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: 4

  • 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

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Song Cities

Song CitiesMusic Quiz

Nirvana, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen are among those who wrote songs with cities that show up in this quiz.

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

Shaun Morgan of Seether

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.