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on 21 July 2012
The start for me of the decline of Yes as a creative musical force begins with this uneven album. The opening, 'Going For The One" is great, but the subsequent pieces with the exception of the flawed 'Awaken' are an indication that the band were starting to flounder. It is also a return to Chris Squires contribution on the song writing front, with 'Parallels' being a riff and little else. 'Wondrous Stories" heralds Anderson's loss of connection with the world and points sadly to his decline as an innovator. What Yes clearly lacked was the capacity to go to the next musical level. In the biography attached to this page, criticism is leveled at King Crimson and Genesis for changing too much and losing their fans while Yes remained true to themselves. However, that assumes that Yes fans were inclined to be stuck in a time warp. I was a Yes fan, but engaged very much with the music of the late '70's. Fripp, Gabriel, VDGG and others also moved with the times, not out of cynical commercial reasons but because they recognised the need to 'progress'. Yes however, clung to their hippy roots and naive world view and failed to grow up. I actually believe that they could have continued to be a force to recon with had they had the vision, but clearly they did not. The world was a darker place post '76, and it required music that not only reflected that but inspired innovation and change. Progressive music for a brief period had that potential and indeed laid down the principles. However, it was the subsequent generation who had read Kafka, Dostoevsky and Camus, had delved into the theatre of Brecht and listened to the music of Bowie, Eno, Reich and Glass that heralded true progress in music. Yes lost their place in music post '76 and instead capitulated to American AOR. Now they are their own tribute band and are in a creative hole they seem incapable of acknowledging is there. I remain sad about this, because I can trace so much in my own musical development back to the mind-blowing music they created from 'The Yes Album' through to 'Relayer'. My appreciation of just what five musicians could do with electric music was completely expanded by that set of albums and the sonic splendour contained within the grooves of those records. I have been asking, less so these days, what went wrong? The answer is....I no longer care.....
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on 6 August 2007
After the three large scale epic works that Yes had made prior to this record, Close To The Edge, Tales From Topographic Oceans and Relayer, Yes finally returned to more earthy territory with Going For The One.
Yes had gone as far as they could with their massive symphonic works, and instead went back to the kind of music they were making from 1969 to 1971.
Happily, Rick Wakeman approved of this ideology and duly returned to the band.
It has to be said that there aren't too many Yes albums that can top Going For The One. In fact, I would go as far to say that it is perhaps the perfect Yes record.
'Parallels' and the title track are good straight ahead rock numbers with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman interplaying superbly together with Chris Squire and Alan White providing a steady rythmn section.
'Turn Of The Century' is a gorgeous track that shows the band using 'real' instruments and coming up with a fusion of folk and classical music in a stupendous piece. Steve Howe plays some outstanding acoustic guitar, and Rick Wakeman uses all his classical nous to give the song some real majesty. Special mention has to go to Jon Anderson here as well who puts in one of his finest ever vocal displays.
'Wonderous Stories' is another quite lovely track. At three minutes plus, it probably ranks among Yes' shortest ever group compositions, but like 'Long Distance Runaround' on the Fragile album, it shows that Yes can come up with a simple, catchy, melodic pop tune when they want to. Wakeman throws in some top keyboards too.
The major track on Going For The One has to be Awaken. At fifteen minutes plus it's the longest track on offer here, but unlike some of the songs on the previous two albums, Awaken is beautifully structured and expertly played by all. It's the ultimate 1970's Yes track in that it seems to draw on everything that Yes had done up to that point in their career. It's a fantastically mature piece that closes the album perfectly.
The production of the album is crisp and fresh and you get the feeling that recording in Switzerland, among the dramatic scenery, and good clean air, really gave the band a lift when recording these songs.
What's fascinating about Going For The One is that it was released in 1977 when punk had arrived. The fact that Yes had a UK number one with this album and top ten and top thirty singles with 'Wonderous Stories' and the title track respectively, proved that quality music and a solid fan base was more than a match for media hyped guff, played by tone deaf tossers.
Absolutely splendid stuff.
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on 26 March 2014
The man on the cover has a very nice bottom.
I wonder who he is?
Unfortunately when you open the cover, you don't get to see the front of him.
Which is a shame I think.
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on 28 January 2007
First of all, I've been a true Yes fan since the 70s. However, this is bloody awful. It seems to be yet another record company attempt to milk the massed ranks of fans by releasing ANOTHER collection of familiar songs, but this time they've really twisted the knife. Instead of the usual compilations (all containing "Roundabout" of course), this is 2 versions of "GFTO" on one disc. If - like me - you liked the first one, you'll love the first 5 tracks here. Same album. Things go rapidly downhill afterwards. Have to admit I skipped tracks 6 + 7 and forgot to go back. Track 8 is "Amazing Grace" played on a bass guitar. Yes, that's right. Saying no more about that other than it was a BAD IDEA. Either learn to play Scottish bagpipes or don't bother, Chris; playing "Amazing Grace" on an electric bass guitar is about as smart an idea as playing the "Hallelujah Chorus" on a xylophone. Just don't do it.

