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Beyond and Before: The Formative Years of Yes - written by Peter Banks with Billy James

Review by Gary Hill

This is an excellent book in many ways. First, it’s a quick read – partly because it’s not all that long and partly because it’s written in such a way that it flows really well. The title is perfect, but the subtitle seems a bit inappropriate. “Beyond and Before” was a song by the early version of Yes, of which Peter Banks was a key member, so the title works for that reason. The book’s scope covers both the time before Banks was in Yes and the time beyond Yes, so it works in that respect, too.

The reflections on Banks’ time in Yes and his dealings with the other members of the band are honest and frank. This seems like the tale of a man’s life written with a real sense of digging in and getting to his feelings and being honest with himself and the reader. It offers a different side of the early history of Yes than you’ll read anywhere else. I recommend putting it alongside Bill Bruford’s autobiography. Banks also gives a lot of insight into his career and the music business in general beyond Yes. This is a highly recommended reading experience.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at

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