R.I.P. Peter Banks (1947-2013)

It’s with great sadness to have to report the death of Peter Banks. He died in his London home on March 7, 2013*  due to heart failure. It is reported Banks was found after not showing up for a recording session.
Thanks for all the music Peter! R.I.P.


YES: 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.

JON ANDERSON: I was watching the BBC footage just last month, and we spoke about those wonderful times. 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.
He will be missed…Jon

STEVE HACKETT:  ”I’m sorry to hear of Peter Banks’ passing… a great pal and a great guitarist,” Steve Hackett tweeted. “Sweet memories of watching Yes at the Marquee for the first time.”

BILLY SHERWOOD: “I loved working with Peter on the many records I have produced over the years. He always delivered amazing stuff, creative, inspires and always with that classic original Yes flavor that came with his playing. He will be missed by me and many, many other fans of his music and playing.”



* There have been some confusion on his date of death, but is confirmed to be March 7th (although original reports stated March 8th & March 10th by error).



Guitar Legend Peter Banks Passes – July 15, 1947 – March 7, 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 PeterBanks passed away at his home in London on March 7, 2013. Banks, a founding member of the ground breakingprogressive 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.


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  1. O Programa ESTAÇÃO DO ROCK lamenta a perda do grande guitarrista, reponsável pelo nome da Banda YES e por tantos solos de mestre ao empunhar sua guitarra criativa.
    Obrigado por todo o belo trabalho, PETER BANKS!
    The program ESTAÇÃO DO ROCK (of Brasil) regrets the loss of the great guitarist that gave the name of the YES and so many great e criatives solos.
    Thanks for all the great work, PETER BANKS!


  2. Having followed Yes from day one, I always felt that Peter’s unique contributions were sorely missed upon his departure from the band. To characterize his playing as ‘Wes Montgomery meets Pete Townshend’ is spot-on, and his combination of testosterone-fueled pyrotechnics and jazzy Montgomery-esque musicality resulted in an animated style wholly his own. For me Peter was the first, original, and definitive Yes guitarist who proved irreplaceable.

  3. all the Yes fans of Russia will miss him. Great man and the greatest musician… RIP.

  4. Pete didn’t get enough credit for his work in Yes; if you to listen to Steve Howe’s work before he joined Yes, it was more “rock” oriented. After joining Yes, his playing was more “jazzy” and he copped the triplet work that Pete had done as well-plus the volume pedal stuff too. Steve Howe was DEFINITELY influenced by Peter Banks-no doubt about that. He WAS (unfortunately now-was…) one of my favorite guitar players…oh well. It’s a fate that awaits all of us. Sorry Peter….we’ll miss you.

    Joe Polito.

  5. Peter Banks was someone who helped lead the way in the prog rock movement and the emerging music scene of the late 1960′s, by being an instrumental component of one the most important bands of the musical genre.

    Contributions like his should never be forgotten, because the creativity and inventiveness help to shape the landscape of music and the minds of music listeners across the world.

    I am someone that can say I have heard and seen some of his contributions in Yes and that in part defines the length and breadth of my muscial understanding.

    Unique, interesting and pioneering were Peter’s contributions to Yes and the emerging music scene of the late 60′s and early 70′s.

    Thank you Peter.

  6. My life changed course after opening for Flash one night. After they finished their set, we sat together for a few hours and exchanged mutual appreciation and (I was only about 18 at the time) it was then that Pete probed and prompted me about spiritual directions in life. At that time most of everything he said made no sense to me.

    Pete was a very deep spiritual person and had many insights that would rival many gurus at the time.

    Thank you Pete for a gentle kick in the pants to move into finer worlds…

    Don Paris

  7. One of my favorite guitarists… Peter Banks was so underrated and under-appreciated. He could play in any idiom. I always love that violin like volume pedal swells he did. Peter had that idiosyncratic angular guitar approach mastered (“Astral Traveller”). I think he wrote some early YES music but definitely got no credit for it Astral Traveller is definitely HIS SONG (sans Jon Anderson’s lyrics).

    I think it is always unfair to compare him with Steve Howe. Steve and Peter, though similar in some ways, are just like apples and oranges., Both great and tasty, just different!

    I liked Flash but more enjoyed his solo albums.

    RIP Peter. Can I please jam with you on bass when I die?


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