Into The Lens
by Yes

Album: Drama (1980)
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  • Drama was the first Yes album without Jon Anderson on lead vocals. Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman had quit the group the previous year over various creative and financial disagreements. In their place stepped Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes - better known as principal members of the Buggles, of "Video Killed The Radio Star" fame. So, the incarnation of Yes that recorded this album and song was essentially a merger of the two groups.
  • The song's title is never mentioned in the lyrics; the chorus instead features the refrain, "I am a camera." The song is about memories - some vanish quickly but others are indelible, as if shot with a camera.
  • In a Songfacts interview with Geoff Downes, he said: "That was one of the songs we took into Yes when we first met up with them and they asked us to write some stuff. It was effectively just a small, four-minute pop song. And of course, they opened it up and treated it as an epic that became 'Into The Lens,' which is about 10 minutes long on the Drama album. It was quite fascinating to put a song like that in and see how those guys treated it, and how the sections developed."
  • The unlikely merger of Yes and Buggles turned out to be short-lived, disbanding after their 1980 tour as each member moved on to other projects. Horn and Downes returned to the Buggles to record that group's follow-up album, Adventures In Modern Recording. Among that album's tracks is an abbreviated and reworked version of this song, under the title "I Am A Camera." Downes left the Buggles before that album was finished to join Steve Howe's newly formed supergroup Asia. Horn was able to complete the album without Downes, but it tanked, leading to the Buggles' demise and Horn's career change from a recording artist to strictly a producer. Meanwhile, Chris Squire and Alan White tried to form a supergroup of their own. They approached Jimmy Page and Robert Plant about forming a new band that would have been called XYZ ("ex-Yes and Zeppelin"). Plant was not interested, so instead Squire and White formed a new group named Cinema. By 1983 Cinema had evolved into a new incarnation of Yes, complete with Jon Anderson back on lead vocals - and none other than Trevor Horn as their producer. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - Twin Cities, MN
  • Appropriately, Yes made a music video for this song, which is mostly studio performance footage but also includes a shot of Trevor Horn overlayed on a body of water as he sings. It has pretty good production value for 1980.

Comments: 5

  • Luis from San Juan, Puerto RicoOf course, someone should have taken in consideration the Lady of Shallot conclusion arrangement and used it in Into the Lens musical introduction.
  • Luis from San Juan, Puerto RicoFor me, and maybe if you do some listening, Chris Squire heard the final arrangements of "Lady of Shallot" from an Israeli group called Atmosphera that sounded like Yes. They were youngsters and they recorded only one LP. Listen to the complete song or to minute 15 of and you will hear the introductory musical concept of Into the Lens... They recorded this album in 1975 and for me they had musical virtuosity. The singer sounds like Anderson, and the drummer is really Brufford alike.
  • Bob from Oakland, Ca"I am a Camera" is the title of a play by John Van Druten. That play was later the basis for the musical "Caberet."
  • Steveb from Spokane, WaThis is around the time(or a little later than) when Yes' lyrics became either much too literal, very corny, or most of the time both.
  • Adrian from Brookings, SdDrama is probably a better album than Tormato before it, but I just can't get past it. Yes is not Yes without Jon Anderson on vocals! And the whole "I am a Camera" is just as cheesy as "Don't Kill the Whale" or "Circus In Heaven."
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