The Gates of Delirium
by Yes

Album: Relayer (1974)
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Songfacts®:

  • Running 21:55, this was a band composition credited to Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Patrick Moraz, Chris Squire and Alan White. Anderson wrote the lyrics to go along with the music. The song describes a battle, with a prelude, a charge, a moment of victory, and a peace.

    "It's about the tribalism between warring factions, and who is the dominant country, the dominant energy at that time," Anderson explained in a Songfacts interview. "It was at the end of the Vietnam War. We were learning about the unbelievable destruction that was done to the Vietnamese, and for what?"
  • The song was written with live performance in mind - the band admits that it didn't translate all that well to a recording. Jon Anderson mentioned it to Songfacts as one of his favorites to play live, and explained: "The record company didn't know what to do with it, but we did, because we were performing it on stage and that was our legacy, to be able to go on stage and perform this music that would never be heard on radio."
  • A variety of homemade sound effects were used on this song, which is something their keyboard player Patrick Moraz encouraged, as it was something he did with his band Refugee. According to drummer Alan White, many of the sounds were made with items they picked up at a junkyard.
  • Alan White and Jon Anderson built a tree of percussion made out of car parts from some of the pieces of metal they'd picked from the scrapyard. White recalled to Uncut magazine September 2014 of the battle between keyboards and drums that concludes the song: "When we were recording that live, it got to the point where it got really ridiculous, so I pushed the whole tree and it fell over in the studio – we kept that on the album."

Comments: 1

  • Michael Mcbay from Los Angeles CaliforniaExperiencing YES so many times - peforming this song "The Gates of Delirium" (and all of their incredible music) live on stage, has been among the deepest, the most vivid and the most fulfilling of the many spiritual experiences of my life. Thank You Dear God For Your Mercy and Grace.
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