Owner of a Lonely Heart

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This article is about the song. For other uses, see Owner of a Lonely Heart (disambiguation).
"Owner of a Lonely Heart"
Single by Yes
from the album 90125
B-side Our Song
Released October 1983
Format 7" and 12" vinyl
Recorded 1983
Genre Dance-rock,[1] new wave
Length 4:29 (album version)
3:50 (single version)
Label Atco
Writer(s) Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor Horn
Producer(s) Trevor Horn
Yes singles chronology
"Into the Lens"
"Owner of a Lonely Heart"
"Leave It"
Music sample

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" is a song by the English progressive rock band Yes. It is the first track and single from their eleventh studio album 90125, released in 1983. Written primarily by guitarist Trevor Rabin, contributions were made to the final version by lead singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and producer Trevor Horn.

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" was released in October 1983, as the album's first single. It was a commercial success in the United States, becoming the band's first and only single to reach number one on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[2] The song went to #62 on November 5, 1983 and climbed into the top 10 within 7 weeks. In 1984, the song made #8 on the year-end charts.

The song has been sampled by various artists including Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa and Max Graham, whose 2005 single reached the top 10 in the UK chart. The single was reissued various times throughout the 1980s and 1990s with different remix versions and B-sides.[3]

Television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 made multiple references to the song during the riff of the film Final Justice. Tom Servo debates whether the "owner of a lonely heart" is better than "the owner of a pencil" or "the owner of a perfectly-functional cheese slicer" or even "the owner of a pie". Due to this, after that point, whenever the words "owner of a lonely heart" are mentioned, a Yes keyboard riff plays.


The first version was a four track version Rabin recorded at his home studio in London in 1980. Rabin played all instruments on the demo as well as singing. Rabin's original demo was released in 2003 on his album called 90124.

The song was first recognized as a potential hit when Rabin played the demo to Ron Fair who was then a junior A&R man at RCA Records. Rabin was to record the song along with many others as an album for RCA. (The majority of these songs become songs on Yes's 90125 album.)

Rabin ultimately declined the solo deal with RCA and joined up with Chris Squire, Alan White and Tony Kaye to form a band called Cinema, later becoming a revamped version of the 1970's progressive rock band Yes.

According to Questlove, drummer in The Roots, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" contained the first use of a sample as a breakbeat (as opposed to a sound effect). Yes incorporated five seconds of the drum breakdown in Funk, Inc.'s "Kool Is Back", itself a cover of Kool & the Gang's "Kool's Back Again".[4]


During the making of the Yes version, Rabin reworked the song. Ideas from Jon Anderson, Chris Squire and Trevor Horn also were included, which resulted in Anderson, Squire and Horn receiving co-writing credits.

Remixes and cover versions[edit]

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" has been remixed numerous times, including by 808 State ("2 Close to the Edge Mix" and "Not Fragile Mix" on the 1991 CD single ressue), in 2004 by Deep Dish, and most notably by Max Graham in 2005, whose version reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart.[5] American indie folk band Trampled by Turtles performed a version of the song in October 2014 for The A.V. Club '​s A.V. Undercover series.[6]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was shown in heavy rotation on MTV,[7] introducing the revamped Yes lineup and sound to a new generation of fans largely unfamiliar with the band's very different earlier work, which had helped to define the genre of progressive rock.

Keyboardist Tony Kaye does not appear in the video, as at the time of the video shoot, Eddie Jobson was standing in as the band's keyboardist. Kaye can be seen briefly in a few quick shots, but he was not part of the video's "animal transformation" scene in which the other four band members take part. Ultimately, Kaye returned to the lineup, and Jobson never recorded any material with the band.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1983/1984/2005) Peak
UK Singles Chart 28 (original)
9 (2012 remix)[9]
Austrian Singles Chart[10] 17
Australian Kent Music Report[11] 14
Belgian VRT Top 30 6
Canadian RPM Top 100[12] 2
Danish Singles Chart[13] 12
Dutch Top 40[14] 2
Finnish Singles Chart[13] 10
French Singles Chart 4
German Media Control Charts 10
Irish Singles Chart[15] 17
Italian FIMI Chart 11
New Zealand Singles Chart[16] 16
Norwegian Singles Chart[17] 6
Polish Singles Chart 4
South African Singles Chart 11
Spanish Singles Chart 8
Swedish Singles Chart[18] 4
Swiss Singles Chart[19] 11
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 1
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks[2] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play[2] 3
Preceded by
"Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
21–28 January 1984
Succeeded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
Preceded by
"Heart and Soul" by Huey Lewis and the News
Billboard Top Rock Tracks number-one single
26 November-17 December 1983
Succeeded by
"If I'd Been the One" by 38 Special

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yes > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 August 2012 (2012-08-31). "In late 1983, this Yes lineup, with guitarist/vocalist Trevor Horn serving as producer, released an unexpected chart-topping hit single (number one in the U.S. in January of 1984) in 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', displaying a stripped-down modern dance-rock sound unlike anything the group had ever produced before."  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d "Yes > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Yes official site. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2006. 
  4. ^ Rhodes, C., & Westwood, R. I. (2008). Critical representations of work and organization in popular culture. London: Routledge. p. 177.
  5. ^ "Chart Stats - Max Graham vs Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Archived from the original on 2013-09-04. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  6. ^ Modell, Josh (21 October 2014). "Trampled By Turtles covers Yes". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Ruggiero, Bob (21 February 2014). "http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2014/02/_when_jon_anderson_brings.php". Houston Press. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Edwin 'Eddie' Jobson: Miscellaneous information". Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  9. ^ "ChartArchive - Max Graham vs Yes". Chartstats.com. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Austriancharts.at (German). Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  11. ^ David Kent: Australian Chart Book.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Max Graham vs. Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 - week 50, 1983". Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  15. ^ "Irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Charts.org.nz. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Hitparade.ch (German). Retrieved 19 December 2009. 

External links[edit]