Cans And Brahms
by Yes

Songfacts®:

  • This song is made up of extracts from Brahms' 4th Symphony in E minor, Third Movement. It was arranged by keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who said the piece "was dreadful, but contractual hangups prevented me from writing an original solo track."

    Wakeman was also recording as a solo artist at the time, but for a different record company (he was on A&M, Yes was on Atlantic). He did write an original piece for the album called "Handle With Care," but when legalities abrogated that effort, he did "Cans And Brahms" (credited to Johannes Brahms) for Fragile, and reworked "Handle" as "Catherine of Aragon" for his 1973 solo album The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
  • Each of the five members of the band contributed one track of their own design to the Fragile album. "Cans And Brahms" was keyboard player Rick Wakeman's contribution, and he played all the parts on the song. And the other four contributions: Jon Anderson sang all the vocal parts in "We Have Heaven," Bill Bruford created "Five Per Cent For Nothing" (played by the entire group with percussion instruments), "The Fish" was created by Chris Squire using only the bass guitar, and Steve Howe did "Mood For A Day" as a solo guitar piece. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Randy - Chicago Heights, IL

Comments: 4

  • Rich from Bellevue, WaYou're really missing something if you don't go back and listen to the *real* Brahms symphony. Yes, it's kind of cool what Wakeman does with it, but the original is vastly better. Despite the claim that "they sound nearly identical", they in fact sound very different. Yes, the notes are the same, but the sound is different. Wakeman's keys sound very thin and inconsequential compared to the glory and majesty of the full symphony orchestra. I was blown away when I finally heard the real Brahms.
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaRick Wakemen us a talented player and it shows you in this song. Like in The Yes Album They got Newcomer Steave howe to play "Clap" or "The Clap" and also "wurm" is a solo peice by Howe.

    And Rick Wakemen Plays like 3 keyboards in this song
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaWakeman was currently under contract with A&M records at the time and was not allowed to write music for any other record company, like Atlantic. So he instead re-arranged a classical piece to avoid controversy (actually, I've heard the orchestral version and they sound nearly identical). The song he wanted to include, "Catherine of Aragon", came out on his "Six Wives of Henry VIII" solo album, and included cameos by Bruford, Howe, and Squire.
  • Jonathan from Ann Arbor, MiWhen I first bought fragile and was first starting to get into progressive rock. I was a little bit confused on why they would put a Brahms Symphony on the album. After a while however, I started to realize how much this song shows the talant of the band. It shows that they are farmilier with all types of music which can really make a rock and roll song interesting.
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