9 to 11 are, we are told, "rehearsals" for "GFTO", "Parallels" and "Turn Of The Century". Aye, right. 'Rehearsals' as in everyone shows up BADLY hung over and can't be bothered to sing the proper tunes, but add them to this collection and gleefully sell it to us, knowing that us old prog fans will buy anything with YES on it. The final track, "Eastern Numbers", is, apparently, an early version of "Awaken". Jon starts off wobbly, forgets some words, and the track carries on much as the "official" version, but with incoherent lyrics really badly sung. Terrible. We were led to believe that Rick was the only alky in the group all those years. Now the truth is out. If the wee man isn't on alcohol, he's on something stronger.

A plea from the heart: don't believe all the adoring reviews of this rubbish - you'll get stung if you buy it. Get the original instead. Remember that record company executives don't have consciences.
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on 2 March 2012
price for the physical CD expanded (11 songs) at 3.99 £, digital version (5 songs...) at 7.49£...what the hell are you doing ???? what is the logic behind ???
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on 14 March 2016
OK, music taste and opinion is 100% subjective. There are probably people on Planet Earth for whom each and every Yes album might be their favourite, certainly from The Yes Album onwards. A lot go for Relayer or Close To The Edge as their favourite.

Both of those albums are deserved classics, and top notch prog rock masterpieces. Tales From Topographic Oceans, once one grasps the sheer magnitude of the thing, is full of beautiful, highly progressive, almost symphonic themes and pieces.

But. I believe Going For The One is the best Yes album. Summed up in one word........Awaken. Turn Of The Century is a lovely beautiful song, subtle in so many ways, virtually no drums, yet builds and falls, brilliant vocal performance, wonderful acoustic and electric guitar work. Parallels has power and momentum, Chris's bass parts carry the whole thing, he drives it. Fabulous track.

Awaken is my favourite Yes tune from their entire catalogue. To try and say why it is such a work of genius isn't easy but I'll have a go. The light and shade. It PLAYS with light and shade, and every time it works wonderfully. Bang between the eyes in the first second with that blast of a piano intro. Then quiet, the way that Jon's voice soars angelically over the top of the keyboards that almost shimmer. The power of the "Awaken-Gentle-Mass-Touch" section. The time signature isn't straightforward, but even people that can only understand 4/4 aren't lost, because the arrangements are so clever. The harmonies are so strong in this section. Then it really drops away, to almost nothing. Little tinkles on little bells............out of the virtual silence the Vevey church organ starts to sound. A church organ, we're into serious pompous prog here! But no fear, it's all so tasteful. Builds, builds, the other instruments gradually coming back in, where is this all going? We soon know. Up to the climax that is the "Master Of Images" passage, it's like a musical orgasm as it peaks, and stays there a while, then Steve Howe plays a solo that will probably always be, in my opinion, his best ever. Though he does have so much context to play in at this moment, that does help! Then the end of that section, "Master Of Time" peaks a little higher still if it were even possible, and then once again we drop right down to the quiet outro.

