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 progressive rock band Yes, released on 15 July 1977 by Atlantic Records. The album was recorded in Switzerland after their extended break for each member to release a solo album and their 1976 North America tour. It marks the departure of keyboardist Patrick Moraz and the return of Rick Wakeman, who had left to pursue his solo career after differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973). Formed of five tracks with no unifying theme or concept, the album saw Yes produce more accessible and concise songs with the fifteen-minute "Awaken", recording with new producers and cover designers in the process.
Going for the One was a commercial success and received a mostly-positive response from critics. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart for two weeks and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. Two singles were released, "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One", which went to number 7 and 24 in the UK, respectively. Going for the One was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the United States. 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, Wakeman played the church organ at St. Martin's church in Vevey, which was simultaneously recorded through a telephone line while the rest of the band played in the studio in Montreux. Wakeman described the experience as "absolute magic." "Awaken" features choral passages performed by the Richard Williams Singers, whose musical arrangement was directed by Wakeman. Wakeman changed his sound on the album with the use of a Polymoog, a polyphonic analogue synthesiser, which replaced his traditional use of the Mellotron, Hammond organ, and RMI Electra Piano.
"Going for the One" was written by Anderson, who had presented the song to the group several years before, 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 chosen for the album. Anderson explained that its meaning was inspired partly from 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.
"Turn of the Century" was written by Anderson, Howe and White. The song tells the story of Roan, while in grief of his wife's death, carves a statue of her and is brought back to life. It was inspired by 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 band tell the story musically without vocals, before he added his lyrics.
"Parallels" was part of a collection of songs Squire wrote for his 1975 solo album Fish Out of Water, but it was left out due to the time constraints on a vinyl record. He also felt the song did not fit with the style of the album's other tracks. When it came to selecting songs for Going for the One, Squire suggested the song for the group to record and everyone liked it. Its lyrics address the idea of hope, a usual theme that Squire incorporates into his lyrics.
"Wonderous Stories" is the second track solely written by Anderson.
"Awaken" originated from an incident whereby Anderson heard Howe repeatedly play a chord sequence on his guitar, which led to Anderson sing some lyrical ideas on top of it. Anderson drew further inspiration for the song from reading The Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict by Calvin Miller and a book about the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt, which had affected him "quite significantly". An early version of the song's introduction was performed live during the band's final gig on the Relayer tour, in 1975.
Going for the One marked a change in the band's style of artwork which was designed by Hipgnosis; they had commissioned artist Roger Dean for the role since Fragile (1971). The front cover depicts a standing nude male figure, with the Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles, California positioned in the background. The band's "bubble" logo, designed by Dean, is still used. The design represented a new, revitalised attitude within the band.
Going for the One was released on 15 July 1977 and was a commercial success for the band. The album topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks in August 1977 and peaked at number 8 on the US Billboard 200. Elsewhere, the album went to number 7 in Norway.
The album spawned two singles released in 1977; "Wonderous Stories" was released with "Awaken Pt. 1" as the B-side which peaked at number 7 in the UK singles chart. The second, "Going for the One" with "Awaken Pt. 1" on the B-side, reached number 24 on the same chart.
In October 1978, Circus magazine reported that the album had sold one million copies. It was certified Gold by the Record Industry Association of America and Silver by the British Phonographic Industry.
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 limites of its imaginaion" 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.
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||2:38|
|7.||"Vevey (Revisited)"||Anderson, Wakeman||4:46|
|8.||"Amazing Grace"||Traditional, arr. Squire||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
- Additional personnel
- 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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