Going for the One
Released: July 7, 1977
Peak: 8 US, 12 UK, 8 CN, 16 AU
Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.1 UK, 0.6 world (includes US and UK)
Genre: progressive rock
Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Total Running Time: 38:43
2.486 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)
Quotable: “Perhaps the most overlooked item in the Yes catalog.” – Ross Boissoneau, All Music Guide
About the Album:
“Going for the One is perhaps the most overlooked item in the Yes catalog.” RB It was “a return to shorter song forms after the experimentalism of Close to the Edge, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and Relayer.” RB It was also the longest period the band spent between albums up to that point. From their 1969 debut to 1974’s Relayer, the band had released seven studio efforts, never taking more than a year between releases. After Relayer, band members engaged in a variety of solo projects, making for more than a 2 ½ year wait before they reunited for their next studio endeavor.
“In many ways, this disc could be seen as the follow-up to Fragile.” RB “After constructing epic tracks for the last few years, Yes felt inspired to scale things back a bit and recorded some of their most direct and concise material since” WK that album. “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, [Rick] Wakeman’s keyboards, and the solid rhythms of Alan White and Chris Squire.” RB
Going for the One also “marked Rick Wakeman’s return to the band.” RB He had departed after Oceans, replaced on 1974’s Relayer by Patrick Moraz. For his comeback, Wakeman “varied his sound by using the new polyphonic synthesizer out from Moog at the time – the Polymoog (largely forsaking Mellotron and RMI Electra Piano) – and using church pipe organ on Parallels.” WK This was “the album’s big, pompous song, so well done that in later years the band opened concerts with it. Wakeman’s stately church organ, recorded at St. Martin’s Church, Vevey, Switzerland, sets the tone for this ‘Roundabout’-ish track.” RB
“The concluding Awaken is the album's nod to the extended suite.” RB Here Wakeman uses the church organ again, “forsaking the Hammond organ that was a major part of both Yes’ and Wakeman's sound).” WK “Again, the lyrics are spacy in the extreme, but Jon Anderson and Squire are dead-on vocally, and the addition of Anderson’s harp and White’s tuned percussion round out this evocative track.” RB Anderson has even “indicated in some interviews that he considers it to be Yes’ most complete composition.” WK
“The title track features Howe on steel guitar (he’s the only prog rocker who bothers with the instrument). Turn of the Century and the album's single, Wonderous Stories, are lovely ballads the way only Yes can do them.” RB
“After many successive album covers with Roger Dean, Yes (who also produced the album entirely by themselves) instead commissioned Hipgnosis (known for designing album covers for Pink Floyd) to create the artwork for Going for the One. The album cover features the Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles.” WK
Notes: A 2003 reissue added rehearsal versions of “Going for the One,” “Parallels,” and “Turn of the Century” as well as an early version of “Awaken” (known as “Eastern Numbers”) and the cuts “Montreaux’s Theme,” “Vevey (Revisited),” and “Amazing Grace.”
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First posted 6/7/2011; updated 7/25/2021.