YES LOG 1977: PUNCHLINES ARE SO HARD TO FIND IN YOUR COSMIC MIND THESE DAYS

1 Oct

untitled      Still chugging along with his personal Yes studio album memoirs, and we’re currently up to the eighth release of Going for the One.

Notice anything different?

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There’s a man’s bare ass on the cover. C’mon, what else?

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That’s right, class. Roger Dean did not provide the cover this time around – Hipgnosis did, a British design group formed in 1968 who working as a trio consisting of Aubrey Powell, Peter Christopherson and Storm Thorgerson specialized in making great cover art for Rock albums including many sleeves for Pink Floyd . Going for the One was initially released on 7/7/77 – the very same day as Styx’s landmark album of the Grand Illusion was released. Prior to this release, Yes was extremely swamped in doing two executive tours behind the last Relayer album, then after each member of the band took a little sabbatical to record a solo album to be released roughly the same time in the summer of 1976 (something that Kiss would mimic later on in their career). Alan White explored calypso and reggae on Ramshackled, Steve Howe went classical and jazz on Beginnings, Patrick Moraz explored South American rhythms while trying to tell us the Story of I, Jon Anderson expanded further on the broken world themes based on Roger Dean’s paintings on the Fragile album cover on his Olias of Sunhillow outing, and Chris Squire weaved his bass guitar gymnastics through orchestral chamber music on his much acclaimed Fish Out of Water, (with instrumental contributions by Moraz and Bill Bruford).

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Also during this three-year group recording hiatus, Yes offered new jump on board fans a refresher course into their Peter Banks guitarist phase with the retrospect of Yesterdays released in February 1975 (a mere two months after Relayer was released) that also featured the ten and a half-minute opus cover version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” just for shit and giggles. It was also the last Roger Dean painted album cover for Yes until 1980’s Drama.

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Yes were getting so big that they begin to start selling out arenas and baseball stadiums reaching the plateau of headlining a sold out bill at the Jersey Stadium in Roosevelt, N.J, a bill that also included Peter Frampton and the Eagles as supporting acts. People were more geared up to see the Martyn Dean designed stagecraft and the laser light shows that could be seen as far away as the World Trade Center in New York rather than a frizz haired pop star playing with wah wah pedals on his guitar. The stretching of lights to a sea of skyscrapers was an image that served as a harbinger to what the overall theme of the next album should be.

Sorry, I posted this one by mistake yesterday!

Sorry, I posted this one by mistake yesterday!

After further rest and searching for a tax relief amid the advance of punk rock and Elvis Presley come back tours making prog life miserable, Patrick Moraz offered his country of Switzerland as a place for a retreat to record some demos. So the band booked passage and set up shop (forgetting to pack Eddie Offord in his carrying case) at Mountain Studios in Montreux for skiing and drinking or anything else that served up as inspiration. Eventually, this idea would begin to back fire on the Swiss poodle Spaceman, due to linguistic difficulties and a bit of ego acne flare-ups, Moraz somewhat managed to get himself fired after making contributions to four out of the five new tracks ( on the remastered edition released by Rhino Records a couple of years back – the somber Turn of the Century track was once unseated by a recurring Squire/Moraz jamming riff borrowed loosely from a song called Silently Falling, which appeared on Squire’s solo album) with Maestro Jon A penning the album’s only hit single, Wonderous Stories which will be the first of many future Yes tunes to paying ode to that world-famous peyote pirate, Carlos Castaneda. Moraz went on to have a successful twelve-year stint with the Moody Blues and was single-handedly responsible for reshaping their overall sound, landing their first ever collaboration together, Long Distance Voyager to the top of the world’s charts in 1981. Eventually they gave him the shaft too.

Hi - remember me.? I'm Patrick Moraz. I also appeared in yesterday's episode. Well, hello, but I must be going.

Hi – remember me.? I’m Patrick Moraz. I also appeared in yesterday’s episode. Well, hello, but I must be going.