There has never been a prog rock track that has all those elements in such abundance. Without Jon Anderson's dulcet tones, it wouldn't work. Without the church organ, without the unique structure of the song, without Jon's mad cosmic lyrics, it wouldn't have the same atmosphere.

So even when you put it beside The Gates Of Delirium or The Revealing Science Of God, or Close To The Edge or Heart Of The Sunrise, Sound Chaser............it tops them all. Somehow. The masterpiece of Yes masterpieces. Without it I would pick Relayer as my top Yes work, that has something special and unique as well, no album like it before or since. But the (almost) perfection, just in case somebody somewhere does something incredible and betters it, of Awaken means that even Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd, Octavarium by Dream Theater, Supper's Ready by Genesis, Stairway To Heaven or Kashmir by Led Zeppelin - pick any epic track you like and in my opinion it falls short.

I think there are a select few albums that are better than Going For The One, because of the consistent quality of the whole album. The Division Bell by Pink Floyd, Scenes From A Memory by Dream Theater, Power Windows by Rush, The Unforgiving by Within Temptation, Selling England By The Pound by Genesis. Though from day to day they flutter around each other and change their positions in my little chart I suppose.

But as far as Yes are concerned, this is the top of the mountain. In my opinion.
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on 7 July 2014
This is the last of the truly classic Yes albums of the 70s. I've always considered this to be the third of their classic albums, the others being 'The Yes Album' and 'Close to the Edge' ('Fragile' in my opinion coming close but not quite making it, although it's still worth five stars). At the time this was a bit of a reinvention for Yes. I remember hearing the title track 'Going for the one' for the first time and getting quite a shock at Steve Howe's wild pedal steel guitar as well as the style of the music! I was also surprised by the apparent simplicity of 'Wondrous stories'. But this is what makes this such a great album. As a group Yes had got over the idea that their songs needed to be about 10-20 minutes long. So we find their ideas condensed on this album and not out-staying their welcome. 'Turn of-the century' comes in at just over seven minutes and is a beautifully balanced and structured song which plays out its ideas perfectly in that time. 'Parallels' thunders along for about five minutes and benefits hugely from Rick Wakeman's manic use of a church organ. The church organ pops up again to wonderful effect on 'Awaken' which proved that the group hadn't purged their appetite for an epic piece of music, but it also proved that they didn't feel they had to fill it out to 20 minutes as it clocks in at just over 15. All in all this is one of the groups most complete albums showing off their arranging skills to great effect with some really beautiful music. The album finds the group at the height of their powers, particularly the returning Rick Wakeman, who has very clearly found his creative streak and contributes greatly to the album. For instance just listen to his cascading Polymoog on 'Wondrous stories and his outrageous piece of honky-tonk piano in the middle of 'Going for the one' or the marvellous build-up layered effect of the church organ on 'Awaken' that acts as an introduction to / and then inter-play with Steve Howe's solo guitar before leading back into the song. That interplay, this time between his piano and Steve's guitar is present again in what must be one of the most underrated Yes songs, 'Turn of the century' in the most marvellous musical break that builds beautifully to a wonderful crescendo before leading back into the song. All in all a most satisfying album!
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on 24 February 2013
Of all their albums (and I do have them all), this is the one I still play regularly today and would recommend to all as their very best.

Yes established and defined modern progressive rock as we still know it today (even if it was King Crimson who invented it): complex time signatures and poly-rhythms, extended solos and, frankly, pompous musical ambitions. When done badly, prog-rock can be truly awful, but Yes always had a clear mix of inventiveness, tunefulness, great musicianship and a unique style, derivative of nobody.

Although many would (understandably) point to "The Yes Album", "Fragile" or "Close to the Edge" as the true classic Yes, I think this album represents the best of their experience, distilled into a single album of perfection.

There are no duds on this album and only great pieces. Whereas the others had their no-so-successful experiments ("The Fish" bores me to tears now, just as it did on first listening "all those many years ago", and as for "Sound Chaser"? Well, let's not), this album's pieces are each magnificent gems and a perfect example of this group at their best.

