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Original Yes Guitarist Peter Banks Dead at 65

Image courtesy of Glass Onyon PR (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Glass Onyon PR (via ABC News Radio)

Founding Yes guitarist Peter Banks died this past Thursday at his home in London after suffering heart failure.  He was 65.  The veteran musician was featured on Yes' self-titled 1969 album and its 1970 follow-up, Time and a Word , before being replaced by Steve Howe .

Prior to joining the group, Banks played with longtime Yes bassist Chris Squire in the psychedelic outfit The Syn .  After his departure from Yes, Banks formed the band Flash , which released a trio of studio albums during the early 1970s.

The guitarist's first solo album, Two Sides of Peter Banks , arrived in 1973 and features contributions from Genesis drummer Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett , King Crimson singer/bassist John Wetton and Focus guitarist Jan Akkerman .  Peter went on to release four other solo efforts.  Banks' other music projects included the group Empire , which issued three albums during the 1990s.

At the time of his death, Peter was preparing an archival Flash live CD for for release.

In a message posted on Yes' Facebook page, the band says, "We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of fellow band mate and founding Yes member, Peter Banks.  He was a huge piece of the fabric that made Yes what it is, and our thoughts, sincere condolences, and prayers are with him and his family."

Founding Yes singer Jon Anderson , meanwhile, also has issued a statement about Banks that reads, "Peter was a unique guitar player and a kind soul. I will miss him.  I feel very lucky to have spoken with him over the past year.  Even though he was very sick, he would chat away about music and laugh about the journey we have all been on."

In addition, Hackett writes in a Twitter message , "I'm sorry to hear of Peter Banks' passing...a pal and great guitarist.  Sweet memories of watching Yes at [London's] Marquee [club] for the first time."

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