Going for the One
|Going for the One|
|Studio album by Yes|
|Released||15 July 1977|
|Singles from Going for the One|
Going for the One is the eighth studio album by the English rock band Yes, released on 15 July 1977 by Atlantic Records. The album was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland after the band took a break in activity for each member to release a solo album and their 1976 North American tour. It marks the departure of keyboardist Patrick Moraz and the return of Rick Wakeman, who had left to pursue his solo career after musical differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973). In a departure from their previous three albums, Going for the One features shorter and more direct songs written without a unifying theme or concept, and saw Yes record with new producers, engineers and cover designers.
Going for the One received a mostly positive response from music critics who welcomed the band's return to more accessible music like their earlier albums The Yes Album (1971) and Fragile (1971). It was a commercial success and reached number one on the UK Albums Chart, their second album to do so, for two weeks and peaked at number 8 on the US Billboard 200. "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One" were released as singles; the former went to number 7 in the UK which remains the band's highest charting single. Going for the One was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the US. A remastered edition was released in 2003 that contains several previously unreleased tracks from the album's recording sessions. Yes supported the album with a six-month tour of North America and Europe.
Background and writing
In August 1975, Yes wrapped their 1974–75 tour of North America and the United Kingdom in support of their seventh studio album, Relayer (1974). The line-up during this time was lead vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Patrick Moraz. For their next move, the group decided to take an extended break so each member could record and release a solo album. They regrouped in early 1976 for their 1976 tour of North America from May to August, which saw Yes perform some of their highest attended concerts. By October 1976, they had become tax exiles and relocated to Montreux, Switzerland to record a new studio album at Mountain Studios, their first studio album recorded overseas. Upon their arrival, Emerson, Lake & Palmer were supposed to have finished recording Works (1977) at the studio but they were running overtime, leaving Yes to work at a nearby rehearsal space for several weeks. A substantial amount of writing and arranging was done during this time.
During the first two months of writing and recording, Moraz was let go from the band, which he did not expect. Anderson thought he "just wasn't playing like he was involved", and that his sound was not "too good, and that affected his vibe ... it was obvious that he just wasn't getting off on what we were doing." Several months after his exit, Moraz said he had to leave because of "the enormous psychological pressures at the time within the group ... I felt there were a few things going on that I didn't know ... Unfortunately some people did not play the game fair, although the final decision was taken by all members." The decision was made after Rick Wakeman, who left Yes in 1974 over differences surrounding their ambitious double album Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) and whom Moraz replaced, was invited to play on Going for the One as a session musician by Brian Lane, manager of Yes and Wakeman, and his business partner Alex Scott. Wakeman had pursued a successful solo career but by mid-1976, he faced money issues after his tour earlier in the year had met its minimal targets. He became interested to play with Yes again after he had heard a tape of early versions of two of their new songs, "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories". Upon his arrival at Switzerland, Wakeman was surprised by how much the band had changed. "We began relating to each other for the first time. I think we had all grown up and became much more mature. Maybe I had to grow up more than them." At a party held by Claude Nobs soon after Wakeman's arrival, Lane and Squire convinced Wakeman to rejoin as a full-time member as the group would have difficulty in finding a suitable replacement to play Wakeman's parts on their upcoming tour, but did not tell him that the press had already been informed of his return. Several hours after his decision, Wakeman found Melody Maker had printed "Wakeman rejoins Yes" on the front cover of its 4 December 1976 edition.
In a departure from their previous four studio albums, Yes recorded Going for the One with new engineering personnel. Since 1970, they had worked with audio engineer and producer Eddy Offord, who also mixed the band's live sound in concert. After their Relayer tour, however, Offord thought the band's style had become "a bit stale", and thought a break from the band to pursue other projects was needed. Offord was replaced by recording engineer John Timperley, who was assisted by David Richards. In a first for the band, the album was produced entirely by Yes. It is also the first engineering job for Yes's future sound mixer Nigel Luby, who "did little more than watch and acquaint myself with the equipment." Squire recalled numerous heated arguments over the use of echo on the album, as some members liked it and others did not.
