Peter Banks, Original Yes Guitarist, Dead at 65

Innovative musician played on band's first two albums

Peter Banks, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Jon Anderson, Yes
Gilles Petard/Redferns
Peter Banks, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, and Jon Anderson of Yes
By |

Peter Banks, best known as the original guitarist of Yes, died last Thursday in his London home from heart failure. He was 65. Banks was reportedly found after failing to show up for a recording session.

After playing with bassist Chris Squire in the Syn, Banks and Squire helped form Yes in 1968. Banks played with Yes through their first two albums, 1969's Yes and 1970's Time and a Word, but disagreements over the direction of Time and a Word led to Banks' dismissal from Yes before the album's release.

2012 In Memoriam: Musicians We Lost

After Yes, Banks formed Flash and released three studio albums with the group: 1972's Flash and In the Can and 1973's Out of Our Hands. He then formed Empire, releasing Mark I in 1973, Mark II in 1974 and Mark III in 1979. Banks also explored solo recordings, releasing his first solo album, Two Sides of Peter Banks, in 1973. He followed up with three more solo works in the Nineties with Instinct in 1994, Self-Contained in 1995 and Reduction in 1997. He was working on the live collection Flash – In Public at the time of his death.

Funeral plans have yet to be announced. A revamped Yes are currently touring behind three of their classic albums, playing Close to the Edge, Going for the One and The Yes Album in their entirety.