by Yes

Album: Going For The One (1977)
Play Video


  • Running 15:38, Yes frontman Jon Anderson tells us that the song is one of their "really epic pieces of music that would hold 20,000 people in the balance."

    It's a spiritual song where Anderson is singing to what he calls "The master of our existence." These themes of enlightenment and seeking your higher self are a touchstone of Anderson's lyrics.
  • Jon Anderson got the idea for this song after reading the book The Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict by Calvin Miller. The book tells the story of God through the eyes of a troubadour.
  • Keyboard player Rick Wakeman rejoined Yes for the Going For The One album and is a key contributor on this track. He played the church organ that comes in near the end of the song - and he actually played it in a church. The cathedral was about 10 miles away from the studio, so his part was recorded over a telephone line. This would be ghetto production in America or England, where church sounds were typically recorded in the church (see: "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel), but Yes recorded the album at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, where the phone lines had spectacular clarity. Instead of using a mobile recording unit, they simply rented a phone line for the day and recorded it in the studio.
  • Yes guitarist Steve Howe wrote the music for this song, and Jon Anderson wrote the lyrics and worked on the arrangement. Keyboard player Patrick Moraz was still with the band when the song was conceived, and he claims that he had a hand in writing it. Moraz says you can hear similarities in his song "Time For a Change," which was released on his solo album Out in the Sun shortly before Going For The One came out.

Comments: 7

  • Detlev Hauth from BaliBest song ever!
  • Jake from OregonIn the summer of ‘77 there were two mega concerts coming to Madison Square Garden which we could not wait for; one was Zeppelin the other was Yes. Our gang of 14 year olds from suburban New Jersey were kinda out of control sometimes. We got very drunk one day and smashed a sliding glass door in a dumb accident. (Thank God no
    one injured!)
    My father did not usually discipline very much but this time I got sort of grounded. I could only go to one of the concerts, not both.
    We worshipped Zeppelin, but to my friends big surprise I choose to go to the Yes concert - “Going for the One Tour”. Heard all that great album and Steve Howe playing his Yours is No Disgrace solo note for note with the Yessongs album. Unbelievable show.
    It’s true that Zep ended tour shortly after New York due to tragic loss of Robert Plant’s son and never again returned to tour in the US. But I never regretted my choice. Going for the One a zenith album - one of the best of the 70’s.
  • Harry from Northern ArkansasThis song is, in my opinion, the capstone of the band's years together. Not taking anything away from Moraz, but Wakeman was transcendent on this song, as were all the members. I prefer Bill Bruford to Alan White, as well, but both were wonderful drummers for the band. I saw them perform this in the round and at the final notes of Steve Howe's guitar at the end of the song, there was silence in the audience. No one made a sound, every person wanting to hear those last beautiful notes. And only then, did they all stand and applaud. I swear I saw people crying in the audience and I'm sure I was one of them, as I still can shed a tear even now over this song. The audience that night was made up of people as young as early grade school all the way to people who were easily in their 70's. It was a concert I shall never forget, and Yes will always be one of my favorite bands of all time, if not my #1.
    And now, I am 64 and every time I hear this song, it makes me shake my head in awe, and I love most everything they have done.
    I have been a Yes fan since the early 70's but I agree with the other comments, THIS was the one they were going for.
  • Rabbi Jonathan D Klein from Los AngelesThis song is my awakening to the majesty of Yes. Agree with John from Bristol, this IS the one they were going for.
  • Terrieann from Salt Lake UtahOrigin as l band came back together in late 1970's oakland california concert my 1st Yes experience - round stage circling all night we had view of all. We all were one with the music the entire concert we were communion with brilliant heavenly music captivated by spirit as one. Most spiritual concert ever attended bedides Santana long time ago 1970's were great many were fine tuning maturity with growth in spiritual brought into physical. Were blessed with our eras music during this time.
  • John from BristolThis is their best song. The one they were going for.
  • Rich from Bellevue, WaThis song contains my very favorite guitar solo ever. Just brilliant.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Tim McIlrath of Rise Against

Tim McIlrath of Rise AgainstSongwriter Interviews

Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath explains the meanings behind some of their biggest songs and names the sci-fi books that have influenced him.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Adam Duritz of Counting Crows

Adam Duritz of Counting CrowsSongwriter Interviews

"Mr. Jones" took on new meaning when the song about a misguided view of fame made Adam famous.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.