If you were making a biopic of progressive rock music, you could just consult Yes, with its history of multiple lineup changes, critical acclaim, critical derision, religious and fantasy imagery, commercial breakthrough, fade-outs, breakups and reunions. The band performs Friday, July 29, at Chateau Ste. Michelle, in Woodinville, with new vocalist Benoît David and Bellevue...

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When a respiratory infection forced lead singer Jon Anderson of Yes to leave the band in 2008, his bandmates used a strategy to find a replacement that had worked for Judas Priest and KISS: They looked for a Yes tribute band.

But on YouTube.

That’s right. Giving hope to video copycats everywhere, bassist Chris Squire found Canadian Benoît David, frontman of Close To The Edge, online and summoned him to stand in for Anderson.

“He had a surreal voice as far as sounding like Jon, so we tried him out,” explains Alan White, the legendary drummer and Bellevue resident who’s pounded the skins for Yes since 1972. “It’s not exactly the same as Jon, but it’s as close as you can get.”

Things seem to be working out. The band’s Friday show at Chateau Ste. Michelle with American counterpart Styx is sold out. And Yes’ new album, “Fly From Here,” recorded with David, debuted two weeks ago at No. 36 on the Billboard charts, the progressive rock band’s highest-charting album in 20 years.

On the disc, Yes returns to the signature epic structure of progressive rock, with five individual songs and an overture.

“A lot of Yes fans have found it very refreshing,” says keyboardist Geoff Downes. “The last three or four releases were not particularly well-received. This time we’ve seen quite a big level of interest and excitement. There’s a big appetite for the sound.”

That appetite has fluctuated over the years. Indeed, if you were making a biopic of progressive rock music, you could just consult Yes, with its history of multiple lineup changes, critical acclaim, critical derision, religious and fantasy imagery, commercial breakthrough, fade-outs, breakups and reunions.

Sixteen different musicians can claim to have been Yes men since 1968. Chris Squire, bassist, is the only one who’s been with the band the whole time. The quintessential Yes lineup, the one that stayed intact at the height of its popularity, included Squire, White, Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe and keyboard shaman Rick Wakeman.

Yes is also the rare band whose popularity increased the more it experimented. Beginning with “The Yes Album,” the third release, the band investigated multi-song suites that lengthened rock’s collective attention span. On 1972’s “Close To The Edge,” Yes went all-in with two four-song suites, wedding dissonance, melody, motifs and fierce playing with Anderson’s quasi-religious lyrical themes. American audiences sent the album to No. 3.

White, who permanently took over for drummer Bill Bruford on the “Close To The Edge” tour, agrees that Yes audiences expect and reward risk.

“We’re one of those bands you can’t predict too well,” he says. “But it always sounds like Yes when it comes out. We just do what feels good to us.”

Yes stalled in the early ’80s as Anderson and Wakeman passed through the rotating door. Remaining members recruited Downes and Trevor Horn from English one-hit-wonders The Buggles, the folks who brought you “Video Killed The Radio Star.”

Downes says the transition was seamless: “(Trevor and I) were very into Yes. We used to listen to their second album ‘Time And A Word.’ It was ironic that we ended up being in the band.”

After the Horn-led album “Drama” failed to catch fire, Anderson was coaxed back, and Horn — cutting his teeth as a new wave and electro-dance producer — helmed the recording of “90125,” sprucing up the sound with samplers and new technology. Yes scored its only No. 1 single, “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” one of the unlikeliest dance-floor hits of the new-wave era, in 1983.

“You move with the times; you use what is at your fingertips,” White says, presumably not referring to YouTube, though he could have been. “When we meet the organic side of music and put some complexity in it, and set it up with the new technology, we can come to rest in the middle somewhere.”

Paul Pearson blogs at paul-pearson.blogspot.com.