Remembering Yes Co-Founder Chris Squire

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Chris Squre (Photo via Yes’ Facebook page)

A little over a month after Yes announced that it would play its first-ever tour without bassist Chris Squire as he underwent treatment for acute erythroid leukemia, the band reported that he died on June 27, 2015, from the rare form of the disease. He was 67 years old and lived in Phoenix, Ariz.

The first news of Squier’s passing from the Yes camp was on Twitter from Yes keyboard player Geoffery Downes. “Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire.”

The band’s Facebook page followed soon after to say that he had passed away peacefully.

Squire was the one constant on every album and tour for some 46 years as the group’s membership shifted ever since he and singer Jon Anderson first met in 1967 and almost immediately wrote a song together, “Sweetness,” that appeared on the self-titled debut Yes album in 1969. In addition to his formidable and influential instrumental skills, Squire co-wrote such signature Yes songs as “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”

Yes’ selection for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017 sadly was a posthumous honor for Squire.

Related: Recap of Yes’ Rock Hall induction ceremony

The 1972 live video clip below showcases Squire’s bass talents with the classic Yes line-up of Anderson, drummer Alan White, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman on one of the band’s most popular numbers, “Roundabout.”

Among the many tributes and condolences that quickly followed the news was a statement from fellow bassist Geddy Lee posted on the Rush website: “Although we never met, I’m so sorry to hear about Chris Squire from Yes passing. As a bass player and innovator on the instrument he was a huge inspiration to me. Simply put, he was one of the greatest rock bassists of all time.”

Squire’s death fell on the anniversary of the passing of fellow bass legend, John Entwistle.

More tributes came from a diverse group of artists. Jon Anderson wrote on his website, “We were musical brothers.  I saw him in my meditation last night and he was radiant.” Toto’s Steve Lukather (on Facebook): “We lost one of the greatest musicians of all time… an innovator-true legend… a friend and hero. RIP Chris Squire. You will be so missed.”

Squire was cremated on July 1 in Phoenix, though his wife Scotland Squire noted, “However, knowing Chris, he might be running a bit late for the event; after all, he has always been the ‘late’ Chris Squire.”

Yes began that 2015 North American tour with Toto on August 7. As Squire said in May of his absence, “This will be the first time since the band formed in 1968 that Yes will have performed live without me. But the other guys and myself have agreed that Billy Sherwood will do an excellent job of covering my parts and the show as a whole will deliver the same Yes experience that our fans have come to expect over the years.”

Related: Squire announced he’d miss Yes’ 2015 tour

The album cover of the original 1975 release

Squire released a solo album, Fish Out of Water, in 1975 (the title referred to his band nickname of Fish), recorded tracks in 1981 with Jimmy Page and Yes drummer Alan White in a project called XYZ (eXYes-Zeppelin) that never came to fruition, released two albums in 2000 and 2003 in a side project, Conspiracy, with Yes guitarist Billy Underwood, and collaborated with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett as Squackett, issuing the LP A Life Within A Day in 2012.

Squire was born March 4, 1948, in a London suburb. While in his late teens, he met Anderson and then soon added guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford to form Yes’ first lineup.

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Mark
    #1 Mark 5 March, 2020, 07:52

    If you never listened to Chris’ solo album, “Fish Out of Water”, you owe it to yourself to do so. He is such an underrated bass player. That album should be required study for all aspiring bass players.

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    • SMA BASS
      SMA BASS 10 August, 2020, 18:52

      “required study for all aspiring bass Players” – AND drummers!
      The Squire/Bruford team of air-tight yet abstract sonic weaving is what propelled YES to Stardom, it was not the same with the Squire/White rendition, White plays Bruford “straight”, just listen to White play “Roundabout”!

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  2. Luile
    #2 Luile 28 June, 2021, 16:42

    Conspiracy, with Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood and now bassist, is great to listen to. But he is at his very best in a collaboration with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett as SQUACKETT LP/CD “A Life Within A Day” in 2012. It is a fabulous cd. They did record more songs that ended in some other Steve Hackett solo albums. Chris Squire has several other solo or colaboration albums.

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