Released 14 December 1973
Recorded August-October 1973
Genre (s) Progressive Rock, Symphonic Rock
Length 81:15
Label (s) Atlantic
Producer Yes, Eddie Offord
Close to the Edge
Prog Archives

Tales from Topographic Oceans is the sixth studio album by the progressive rock band Yes.


Jon Anderson was fascinated by the thought of Paramahansa Yoganada after he had read Autobiography of a Yogi, and, together with Howe, decided to create a concept made by four long compositions based on the four Shastra scriptures: Shruti (knowledge), Smriti (memory), Puranas (truth) and Tantras (war between good and evil). The recording took place at the Morgan Studios in London, where Black Sabbath were recording Sabbath Bloody Sabbath in the September of the same year, and the sessions featured the presence of the drummer Alan White, called to substitute Bill Bruford. Although the band prepared decorations to make the studio similar to the countryside in order to inspire the compositions, Wakeman was not particularly enthusiast of the project and spent a lot of time in studio with Black Sabbath; his disliking towards the album continued after the release, and brought him to to left the band after the promotional tour.

Release and ReceptionEdit

After the success of the previous two albums, there were great expectations among fans and critics for the new Yes's album, which ended up arousing a big disappointment: before the release, the band presented a preview of the album with a gig at the Rainbow Theatre in London, dividing fans and critics between those who were amazed of the new bombastic compositions and those who felt the music was uninspired, focused on the complexity of the musical architecture rather than the feeling. However, this didn't interfere with the success of the double LP, which became a golden disc with the only prenotations, and reached the n.1 positions in the English sales and the n.6 position on Billboard. The tour to promote the album was succesful and was characterized by magnificent scenographies and special effects: the band used to appear on stage going out from a tunnel and White played drums in a big shell. In this period the conflict between Yes and Wakeman grew in worse because the keyboardist couldn't stand the new musical direction and the vegan habits the band had taken during the recording, and at the end of the tour Rick lef the band.

Tracks and ComposersEdit

All music composed by Anderson/Howe/Squire/White/Wakeman

Vinyl: Side A:

  • The Revealing Dance of God (Dance of the Dawn) - 20:25 (lyrics: Anderson, Howe)

Side B:

  • The Remembering (High the Memory) - 20:38 (lyrics: Anderson, Howe, Squire, White, Wakeman)

Side C:

  • The Ancients (Giants under the Sun) - 18:35 (lyrics: Anderson, Howe, Squire)

Side D:

  • Ritual (Nous sommes du Soleil) - 21:37 (lyrics: Anderson, Howe)

2003 CD reissue

Disc 1:

  1. The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn) (with original intro restored) - 22:22
  2. The Remembering (High the Memory) - 20:38
  3. The Ancients (Giants under the Sun) - 18:35

Disc Two:

  1. Ritual (Nous sommes du Soleil) - 21:37
  2. Dance of the Dawn (studio run-through) - 23:35
  3. Giants Under the Sun (studio run-through) - 17:17