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"
Owner45.jpg
Single by Yes
from the album 90125
B-side "Our Song"
Released 8 October 1983
Format 7" and 12" vinyl
Recorded 1983
Genre Dance-rock[1]
Length 4:27 (album version)
3:50 (7")
Label Atco
Writer(s) Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor Horn
Producer(s) Trevor Horn
Yes singles chronology
"Into the Lens"
(1980)
"Owner of a Lonely Heart"
(1983)
"Leave It"
(1984)
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 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 No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and its Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[2][3] In 1984, the song reached No. 8 in the year-end charts in the US.[4] The single was reissued various times throughout the 1980s and 1990s with different remix versions and B-sides.[5] The song has been sampled by various artists including Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa and Max Graham, whose 2005 single reached No. 9 in the UK.[6]

Origins[edit]

The first version was a four track version Rabin recorded at his home studio in London in 1980 (and which was eventually released in 2003 on his 90124 album). Rabin played all instruments on the demo as well as singing. In 2012, he would reminisce "I had a four-track recorder for demos, so you would record on the first and second tracks and then mix it to a third track. You would be making decisions based on what was coming, and sometimes those decisions would be wrong — but you couldn’t undo them. One of the things, a happy accident, was that all of the brass stabs and those weird things that happen on the record — they were just a product of what happened with the demo. When we started the record, in talking with Trevor Horn, he said we should retain that stuff. We’ll just record that really cleanly. I said I’d like to keep the levels very loud, and he was totally into that. That’s kind of how it evolved. All of the accidents on the demo, ended up on the record."[7]

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" was turned down by various record companies, including Arista. (Rabin: "Clive Davis mentioned that the song was too strange, and would not be a hit. He suggested that I write stuff more like Foreigner and then come back. I never did."[8]) The song was first recognized as a potential hit when Rabin played the demo to Ron Fair (then a junior A&R man at RCA Records) who identified it as "a game changer" and offered Rabin an album deal on the strength of it. Although Rabin would assemble various songs for the deal he ultimately turned it down, opting instead to work with Chris Squire and Alan White and rework the material for what would eventually become 90125.[8] Rabin has also implied that the early song may have gained the revived Yes their 1980s record deal - "'Owner' was always the flagship song of the 90125 stuff, which I had been shopping around with and landed up being approached by Phil Carson from Atlantic."[8]

Trevor Horn has claimed a significant part of the credit for the success of "Owner of a Lonely Heart", including recognising the song’s hit potential and salvaging it for the 90125 sessions. By Horn’s account, when Rabin played him the original tape of songs intended for 90125, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was tucked away at the end and was only heard because Rabin had gone to the toilet and left the tape running. When Rabin returned, Horn had to persuade him that the song was likely to be a hit and should be used for the album.[9] However, Horn also claims to have had serious reservations about Rabin’s inclinations toward "American rock" songwriting: despite hearing a hit chorus, he also suggests that "the song, as it originally was, was so awful that I was convinced that if we didn't put loads of whizz-bangs and gags all over the verse that no-one would ever listen to it."[9]

Development[edit]

The song was reworked during the 90125 album sessions in 1982 and 1983, with contributions of various kinds being made by Chris Squire, Trevor Horn and Jon Anderson (resulting in all three getting writer credits).

Horn claims that the development of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" took place over seven months (from January to July 1983) and that he was instrumental in persuading the band to record the song. By Horn’s account, once all of the other tracks on the record had been recorded he was literally "crawling around on the floor" begging Yes to do it, on the grounds that they needed a hit single.[9] Horn brought in the Synclavier to replace the original keyboard parts played by Rabin. For the "whizz-bangs and gags" sound effects, he brought in a Fairlight sampler programmed by J. J. Jeczalik (a technique already tried and tested on Horn's work on ABC's The Look of Love and Malcolm McLaren's Duck Rock).

Horn also went against the wishes of Rabin and drummer Alan White, both of whom wanted big rock drum sounds. Instead, Horn forced a programmed sound onto the arrangement, incorporating a five-second sample of the drum breakdown in Funk, Inc.'s "Kool Is Back" (itself a cover of Kool & the Gang's "Kool's Back Again") and also sampling and looping White’s playing via Fairlight. Influenced by the sound of Stewart Copeland’s recordings with The Police, Horn also insisted that White tuned his snare drum to a high A.[9] 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).[10]

Regarding rewrites, Horn claims to have rewritten Rabin’s verses (beginning with the first verse and "move yourself") and that upon joining the band later in proceedings, Jon Anderson was dissatisfied with the second verse and rewrote it, adding the section about the "eagle in the sky". As a cheeky riposte, Horn and engineer Gary Langan added the gunshot sound effect which immediately followed the verse (thereby "shooting down" the eagle).[9] Squire’s main contribution appears to have been the Motown-styled bridge which originally appears in the song between 1:55 and 2:22 (and which also bears some resemblance to a riff in "Ritual" from Tales from Topographic Oceans).

