In Memoriam: Chris Squire

Chris Squire

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.

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  1. God Bless the keeper of the flame. You will be greatly missed Chris.

  2. Mark Cole

    I love his bass playing as well as his voice.

  3. Petey

    This is unbelievable! First it was BB King, then Louis Johnson, now the Rickenbacker wizard Chris Squire! I’ve been a fan of YES since the song ‘owner of a lonely hearts.’ Chris was an unbelievable bass player. The stuff he did with that pick was incredible! Another great musician gone! My condolences go to the members of YES and the Squire family. May he RIP.?

  4. Say day. He was my first bass centric inspiration. A fan since the Fragile days. What a great body of music he leaves behind.

  5. Marguerite

    What sad news. A legend is gone.

  6. Jeff Neilson

    The reason I ate poorly and barely left the house for a year so I could afford a Rickenbacker.

    That voice too…

  7. Tom Stull

    A picture similar to the one above, helped to inspire me to not only play the Bass Guitar, but the Rickenbacker Bass Guitar. He looked so cool playing Rickenbackers. His playing on record is awe inspiring. God Bless Chris Squire.

  8. Paul

    It was a pleasure to have seen you perform in Toronto! RIP Chris!

  9. Mike Matthews

    Prayers to all of Chris’ family, both musical & blood related. He is only one of a couple pick playing bassist that I Love! An awesome singer as well. He will be dearly missed. RIP my Brotha-o-Bass.

  10. So sad to hear of the passing of Chris Squire of Yes. I’m so thankful I was able to see him and Yes when they passed through my town in 2013 (Via Robles, Paso Robles, CA)

  11. Like many others, he was the reason I became a Bass player. R.I.P Chris.

  12. T. Earl Adams

    I would not be a bassist today were not for Chris Squire. Period. Go easy, Chris, and thank you.

  13. Dude Buddy

    Sad news.
    Maybe the next to pass away will be my idol Rocco Prestia.

  14. The first time I heard Chris was of course on “ROUNDABOUT” and I was hooked from there. I loved the Bass solo on YESSONGS. He was always spot on with the harmony vocals which was an integral part of the yes sound. I’m so moved by his passing. There will never be another Chris. :(

  15. I will Remember you , your silhouette will charge the view of distant atmosphere!

  16. colin

    speechless :(
    jaco jazz bass
    jamerson precision
    chris squire.. the rick!

    do your self a favour
    have a listen to time and a word

  17. Peter Beulke

    Hi,very sad indeed.fantastic bassist etc. RIP Chris .Pete B

  18. Doc.Hoc.

    I never heard bass played like the thrashing sound of Chris Squire.
    He will be dearly missed.
    Rest in peace brother bassist.

  19. Probably the best pick style player that ever was. His line on Roundabout had me practicing for days just to figure it out. RIP, Chris.

  20. Tony

    For decades a true giant of the instrument. I just played ‘Heart of the Sunrise’ again and as always he sounds like a force of nature on it! Prog Rock has lost one of it’s finest musicians…

  21. Chris Squire is one of my first influences for bass guitar, along with Felix Pappalardi and Jack Bruce. He was the first guy that I heard who played melodic bass lines and didn’t stick to playing root notes. His bass sang just like his voice! A true pioneer! R.I.P. Chris!

  22. Debbie Lynch

    Chris you are an inspiration to us all, you will sadly be missed….R I P

  23. So very saddened by this news. I saw them back in the day with Rick Wakeman(sp?) and a couple of years ago, a friend took me to Vina Robles in Paso Robles, Ca to see them ! It was Magical to day the least! Rest well Chris…????

  24. Daniel Brauch

    He is the only reason I bought a bass in the first place. That Slamming, Crunching, Mammoth tone that is like no other on earth…..has fallen forever silent.