Drama (Yes album)

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File:Yes Drama.jpg
Studio album by Yes
Released 18 August 1980
Recorded April – June 1980
Studio Townhouse Studios, West End London
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock, new wave
Length 36:55
Label Atlantic
Producer Trevor Horn, Yes
Backing tracks: Eddie Offord
Yes chronology
Singles from Drama
  1. "Into the Lens"
    Released: October 1980

Drama is the tenth studio album from the English rock band Yes, released in August 1980 on Atlantic Records. It is the only album to feature The Buggles (singer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes) in the band's line-up, following the exit of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman in March 1980 after differences during the band's failed album recording sessions in Paris in late 1979. Horn would later produce some of Yes' work, while Downes ultimately rejoined the band in 2011.

Drama reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom and No. 18 in the United States, their lowest charting album there since The Yes Album (1971). The album was supported with a 1980 tour across North America and the UK; the group disbanded at its conclusion.


Following the conclusion of their 1979 North American tour, Yes took a break and proceeded to work on their tenth studio album with producer Roy Thomas Baker in Paris, France in November that year. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were the most enthusiastic about producing a new album, writing more songs together than they had before. The remaining members – Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White – were lukewarm to the project after the production issues and critical reception of their previous record, Tormato (1978).[1] This discouraged both Anderson and Wakeman with the latter at times refusing to leave his room, and both men dejectedly spending time in a local pub. The two decided to leave in March 1980.

Squire, Howe, and White decided to carry on. At the same time, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles were enjoying worldwide success with their 1979 single "Video Killed the Radio Star" and acquired Yes' manager Brian Lane. Horn and Downes were fans of the band and had written some tunes with them in mind. Squire invited the pair to a band rehearsal and subsequently joined as full time members.



Drama was recorded at Townhouse Studios in west London from April to June 1980. Its production is credited to Horn and the band as a whole. Eddy Offord, the band's producer and engineer from 1970–74, assisted in the production of the backing tracks.

Horn spoke about his efforts to get the album finished: "I spent my [wedding] night in the recording studio ... I got married and two hours later, I was back in the studio. [We decided that] for our honeymoon, we were going to spend two weeks in Miami Beach. Gradually it became ten days in Miami, a week in Miami, six days in Miami ... it ended up as three days in Bournemouth and Steve came along, we had a good time actually."

A notable contribution to the sound of the song "Run Through the Light" was apparently made by Hugh Padgham, the recording engineer for the album, as the song features distinctive 'gated drum' sound which is often attributed to Padgham, made famous in recordings by The Police, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney and Genesis.


Each member receives a writing credit for all the tracks on Drama. However, "Into the Lens" and "White Car" are basically Buggles compositions; an alternate version of "Into the Lens" appeared on the second Buggles album Adventures in Modern Recording as "I Am a Camera". The song is based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin stories. "Does It Really Happen?", "Run Through the Light" and "Tempus Fugit" were developed by Squire, White, and Howe before Horn and Downes joined the band; Horn added lyrics. The version of "Does It Really Happen?" on the original LP and CD pressings is slightly different from subsequent remasters and collections. At approximately 5:03 into the original song, there is a hard stop followed by a pause and then the keyboards fading back in. Subsequent versions return the keyboards at full volume without the fade-in. "Does It Really Happen?" and "Run Through the Light" both exist in very different forms, as demos performed by the band with Anderson. "Machine Messiah" was based on another Buggles composition, but with considerable input from Squire, White, and Howe.

The two demo songs "We Can Fly from Here" and "Go Through This" did not end up on the album, although the band did play both of them on the subsequent tour. Live recordings of these songs were released on The Word is Live. "We Can Fly from Here" was eventually expanded into the 20+ minute title track of Fly from Here.

Drama featured a harder-edged Yes with a distinct new wave flavour.

Sleeve design

Roger Dean was commissioned to design his first Yes cover in six years.


Critical reception

Reception Stats
Review ratings:
Allmusic 3/5 stars link
Pitchfork Media (7.0/10) link
Charts and certifications:
de Flag of Germany.svg Peak: 50 / Weeks: 6[2]
nl 11x11px Peak: 18 / Weeks: 6[3]
fr Flag of France.svg Peak: 21 / Weeks: 15[4]
se Flag of Sweden.svg Peak: 19 / Weeks: 3[5]
no Flag of Norway.svg Peak: 11 / Weeks: 7[6]
nz Flag of New Zealand.svg Peak: 44 / Weeks: 2[7]
uk[8] 11x11px Peak: 2 / Weeks: 8[9]
us 11x11px Peak: 18 / Weeks: -[10]

Drama (Atlantic K 50736) fared very well in the UK charts, reaching number 2 there, but in America Drama (Atlantic SD 16019) became Yes' first album there since The Yes Album not to reach the top 10 or earn a gold record. The US tour, however, was a big success which was not the case with the UK tour, with some fans angry over Anderson's replacement and Horn's voice suffering from his first experience of major touring, as well as his efforts to match Anderson's higher register. Horn subsequently quit the band, and Yes officially ended in early 1981 (although they would reform a year later with a very different sound). Howe and Downes then joined Asia and Trevor Horn began a highly successful career as a record producer (next working with Yes as producer of their 1983 album, 90125).

After Anderson rejoined, Yes did not perform any of the songs from Drama, as he refused to sing them (although Anderson would sing the words "yes, yes" during the instrumental portion of "Tempus Fugit", included in Squire's "Whitefish" medley). When Yes reconvened without Anderson in 2008, they performed "Machine Messiah" and "Tempus Fugit" with new vocalist Benoît David.


1989 – Atlantic – CD
1994 – Atlantic – CD (Remastered)
2004 – Rhino – CD (Remastered with Bonus Tracks)
2013 - Rhino - CD as part of The Studio Albums 1969-1987

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Geoff Downes, Trevor Horn, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Machine Messiah"   10:27
2. "White Car"   1:21
3. "Does It Really Happen?"   6:34
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Into the Lens"   8:33
5. "Run Through the Light"   4:43
6. "Tempus Fugit"   5:15


Yes - production, arrangements
  • Brian Lane - management
  • Sandy Campbell, Jim Halley and Phil Straight - coordination
  • Roger Dean - cover painting
  • David Clarke - inside cover photography
  • Magnetic Storm - cover design


  1. Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes by Chris Welch, Omnibus Press, 2002.
  2. Album - Yes, Drama (in German). charts.de. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  3. Yes - Drama (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  4. Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste (Y) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  5. Yes - Drama. swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  6. Yes - Drama. norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  7. Yes - Drama. charts.org.nz. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  8. BPI Certified Awards Search for "Yes". bpi.co.uk. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  9. YES. officialcharts.com. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  10. Yes - Drama Awards. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 October 2013.