The 20th Anniversary Of The Yes “Magnification” Album

Written by Bob Cesca

20 years ago, Summer 2001, I was asked to design the cover for Yes's then-forthcoming album "Magnification." It was one of the most rewarding and simultaneously intimidating projects of my career: stepping in temporarily for the great Roger Dean while also working with one of my favorite bands of all time.

So, to commemorate Magnification's 20th anniversary, I created this anniversary edition of the cover art. (Later, I went on to design the cover for the "Yes Symphonic Live" concert film and album, and the cover for the Billy Sherwood/Chris Squire album "The Unknown.")

I was inspired to revisit this project not only to commemorate a beautiful and historic Yes album, but to also circulate a version of the art that’s fresh and uncompressed. The internet is loaded with bastardized copies-of-copies of the cover and I hope this version becomes the definitive edition. I’m not aware of any plans for yet another version of the album featuring this art, so for now it’s strictly an online digital work.

Click to magnify.

Musically, the record stands alone as a wholly unique departure from the 90s era of Yes music, and the results are gorgeous. It’s also the historic last Yes studio album with the great Jon Anderson. Magnification was originally set for a 9/11/01 release date in the States but the terrorist attacks of that day rightfully delayed the date until 12/4/01.

Thank you to Jon Anderson and producer Jordan Berliant for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with one of the greatest bands in the universe. I’ve also noticed that many younger Yes fans have recognized Magnification as one of the band’s finest works — the music deserves all the accolades.

This cover is dedicated to the late Chris Squire, who welcomed me into the Yes family and was always immensely supportive of my work. And a special thanks to Kevin Mulryne from the Yes Music Podcast whose kind words and praise for the album inspired me to revisit this project. “These are the days that we will talk about...”