South Side Of The Sky
by Yes

Album: Fragile (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • When Yes performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2003, lead singer Jon Anderson said, "This is a song about climbing mountains. It's dangerous, but we all must climb mountains every day." The liner notes to the remastered edition of Fragile aren't so optimistic, describing the song as about a tragic polar expedition that ends in death. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Eaton, NY
  • Anderson wrote this song with Yes bass player Chris Squire. Running 8:04, it's one of the epics on Fragile, along with "Heart Of The Sunrise" and "Roundabout." The album is one the band looked back on as a creative peak, thanks in part to their new member, keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who brought a fresh energy. It was also the first Yes album with cover art by Roger Dean, whose bold, ornate artwork became instantly identifiable with the band.
  • Jon Anderson is a student of philosophy receptive to the idea that we have many lives. In "South Side Of The Sky," reaching the top of the mountain represents the end of this life and the transition to the next one.

Comments: 6

  • Shirley Hubbert from Chico,caSouth Side of the Sky is an incredible song throughout. My fav live version is the one from Yes' 35th ann concert... Love the last 10 min!! Its so cool.
  • Mark from Raleigh, NcThe piano riff from the middle part of this piece was actually transcribed in the Yes sheet music available back in the 70s. I learned it from the music. It was one of the few Wakeman licks that every got transcribed. Wakeman did not have the publishing deal with Atlantic that Anderson Squire and Howe had so he didn't receive credit for it back in the 70s.
  • John from Richardson, OkSaw Yes in 2002 and this was the first time they performed this song live. Wakeman couldn't remember how to recreate the piano riff at first but eventually figured it out before their tour began.....I also appreciate the drum beat to this, very cold and deliberate like having to force yourself to march through bitter cold. One of my Yes fav's.
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyA fellow I went to college with (back in the 70's - ouch!) had been a roadie for YES. He said that Jon Anderson told him that this song was inspired by a chapter in The Fellowship of The Ring - The Ring Goes South. I re-read the chapter - don't know if it's true, but as Jamie and Adam would say -Myth plausible. He also said that every member of the band was wonderful - very nice guys. I think Bruford as the drummer.
  • Craig from Henderson, NvThe 4 min. piano rift was the best part of this song. Heavy it may be, but fantasmic it still is.
  • Michael from Oxford, -Who cares what this is about? This has to be the heaviest Yes song ever... particularly if you don't think 90125 counts as a Yes album.
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