Chris Squire, the longtime bassist of Yes and the only member to be featured on every album released by the group, died on June 27 at age 67.
Squire announced just over one month ago that he was suffering from a rare form of leukemia.
The news of his death was confirmed on the band’s Facebook page:
“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. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona, in the arms of his loving wife Scotty,” read the statement.
“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.”
Squire revealed in May that he had been diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia and that it would force him to miss the band’s summer coheadlining tour with Toto. It was the first time in the band’s history that Yes performed with the bassist. His role was taken over by multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood.
As the band’s longtime bassist, Squire helped to establish the role and sound of the instrument in prog music.
“When I became famous with tunes like “Roundabout” [Yes, Fragile] lots of guys ran out to buy Rickenbackers to sound like me,” Squire told Bass Player in January 2009. ”But they didn’t always get rewarded with the same kind of sound.”
The gritty tone and percussive attack became Squire’s signature sound. Essential to its creation was his aggressive picking, roundwound Rotosound strings and a Rickenbacker wired in stereo, with separate outputs for each pickup.
“I loved the fuzz tone I could get from the bass [neck] pickup,” Squire said. “But with the bridge pickup, the fuzz was horribly nasal sounding. All of my guitars have stereo outputs for that reason. With new innovations through the years, these little nuances have come into play and been part of my development.”
Below is a video of Squire with Yes performing his signature song, “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus),” in concert.