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This is the first song of four on a double album. Lead singer Jon Anderson based the lyrics of these songs on part of Paramhansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi. Yogananda was an Indian guru who came to the US and taught Eastern spirituality to his followers, including many self-realization techniques. The passage in the book describes the four part Shastric scriptures - texts which not only take care of religion and social life, but also of medicine, music, art, architecture.
The song is about the dawn of light, thought, our power, and of love, to the creation and beginning all of the good things which bring happiness to our lives. That these wonderful forces seem to have been lost by the human race through their own negligence. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for above 2)
Jon Anderson is a lover of nature, and he wanted to record the Tales From Topographic Oceans album outdoors in a woodland area north of London. He envisioned a makeshift studio in a tent, capturing the sounds of the woods on the recording. His bandmates nixed the idea, so Anderson showed up at the sessions with bales of hay, trees, and cardboard cutouts of animals which he placed around the studio.
When Yes toured in support of Tales From Topographic Oceans
, they played all four sides of the double album, straining the attention of some listeners with a full blast of new music, but delighting others who relished in seeing the album brought to life.
This song in particular was one of Jon Anderson's favorites to perform. He told us
: "People would just sit there and listen for 20 minutes each time, and feel the energy at the end of the piece. We were so convinced about the music, we played it like it was a symphony, and then we finished the piece totally exhausted."
As the tour progressed, the set list was altered to include some of the band's old favorites. It was a trying time for keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who left Yes after the tour.
This song runs 20:23, and that was after the edit. Steve Howe says that in its original form, the song lasted 28 minutes, but they had to make cuts just so it would fit on vinyl. He says that he and Jon Anderson considered this song the "accessible" part of the album.
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