Going for the Oneis the eighth studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 7 July 1977 on Atlantic Records. The album was recorded in Switzerland after their extended break for each member to release a solo album and their 1976 tour of North America. It marks the departure of keyboardist Patrick Moraz and the return of Rick Wakeman, who left over differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) to pursue his solo career. Formed of five tracks with no unifying theme or concept, Going for the One saw Yes produce their shortest songs since Fragile (1971). It closes with the fifteen-minute track "Awaken".
Going for the One was a commercial success for the band and received a mostly-positive critical response. It topped the UK album chart for two weeks and peaked at number 8 in the US. Two singles were released, "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One", of which the former peaked at number 7 in the UK. Going for the One has sold over one million copies worldwide, and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. A remastered edition was released in 2003 that contains several previously unreleased tracks from the album's recording sessions.
In August 1975, after touring in support of Relayer (1974) ended, Yes took an extended break so each member could record and produce a solo album. The band's line-up during this time consisted of singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Patrick Moraz. Yes then regrouped and completed a 1976 tour of North America, after which they relocated to Switzerland on tax exile to produce a new album.
During the early recording sessions, Moraz was let go from the band. Anderson thought he "just wasn't playing like he was involved" and his sound not "too good, and that affected his vibe ... it was obvious that he just wasn't getting off on what we were doing". Moraz commented on his exit: "I had to leave because of the enormous psychological pressures at the time within the group ... I felt there were a few things going on that I didn't know ... Unfortunately some people did not play the game fair, although the final decision was taken by all members." The decision was made after Rick Wakeman, who left Yes in 1974 over differences surrounding Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) to pursue his solo career, was invited to contribute to the new album as a session musician by Alex Scott, a business partner of Brian Lane, the group's manager, who also met with Wakeman about the idea of his return.
After Wakeman agreed to see the band in Switzerland, he was surprised to see how much the band had changed since his departure. "To my surprise ... I found that they had changed drastically ... the health-food kick had also changed ... we began relating to each other for the first time. I think we had all grown up and became much more mature. Maybe I had to grow up more than them." He enjoyed the direction the band were taking after hearing a tape with early versions of "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories" which led to his decision to return full-time.
Recording took place at Mountain Studios in Montreux with engineers John Timperley and David Richards. In a departure from their previous four studio albums, engineer and producer Eddy Offord was absent for Going for the One. The album's production duties were completed by the band itself. After constructing extended tracks since 1973, Yes decided to scale things back and record songs that critic and author Chris Welch described as "user friendly". As Anderson described the album's direction:
The album is a kind of celebration, Over the last two or three years we've been experimenting a lot and we're happy to have been given that chance. Any musician should be given the chance to extend his horizons and luckily we've been successful enough to do so. But generally we think of this as a more eventful album. We've come back to a happier medium. It's something we felt we wanted to do at this time. If we wanted another 'Tales' concept we would have gone in that direction, but we needed to relax for a while—a little more laughing and jive.
Wakeman plays the pipe organ at St. Martin's church in Vevey, which was simultaneously recorded through high fidelity telephone lines while the rest of the band played in the studio in Montreux. Wakeman described the experience as "absolute magic." "Awaken" features a choir performed by the Richard Williams Singers whose musical arrangement was directed by Wakeman. Wakeman changed his sound on the album with the use of a Polymoog, a polyphonicanalogue synthesiser, which replaced his traditional use of the Mellotron, Hammond organ, and RMI Electra Piano.
Side one begins with "Going for the One", a track written by Anderson. He explained the song's meaning derives from sport: "Part of the song is about horse racing and there's a little bit on a film I saw about going down the Grand Canyon river on one of those rubber dinghies and there's also a bit in there about the cosmic mind". Howe plays a pedal steel guitar throughout the entire song. "Turn of the Century" is the only track on the album that credits White as a writer. It was originally "a short song", but as rehearsals developed, Anderson "started thinking, 'Let's try to musically tell the story without me singing it,' and then when I do sing it, it'll sound even better." "Parallels" was a track Squire originally wrote for his solo album Fish Out of Water (1975), but it was left out due to time constraints on a vinyl record and that it did not fit with the style of the other tracks.
