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Heart of the Sunrise by Yes

Album: FragileReleased: 1972
  • The final track on the Fragile album, "Heart of the Sunrise" was written by Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire. Running 10:34, it takes up about half of side 2. In our interview with Jon Anderson, he singled it out as one of his favorite Yes compositions, and explained how it was conceived for live performance. "'Heart of the Sunrise' is a great piece," he said. "One of the things that was always important for Yes was to create music for the stage to perform, not to make a record. We were very lucky to go in the studio and make records, but our main game was to put on a show and entertain the audience, and in doing so we put that into the record. So by '71, '72, we were stretching our wings to do longer-form pieces on stage. I got into this whole thing about doing a 20 minute piece, because in those days you could only have 20 minutes on each side of an album. If it had been 30 minutes, it would have been a 30 minute piece."
  • A complex piece with various time signatures and a classical influence, this is one of the songs in the Yes discography that shows off their virtuosity. Jon Anderson told us: "I'd been listening a lot to Stravinsky at that time, who was quite an amazing composer, and the band were fans of modern music at that time. Weather Report and bands like that were doing far reaching jazz-rock influenced music. So we were jumping into different structural composition."
  • The vocals don't come in on this song until about 3:40 in, giving it one of the longest intros in Rock history.
  • This is a very spiritual song for Jon Anderson, who has talked about how it gives him a feeling of completeness and "rings true to my chakra energy, my consciousness." The Earth and the cosmos are where Jon gets a lot of his inspiration and energy, which is reflected in this song.
  • Bassist Chris Squire wrote the main riff of this song, which Steve Howe thought was influenced by the King Crimson track "21st Century Schizoid Man." Squire has said it is among his favorite Yes tracks. "It was the most complete but precise example of what Yes was doing," he said.
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