Having learned to play the guitar at an early age, Banks first met Chris Squire in the mid sixties when he joined The Syn, and would later go on to form Yes along with Jon Anderson, Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford. It was Banks who reportedly first suggested the name “Yes”, and would go on to record two studio albums with the group before creative differences between him and Anderson forced his departure from the band.
Following his stint with Yes, Banks went on to form Flash, taking on both guitar and keyboard roles until he was later joined by his old Yes friend, Tony Kaye, who took over on keyboards. They went on to record two albums before significant lineup changes ensued.
It was during 1973, when Banks was trying to form a second incarnation of Flash, that he fell in love with fellow band member Sydney Foxx. They soon married, and together formed the band Empirə, with whom he recorded a further three albums. Banks and Foxx later divorced, however the band continued to remain together for some time.
Having several solo albums to his name, Banks was famously left out of the reunion of former Yes members for their 1991 Union tour and album. Reported unhappy at this, it has been suggested that the lyrics in a later album allude to his unhappiness.
Referred to as “The Architect of Progressive Music,” by the BBC’s Danny Baker, Banks was often included in top-ten lists of the greatest progressive rock guitarists, and several of his works have been described as should-have-been prog classics.
Banks will leave behind a lasting legacy far beyond that of his early work with Yes, and will be greatly missed.
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There was some initial confusion over the date of Peter’s death, however this has now been confirmed as 7th March, not 8th March as previously reported.
The original article has been corrected to reflect this.