Roundabout (song)

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"Roundabout"
Single by Yes
from the album Fragile
B-side "Long Distance Runaround"
Released 4 January 1972[1]
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1971
Genre Progressive rock
Length 8:29 (full-length version)
4:54 (TM Gold Disc edit)
3:27 (single edit)
8:33 (Early Rough Mix)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Jon Anderson, Steve Howe
Producer(s) Yes, Eddie Offord
Yes singles chronology
"Your Move"
(1971)
"Roundabout"
(1972)
"America"
(1972)
Yes singles chronology
"And You and I"
(1972)
"Roundabout (live)"
(1972)
"Soon"
(1975)

"Roundabout" is a song by the English progressive rock band Yes. It is the first single released from their fourth studio album, Fragile (1971). "Roundabout" has become one of the best-known songs by Yes. The song was shortened and released as a single with the track "Long Distance Runaround", followed by a live version recorded and released in January 1972. It peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Lyrics and meaning[edit]

Written by singer Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe during The Yes Album Tour, the lyrics are obscure, and have been the subject of debate on music discussion sites, but the most accepted is that the lyrics are about the personal life of Jon Anderson and his hope to be back to home after the Album Tour.

Composition[edit]

The song begins with an acoustic guitar solo in E minor from Steve Howe. This lasts for about 40 seconds. Thereafter, Chris Squire's bass enters along with Bill Bruford's drums. Howe continues his guitar part in octaves, leading up to Anderson's entrance and the first verse. The first two verses continue in this manner. The bridge ("In and around the lake...") starts after the second verse. Anderson and Howe continue their parts. The keyboard enters thereafter before Squire and Bruford. A vocal harmony from Anderson, Howe, and Squire tops off the bridge.

The third verse starts with the first theme and the bridge is repeated with the second. After the second bridge a third theme begins. The vocal harmony established in the bridge continues. The acoustic guitar intro repeats, but with the addition of the intricate keyboard part. Thereafter, an organ solo from Wakeman accompanied by the electric guitar occurs. The theme is the same as the bridge. The song ends with a repetition of the first verse and bridge. The outro goes back to the key of E Major with another acoustic guitar solo from Howe in a similar fashion to the original intro.

Release[edit]

An edited version was released as a single in 1972, with the track "Long Distance Runaround" on the B-side. It peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and reached number 23 on the Dutch Top 40.[2] Billboard ranked it as the No. 91 song for 1972.[3] The full-length, album version was used a B-side in 1973 and a live version was released as a bonus single in copies of Classic Yes in 1981.

Legacy[edit]

"Roundabout" has become one of the best-known songs by Yes; it has been performed at nearly every concert since November 1971 and is their most played song live.[4] "Roundabout" was used in the 1999 film Outside Providence. In 2003, on the DVD commentary of School of Rock, actor Jack Black states that Wakeman's solo is his personal favourite keyboard solo. "Roundabout" is a playable track in the music game Rock Band 3. The song is referenced in the Season 4 episode of The Venture Bros. "Perchance to Dean", in which a similar melody is played like the ending to the actual track. In 2012, "Roundabout" was used as the ending theme song for the new anime adaptation of the Japanese manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.[5] According to the director, "Roundabout" was one of many songs JoJo author Hirohiko Araki listened to when he first wrote the story.[6]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics