Part of this was because he grabbed fame and fortune in the early and mid-1970s. But he might get his day soon posthumously. Squire passed away recently from a rare form of cancer.
Yes hadn’t been exactly top of mind in today's pop music world. They did make an appearance on CBS’ “Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn” -- in 2004. They kept a loyal, now older, following.
Most recent buzz around the band came late in 2013 via a campaign headed by ex-NBC News executive Steve Capus looking to get the band into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame -- an event which regularly airs on HBO. It didn’t work. Not all artists get in on their first try.
But take note of Squire. He received countless awards for his ground-breaking bass-guitar-playing abilities. How innovative was he? For starters, there was his tone, which wasn’t a flat-ish sounding bass thud. More of a crisp twang. Think of the bottom notes at the lower end of a piano.
Years ago, during a press conference for The Who -- the band was promoting a U.S. pay-per-view TV event -- I questioned John Entwistle, the other major rock bass player of his time, about what he said in Rolling Stone article about Squire. In that article, somewhat derisively, he alluded to the sound/tone Chris Squire developed. He shot back at me: “It was about the strings!”
Squire used the noted Rotosound strings, round-wound strings, on a Rickenbacker bass that helped him get his famous sound -- as well as using a unique pick-and-thumb technique.
Songs like “Roundabout,” “Yours is No Disgrace,” or “Heart of the Sunrise” provided a lot more, breaking new ground with Squire's unique bass lines. How can I put it? He didn’t play a bass; he played a bass guitar. Modern-day musicians like Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, and guitarist Joe Bonamassa and other will tell you what he meant.
Bonamassa on hearing about Squire’s passing: “Last night the world lost one its most gifted musicians. Rest In Peace Chris Squire. It was an honor to call you my friend.”
At a 2008 concert, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters had Squire onstage for a number of impromptu songs. “It’s Chris Squire from Yes!” he said. Not too sure if the crowd -- perhaps somewhat younger -- fully understood.
Maybe Squire and his Yes band members will finally get their big TV due next year, at HBO’s next Rock and Roll of Fame Awards. Perhaps more TV executives with sway -- no doubt older -- will help out.
This post was previously published in a prior edition of TV Watch.