So maybe now Vangelis was rethinking that offer to join the Yes Camp?

Not quite – for the door was now opened to welcome back that curryaholic capeman himself, Rick Wakeman into the fold – but logistically only as a session player. Despite Rick’s misgivings about Hindu temples, astral traveling, and holy shite scriptures and scrolls of an ancient long forgotten yesterday explored on Tales from Topographic Oceans, Rick felt that the more shorter made more accessible songs such as the title track and the “Phantom of the Opera” pleasing Parallels was more or less of what he and the rest of the band circling the same egg was more of where they should have gone with the music instead of being scattered in all sorts of opposite directions. The epic-length of man’s search for Christian deism explored on the fifteen minute plus Awaken, didn’t seem to bother Wakeman in the slightest, when he decided to hook up mikes from a St. Martin’s cathedral in Vevey to a studio sounding board in Mountain Studios to record its’ church organ.

Chris Squire – the one member in the band who originally phoned up Rick at 3 AM to join the band to record Fragile, conspired with the band’s manager, Brian Lane once again to get him to resign on the dotted line to become a full-fledged member (Rick’s solo career was still on the go) by playing a very nasty trick. At a party to celebrate the final mix of the album Chris spilled out a sob story of how it would be nearly impossible for the band to find a session player to play Rick’s keyboard parts on the road. They’re new parts and they couldn’t very well teach someone else to play them in the very short time alloted to finish the tour. ‘ Rick, would be too much of a bother to‘ – Rick put his hand up and stopped him before he could finish and said he liked the new material so much that he couldn’t have imagined anyone else doing it but him. But then Chris pressed on with ‘then, you couldn’t very well be a session player touring with us we’d have to pay you a session player’s fee and you’re worth more than that you should consider becoming a full-time member again’. Rick agreed that it certainly made sense and all in the room shook hands. Rick was officially back in the band again and everyone lived happily ever after  – until that fateful fall month of November 1979.

So as everyone left to mingle about the party – Rick couldn’t help notice but spot this week’s Melody Maker had the headlines already blaring in large black font: RICK WAKEMAN BACK IN YES! Rick found Brian Lane again and asked him how the press wound up with this story, or better yet, what would’ve happened if he had said no? Well, Brian said as he clasped his hand around his shoulder, ‘That’s a risk a manager has to take.’

And now we find ourselves going for the Wikipedia turn of events of last century:

Going for the One is the eighth studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 7 July 1977 on Atlantic Records. The album was recorded in Switzerland after their extended break for each member to release a solo album and their 1976 tour of North America. It marks the departure of keyboardist Patrick Moraz and the return of Rick Wakeman, who left over differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) to pursue his solo career. Formed of five tracks with no unifying theme or concept, Going for the One saw Yes produce their shortest songs since Fragile (1971). It closes with the fifteen-minute track “Awaken“.

Going for the One was a commercial success for the band and received a mostly-positive critical response. It topped the UK album chart for two weeks and peaked at number 8 in the US. Two singles were released, “Wonderous Stories” and “Going for the One”, of which the former peaked at number 7 in the UK. Going for the One has sold over one million copies worldwide, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. A remastered edition was released in 2003 that contains several previously unreleased tracks from the album’s recording sessions.

In August 1975, after touring in support of Relayer (1974) ended, Yes took an extended break so each member could record and produce a solo album. The band’s line-up during this time consisted of singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Yes then regrouped and completed a 1976 tour of North America, after which they relocated to Switzerland on tax exile to produce a new album.

During the early recording sessions, Moraz was let go from the band unexpectedly. Anderson thought he “just wasn’t playing like he was involved” and his sound not “too good, and that affected his vibe … it was obvious that he just wasn’t getting off on what we were doing”. Moraz commented on his exit: “I 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.” (Believe me, Patrick I know how you feel. It was the same exact method I was let go from my position with Comic Con International: San Diego) The decision was made after Rick Wakeman, who left Yes in 1974 over differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) to pursue his solo career, was invited to contribute to the new album as a session musician by Alex Scott, a business partner of Brian Lane, the group’s manager, who also met with Wakeman about the idea of his return.

