David Foster, Writer of Early Yes Songs, Dies

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David Foster, in The Warriors appearance in the feature film Just For You

David Foster, a pre-Yes bandmate of the group’s original lead singer, Jon Anderson, who together co-wrote several songs that were released as singles from Yes’ second album, died yesterday (Nov. 2), at 71. The announcement was made today by Yes; the cause of death was not announced.

On the band’s Facebook page, Yes wrote: “We are sad to report the passing of David Foster, yesterday afternoon. David co-wrote the YES classics Sweet Dreams and Time and a Word, the latter being a regular in the set over the past few years. We send love and light to David’s daughter Kelly and the family.”
– YES: Steve, Alan, Geoff, Billy & Jon

Foster was born on September 6, 1946. He and Anderson were part of a British band called The Warriors, formed in 1962. According to Foster’s website, the group’s most successful lineup was in 1964 and included Foster on bass and vocals, Ian Wallace (later, in King Crimson) on drums, Rod Hill and Mike Brereton on guitar, and Jon Anderson and his brother Tony on vocals.

The Warriors signed with Decca Records that year and recorded two singles, one of which, “Don’t Make Me Blue,” they performed on-screen in a 1964 feature film, Just For You.

See if you can spot a young Jon Anderson in the scene

Following an extensive tour which typically included many Beatles covers, several members left the Warriors in 1965. They continued touring with a new lineup led by Foster and Jon Anderson but, notes Foster’s web page, “they split up in Frankfurt Germany in August ’67 shagged out after a long squawk.”

The album cover features Steve Howe (at R) even though he joined the band after it was recorded

Yes’ second album, Time and a Word, was released in 1970. Its two singles–the title cut and “Sweet Dreams”–were both co-written by Foster and Anderson. The band’s lineup at this time was Chris Squire (bass), Anderson (vocals), and the band’s original drummer Bill Bruford, original keyboardist Tony Kaye and original guitarist Peter Banks. Foster sings on “Sweet Dreams” and plays acoustic guitar on “Time and a Word.”

The album reached #45 on the U.K. chart but did not sell particularly well. The group’s reception would change dramatically with the 1971 follow-up, The Yes Album, with Steve Howe replacing Banks on guitar. The LP, which includes early Yes classic rock favorites “Yours is No Disgrace,” “Starship Trooper” and “All Good People,” reached #4 in the U.K. and #40 in the U.S.

While songwriting credit for the nearly 10-minute “Yours is No Disgrace” is given to all five members–Anderson, Howe, Squire, Bruford and Kaye–it has been said that Foster also contributed lyrics to it.

Watch Yes perform “Time and a Word” in 1970

Related: Our coverage of Yes’ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017 induction

Listen to the Warriors catchy song “You Came Along”

Foster later co-founded the British rock band Badger with Kaye. The pair recruited drummer Roy Dyke and guitarist Brian Parrish. The group signed to Yes’ label, Atlantic Records, and their unusual debut album was a live recording in 1973, One Live Badger, which Jon Anderson co-produced.

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