Geoff Downes: keyboards (1-8, 11, 12), Vocoder (?1-8)
Trevor Horn: vocals (1-8, 11, 12), fretless bass (5)
Steve Howe: guitars (1, 2?, 3-11, 12?, 13-16), vocals (?1-8)
Chris Squire: bass (1, 2?, 3, 4, 6-11, 12?, 13-16), vocals (1, 2?, 3-8), piano (5)
Alan White: percussion (1, 2?, 3-11, 12?, 13-16), vocals (?1-8)
Jon Anderson: vocals (13-16)
Rick Wakeman: keyboards (13-16)
Produced by Yes (8), Roy Thomas Baker (13-16)
Original album credits:
Backing tracks produced by Eddie Offord (1-8)
Recorded at the Town House, London (1-12), in Paris (13-16)
Recording engineer: Hugh Padgham
Tape operator: George Chambers
Mixed at Sarm Studios, London
Recording engineers: Gary Langan, Julian Mendelsohn
Steve Howe recorded at Roundhouse and Rak Studios
Engineered by Ashley Howe and Pete Schwier respectively
Management: Brian Lane
Co-ordination: Sandy Campbell, Jim Halley, Phil Straight
200 Rhino reissue credits:
Reissue supervision: Steve Woolard, David McLees
Sound produced by Bill Inglot
Remastering: Dan Hersch, Bill Inglot
Bonus track mixing and tape review: Brian Kehew
Product manager: Marc Salata
Editorial supervision: Cory Frye
Cover painting: Roger Dean
Inside cover photo: David Clarke
Cover designed by Magnetic Storm Ltd.
Art direction and design for Magnetic Storm Ltd.: Roger Dean
2004 additional layout: Greg Allen
2004 liner notes: Brian Ives
1. Machine Messiah [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (10:27)
Part I (3:14)
Part II (3:33)
Part III (3:40)
2. White Car [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (1:21)
3. Does It Really Happen? [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (6:34)
4. Into the Lens [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (8:31)
5. Run Through the Light [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (4:39)
6. Tempus Fugit [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (5:14)
2004 expanded & remastered edition bonus tracks:
7. Into the Lens (I Am a Camera) (single version) [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (3:44)
8. Run Through the Light (single version) [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (4:26)
9. Have We Really Got to Go Through This [Howe/Squire/White] (3:43)
10. Song No. 4 (Satellite) [Howe/Squire/White] (7:41)
11. Tempus Fugit (tracking session) [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (5:02)
12. White Car (tracking session) [Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White] (1:12)
13. Dancing Through the Light [Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White] (3:27)
14. Golden Age [Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White] (5:55)
15. In the Tower [Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White] (2:52)
16. Friend of a Friend [Anderson/Howe/Squire/Wakeman/White] (3:50)
(1-6) arranged by Downes/Horn/Howe/Squire/White
Notes: (*****) One of Yes's most controversial albums: this was the first time that the band had changed two band members at once and it is the only album without Jon Anderson. Yet, in some ways, the album's style is closer to 'classic Yes' than its predecessor, Tormato, with a style harkening back to The Yes Album. The songs are much darker than Anderson's usual positivity and Squire comes to the fore as the main composer; comparisons could also be made with Squire's Fish Out of Water solo album. There are also hints of what was to come with "Run with the Fox" (see YesYears) and 90125.
I should admit that I am a huge fan of Drama (and, with Anthony Lawless (né Hobbs), coined the term 'Panthers' for fans of the album), but many other Yes fans are very negative about it. So, the following may be a biased perspective. Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White all play fantastically. Geoff Downes, the first Yes keyboardist (the first Yes member at all) to have completed a music degree, is equally strong. As Downes has often said, as Yes's fourth keyboardist, he had an easier time than Trevor Horn. Jon Anderson is hard man to follow and, although Horn's vocal style has some similarities, this change is the most noticeable. However, personally, I think Horn's vocals are very strong. In some ways, the more striking change is in his lyrical style. It is also worth noting that Squire is much to the fore in the vocals too and effectively joint lead on some songs.
