Here's a thing that the people who wax lyrical and nostalgic about the golden age of vinyl records seem to forget: the way that labels, distributors and retailers showed such crass contempt for that now-treasured cover art. How many covers did they deface by sticking pug-ugly stickers all over the place; not discreet and easy-peel stickers, but massive great discs of garish colour announcing "Prime Cuts!" Hmmm, tasteful, attractive! On this cover you can see where I've tried to peel away the offending sticker at about two o'clock, but I only got so far before I realised that the sticker was bringing away the surface of the cover itself — so then I had to try and cover up that damage by sticking the sticker down again. Lovely.
I think this may be another case of an album that I bought twice, the third in as many days after The Kick Inside and Equinoxe. After I first bought, and liked Tormato, somebody (almost certainly Richard Smith, because he had an older brother) told me that Close to the Edge was the one to have. So I got it, didn't like it, and may have sold it on — only to buy it again a couple of years later when I became (for most of 1981) a fully-fledged Yes fan. I didn't like it much the second time round, and it holds no appeal for me now. In Word recently, Steve Howe picked Close to the Edge as the single piece that best captured Yes's ambition. I suspect his writing contributions were essential to saving some of the rest of Yes from themselves (and I know many would argue they were beyond saving), but he isn't half pompous and dismissive of the pop music that dates better than his does, referring to "Tin Pan Alley stuff which was just irritating to shit."
Harrumph. It's been a taxing end to the year, but a great, important and special one, all told. At lunchtime today I took the Boy to Trinity Buoy Wharf to hear Longplayer enter it's tenth year of continuous play. The New Year begins in under two hours — have a good one!
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Listen to this album in full at Last.fm
Listen to this album in full at We7