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Passings: Peter Banks of Yes (1947 - 2013)

Peter Banks, the original guitarist for progressive rockers Yes, died at his London home on Sunday. He was 65.

Another former Yes member, Billy Sherwood, confirmed the passing on his Facebook page:
Rest In Peace..... Peter Banks. Peter very recently played on the new "prog collective 2" project I'm writing/producing, as well as the "days between stations" record I worked on. As a Yes fan... this is sad news indeed. It was an honor to work with Peter on many productions. He will be missed !!!
The site has also posted a press release from Glass Onyon PR on Banks' death and his career.
Guitar Legend Peter Banks Passes – July 15, 1947 – March 8, 2013

London, UK - Best known for his innovative and unique guitar work with YES and Flash, as well as his own critically acclaimed solo albums, guitar legend Peter Banks passed away at his home in London on March 10, 2013. Banks, a founding member of the ground breaking progressive rock group YES, performed on the band's first two albums, Yes and Time And A Word. He would go on to form Flash and release 3 well-received albums (Flash, In The Can, Out Of Our Hands), along with several successful tours of Europe and the US, culminating in an appearance on the widely watched late night American TV show The Midnight Special. With an admitted fondness for improvisation, music critics touted Banks as a cross between Pete Townshend and Wes Montgomery. Even Pete Townshend, one night after witnessing a YES performance, walked up to Banks, slapped him on the back and said, “You're great!”

After Flash, Peter Banks would form the band Empire in the mid '70s and eventually release 3 albums Mark I, Mark II and Mark III. During his career, Banks would release 5 solo albums (Two Sides Of..., Instinct, Self-Contained, Reduction, Can I Play You Something?) and had been active in recent times working with acts such as Harmony and Diversity, Prog Collective, ANT-BEE and Days Between Stations. Banks first solo album Two Sides Of Peter Banks has been considered by many as one of the great 'prog' records of all time and features an all-star line-up of Jan Akkerman, Phil Collins and John Wetton. In the early 2000's Banks wrote his autobiography Beyond & Before published by Golden Treasures publishing in the US. Peter was putting on the final touches of the log awaited live recording FLASH - IN PUBLIC CD set for release on Cleopatra Records at the time of his passing.

Peter Banks will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of progressive rock guitar and will be missed by musicians worldwide.
It was noted on the same site that Banks was found after not showing up for a recording session.

Update (3/12/13, 4:45 PM): According to George Mizer at Glass Onyon PR, Banks actually died on Thursday (March 7) and his body was found on Friday (March 8). The coroner has ruled the cause of death as heart failure.


Unknown said…
Please note at the time of the press release we only had a few details: Today I have new details along with a correct date of Petes passing which was March 7th he was found on the 8th.

Corner's cause of death - heart failure.

George Mizer
Anonymous said…
So sad.