45 years ago, Yes released their eighth studio album, an LP which took them to the top of the UK charts for their second time in their career and provided them with their fifth consecutive top-10 album in the US.
Self-produced by the band themselves, Going for the One was recorded at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, and – as has often been the case with Yes albums – featured a change in the band’s lineup.
The LP marked the departure of keyboardist Patrick Moraz and the return of Rick Wakeman to the ranks of Yes, but – perhaps more importantly for the portion of the group’s fanbase who’d grown weary of epic-length concept albums – it also found the band writing songs which, with the notable exception of “Awaken,” were under 10 minutes in length for a change…and although it’s not as if there needs to be any sort of defense for the 15 minutes and 38 seconds of “Awaken,” you can always just chalk it up to Yes enjoying the opportunity to deliver a suitably grand finale for the album.
Once upon a time in an interview with author Chris Welch, Jon Anderson described Going for the One as “a kind of celebration,” citing the album’s success as having resulted from the members of Yes having had the chance to go their separate ways, exercise the opportunity to pursue solo endeavors, and return creatively refreshed and ready to work within the confines of the group dynamic once more. Wakeman, meanwhile, revealed within the pages of Dan Wooding’s book, Rick Wakeman: The Caped Crusader, that he made his decision to re-enter the fold because he met up with Yes in Switzerland, “found that they had changed drastically,” and “we began relating to each other for the first time.”
Sadly, those relations weren’t destined to last for the long haul: Yes’s next album together, Tormato, proved to be the last for Anderson until 90125, with Wakeman sitting things out until the massive Yes amalgam known as Union in 1991. But for the purposes of our discussion today, what matters most is that Going for the One proved to be a tremendous creative and commercial success, hitting #8 on the Billboard 200, topping the UK charts, and actually providing Yes with two hit singles in the UK: “Wondrous Stories,” which hit #7, and the title track, which landed at #24.