Steve Howe (guitars) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards) in particular are in arguably their best form of their careers, with Steve setting out simply his finest electric (the title track's Fender slide work, "Parallels" and "Awaken") and acoustic work (the haunting and icy "Turn of the Century"). Indeed, Howe's solo on "Awaken", although after study revealing itself to be relatively simple technically (compared with modern "maestros" such as Petrucci) carries such fire, pace and urgency that it leaves one breathless.

For those of you with a penchant for prog-rock guitar and don't know Steve Howe, you are missing something. Although some might argue that current players outclass him technically, there is a reason he won the prestigious American "Guitar Player" magazine "Guitarist of the Year" award five times*.

Wakeman eschews funky (but banal) Moog sounds for the earthy grandeur of real pianos, more restrained and appropriate synth sounds and even a real church organ. "Awaken" uses a real choir is used instead of tired old Mellotrons. The effect? Perfect.

There is nothing that does not work: the original five compositions are so strong, the arrangements mature, the playing ultra-tight, the orchestration tasteful and production first class.

Of this latest release, though, I feel that the "bonus" tracks do not add to the original tracks. They are variously experiments, early and rough rehearsals, or deserved victims of the cutting room. I have found myself deleting these from my player.

So for all those yet to try Yes, start here. Your only problem? Everything else from Yes might just be an anticlimax.

* I had the misfortune to meet one of the session guitarists who backed this grouping on the "Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe" tour. Very much a "new generation" guitarist, he insisted that Howe was old hat and terrible player, which made me smile. He then proceeded to bore the pants off the audience when he sat in at with the group at the venue that night and was asked to leave after one number. Apart from the two-facedness of this guy dissing his employer, one has to wonder: has he won any awards like Steve lately? Whatever they told you at music school bud, the technique still only takes you to first base. :0)
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on 11 September 2008
Reading some of the other reviews here I'm slightly incredulous at their generosity. Don't get me wrong: I admit I am a Yes fan, but this hardly constitutes their best work.

There are passages of greatness here for sure, and if you like Yes and prog-rock in general you need to hear this album, but I doubt it would earn a place in my Top 10 prog CDs.

The highlights for me are Steve Howe's soaring guitar work (which retains it's bite) and Chris Squire's ever-imaginative and solid bass-playing. I can't help feeling that Alan White's drumming is lost in the mix though at the expense of Rick Wakeman's keyboards.

For me this album feels like a swansong for one of their classic line-ups, even though Rick was back for this album, and the musical ideas deserved much better production - even if the album is nearly 30 years old now.

Does anyone else recall how this album was advertised on TV in the UK at the time of release? I can't recall another prog album that benefitted from such marketing effort. Perhaps it was the arrival of punk and new wave that unsettled the record label bosses at the time..

Occasionally the album feels like it's going to collapse under the weight of it's own ideas and the expectation that surrounded it, and I struggle to think of another Yes album I'd say that about..although I'm yet to listen to Tormato or Tales...

Having said that the album does close cleverly with one of Jon Anderson's best ever lyrics: "Like the time I ran away, turned around, and you were standing close to me...". Brilliant and typically evasive: we'll never know whether he was refering here to God, a lover or his accountant!

If you want to explore Yes' music head for Relayer, Fragile and Close to The Edge first make a detour here if you still hunger for more.
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on 30 December 2001
This is possibly the Yes album of them all. If you know this one then you must agree: hugely expansive musical ideas executed with grace and detail, gargantuan in their reality. A humbling musical experience for all of us who try to understand the true beauty of Yes music: just listen to Steve Howe's closing guitar work after the vast sound scape that is Awaken, (reminiscent of "The Nature of the Sea" from Beginings)."Turn of the Century", is one of those tracks which never fails to engage the higher emotions; one comes out of it dazzled by its intensity; from its delicate guitar opening through to the final climactic cadence, breath-taking. Rick Wakeman's powerful organ presence on "Parallels" adds a depth and dimension which at times seems "classical", almost Baroque. "Going for the One" is a soild track; its fast harmonic rythym matched by Jon Anderson's equally rapid lyrics. That leaves "Wonderous Stories", well, it must be the light-weight of them all; but there's nothing wrong with experimenting: as Yes continue to prove.
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