After Tormato, the band re-grouped at the end of 1979 for sessions in Paris with Roy Thomas Baker (who had produced Queen, most famously). The sessions went badly and the resultant material was poor. White then broke his foot in an (ice?)skating accident, which brought the sessions to an end. All bar one of the known songs from these November sessions have since been released. "Tango" and "Never Done Before" (known on bootlegs as "Flower Girl") were included on In a Word, while four pieces are included on the 2004 Rhino expanded & remastered release of Drama. The one, known, unreleased, Paris song was "Everybody Loves You" (later recorded by Jon Anderson for his solo album Song of Seven); the first track listing seen for the 2004 Drama, on hmv.co.jp in early Jan 2004 (nearly two months before the release data), included "Everybody Loves You" as a seventeenth track, which may indicate that it was planned, but it would not fit on an album already over 79 minutes long.
Of the four songs on the Rhino Drama, "Golden Age" was cannibalised by both Rick Wakeman (in the track "Maybe '80" on Rock n' Roll Prophet) and Jon Anderson (for parts of "Some Are Born" on Song of Seven), while "Dancing Through the Light", was an early version of "Run Through the Light".
The traditional story is that, at this point, in Paris, Anderson and Wakeman decided to leave the band. In actuality, the process was more complex. The band returned to their respective homes, unable to agree on a future direction. Squire, Howe and White soon re-grouped and started working on new material, what was to form the basis to Drama. It appears that they had soon further developed "Run Through the Light" and had early versions of "Does It Really Happen?" and "Tempus Fugit". Five pieces were well-known from bootlegs, the aforementioned three and two untitled pieces. An edit of "Untitled I" was released as "Crossfire" on In a Word, while "Untitled II" is on the Rhino Drama as "Song No. 4 (Satellite)". "Song No. 4" was also tried by XYZ (an abortive project involving Squire, White and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page around 1981) in a vocal form, known variously as "Telephone Lies" or "Telephone Secrets". The Rhino Drama also includes "Have We Really Got to Go Go Through This" from the same period (but not previously bootlegged), a very early version of a piece played live by the Drama band and traditionally known as "Go Through This". "Does It Really Happen?" actually dates back further to around the time of Tormato. An early version with Anderson and Wakeman is on the Rhino Tormato as "Everybody's Song".
At some point in early 1980, Squire, Howe and White presented their material to Anderson, although precisely how far they had got in developing it is unclear, and there was some attempt to make a go of things. (There seems also to have been some contact with Wakeman, although he seems not to have met up with the other four.) However, Anderson and the Drama trio could not agree on a musical direction: Anderson did not like their material and they did not like Anderson's ideas. Moreover, there were divisions in the band of a non-musical kind. Yes's finances had been worsening as the seventies ended: a thorough accounting process headed by Brian Lane suggested that Anderson had been spending more than his fair share. This led to animosity with the other band members, particularly between Anderson and Howe and between Jenny Anderson (Jon's wife) and Nikki Squire (Chris's wife). Lane proposed a scheme to adjust payments from the forthcoming 1980 tour, but Anderson's own investigations blamed others for the band's poor financial situation and he backed out of the proposed scheme. Squire and Howe purportedly asked Anderson to leave if he would not pay back the money he owed. Wakeman did not see a future for the band without Anderson and went too. (The feud lasted some time: Nikki Squire was said to still be furious with Anderson when he re-joined the band before 90125. However, following the success of 90125, Atlantic 'discovered' that they owed Yes a large sum from activity in the seventies, which helped explained the band's dire financial situation in 1980 and Anderson and Howe settled their differences, which would eventually lead to ABWH.)