After Wakeman agreed to see the band in Switzerland, he was surprised to see how much the band had changed since his departure. “To my surprise … I found that they had changed drastically … the health-food kick had also 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.” He enjoyed the direction the band were taking after hearing a tape with early versions of “Going for the One” and “Wonderous Stories” which led to his decision to return full-time.

Recording took place at Mountain Studios in Montreux with engineers John Timperley and David Richards. In a departure from their previous four studio albums, engineer and producer Eddy Offord was absent for Going for the One. The album’s production duties were completed by the band itself. 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.

Wakeman plays the pipe organ at St. Martin’s church in Vevey, which was simultaneously recorded through high fidelity telephone lines while the rest of the band played in the studio in Montreux. Wakeman described the experience as “absolute magic.” “Awaken” features a choir 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.

After many successive album covers with Roger Dean, Yes – who also produced the album entirely by themselves – commissioned Hipgnosis to create the artwork for Going For The One instead.

Yesfamily Coverstories: Here we come to the first album since The Yes Album to have something other than a Roger Dean cover. This was not necessarily a slight of Roger, however. They still used his logo, and in fact the design company, Hipgnosis, was led by Storm Thorgerson, whom Roger knew. In fact, the publishing company Dean launched called Paper Tiger later published a book full of Hipgnosis album cover designs, “Walk Away Rene,” and Storm was co-editor of some of the Album Cover Albums.

The Going For the One design appears in “Walk Away Rene.” It shows a naked guy (could it be the blue naked boy from Yesterdays grown up? Nah.) standing before a dizzying array of buildings. Feeding into or out of him are rays of various designs and colors. It may remind us of the line, “I feel lost in the city” from “Heart of the Sunrise,” but that was on a different album. I see it as a contrast between man’s ultimately natural state (naked) and ultimately unnatural state (surrounded by skyscrapers).

The buildings, by the way, are from Century City in Los Angeles and has been featured in such Twentieth Century Fox productions as Die Hard and Conquest for the Planet of the Apes.

THE SONGS / TRACKLISTING

Side one begins with “Going for the One”, a track written by Anderson.(Total time: 5:32) He explained the song’s meaning derives from sport: “Part of the song is about horse racing and there’s a little bit on a film I saw about going down the Grand Canyon river on one of those rubber dinghies and there’s also a bit in there about the cosmic mind”. Howe plays a pedal steel guitar throughout the entire song.

“Turn of the Century” (Anderson/Howe/White) (Total time: 7:55) is the only track on the album that credits White as a writer. It was originally “a short song”, but as rehearsals developed, Anderson “started thinking, ‘Let’s try to musically tell the story without me singing it,’ and then when I do sing it, it’ll sound even better.”

“Parallels” (Total time: 5:58) was a track Squire originally wrote for his solo album Fish Out of Water (1975), but it was left out due to time constraints on a vinyl record and that it did not fit with the style of the other tracks.

Side two opens with “Wonderous Stories”, a track written by Anderson (Total time: 3:50)

The album closes with the fifteen-minute track “Awaken” (Anderson/Howe) (Total time: 15:38). Anderson gained inspiration for the song after reading The Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict by Calvin Miller and a book about the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt, which he said affected him “quite significantly”.

2003 Expanded and Re-mastered Edition Bonus Tracks

6. Montreux’s Theme (Anderson, Howe, Squire, White) Total time: 2:38 previously appeared on the 4 CD collection, YesYears in 1991.

7. Vevey (Revisited) ( Anderson, Wakeman ) Total time: 4:46 Previously appeared on the 4 CD collection YesYears in 1991.

8. Amazing Grace Traditional, arranged by Squire Total time: 2:36 Previously appeared on the 4 CD collection YesYears in 1991.

