Bass legend Chris Squire, who stood at the helm of progressive rock in Yes since 1968, has died of cancer. He was 67 years old. Yes released a statement on their Facebook page announcing the news.
“It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire,” they wrote. “Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona, in the arms of his loving wife Scotty. For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water. Outside of Yes, Chris was a loving husband to Scotty and father to Carmen, Chandrika, Camille, Cameron, and Xilan. With his gentle, easy-going nature, 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.”
Squire was born in the London suburb of Kinsgsbury in 1948 and received his start in music in the church choir. He first took up bass around the age of sixteen after hearing Paul McCartney in the Beatles. His first public appearance with his first band The Selfs was at St. Andrew’s Church Hall.
Squire would eventually found Yes in 1968 alongside singer Jon Anderson. The two had connected over a love of vocal music and the need to express themselves. “I couldn’t get session work because most musicians hated my style,” Squire said. “They wanted me to play something a lot more basic. We started Yes as a vehicle to develop everyone’s individual styles.”
Until his passing, Squire was the only original member of the band and released 21 studio albums, 10 live albums, 32 compilation albums, 34 singles and 19 videos with them. Their most recent album Heaven & Earth cracked the top 20 in the UK charts.
It was announced on May 19th that Squire had been diagnosed with Acute Erythroid Leukemia and would be on hiatus from the band for treatment. Yes’ appearance scheduled for August 7th with Toto will mark the first ever concert without the bassist.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Chris Squire.