Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy

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Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
Studio album by Return to Forever
Released October 1973
Recorded August 1973
Studio Record Plant Studios, New York City
Genre Jazz-rock
Length 42:14[1]
Label Polydor
Producer Chick Corea
Return to Forever chronology
Light as a Feather
(1973)Light as a Feather1973
Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy
Where Have I Known You Before
(1974)Where Have I Known You Before1974
Alternative cover
Non-US version of cover
Non-US version of cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Creem B[3]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 5/5 stars[4]

Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973) is Return to Forever's third studio album.

This was the group's first album with a rock-influenced sound and without any vocals. Former members Flora Purim, Joe Farrell and Airto Moreira were replaced by drummer Lenny White and guitarist Bill Connors.

The album was originally recorded with drummer Steve Gadd but when Gadd did not want to tour with the band, a new version was recorded with Lenny White. The version featuring Gadd was never released and the whole recording is said to be lost.


The music draws upon elements from various genres, including Latin jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and avant-garde jazz.

Corea relies mostly on electric pianos and organs, not yet playing the Minimoog.[5] Also, Clarke has not developed his famous electric bass sound yet and plays his one solo on the album through a fuzzbox. Bill Connors does not have the same reputation for technical wizardry as his successor Al Di Meola, but his heavily distorted guitar sound and fiery licks have received positive comments from reviewers.

The review of the album on Allmusic notes that "it is the quality of the compositions that marks Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy as an indispensable disc of '70s fusion". Clarke contributed one song for the album and Corea wrote the rest of the material. The first track, the title track, is Corea's short space rock anthem that sets the mood for the rest of the album. The second track, "After the Cosmic Rain", is Clarke's sole composition on the album, and it features a long bass solo played through a fuzzbox followed by Corea's fiery electric piano solo. "Captain Señor Mouse" is a piece that has a fast, airy theme that suddenly turns into another theme that sounds like Latin music. This composition shows a humorous side of Corea, who has claimed that the song was written about a mouse that he saw in a house while visiting Switzerland. Long solos following themes are played by Corea and Connors. Al Di Meola recorded his own version of this song for his album Casino (1978).

Side 2 of the original vinyl version starts with "Theme to the Mothership", which is another space-rock anthem. After a melodically strong theme, Connors plays a solo over one long repeating riff. Corea switches distortion on during his own solo. "Space Circus" features Corea's "Children Song" as a spooky intro that is followed by a piece that is based on a funk riff. This time Corea leaves solo space solely for Connors. Lenny White has also some extensive drum breaks on the track. The last track, "Game Maker" has also a slow intro after which an avant-garde-like theme comes in. Corea and Connors play improvised solos in a call-and-response style.

After touring for a while following the album's release, Connors left the group for a solo career, stating that he wanted to concentrate on acoustic music. He was replaced by Al Di Meola.

Critical reception[edit]

In a retrospective review, Robert Christgau wrote of Return to Forever:

The futuristic, Mahavishnu-style jazz-rock gets hot enough at times to make you believe in spirit energy. But Corea's themes lack the grandeur of McLaughlin's, and what good is God without grandeur? Part of the problem is technical--when you articulate fast runs cleanly on an electric piano you sound precious almost automatically. Too often, though, I suspect that's what Corea wants. Better he should try for the cosmic joke--like when "Captain Senor Mouse" breaks into "La Cucaracha."[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Chick Corea, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy"   3:31
2. "After the Cosmic Rain" Stanley Clarke 8:25
3. "Captain Señor Mouse"   9:01
Side two
No. Title Length
4. "Theme to the Mothership" 8:49
5. "Space Circus, parts 1-2" 5:42
6. "The Game Maker" 6:46
Total length: 42:14


Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1973 Billboard 200 124[7]
1974 Billboard Jazz Albums 7[7]


  1. ^ https://www.amazon.de/Hymn-Of-The-Seventh-Galaxy/dp/B001SQSS8G/ref=mb_oe_o
  2. ^ Gioffre, Daniel. "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy - Return to Forever | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 1974). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved February 28, 2016. 
  4. ^ Swenson, J., ed. (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 50. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  5. ^ Yurochko, Bob (1993). A Short History of Jazz. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 191. ISBN 9780830415953. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields. p. 322. ISBN 0-89919-025-1. 
  7. ^ a b "Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy - Chick Corea,Return to Forever | Awards | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  • Gioffre, Daniel, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy review at Allmusic.com