Yes: “Long Distance Runaround”

YEAR: 1972

ALBUM: Fragile

WRITER: Jon Anderson

The B-side of “Roundabout,” which reached number-13 on the Billboard Hot 100, it became an AOR staple on its own.

Fragile was the first Yes album to feature the talents of the band’s then-new keyboardist, Rick Wakeman. The band’s former singer, Jon Anderson, recalls how Wakeman inspired the arrangement for “Long Distance Runaround.” “I would walk into a studio and hear Rick going Duh-duh-duh-dum Tuh-tuh-tuh Duh-duh-duh-dum Tuh-tuh, just on his own in the corner. And I’d say, ‘Rick, play that again.’ And then Steve would be there. ‘Could you play that with him? Because I’ve got this song,’ and I’d start strumming this song. And it’s a song about the confusion, really, of religion – ‘Long distance runaround, looking for the light.’ And then Chris would just do very simple bass parts. And when we started to do the recording I said, ‘Let’s just keep it very, very simple, but use that hook as the guideline.’”

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman is thought to have played his first show with Yes in Leicester, England 45 years ago today (September 30th, 1971), though some sources say it was six days earlier in Devon, England.


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