Geoff Downes said that Yes have updated songwriting credits on the new single “The Ice Bridge” after fans pointed out similarities with another song.
Downes plays a keyboard figure that mimics Francis Monkman’s from “The Dawn of an Era,” which opened the former Curved Air cofounder’s 1978 solo album Energism. Downes said he found the music on an old work tape and mistakenly believed it was his own.
“It is a simple error on my behalf which I own up to,” Downes noted on Twitter. “The Yes track will now be credited as a Davison/Monkman/Downes composition.”
Yes’ first song since the 2015 death of founding bassist Chris Squire arrived last week as an advance taste of the band’s upcoming album, The Quest.
You can compare “The Ice Bridge” with “The Dawn of an Era” below.
Listen to Francis Monkman’s ‘The Dawn of an Era’
Listen to Yes’ ‘The Ice Bridge’
Davison discussed their creative process at length in provided materials, saying Downes sent “a selection of exciting and often gorgeous snippets he had created.” Davison said he was then given free range to complete what became “The Ice Bridge.”
“This in turn,” Davison added, “gave me the confidence to take on the vocal role – lyrics, vocal melody and harmony, how the vocals are presented and uniquely phrased – but all the while striving to stay faithful to Geoff’s initial ideas.”
But then listeners started noticing the similarities with “The Dawn of an Era,” and one fan posted a comparative clip from Streamable directly to Downes’ Twitter. Soon, there were multiple calls for Downes to explain what happened.
Downes initially confirmed that “the original idea for ‘The Ice Bridge’ track appears on a 1977 show reel of mine, at a time when I was composing jingles and library music for a West End music production company.”
He returns to old tapes like these when creating new music, using them as a well of inspiration. “During the last years, I have been analyzing some of these first ideas,” Downes noted, “and I felt that this was suitable for further development.”
Once the mix-up was discovered, Downes said he discussed the issue directly with Monkman. “I had a very pleasant chat today with Francis,” Downes said, “and all has now been amicably resolved concerning the track. I hope you continue to enjoy it and are looking forward to hearing the rest of The Quest.”
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