Peter Banks, who was the founding guitarist of Yes, has died at the age of 65. A post on his website reads, “He died in his London home on March 8th, 2013. Thanks for all the music Peter! R.I.P.”
Banks and bassist Chris Squire played together in The Syn in 1967 before they joined Jon Anderson, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Tony Kaye to form Yes in 1968. Banks was responsible for the name and the band’s first logo. He played on 1970’s Time and a Word, but left in 1971 to form the group Flash, which released three albums in the early ’70s. He was also a member of Zox & the Radar Boys with Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett. He later worked as a solo artist.
In 1993, Banks joined Yes on stage in Los Angeles and oversaw the release of a Yes album, Something’s Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969-1970, in 1997.
Anderson tells us, “Peter was in good spirits the last couple of times we spoke, even though he had been in bad health of late, but always joking and still ready to create music, I will miss him. And, it is true, he was the one who said ‘Yes’, we should call the band ‘Yes.’ Bless him. A sweet guy and a wild guitar player.”
Hackett says, “I’m sorry to hear of Peter Banks’ passing… a great pal and a great guitarist. Sweet memories of watching Yes at the Marquee for the first time.”
Yes issued a group statement, saying, “We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of fellow bandmate 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. Peter, we shall miss you greatly.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.