[Owner of a 40-Year-Old Heart] -- On November 7, 1983, Yes released their 11th studio album, 90125. Well, that was the UK release date; the US release came on November 11, 1983. Either way, 90125 hit the charts 40 years ago this week. The album release was prefaced by the release of the first single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," in October 1983.
But let's back up a moment or several. Hadn't Yes disbanded in 1981? Well, yes, sort of. And while Yes partook of a sabbatical period, as bassist Chris Squire noted, Squire and drummer Alan White formed a band named Cinema. This rhythm section then expanded the Cinema lineup by adding Trevor Rabin (guitarist, singer-songwriter) and Tony Kaye (who was the original Yes keyboardist). Former Yes singer Trevor Horn – and by "former Yes singer" we mean "the guy who sang lead vocals on only one Yes album, Drama" – stepped into a record producer role for the new band, Cinema. Next, while Cinema was in the studio, they recruited original Yes singer Jon Anderson to record lead vocals. And that, my friends, is when Cinema became the brand new lineup for a more pop-oriented version of Yes.
And, let's face it, lineup changes are almost as much a part of the Yes story as their albums. The band has had over 20 different lineups since their 1968 inception, and at least 20 musicians have been considered full-time members.
Anyway, this incarnation of Yes was not only more pop-oriented, it was also more commercially successful. Actually, it was most commercially successful lineup. 90125 peaked at #5 on the US Billboard 200 and #16 on the UK Albums Chart. And it is still their most successful studio album to date. This album had five singles. The previously mentioned "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is still the band's most successfully charting single, and it is also their only song to reach the top the US Billboard Hot 100 – it peaked at the #1 position in January 1984. "Leave It," the album's second single, peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Top Album Rock Tracks, and #56 on the UK singles charts. The third single, "It Can Happen," reached #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. "Hold On," the fourth single, did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but did reach #43 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock. "Changes," was the fifth and final single released from 90125, and it peaked at #6 the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1984.
Although Yes would eventually return to their progressive and symphonic roots, the lineup behind 90125 – and later Big Generator (1987) – brought in scores of younger fans. So, they can look to this 80s lineup as a very successful experiment. I still own a vinyl copy of 90125 as well as a 45rpm of "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Some longtime fans might scoff at this era, but I'm a fan. (And I even like the 1978 record, Tormato, which I also own on vinyl).
I really like Seba Vinilos' YouTube video of the full vinyl edition of 90125. It kind of reminds me of sitting in my room and playing the album on my Technics turntable. If you want to view the music videos, use the individual links for the singles in this post.
Flashback: 90125 (November 7, 1983)
And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!