After constructing extended tracks since 1973, Yes decided to scale things back and record songs that critic and author Chris Welch described as "user friendly". As Anderson described the album's direction:
The album is a kind of celebration [...] Over the last two or three years we've been experimenting a lot and we're happy to have been given that chance. Any musician should be given the chance to extend his horizons and luckily we've been successful enough to do so. But generally we think of this as a more eventful album. We've come back to a happier medium. It's something we felt we wanted to do at this time. If we wanted another 'Tales' concept we would have gone in that direction, but we needed to relax for a while—a little more laughing and jive.
In addition to recording at Mountain Studios, the organ on "Parallels" and "Awaken" were played on the church organ at St. Martin's church in the town of Vevey, some four miles away. The band thought of hiring a mobile recording studio to record on location, but they were advised to rent a telephone line for the day as the quality of the country's lines are of high fidelity and can be fed through directly to the studio in Montreux. With Wakeman in the church and the rest of the band in the studio, White counted the band in and they played the song through. Wakeman described the experience as "absolute magic". Wakeman changed his sound on the album with the use of a Polymoog, a polyphonic analogue synthesiser, which supplemented his traditional use of the Mellotron, Hammond organ, and RMI Electra Piano.
"Going for the One" was originally written by Anderson around two or three years before the album was recorded. He had presented the song to the group at that time but the other members chose not to develop it further. When it came to selecting material for Going for the One, Anderson presented the song once more and it was selected for the album. Its meaning was inspired from a variety of ideas, including sport, horse racing, a film he once saw about "going down the Grand Canyon river on one of those rubber dinghies", and "the cosmic mind". Howe plays a steel guitar for the entire song, a first in his tenure with the group. Some years later, he viewed the track as "a dynamic piece of music" that was underrated and an underplayed song of the band's repertoire.
"Turn of the Century" is credited to Anderson, Howe and White, the only track on the album that credits the latter as a writer. The song tells the story of Roan, a sculptor whose wife dies in the winter and, while in grief of her death, carves a statue of her and she is brought back to life. Anderson gained the idea from the opera La bohème, with additional inspiration from the Greek mythological figure Pygmalion, who falls in love with a statue of a woman that he carved. It was considerably shorter in length in its original form, but as the band continued to develop the song further Anderson suggested the song should tell the story musically before he added lyrics. White came up with the song's chord sequences which Anderson took a liking to, and were later developed further in certain sections by Howe. White also wrote the section where the drums incorporate the tympani towards the end. The opening minutes of the track became one of Howe's favourite pieces of music by the band.
"Parallels" was part of a collection of songs that Squire had written for his solo album Fish Out of Water (1975), but were left out due to the limited capacity of a vinyl record. He also felt the song did not fit with the style of the other tracks on his album. When it came to selecting songs for Going for the One, Squire suggested the song for the group to record, which was received well by the other members. In its rough form, the song contained no guitar riffs. Its lyrics address the idea of hope, a usual theme that Squire incorporates into his lyrics.
"Wonderous Stories" is the second track on the album solely written by Anderson. He wrote the song during "a beautiful day" while living in Switzerland, "one of those days you want to remember for years afterwards". During the day, the lyrics to the track entered his mind that he later wrote down. He noted the song's meaning as "the joys of life, as opposed to the uptightedness of some aspects of life" that was inspired by romantic stories and "a kind of dream sequence". White contributed the idea of the drums and bass playing on odd beats.
"Awaken" is credited to Anderson and Howe. Anderson first thought of the song when he started to read The Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict (1975) by Calvin Miller while living in Switzerland, who details "an ageless hymn" about a "star song that is sung every now and again". Anderson drew further inspiration from a book about the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt, which had affected him "quite significantly". The music originated from an incident at a hotel when Anderson heard Howe repeatedly play a chord sequence on his guitar as he walked by, which led Anderson to sing some lyrical ideas on top of it on tape. Howe had written the beginning of the guitar solo previously, which was originally to be a part of a solo guitar piece. Anderson wished to incorporate the harp into the song's middle section and "dream the audience, sort of Vivaldi", and later considered the song's lyrics and its final section with Wakeman's keyboards to be particularly strong. The song features choral passages performed by the Richard Williams Singers, whose musical arrangements were directed by Wakeman, and the Ars Laeta of Lausanne, recorded at the Église des Planches, a church in Montreux. An early version of the song's introduction was performed live during the band's final gig on the Relayer tour, in 1975.
