The founder and former editor of Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles music zine, Popoff is widely considered one of the world’s leading authorities on heavy metal and hard rock music. To date (and this will probably change by the end of this week…), Popoff has published multiple volumes on Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Thin Lizzy as well as single books on rockers as diverse as Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, and Ted Nugent plus various essential music guides and the acclaimed, scholarly Who Invented Heavy Metal? For his landmark 50th book, Popoff has chosen to chronicle the life and times of one of rock music’s most beloved gangs with Time And A Word: The Yes Story.
Martin Popoff’s Time And A Word: The Yes Story
As anybody who has read any of Popoff’s recent books would know, the writer intersperses revelations from the various band members throughout the text, material gleaned from original interviews with longtime Yes members like Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Alan White as well as lesser-known (but no less talented) members like Bill Bruford and John Wetton, relative band newcomers like Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood, and contemporaries like Carl Palmer (ELP, Asia) and Steve Hackett (Genesis). Throw in information culled from nearly 50 years of heavy press for the popular band, vintage artwork (album ads, show posters, etc), and rare color and B&W photos and you have a well-researched and documented history of Yes.
The Reverend’s Bottom Line
The main takeaway from Popoff’s Time And A Word is that, no matter the decade or the roster, Yes has always featured skilled, accomplished musicians that, knowing they were part of something special – a rich musical heritage – brought their ‘A’ game to performances and recordings alike. Neither Popoff nor the various band members gloss over the frequent tensions within the band, or the differences in opinion about musical direction that often threatened to derail their efforts.
Throughout it all, Yes continued to make inspired, often great music, and Popoff tells the complete tale, from the beginning through Chris Squire’s tragic death in 2015. There have been other books written about Yes, but none capture the heartbeat of the band’s storied history quite like Martin Popoff’s Time And A Word: The Yes Story. If you’re a Yes fan, or just a fan of prog or classic rock, this is one for your bookshelf. Grade: A (Soundcheck Books, published May 1, 2016)
Get Time And A Word from Martin's website or from Amazon.com