factor that made this a step above the already brilliant "Yes Album"--his virtuosic (what else?)keyboard layering colors each track ingeniously, which is why it is a little puzzling that his own solo contribution sounds like background muzak--although all of the members seem to be challenging each other here. The bonus tracks are not too rare but it is great to have the full-length "America" added to this collection, it fits better here than it would on "Close To The Edge" (and the single version is a bonus track on the latter album anyway). "Close To The Edge" may be even tighter and more complex, with just three epic tracks that all complement each other, but "Fragile"'s bits and pieces all fit endearingly together as well and in my opinion this album is only one miniscule smidgen below its successor in quality, and certainly the most fun. Even if this is the first Yes album you ever purchase, its accessibility (especially for people not usually into prog) may make this the most-played, even after decades."