I’ve Seen All Good People ~ Yes

Yes are an English progressive rock band that formed in London in 1968. Their music is marked by sharp dynamic contrasts, often extended song lengths, esoteric, abstract lyrics, and a general showcasing of its members’ instrumental skills. Yes uses symphonic and other so called ‘classical’ structures with their blend of musical styles in an innovative “marriage” of music. Despite a great many lineup changes, occasional splits and many changes in popular music, the band has continued for nearly 40 years and still retains a strong international following.

The 1970s Yes recordings are still considered the classic Yes sound by many fans. These albums feature complex classically influenced arrangements, unusual time signatures, virtuoso musicianship, dramatic dynamic and metrical changes and oblique, stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Songs often exceeded the standard three-minute pop-song structure with lengthy multi-part suites sometimes lasting 20 minutes or more, making the band a leading 70s progressive rock combo. Vocal verses alternated with atmospheric instrumental interludes, frenetic ensemble passages and extended guitar, keyboard and bass improvisations. The signature sonic features of this ‘classic’ period are Jon Anderson’s distinctive high-register lead vocals, the group’s strong vocal harmonies, Rick Wakeman (and Patrick Moraz) and Steve Howe’s respective keyboard and guitar solos, Bill Bruford’s and later Alan White’s polyrhythmic drumming and Chris Squire’s highly melodic and discursive bass playing, enhanced by the sound of his Rickenbacker model RM1999 bass.

Yes founded the Church of Prog. Its disciples were called mathemagicians. They revered “The King,” but not Presley — Crimson. Their services consisted of mostly instrumental, hour-long songs chock full of synth solos, endless guitar noodlings, medieval themes, and formulaic changes. At the forefront of the mid-’70s Prog Rock movement, Yes’ near-falsetto, three- and four-part harmonies sounded like a stoned Bee Gees on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Roundabout” ensure their place on Classic Rock radio in perpetuity. In a sort of bizarre wrinkle of the time continuum, Yes redirected their falsettos and keyboard prowess to coincide with the 1980s’ New Wave interest in androgyny and synthesizer sounds to score a radio hit in 1983 with “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” And they’re still kicking around today.

I’ve Seen All Good People

“I’ve Seen All Good People” is a song performed by the band Yes and written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. It is included on 1971 The Yes Album. It is said that the song originated from Gary S. Thomas, who commonly remarks on the goodness of people.

The first part of the song, “Your Move”, uses various allusions to the game of chess – such as the phrases “move me onto any black square”, “make the white queen run so fast”, and “the goal is for us all to capture all we want”. It can be attributed to Lewis Carroll’s “Through The Looking Glass”. In looking glass land if you want to be “satisfied” and “on your way” you must walk backwards on life’s chessboard to move ahead. That is “don’t surround yourself with yourself”; i.e. live worry free and “give peace a chance”. This is opposite of what we were taught: fight with might and force to get ahead. Just before the three minute mark of the song, at the final part of “Your Move”, the chorus of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance can be heard in the background.

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I. Your Move

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day
so satisfied I’m on my way.

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.
Make the white queen run so fast she hasn’t got time to make you a wife.

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured
For the queen to use.
Move me on to any black square,
Use me any time you want,
Just remember that the gold (or goal)
Is for us to capture all we want, anywhere,
Yea, yea, yea.

Don’t surround yourself with yourself,
Move on back two squares,
Send an instant karma to me,
Initial it with loving care
Don’t surround
Yourself.

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured
For the queen to use.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit Don’t surround
Didda. Yourself with yourself.
Don’t surround yourself with yourself, Don’t surround yourself.
Move on back two squares,
Send an instant karma to me, Send an instant
Initial it with loving care Karma to me. Don’t surround Yourself.

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured
For the queen to use.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.
Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.

‘Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured.

II. All Good People

I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
Yea, yea.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.
I’ve seen all good people turn their heads each day so satisfied I’m on my way.

  • Audio from the 1971 album, The Yes Album:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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