Tempus Fugit
by Yes

Songfacts®:

  • With the departures of Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, Yes was reduced to three members in 1980: Chris Squire, Alan White and Steve Howe. They started working on this song before adding Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn to the lineup.

    Downes and Horn were the nucleus of the Buggles, and were originally brought in just to work on one song. The group ended up poaching them to replace Anderson and Wakeman, and they joined in the songwriting for the Drama album. Many fans rejected this new incarnation of the group, but the album held up well in retrospect.
  • "Tempus Fugit" tells a vague story of a frantic search to reunite with a loved one. The images are a bit disconnected, but they flow with the music, which has lots of energy and is really the star of the show, especially when they played it live.
  • The title, which doesn't show up in the lyric, is Latin for "time flies." In a Songfacts interview with Geoff Downes, he explained why: "Because the pace of the song is so fast, that was all about the title. It's an extremely fast pace. The title almost picked itself."
  • This is a very affirmative song, with the word "yes" repeated many times. Trevor Horn had some concerns about saying the band's name over and over, but the song ended up being a highlight of their live shows when they toured for the album. The crowd reaction made him feel better about joining the band - a tough decision because he's not so comfortable on stage and was replacing the group's beloved lead singer.

    Despite the live success of this song, the group couldn't keep it together. They broke up in 1981, then got back together with Anderson in 1983. Downes and Horn were not part of that lineup.

Comments: 1

  • Rick from PhiladelphiaThis is the best Yes song not sung by Jon Anderson.
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