Yes, “Wonderous Stories” from Going For the One (1977): YESterdays

Share this:

On first listen, Yes’ “Wonderous Stories” seems like the runt of the litter next to the rest of 1977’s Going For the One. After repeated listening to the album, however, such an assessment is obviously inaccurate.

This self-produced 1977 project does have a more accessible feeling than its predecessors, and recording engineer John Timperley captures a more airy feel in the songs. However, Yes’ album benefits for more direct hooks and aggressive musical statement. Going For the One is prog rock in its direct and most accessible form.

“Wonderous Stories” benefits for from Yes’ energy and directness with one of the most direct lyrical landscapes tailored by Jon Anderson:

It is no lie I see deeply into the future
Imagine everything
You’re close
And were you there
To stand so cautiously at first
And then so high
As he spoke my spirit climbed into the sky
I bid it to return
To hear your wonderous stories
Return to hear your wonderous stories
Return to hear your wonderous stories

In just three verses and one hook-driven chorus on his second solo composition of Yes’ Going For the One, Anderson brings the listener full circle. And, despite what initially seems to be conventional song construction there are hints of progressive music dripping from “Wonderous Stories.”

Bassist Chris Squire toys with the melody established by Anderson’s acoustic guitar. Squire’s Fender slides in and out of the song, acting as a lead guitar. Steve Howe’s presence is felt as the song builds in intensity. The newly returned Rick Wakeman provides a Arp synthesizer flourish which heightens the song’s mysticism and leads to Howe’s electric guitar outro.

Before you know it, 3:45 have passed and the first Yes single from the album and the opener for side two is over. What more could the world’s greatest progressive rock band have in store? How about “Awaken,” the epic of epics that closes out Going For the One?

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 [email protected]; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Preston Frazier
Share this: