Chris Squire, bass player, founding member and the only member of Yes to play on all 21 of their albums.
The news was broken by Yes member Geoff Downes who posted this message on Twitter: “Utterly devastated beyond words to have to report the sad news of the passing of my dear friend, bandmate and inspiration Chris Squire.”
Chris was born in March 1948 in the Kingsbury district of north London. His path into music came via the local Church where he sang in the choir. As a teenager he took a shine to the bass guitar and, at the age of 16, joined a local band called The Selfs. Two years later, he and singer Jon Anderson formed Yes which is where he remained for the next 47 years.
His place in the band can never be underestimated because he used a distinctive Rickenbacker 4001 electric to help define his role.
Their eponymous debut album was released in 1969 made little impact on the public and even less on the UK chart. The following year they released their second album with that distinctive prog rock sound, Chris explained in Ultimate Classic Rock, “Our second album Time and a Word was where we first started to work with (new Yes engineer) Eddy Offord. He liked the way my tone was coming out of my Marshall 100-watt that I’d used ever since the beginning really, and the thing that he added to that by using certain compression and certain settings that he liked in the studio, so we just developed it really, from Time And A Word onwards and I suppose you could say that by the time we got to Fragile and Roundabout, he’d really finessed the production of my bass sound.”
Their most defining albums were 1971’s Fragile and Close To the Edge the following year but they topped the album chart twice, firstly in 1973 with Tales of Topographic Ocean and again in 1977 with Going for the One.
During their time, more than 40 members came and went including mainstays Rick Wakeman, Tony Kaye, Bill Bruford, Alan White and Peter Banks who sadly died in 2013. With Chris’ passing, that means that White is now the member with the longest tenure.
Chris did attempt a solo career which resulted in one charting album called Fish out Of Water – maybe it turned out to be prophetic. Fish was Squire’s nickname. In 2000 he joined then-Yes guitarist Billy Sherwood in a side project called Conspiracy. They released two albums – Conspiracy in 2000 and The Unknown in 2003.
Chris was married three times and obviously had a penchant for the letter as four of this five children’s names were Carmen, Chandrika, Camille, Cameron. In case you were wondering, the youngest is called Xilan.
In May this year the band released a statement explaining that Chris had been diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia and would take a break whilst receiving treatment, however, just five weeks later he was gone. The official Yes statement on his passing concluded with; ‘Chris was a great friend of many – including each of us. But he wasn’t merely our friend: he was also part of our family and we shall forever love and miss him.’