9. Going for the One (Rehearsal) (Anderson) Total time: 5:10

10. Parallels (Rehearsal) (Squire) Total time 6:21 ( I personally have a discrepancy with this one – I believe it’s Patrick Moraz’s keyboards on the few demos made between him and the band instead of Rick Wakeman being accredited )

11. Turn of the Century (Rehearsal) ( Anderson, Howe, White, Squire) Total time: 6:58 (Ditto with this track too and how can Chris Squire’s name be left off of the credits WHEN it’s a song from his solo album, Fish Out of Water entitled “Silently Falling” that makes up the bulk of the track? That doesn’t make much sense, and it seems less so to Jon Anderson, who probably never gave the record a spin since he’s heard here trying to make up words to it. And to further cement my theory, Patrick Moraz performed keyboards on the original track off of Squire’s album.)

12. Eastern Numbers (Early version of “Awaken”) (Anderson/Howe) Total time: 12:16

Going for the One was released on 7 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. The album spawned two singles released in 1977; “Wonderous Stories” was released with “Parallels” as the B-side which peaked at number 7 in the UK singles chart. The second, “Going for the One” with “Awaken Pt. I” 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.

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. The 2003 remaster was reissued 10 years later (on 2 December internationally and 24 December in the US) as part of the box set The Studio Albums 1969-1987.

I was full on my way to becoming a tenderfoot Yes Fan roughly around this time in my history. I already had Fragile and I had dabbled extensively with Relayer the previous summer, but by the time I was finishing up the seventh grade, he had succumbed to peer pressure of becoming a Led Zep head accomplice to carry out a petty crime wave spree in their name. I had a brief juvenile stint in shoplifting candy, Creem magazines, and smoked a little giggle weed to Rush 2112. I was talked into ordering records and eight track tapes from Columbia House and RCA clubs using bogus names and using a couple of neighbors’ address to send them to and waited for the packages to arrive. I carried around a temporary membership card with the Parsippany Parasites, a gang of tough tots in training who would then go out and sell them for three dollars a pop to other hapless students at Central Junior High School whose parents wouldn’t give them the allowance to purchase their own albums at the nearest Two Guys. I even had his own racket on the side when I would be waiting for people to put out their subscription payments for the Newark Star Ledger in neat little manilla envelopes at his apartment complex and ransack an entire 26 building apartment complex. No one ever suspected me of this low-level larceny simply because I had my very own PAPER ROUTES on the side, delivering the Morristown Daily Record and the Pennysaver.

My first subscription copy of Circus Magazine - drowned faster than a fine German ale.
My first subscription copy of Circus Magazine – drowned faster than a fine German ale.

I used some of that money that I swindled to buy my very own subscription to Circus Magazine, a very pristine colorful and picturesque magazine that happened to be a rock and roll magazine with a lot of clout, in not only covering the music scene but also had articles on popular tv shows and fashion trends. My very first subscription copy of Circus Magazine that came in the mail for me that summer had none other than Rick Wakeman on the cover (to talk about the new Yes album . I was so excited that I had to take the magazine to show off to my friends at the pool located at my apartment complex.

However, the pool lifeguard working there at the time didn’t really take a shine to my petty crime shenanigans. I entered the pool area without bringing my pool badge and even though I was fully clothed and had no intention of going swimming (…yet) I wanted to show my friends like David Ben -Shimer, David Paskar, and Martin Nelson my new shiny glossy magazine with Rick Wakeman on the cover but the lifeguard ordered me to come back with my bathing suit and badge. I said no and sat down on a lounge chair and proceeded to show off my magazine. The lifeguard was persistent on embarrassing me in front of his friends with cheap insults – that after a while I angrily turned around and told the lifeguard that if he didn’t stop bothering me, I was going to grab a gun and shoot his mother in the head. Then before I could react I felt myself being roughly picked up with two hands. I tried to put up a struggle, but to no avail, it was useless – my sage muscles weren’t developed enough, so I needlessly got tossed into the drink with both my clothes on and with my new magazine in tow. I emerged out of the pool more fucking furious than the Sub-Mariner ever was and with my teeny tiny voice of testicle dropping testosterone, I let out a barrage of expletives at the peon lifeguard. Your mother is a C U next Tuesday was even uttered, if I remember correctly. This major episode even carried out the parking lot, and as I inched my way towards home, cursing and screaming, but all the while coming to the stark realization that I can’t simply walk through the front door of my apartment with my clothes all soaking wet and a magazine that had a mailing label with my name on it not with my mother busy doing housework at the time. So I had to go across the street where the Central Junior High baseball field was and sit on a bench to dry off. The magazine’s pages were nothing a bleeding colored mess soggy stuck together.

