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Tales from Topographic Oceans

Front cover of Yes' album
"Tales From Topographic Oceans".
Artwork by Roger Dean

Tales from Topographic Oceans is a double album by British progressive rock band Yes released on Atlantic Records in 1973.

Table of contents
1 Track listing
2 Commentary
3 External links

Track listing

Tales from Topographic Oceans has a total running time of 81 minutes and 15 seconds spread amongst four tracks, all of which are at least 18 minutes in length:

  1. "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)" (20:27)
  2. "The Remembering (High the Memory)" (20:38)
  3. "The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)" (18:34)
  4. "Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)" (21:36)


Tales from Topographic Oceans is perhaps the most controversial of Yes' early albums and a major departure from their previous release. It is generally regarded as the point where the positive critical reception built up by Yes' previous three studio albums declined (according to some, dramatically), although the album itself sold well, reaching #1 in the UK album charts. Many felt that this concept album lacked enough material for its playing time (it was inspired by a single footnote in Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi which vocalist Jon Anderson had read). The album was famously disliked by Yes' keyboard player Rick Wakeman, who left the band following its release. Shortly before this he had famously eaten a take-away curry on stage whilst the band were performing the work in order to show his disdain for it. He did, however, rejoin Yes in 1977 for their album Going For The One.

Topographic Oceans is often held up as an example of all that is felt by many to be wrong with 1970s progressive rock, being described with adjectives such as 'directionless', 'pretentious', 'self-indulgent' and so forth. Not long after its release, the album was often refered to in a derogatory manner by several of the punk rock bands that emerged at least partly as a reaction to what was perceived as the out-of-touch and atrophied nature of much 'dinosaur' rock music at that time.

A 2003 CD reissue of the album includes previously unavailable studio rehearsals of two songs.

External links