Bubble letters and the 70’s go hand in hand, but the band, Yes, created music that is historically important and impressive. I want to take you back to the contentious Vietnam wartime where the country was incredibly divided.
War vs No War.
The youth fought for military desertion and others fought for loyalty, completion, and success. Music played an important role in the political divide. The band from England, Yes, created a rock tune that made many take notice and musically consider changing the narrative.
The song, “I’ve Seen All Good People” was a song broken into two parts. The first, “Your Move”, was written by lead singer Jon Anderson and the second, “All Good People” was written by bassist Chris Squire. The entire song was an impressive 6:53 time, worrying radio stations trying to play it.
On the first part, Anderson explained he was using the game of chess in the song as a metaphor for life’s spiritual challenges.
“Life is a game of strategically placed situations presented to you, and you have to learn to live with them and work with them,” he said. “Doors are open and sometimes they’re closed. It’s the idea that we are surrounded by a spirit or god or energy is in time with our understanding of who we are.”
“Move on back two squares” is a chess term meaning to retreat and rethink your position. Perhaps it references the war, or maybe it is simply tonal poetry.
Yes was also admiring what John Lennon was creating at the time. So, Yes included ‘instant karma’ in the lyrics as homage to Lennon’s song with the same name, as well as a background chorus of “give peace a chance” to musically pressure change and play on another of John Lennon’s tunes.
We can dissect the song, consider every lyric, contemplate the social impact, or simply appreciate the beauty of a classic rock song that is timeless with lyrics which may even have meaning today.
Check it out.
Yes-I’ve Seen All Good People