Psst! Wanna interpret some Yes lyrics?

I never gave those lyrics much thought until I went to my most recent Yes concert last summer. They were doing All Good People and then it struck me: It’s about a chess game! I couldn’t believe I never noticed that before! The lyrics have been covered pretty well on this thread already; I just had to share. I’ve never seen the lyrics to that song written down, which might be why I’ve never given them a whole lot of thought.

I wanted to respond to the drug reference theories, though. While it’s true that Jon Anderson is responsible for Yes’s most out-there lyrics, I wouldn’t attribute them to drugs. Anderson is known for his clean living, keeping himself substance-free, eating organically, vegetarian, and avoiding even caffeine and alcohol. It was even a source of friction between him and Rick Wakeman, who ate meat and drank beer. I don’t know for sure who wrote Roundabout, but if it was Anderson, I’m sure it wasn’t an LSD-inspired tune. It was Anderson, who’s an hallucinogen all by himself. (Yes fans, on the other hand, can be a different story…)

I love Yes. I have every album they ever made. Jon Anderson is weird, and something of a flake, I guess, but the guy rocks.

And if their lyrics aren’t impenetrable for you, there’s always Duran Duran…
Seriously, I’ve never been able to make sense of any of their songs.

No, I think it’s saying “even good people turn their heads so as not to see others in distress, so they can continue on their way in their self-satisfied world”.

To expand on my last post: When Yes recorded Your Move, they were a band rising on the steep hill of fame, making their debut album with a major label contract. They were “on their way” to success, and they must have seen a combination of admiration and envy on the faces of others.

So why use that thought to frame Your Move? To me the juxtaposition contrasts the world’s valuation of material success with Anderson’s personal valuation of success in love.


Good luck! Anderson’s lyrics were always rather opaque. That was always part of the fun!

Sighting our vision Ranyart will precision us
from all our points to our destined recall
and shall all but rejoice to it all.[/quuote]
From “Olias of Sunhillow”

Meh. Damn quick reply! Trying again.

From “Olias of Sunhillow”

What a wonderful album that is. And with the story being printed inside the cover, you don’t have to worry about interpreting the cryptic lyrics.

Been there, done that.

No one gave me any really compelling explanations either.

Bloody hell.

::kicks board::

umm, One More Time. Thread re: “Your Move”

It’s not interesting enough for 3 tried, it’s the principle of the damn thing at this point. This link is absolutely going to work.

::holds gun barrel to monitor screen::

Hold down the morning
Hold down the river that comes into view
Warm side the tower
Feelings reveal the heartspoken khatru.

Huh? :confused:

Phrase to translate: Word
Translate from/to: 2004 to 1974
Result: Right on!


I’ve been listening to Yes for more than 30 years. I’m extremely familiar with almost every word, but I’ve always assumed the lyrics were more about the sounds than the meanings. Oh, I knew that Your Move referred to chess and Alice, but I never thought to look for the depth that Biffy and Walloon have very impressively found.

Now what can we make of Yours is No Disgrace, also on the link in the OP?

The best I can come up with is that it has something to do with a losing weekend in Vegas.

And what about Turn Round Tailor, which is almost subliminally woven into Cord of Life on the Close to the Edge album:

All I can say is, whisky tango foxtrot?!?

Aw, you’re just jealous because you don’t get fun homework! :slight_smile:

Thanks, everyone, for your help, especially Walloon and Biffy.

When I hear “don’t surround yourself with yourself, move on back two squares” I think of a king side castle - where the king moves two squares to the right behind his pawns, and the rook is moved to the square left of the king, and thus the king is surrounded by his own pieces. Typically it’s the safe move.

eh, actually it doesn’t matter what side you castle on.

Love that one, and it almost makes sense.

I looked this up once. Khatri are apparently a kind of guard, if I remember right. The word comes from some Turkic language, which logically puts them in Siberia, but I don’t remember which language. The lyrics are typically incomprehensible; maybe a sympathetic look at the Mongol hordes? Probably not, unless Jon Anderson was going for the notion that deep within even these vicious raiders beat soft, human hearts. Which sounds like something he’d say.

I don’t know if khatri are the product of a more civilized Turkic state, though. I’m fuzzy on this. Which I guess suits most Yes lyrics.

What? Since when?

Great album, alright. I always thought it had a Tolkienesque, or rather High Elvish air about it. I always identified Olias with Earendil.

but I never owned the vinyl album. I had it on tape, and the story explanation got lost long ago. Then I got the CD, whose case insert was so cheap that the printing in it was illegible.

Tell me the story, Biffy? Pretty please? <<bats eyelashes>>