Side two opens with "Wonderous Stories", a track written by Anderson. The album closes with the fifteen-minute track "Awaken". Anderson gained inspiration for the song after reading The Singer: A Classic Retelling of Cosmic Conflict by Calvin Miller and a book about the life of Dutch painter Rembrandt, which he said affected him "quite significantly".
Going for the One marked a change in the band's style of artwork which was designed by Hipgnosis; they had commissioned artist Roger Dean for the role since Fragile (1971). The front cover depicts a standing nude male figure, with the Century Plaza Towers in Los Angeles, California positioned in the background. The band's "bubble" logo, designed by Dean, is still used.
Going for the One was released on 7 July 1977 and was a commercial success for the band. The album topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks in August 1977 and peaked at number 8 on the US Billboard 200. The album spawned two singles released in 1977; "Wonderous Stories" was released with "Parallels" as the B-side which peaked at number 7 in the UK singles chart. The second, "Going for the One" with "Awaken Pt. I" on the B-side, reached number 24 on the same chart.
In October 1978, Circus magazine reported that the album had sold one million copies. It was certified Gold by the Record Industry Association of America and Silver by the British Phonographic Industry.
In his review for Los Angeles Times, Steve Pond believed the album succeeds because the band had "lowered rather than raised its sights. By going back to basics rather than trying to top its previous 'extravaganzas', Yes has produced its most appealing collection" since Close to the Edge (1972). He praised the "refreshing energy" the album brings, but noted their "kitchen-sink approach to song-writing, throwing everything into a composition but sometimes failing to smoothly integrate the disparate elements".
AllMusic's Ross Boissoneau has described this album as "perhaps the most overlooked item in the Yes catalog ... In many ways, this disc could be seen as the follow-up to Fragile (1971). Its five tracks still retain mystical, abstract lyrical images, and the music is grand and melodic, the vocal harmonies perfectly balanced by the stinging guitar work of Steve Howe, Wakeman's keyboards, and the solid rhythms of Alan White and Chris Squire". He concludes with "Awaken": "the lyrics are spacy in the extreme, but Jon Anderson and Squire are dead-on vocally, and the addition of Anderson's harp and White's tuned percussion round out this evocative track."
Going for the One was first reissued on CD across Europe in 1988. A digitally remastered CD followed in 1994 made by George Marino at Sterling Sound studios. In 2003, Rhino and Elektra Records released a new digitally remastered CD with seven bonus tracks. 2013 saw two remastered "audiophile" versions put out, one by Audio Fidelity for the Super Audio CD format and the other by Friday Music releasing a 180-gram LP using the original tapes.
01 – Going for the one
02 – Turn of the century
03 – Parallels
04 – Wounderous stories
05 – Awaken
2003 reissue bonus tracks
06 – Montreux´s theme
07 – Vevey (Revisited)
08 – Amazing grace
09 – Going for the one (Rehearsal)
10 – Parallels (Rehearsal)
11 – Turn of the century (Rehearsal)
12 – Eastern numbers (Early versión of “Awaken”)
Jon Anderson – vocals, harp, production, arrangement
Chris Squire – bass guitar, vocals, production, arrangement
Steve Howe – acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel guitar, vocals, production, arrangement
Rick Wakeman – Polymoog and Minimoog synthesisers, church organ, piano, production, choral arrangement
Alan White – drums, tuned percussion, production, arrangement
Richard Williams Singers – choir
Sean Davis – disc cutting
Paul Van Der Sonckheyd – disc cutting
John Timperley – engineer
David Richards – assistant engineer
George Hardie – graphics
Alex Grob – photography
Jaques Straessle – photography
Hipgnosis – sleeve design, photography
Roger Dean – band logo design
Brian Lane – executive producer