In addition to a change of producers and engineers, Going for the One also marked a departure in the band's choice of artwork design. Since 1971, they had worked with English artist Roger Dean who became known for his surreal and fantastical landscapes and designed their logo. While the band were recording, Dean had an idea for its sleeve he thought would suit the album which involved pieces of rock floating in the sky with the largest piece containing trees and a pool of water. It was intended to be a sequel design to his art on the band's first live album, Yessongs (1973). However, when Dean flew to Montreux to pitch his idea, his idea was turned down. Dean recalled visiting the studio to find Anderson painting a cover of what he wanted and seemed disinterested to see his own design. In the end, he claimed he did not present his ideas to any other band member. Howe claimed "a certain member" was no longer interested in working with Dean, which ended their collaboration until Drama (1980).
Instead, the band commissioned Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis to design the artwork who came up with a marked change in direction that represented a new, revitalised attitude within the band and their return to more direct and concise songs. Presented as a gatefold sleeve, the front cover depicts a standing nude male looking towards multiple skyscrapers against a blue sky. Dean's logo designed for the band was retained and is credited in the liner notes. Inside features a photograph of each band member by Lake Geneva with a background depicting a tree above a lake. Melody Maker reporter and band biographer Chris Welch later wrote about the cover: "Gone were the elaborate Roger Dean landscapes. In their place came stark, geometric simplicity. Anticipating computer designs of the future ... it symbolised a new look for Yes". Martin Popoff reviewed the design in 2016. "A new accelerated, late-'70s escapism through the clean lines of Hipgnosis, who combine slick, futuristic geometric urban angles with a man in his birthday suit, perhaps urgently propelling the band forward, while simultaneously embracing roots".
Going for the One was released in the UK on 15 July 1977, available on LP, audio cassette, and 8-track tape. It became a commercial success for the band, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart, their second album to do so following Tales from Topographic Oceans, for two weeks in August 1977 and peaking at number 8 on the US Billboard 200. Elsewhere, the album went to number 7 in Norway. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 2 August 1977 for selling over 500,000 copies in the US. In the UK, the album reached silver certification by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 19 September 1977, signifying sales worth over £150,000.
The album spawned two singles, both released in 1977. "Wonderous Stories" was released with "Parallels" as the B-side which peaked at number 7 in the UK singles chart. To help promote the song, Yes filmed their first music video for the song which received airplay on the BBC television music show Top of the Pops. It remains the band's highest charting single in the country. The second, "Going for the One" with an edited version of "Awaken Pt. 1" on the B-side, reached number 24 in the UK.
In his review for Los Angeles Times, Steve Pond believed the album succeeds because the band had "lowered rather than raised its sights. By going back to basics rather than trying to top its previous 'extravaganzas', Yes has produced its most appealing collection" since Close to the Edge (1972). He praised the "refreshing energy" the album brings, but noted their "kitchen-sink approach to song-writing, throwing everything into a composition but sometimes failing to smoothly integrate the disparate elements". Doug Graves, in The Daily Tar Heel, welcome the band's return to more concise music with an album that is not as "grandiose and overproduced" as their previous two, and resembles the sound of The Yes Album and Fragile. He thought Wakeman plays his keyboard arrangements "with some taste" and praised Anderson's return to more abstract lyrics "rather than preachy". As a result, the band "made itself interesting again". The Independent published a more positive review by Tim Grobaty, who thought the album was the group's most accessible since Fragile and contains the best line-up. However, he deemed "Parallels" the "most boring and incoherent" track on the album, but the rest are "light and entertaining". Grobaty rates the title track and "Turn of the Century" as "excellent". Tony Ciarochi in Fairbanks Daily News-Miner wondered if Yes could return to better form after the poor Relayer, and believed they did, ranking the album as one of the band's better works. "Turn of the Century" was an "outstanding ballad" and "strangely beautiful", but is "unnecessarily long" which does become monotonous. Ciarochi picked out "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories" as standout tracks, though "Awaken" a mixture of good and tedious sections. A review from Chris Cobb for The Ottawa Journal thought the album is "typically ponderous and riddled with complexity" with vague lyrics. Cobb thought "Awaken ... stretches the band to the limits of its imagination" and contains "beautiful" organ playing from Wakeman, and concludes the album is at times too self-indulgent coupled with its abstract lyrics and meandering music "more than it should".
