Thursday, July 7, 1977

Yes Going for the One released

Going for the One

Yes


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


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Going for the One (Anderson) [5:30] (11/3/77, 24 UK, 20 CL)
  2. Turn of the Century (Anderson, Howe, White) [7:58]
  3. Parallels (Squire) [5:52]
  4. Wonderous Stories (Anderson) [3:45] (9/7/77, 7 UK, 10 CL)
  5. Awaken (Anderson, Howe) [15:38]


Total Running Time: 38:43


The Players:

  • Jon Anderson (vocals, harp)
  • Steve Howe (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Chris Squire (bass, backing vocals)
  • Rick Wakeman (keyboards)
  • Alan White (drums, percussion)

Rating:

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.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 6/7/2011; updated 7/25/2021.

Styx released breakthrough album The Grand Illusion

The Grand Illusion

Styx


Released: July 7, 1977


Charted: July 30, 1977


Peak: 6 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. The Grand Illusion (DeYoung) [4:36] (5 CL)
  2. Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man) (Shaw) [5:29] (2/18/78, 29 US, 6 CL)
  3. Superstars (DeYoung/Shaw/Young) [3:59]
  4. Come Sail Away (DeYoung) [6:07] (9/24/77, 8 US, 1 CL)
  5. Miss America (Young) [5:01] (15 CL)
  6. Man in the Wilderness (Shaw) [5:49]
  7. Castle Walls (DeYoung) [6:00]
  8. The Grand Finale (DeYoung/Shaw/Young) [1:58]


Total Running Time: 38:59


The Players:

  • Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards)
  • Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar)
  • James “J.Y.” Young (guitar, vocals)
  • Chuck Panozzo (bass)
  • John Panozzo (drums)

Rating:

3.941 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)


Quotable: “Led Styx steadfastly into the domain of AOR rock” – Greg DeGagne, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Styx formed in Chicago in 1971. They signed a deal with Wooden Nickel and released their debut album a year later. Three more albums followed, but the band were definitely not taking the world by storm. However, in 1975, radio picked up “Lady” from the band’s second album two years earlier and it became a top-ten hit. Styx subsequently signed a deal with major label A&M and their next two albums, Equinox (1975) and Crystal Ball (1976), produced top 40 hits “Lorelei” (#27) and “Mademoiselle” (#36).

Their seventh album, appropriately released on 7/7/77, “led Styx steadfastly into the domain of AOR rock.” MD They blended “the progressive, keyboard-oriented intellectualism of primitive Yes with the gritty CroMagnon sense of guitar mania that used to be equated with such third-generation bands as Grand Funk…Styx also possesses a strong sense of musical dramatics” JF and imagery with “simple, effective noise for the teenager in search of a progressive thrill.” JF

“Built on the strengths of Come Sail Away’s ballad-to-rock metamorphosis…and on the high harmonies of…Tommy Shaw throughout Fooling Yourself,” MD The Grand Illusion became a top ten album and the band’s first platinum seller. MD It “introduced Styx to the gates of commercial stardom” MD as it went on to become the band’s first of four consecutive multi-platinum albums.

Dennis DeYoung appeared to be the clear star considering he’d sung lead on the band’s two top-ten hits to date: “Lady” and “Come Sail Away.” In fact, he helmed most of the band’s future top-ten hits, including the #1 song “Babe” as well as “The Best of Times,” “Mr. Roboto,” “Don’t Let It End,” and “Show Me the Way.” However, Shaw was also becoming a force in the band, writing and singing “Fooling Yourself,” and future top 40 hits “Blue Collar Man” and “Renegade” and top-ten hit “Too Much Time on My Hands.”

Shaw had joined the band while they were touring in support of Equinox and became a full-fledged member on Crystal Ball. “He’d now clearly settled into his role in the band and his guitar work, along with James Young’s, is full and extremely sharp where it matters most. Even the songwriting is more effluent than Crystal Ball… shedding their mystical song motifs for a more audience-pleasing lyric and chord counterpoise.” MD

Young gave the band a rare triple threat, showcasing his chops on the hard-charging Miss America, a tune which garnered decent airplay at album-rock stations. The song’s “pulverized growl [also] reveals the group’s guitar-savvy approach to six-string rock.” MD The song was intended as a “scathing attack on the Miss America pageant” WK although at least one critic felt it accomplished the opposite of its intention, saying it “reeks of misogynistic misdirection. What Styx thinks is a compliance with current feminist fashion turns out to be nothing more than a spiteful acquiescence to sexual bigotry and impotence.” JF

The song’s intent, however, fit with what DeYoung described as the album’s theme: “the struggle to overcome self-deluding superficiality in order to affirm one’s genuine value. This theme was reflected in the lyrics of the album’s title track: ‘So if you think your life is complete confusion/ ‘Cause your neighbor’s got it made/ Just remember that it’s a grand illusion/ And deep inside we’re all the same.’” WK

The song Castle Walls has an interlude inspired by Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells”, which served as the theme for the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. It has been noted that John Carpenter’s 1978 horror movie Halloween used a musical theme which had similar characteristics to the interlude of “Castle Walls.” WK

Granted, Styx has never been a critics’ favorite. I am a firm believer, though, that personal taste should always be about what one likes just because one likes it. I argued this point in more depth in my June 27, 2010 blog entry/essay called, appropriately, “The Styx Defense.” So go ahead and pull out the album again and listen to it without shame. I’m certainly playing it again for the umpteenth time.


Notes:

A 2012 DVD featured Styx performing The Grand Illusion and Pieces of Eight albums live in their entirety.

Review Sources:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 5/18/2021.