I would just sit here and dry off-and then go in and change my clothes and throw the soaked ones into the hamper but then something else hit me, I just realized that someone I spotted at the pool saw this whole episode go down.

Oh no I forgot! At the time, my step cousin from Rhode Island was visiting down for the summer. The niece to my stepfather, a mental basket case in her own little right was bonded with my half-sister Bernadette and wound up being more of a pain in a ass than my half-sister ever was. She would go around referring to me as a ski slope nose, due to an accident I suffered to my protuberance that caused me to quit the little league during one game (my once promising baseball career hardly ended on a footnote). She was there! She saw the whole thing happened while sitting in the bleachers of a home game. The same step cousin who used to sleepwalk at night, frightening me nearly to death when she kept repeating the word asshole, asshole, asshole, over and over like a broken record while the I was forced out in the living room (my temporary bedroom at the time while she spent the summer) watching an episode of SNL. She would also wet my bed at night. (OH! The rancid stink of teenage female urine!) During her nocturnal bouts she also jumped up and down on my bed, breaking the mattress springs in the process. What made my life even more miserable she was also a goddamn fucking…

… tattletale.

And sure enough before I could put two and two together, a blue blazing Cadillac comes roaring across the diamond baseball field  racing towards me like the proverbial bat out of hell.

My stepfather's paddle - except his choice of color was blue.
My stepfather’s paddle – except his choice of color was blue.

Christine – The motor boat on four wheels that nearly tried to run me down readies its headlights for its next victim.

Why, it was none other than my egomaniacal stepfather coming to try mow me down again. I immediately jumped hell high and scattered into the woods behind me to lose him and his mechanical four-wheeled appendage and wound up spending my first night camped out in the cemetery just adjacent to where old soldiers of the Revolution and the Civil War are buried.

After that fervor calmed down, My stepfather fumed at me all summer long that I had disobeyed my direct order of getting a decent looking haircut and I wouldn’t be allowed to see the first Star Wars movie until he did.

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But, of course I said fuck it already and then one early Saturday morning I put my thumb out on Route 287 and hitched a ride to the Morris County Mall in Cedar Knolls to waited in a long line to see it and got home by early evening (by dangerously sticking my thumb out again on Route 287 going north) before anyone noticed I was missing – except for my half-sister and the stupid tattletale step cousin)

That would be the first of many splendid hair splintering incidents in which I had managed to outsmart my main nemesis, the douchebag stepdad who was always threatening to send me off to military school if I persisted in pretending to look like Jesus Christ.

A bit of mention should also be noted that 1977 saw the debut of the Amazing Spider-man in the comic sections of newspapers all around the world.

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Album personnel: Jon Anderson, Harp & vocals, Steve Howe, steel & electric guitars back up vocals, Chris Squire, bass guitars and very superb back up vocals, Rick Wakeman, keyboards and church organ, & Alan White, drums & tuned percussion. Favorite all-time lyric line: Now the verses I sang don’t add much weight to the story in my head/ So I’m thinking I should go and write a punchline/ But they’re so hard to find in my cosmic mind / So I’ll take a look out of the windowGoing For the One, Jon Anderson. ~

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