This was the first Yes album I listened to, and it’s still a revelation to me. I’d been to see Rick Wakeman a few years earlier, I had pretensions of adequacy as a keyboard player and I worshipped at the becloaked keyboard god’s silvery hem, but I’d not gone far into the murky world of Prog Rock. A chance conversation with my then girlfriend’s father led me to his vinyl copies of Going for the One and Tales From Topographic Oceans and a lifetime of verbal abuse from those not in the Prog fraternity.
I’d dabble in other genres of music, but my love of complex harmonies, counterpoint and virtuosic musicianship always led me back to Progressive Rock in general and Yes in particular. I was in awe, in every sense of the word, of Rick, Jon, Chris, Steve and Alan. I was afraid of their ability, it seemed inhuman to me, and still does in some respects. Going for the One, from the playful lyrics and sense of fun in the title track to the esoteric wonder evoked by Awaken via the production brilliance of Parallels, I was hooked.
There are better records out there, with better players, more interesting songs and superior production, but they don’t move me in the same way. The hair stood up on my neck when I listened to the album for the first time, and still does if I’m in the right mood. Listening to Awaken was like stepping into an ancient, alien landscape. I knew I wanted to make music like that.
My ambition has been tempered somewhat by my lack of technical playing ability, I have neglected my duty to practice, leaving my keyboard skills sorely lacking, but I maintain the passion to create music that is different and evokes an emotional and intellectual response. I may not succeed by anyone else’s standards, but I’m having a blast trying.
Thank you Going for the One, you made my life a better place!