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Jon Anderson has been the lead singer of Yes, one of the most long-lived and successful rock acts in history, for more than four decades (give or take a few respites when the drama got too thick). Perhaps more than any other element in this progressive rock flagship, it is Anderson's vocals that instantly identify what you're hearing as Yes music - a complex, giddy, positive amalgamation of rock's fire and classical music's grace. Anderson was the author and a major creative influence behind the series of many complex epics produced by Yes - songs like "Close to the Edge," "Awaken," and especially "The Gates of Delirium." Additionally, Anderson co-authored the group's biggest hits, including "I've Seen All Good People," Roundabout," and "Owner of a Lonely Heart."

Together with bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Peter Banks, Anderson formed Yes in the late '60s with drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye. The group released its eponymous debut album in 1969, and Anderson stayed with the group until 1980 - a stretch now known as the classic period of Yes. He rejoined a reformed Yes in 1983 and soon helped produce the group's most commercially successful album 90125 with newcomer Trevor Rabin. However, he departed again in 1988 over the band's continued pursuit of major commercial success and mainstream radio play.

In 1989, Anderson and other former Yes members formed the group Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe (ABWH), and soon reunited with the then-current members of Yes. The resulting eight-man band assumed the name Yes, and though many more personnel changes have followed, Anderson has been with the band ever since. He remains one of the few people in rock that continues to espouse the same cool values that came out of the '60s social movements around the globe. His voice, a strange otherworldly thing, high and pure, never comes across as anything other than achingly sincere and speaks to the power emanating from this distinctive spirit. Over 40 years after the founding of Yes, he still believes steadfastly in the power of music to change the world for the better.

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April 5, 2014
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