Yes, “Heart of the Sunrise” from Fragile (1971): YESterdays

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Love comes to you and you follow
Lose one on to the heart of the sunrise
Sharp distance
How can the wind with its arms
All around me

What a brilliant start to one of Yes’ most played songs. Following two solo compositions, 1971’s Fragile closes with an epic composition by Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire. Actually, the song contained many musical contributions from keyboardist Rick Wakeman, as well; he was not included in the writing credits due to contractual issues.

“Heart of the Sunrise” also incorporates the musical concept of recapitulation, the process of using previous portions in music later in a composition.

Bill Bruford’s contribution to “Heart of the Sunrise” ranks among the best from his tenure in the band. He leads the track through two different time signatures, even as he’s surrounded by intricate inclusion of electric guitar, Hammond organ, piano, Moog synthesizer and mellotron. Chris Squire’s opening bass explosions and the interplay of Steve Howe’s electric guitar are legendary.

Producer Eddie Offord is able to tie together these seemingly disparate pieces into a classic moment. The world’s greatest progressive rock band builds all this around a lyrical concept about the power of the sun — or is it the feeling of being lost in a city?

Whatever “Heart of the Sunrise” is about, it represents Yes at the peak of their powers.

Preston Frazier’s YESterdays is a song-by-song feature that explores the unforgettable musical legacy of Yes. The series runs every other Tuesday.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at
Preston Frazier
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