Who was the first guitarist in Yes?

Answered by Robert Flynn

The first guitarist in the rock band Yes was Peter Banks. Born as Peter William Brockbanks on July 15, 1947, in England, Banks had a significant impact on the band’s early years and the progressive rock genre as a whole.

Peter Banks joined Yes in 1968 when the band was still in its formative stages. At that time, the lineup consisted of Jon Anderson on vocals, Chris Squire on bass, Tony Kaye on keyboards, Bill Bruford on drums, and, of course, Peter Banks on guitar. Together, they embarked on a musical journey that would shape the sound and direction of Yes.

Banks contributed his unique guitar playing style, which blended elements of rock, jazz, and classical music. He was known for his intricate and melodic guitar solos, as well as his ability to create complex and layered guitar arrangements. His guitar work added a distinct flavor to Yes’ early sound and helped establish the band’s reputation for musical virtuosity.

During his time in Banks played on the band’s first two studio albums, “Yes” (1969) and “Time and a Word” (1970). These albums showcased his innovative guitar playing and laid the foundation for Yes’ progressive rock sound. Banks’ contributions can be heard in songs like “Yours Is No Disgrace,” “Survival,” and “Then.”

Despite his significant role in shaping Yes’ early sound, Banks left the band in 1970 due to creative differences and personal conflicts within the group. However, his legacy as the original guitarist in Yes cannot be overlooked.

After leaving Banks went on to form his own bands, including the Syn, Flash, and Empire. He continued to explore his musical creativity and released several solo albums throughout his career. Banks’ solo work showcased his songwriting abilities and allowed him to experiment with different musical styles outside the confines of a band.

Tragically, Peter Banks passed away on March 7, 2013, at the age of 65. His contributions to Yes and the progressive rock genre as a whole continue to be celebrated and appreciated by fans and musicians alike.

Peter Banks was the first guitarist in the rock band Yes. His unique guitar playing style and contributions to the band’s early sound helped establish Yes as one of the pioneering forces in progressive rock. Despite his departure from the band, Banks’ legacy as a talented guitarist and songwriter lives on.