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This was the followup to Yes' #1 smash, "Owner of a Lonely Heart." 90125
was a different sound for Yes, as they moved away from Prog Rock and toward Pop - very successfully. Once the band (and their record company) got a taste for hit singles, they tried to make more, which frustrated lead singer Jon Anderson. "By the time we got to Big Generator
(1987 album) I was ready to leave because nobody was happy," he told us. "We were scrambling to try to make a hit record, and the record company, the management, that's all they talked about. They'd play records and say, 'This is a hit record, make something like this.'" (Here's our full Jon Anderson interview
18 different videos of this song (directed by Godley and Creme) were presented to MTV as part of a contest. When the deadline for the entries passed, MTV showed "Version #19."
In the book MTV Ruled the World - The Early Years of Music Video, Yes lead singer Jon Anderson talks about the excitement of filming the video of "Leave It" for MTV: "... a totally surreal sort of video, which I loved. By then, we were number one around the world, so we were immensely famous for ten minutes. That was it. It was, 'Oh, we're going to be upside-down... that's cool! Let's do 17 versions. Oh great, that's amazing!" So there were actually 17 different versions of this video, which is perfect. Anything more abstract really reaches me, because it's something that I'll remember, where sometimes you do a video, and you think, 'Oh, that looks OK,' and ten minutes later, you don't care. But something that's abstract, you can look at it now and think 'That's a damn good video,' because it is different."
Promo copies of the 45 single contained a version with the group singing a capella.
This is one of the few Yes hits lead singer Jon Anderson had no part in writing. It was written by Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire and Trevor Horn, who recorded it with a fourth band member, Alan White, before Anderson rejoined the band. Anderson left the band in 1980, recording as a solo artist and as half of Jon and Vangelis before returning for the 90125 album.
According to Trevor Rabin, the prominent group vocals in this song came about after he and Chris Squire struggled to get a drum sound. When they ran out of ideas for the drums, they decided to work on the vocals, putting those on before the drums. As a result, the voices became the focal point of the song, although it took the band weeks to get them recorded and mixed in the song to their satisfaction.
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