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Yes’ Jon Anderson: 5 Songs That Inspired Me

Singer talks treasured tracks by the Beatles, Nina Simone and more

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Classic-era Yes frontman – and 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – Jon Anderson discusses five songs that have inspired him over the years.

Deborah Anderson

Classic-era Yes frontman Jon Anderson – on tour this year with the Yes offshoot band Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman – is part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2017 class. The singer spoke with Rolling Stone about five songs that have made a major impression on him over the years.

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The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”

The Beatles were a very progressive band. It’s a very interesting lyric, dark and strange. No matter how many times you hear it, it still sounds amazing.

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Nina Simone, “I Put a Spell on You”

In the early days of my career, I would always carry around a Nina Simone tape. She went through hell to become a great artist.

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Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”

I saw him play at a pub in Munich right after his first album came out. This song was really the beginning of powerful rock.

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Rickie Lee Jones, “Magazine”

She’s definitely one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time. My wife and I saw her play recently, and I was an emotional wreck by the end.

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Randy Newman, “In Germany Before the War”

This is an incredible, powerful, sad, lonely song. Not many people go there. He’s just magic, and I love his songwriting.

The complete tale of prog rock legends Yes in a seven-minute animated video.

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