In September 2014, Rabin clarified his view on the breakdown of credit and royalties: "Jon did add to my lyrics in the verses and deserved what he got, as did Chris. One can hear my development of the song on 90124; sound doesn’t lie. Trevor Horn being allotted a percentage was a thank you for introducing me to the Synclavier, which is one of the keyboards I used on the song and I had not used before. Also, for the fun we had making it. I could go on, but I've bitten my lip for a long time — largely because Trevor Horn and I are good friends."[8]

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.[11] 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.[12]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was shown in heavy rotation on MTV,[13] 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. The music video was directed by graphic designer Storm Thorgerson[14] who, as part of Hipgnosis, had previously designed the covers for the band's albums Going for the One and Tormato.

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. Jobson 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.[15]

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts (Max Graham vs. Yes remix)[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[44] 25
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[45] 56
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[46] 33
Denmark (Tracklisten)[47] 12
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[48] 10
Germany (Official German Charts)[49] 36
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[50] 13
Ireland (IRMA)[51] 17
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[52] 25
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[53] 18
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[54] 60
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[55] 49
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 9
Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Heart and Soul" by Huey Lewis and the News
Billboard Top Rock Tracks number-one single
26 November — 17 December 1983 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"If I'd Been the One" by 38 Special
Preceded by
"Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
21 January — 28 January 1984 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
Preceded by
"Union of the Snake" by Duran Duran
Cash Box Top 100 number-one single
21 January — 28 January 1984 (2 weeks)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yes > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 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. 
  2. ^ a b "Yes – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Yes. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Yes – Chart history" Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs for Yes. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Volume 96 No. 51, DECEMBER 22. 1984" (PDF). Billboard. New York, NY, USA. 22 December 1984. p. TA-19. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  5. ^ "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Yes official site. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2006. 
  6. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 2005-05-28" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Gimme Five: Trevor Rabin on 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', 'Anerley Road', 'Changes'" - article in SomeThing Else by Nick DeRiso, 28 June 2012
  8. ^ a b c d "I've bitten my lip for a long time": Trevor Rabin clears the air on Yes' 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' - article in Something Else!, 25 September 2014
  9. ^ a b c d e Trevor Horn discusses "Owner of a Lonely Heart" (excerpt from a 2011 interview conducted by the Red Bull Music Academy in Madrid), YouTube
  10. ^ Rhodes, C., & Westwood, R. I. (2008). Critical representations of work and organization in popular culture. London: Routledge. p. 177.
  11. ^ "Chart Stats - Max Graham vs Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart". Archived from the original on 2013-09-04. Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  12. ^ Modell, Josh (21 October 2014). "Trampled By Turtles covers Yes". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Ruggiero, Bob (21 February 2014). "Ex-Yes Singer Jon Anderson: Fond Memories of Houston's "Space Dome"". Houston Press. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "R.I.P. Storm Thorgerson, artist behind The Dark Side of the Moon cover". 18 April 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Edwin 'Eddie' Jobson: Miscellaneous information". Retrieved 19 December 2009. 
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 345. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Le Détail par Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Select "YES" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 50, 1983" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Lista Przebojów Programu 3". LP3. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "Archive Chart: 1983-12-03" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  25. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4441." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  27. ^ CHART NUMBER 1411 – Saturday, January 28, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM.
  28. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  29. ^ "Hit Parade Italia". HitParadeItalia (in Italian). Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Topp 20 Single uke 7, 1984 – VG-lista. Offisielle hitlister fra og med 1958" (in Norwegian). VG-lista. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  32. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts Y". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  34. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  35. ^ "Billboard Jan 21, 1984" (PDF). Billboard. New York, NY, USA. 21 January 1984. p. 45. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  36. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JANUARY 21, 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 11 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  37. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  38. ^ "Dutch Charts Jaaroverzichten Single 1983". Single Top 100 (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  39. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1983". Dutch Top 40 (in Dutch). Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  40. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9638." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts 1984". GfK Entertainment Charts (in German). Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  42. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - I singoli più venduti del 1984". FIMI (in Italian). Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  43. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1984 at the Wayback Machine (archived 11 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  44. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  45. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  46. ^ "Ultratop.be – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  47. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Tracklisten. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  48. ^ "Max Graham vs. Yes: Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  49. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  50. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Rádiós Top 40 játszási lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  51. ^ "Chart Track: Week 20, 2005". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  52. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  53. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 25, 2005" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  54. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  55. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Max Graham vs. Yes – Owner of a Lonely Heart". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 11 September 2016.

External links[edit]