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Music / Fragile

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"In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky, and they stand there."

"I'll be the roundabout
The words will make you out-and-out
I spend the day your way
Call it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley."

Fragile is the fourth studio album by Yes, released on 26 November 1971. It was the first album in which former David Bowie collaborator Rick Wakeman contributed to the keyboards after replacing Tony Kaye (who would in turn become a live player for Bowie), and also the first with the album cover art by illustrator Roger Dean. It was a critical and commercial success, having been certified double platinum by the RIAA.

The track "Roundabout" was released as a single on 4 January 1972 in the United States, where it reached #13 in the Billboard Hot 100, and has since been one of the band's most iconic songs.

Not to be mistaken for Nine Inch Nails album The Fragile


Side One

  1. "Roundabout" (8:29)
  2. "Cans and Brahms" (1:35)
  3. "We Have Heaven" (1:30)
  4. "South Side of the Sky" (8:04)

Side Two

  1. "Five Per Cent for Nothing" (0:35)
  2. "Long Distance Runaround" (3:33)
  3. "The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)" (2:35)
  4. "Mood for a Day" (2:57)
  5. "Heart of the Sunrise" (10:34)

Principal Members:

  • Jon Anderson – vocals
  • Bill Bruford – drums, percussion
  • Steve Howe – guitars, backing vocals
  • Chris Squire – bass, guitars, backing vocals
  • Rick Wakeman – keyboards

Did we really trope to one hundred:

  • Album Filler: As explained in the liner notes, the "solo" pieces were recorded to get the album out the door quickly to pay the bank loan on Rick Wakeman's instruments. Their "filler" is still pretty good, with Steve Howe's acoustic piece "Mood for a Day" considered one of his best. That's how awesome they are.
  • Brick Joke: "We Have Heaven" abruptly ends with the sound of a door closing. At the end of the album, a Hidden Track has the sound of a door opening and (part of) "We Have Heaven" heard again.
  • Cover Version: "Cans and Brahms" is Wakeman's interpretation of the third movement of Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 4 in E minor.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: This is the first Yes album to have artwork by Roger Dean, whose lushly-detailed paintings would become a staple of the band's image.
  • Door-Closes Ending: When Jon Anderson's solo piece "We Have Heaven" ended with the sound of footsteps walking away and then a door slamming. (A hidden track after the last song on the album has the door reopening onto a reprise of "We Have Heaven".)
  • Dramatic Wind: The beginning of "South Side of the Sky" uses this.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Depicted on the back cover.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Heart of the Sunrise" has roughly three and a half minutes of buildup before the first verse.
  • Epic Rocking: Three of the four non-solo songs clock in above eight minutes, with "Heart of the Sunrise" taking up the final ten minutes.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Schindleria praematurus on "The Fish". It's a slightly altered rendition of the scientific name of Schindler's fish (Schindleria praematura).
  • Hidden Track: The reprise to "We Have Heaven", after "Heart of the Sunrise"
  • Instrumentals: "Cans and Brahms", "Five Per Cent for Nothing" and "Mood for a Day".
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Heart of the Sunrise" references Jon Anderson's penchant for Word Salad Lyrics:
    Straight light searching all the meanings of the song
    Long last treatment of the telling that relates to all the words sung
    Dreamer easy in the chair that really fits you
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "Heart of the Sunrise"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "South Side of the Sky", a relatively hard rock song about a group of explorers freezing to death.
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Cans and Brahms", "We Have Heaven", and especially "Five Per Cent for Nothing".
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Roundabout" was used as the ending credits theme to the first season of the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (which covers Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency).invoked
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Jon Anderson overdubbed all of the vocal parts on "We Have Heaven".
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Long Distance Runaround" and "The Fish". So much they are never played without each other in concert.