Meanwhile, Horn and Downes, who had been working together for some years, had recently found success with the single "Video Killed the Radio Star" from the Buggles' debut album, The Age of Plastic. Booked into the next door studio as Yes (or what was left of Yes) and sharing the same manager in Lane, the two bands soon met. Horn and Downes were both huge Yes fans and Horn soon tried to sell Yes a song, entitled "We Can Fly from Here". Squire was interested and there was a session with Horn, Downes, Squire and Bill Bruford to try the song. (Why Bruford? It appears that White was temporarily unavailable and Bruford was filling in.) There appears also to have been a later session with the full Drama line-up performing this song. Many were surprised when a version of "We Can Fly from Here" failed to appear on the Rhino remaster. Trevor Horn has a recording and offered it to the band, but there was an unexplained breakdown in communication between Warner/Rhino and Yes's management on one side and Jill Sinclair (Horn's wife and manager) and the use of the track was never sorted.
Soon Horn and Downes were working with Yes, although it was some time before Squire actually broke the news to Horn that Anderson was not going to appear, possibly because there was still some possibility he would. However, with Yes having been spending money before they had generated it, the band were already committed to a tour and an album was required. Drama was quickly put together, Horn hurrying to write lyrics. The tracking session for "Tempus Fugit" on the Rhino remaster has Horn still developing a lyric.
Although the album is credited as having being written by all five band members, most of the music was either from Horn/Downes or Squire/White, with Horn doing most of the lyrics and, certainly, all five members were involved in arrangements. "Machine Messiah", which Downes has said is his favourite piece on the album, appears to be the most group written. Part of the song appears to have been by Horn/Downes, but there were considerable contributions from the others. Downes quotes Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) in his keyboard parts. White claims the odd-time middle instrumental section as his. "White Car", a tribute to Gary Numan, is by Horn/Downes. The music on this short piece was entirely produced on a Fairlight synthesizer and Squire/Howe/White purportedly do not appear on the track.
"Does It Really Happen?", "Run Through the Light" and "Tempus Fugit", as mentioned above, had been developed by Squire/Howe/White before they hooked up with Horn/Downes. "Into the Lens" was a Buggles piece and their own version, entitled "I am a Camera", was released on the subsequent Buggles album Adventures in Modern Recording. The lyrics are based on "Goodbye to Berlin" by Christopher Isherwood (1906-1986), a semi-autobiographical novel about Berlin during the Weimar Republic.
"I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed." (from "Goodbye to Berlin", 1939)The novel (and the loosely-linked, "Mr Norris Changes Trains", 1935) were turned into a play entitled "I am a Camera", which in turn was made into a film (1955). The play was then converted into a musical, "Cabaret", also filmed (1972).
Early dates on the tour went on sale before the new line up was announced (possibly before the new line up had been determined). When the announcement came, it was a huge surprise to the music press and to fans. Live, the band played almost the whole album and two further pieces: the aforementioned "We Can Fly from Here" (which the five Drama members appear to have also demo'd) and "Go Through This". Earlier shows had a Downes solo spot referred to as the "Man in a White Car Suite", while later shows included a largely a cappella version of "White Car" as well. The one piece omitted from the usual set list was "Run Through the Light", although one report has it that this too was played live at least once. On tour, Horn had to sing prior Yes numbers, a challenge particularly as Squire argued against transposing the material to a lower key. Horn, who had never sung live to such large audiences before, found the tour an enormous strain. His voice worsened as the tour progressed and British audiences later on the tour were more vocally hostile than the American audiences had been. Boots from later on the tour reveal some poor singing (and Squire and Howe on backing vocals were weak too), although on the Drama material, Horn's live performances are generally better. Horn has said he has had recurring nightmares about the experience since and he would not perform again live until the late 1990s!
After the tour and Horn's decision to leave Yes, the band soon fell
apart. Squire and White announced they would be pursuing other directions.
Howe and Downes, the only remaining members, decided not to try to continue
the band (although they were soon playing together again in Asia). Early
in 1981, Yes ended. (HP, 28 Dec 03; revised 25 Feb