In a retrospective review, biographer and reporter Chris Welch welcomed the album after the more complex material on Tales from Topographic Oceans and Relayer, citing its "melodic simplicity" which was "a breath of fresh air" and still stands up strong today. He praised Wakeman's performance and the band's choice in incorporating his talents into the music more effectively, which was not the case on Tales. He praised every track, calling "Wonderous Stories" a tune that allowed the group "to fly without really trying" and the closing moments of "Awaken", in particular, "quite beautiful ... the kind of music making now almost a lost art". Ross Boissoneau, for AllMusic, gave the album three stars out of five. He described Going for the One as "perhaps the most overlooked item in the Yes catalog ... In many ways, this disc could be seen as the follow-up to Fragile (1971). Its five tracks still retain mystical, abstract lyrical images, and the music is grand and melodic, the vocal harmonies perfectly balanced by the stinging guitar work of Steve Howe, Wakeman's keyboards, and the solid rhythms of Alan White and Chris Squire". He calls "Awaken" an "evocative track" with lyrics "spacey in the extreme", but praises Anderson and Squire's vocals and the addition of Anderson's harp and White's tuned percussion.
Yes supported Going for the One with its supporting concert tour across North America and Europe that ran from July to December 1977. Each show was opened by Donovan. They revisited the album for their first album-themed tour which lasted from March 2013 to June 2014, playing the album in its entirety, the first time since 1977, and in track order.
Going for the One was first reissued on CD across Europe in 1988. A digitally remastered CD followed in 1994 made by George Marino at Sterling Sound studios. In 2003, Rhino and Elektra Records released a new digitally remastered CD with seven bonus tracks. 2013 saw two remastered "audiophile" versions put out, one by Audio Fidelity for the Super Audio CD format and the other by Friday Music releasing a 180-gram LP using the original tapes.
|1.||"Going for the One"||Jon Anderson||5:30|
|2.||"Turn of the Century"||Anderson, Steve Howe, Alan White||7:58|
|2003 reissue bonus tracks|
|6.||"Montreux's Theme"||Howe, Squire, Anderson, White||First issued on Yesyears (1991)||2:38|
|7.||"Vevey (Revisited)"||Anderson, Wakeman||Edit version issued on Yesyears||4:46|
|8.||"Amazing Grace"||Traditional, arr. Squire||First issued on Yesyears||2:36|
|9.||"Going for the One (Rehearsal)"||Anderson||5:10|
|11.||"Turn of the Century (Rehearsal)"||Anderson, Howe, White||6:58|
|12.||"Eastern Numbers (Early Version of "Awaken")"||Anderson, Howe||12:16|
- Jon Anderson – lead vocals, harp
- Steve Howe – steel guitar, acoustic and electric guitars, vachalia, pedal steel guitar, vocals
- Chris Squire – bass guitar, vocals
- Rick Wakeman – piano, electric keyboards, church organ at St. Martin's in Vevey, Polymoog synthesizer, choral arrangement on "Awaken"
- Alan White – drums, percussion, tuned percussion
- Ars Laeta of Lausanne – choir on "Awaken"
- Richard Williams Singers – choir on "Awaken"
- John Timperley – recording engineer
- David Richards – assistant recording engineer
- Sean Davis – disc cutting
- Paul Van Der Sonckheyd – disc cutting
- George Hardie – graphics
- Alex Grob – inner spread photography
- Jaques Straessle – inner spread photography
- Hipgnosis – sleeve design, photography
- Roger Dean – Yes logo design
- Brian Lane – executive producer
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