I’ve seen all good people turn their heads…and cough?

What is it with the progressive rock group Yes and misheard or incomprehensible lyrics?

I don’t know, but here I am writing about the band again after writing first discussing the band and one of its lyrics that my wife misheard back in June of 2008 with the song, “Roundabout.”

Today’s song is “I’ve Seen All Good People,” and not necessarily misheard lyrics, but heard and still wondering what I heard.

A couple of weeks, I was listening to our local classic rock station (yes, we have one and it plays the same damned songs over and over) when I heard the song, one of the five dozen songs it has in its rotation.

To refresh your memory on this classic piece of crap, here you go:

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.

This is how the song begins and how it ends. Is the dude who wrote the song a doctor? Did he mean to say “I’ve seen all good men turn their heads each day (and cough) so satisfied I’m on my way”? He must have a pretty good practice where he doesn’t ever hear anything bad in those coughs.

The song doesn’t get any less muddy after those first lines either:

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.

The foof? What about the black queen? And what if the white king or black king want to make you their bitch, then what?

Let’s continue and see if we can make sense of this:

‘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 goal
Is for us to capture all we want, (move me on), yea,yea,yea,yea,yea (to any black square)

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

I get that somehow there’s a chess metaphor here, but “Initial instant karma with loving care” ? And how do you capture instant karma to put your initials on it? Hmmmm?

Yes doesn’t provide the answers. In fact, after these next couple of lines:

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

The band just descends to repeating what we were thinking the whole time:

Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit didda.                        Diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit diddit…

And keeps repeating different portions of the song on what could have been an endless loop until after almost seven minutes, somebody finally called the whole thing off — thank God!


I did find a site called SongMeanings, where users tried to fathom the lyrics.

Among my favorite comments is this one:

I was really hooked on this song a couple of weeks ago, and I was talking to my dad about music in general and he brought up this song as well. He said he used to get real drunk and drive home listening to this, and he’d always wait until it finished before he got out the car and went to bed, and that would complete the night for him. It’s truly a beautiful song, and will be etched upon my memory as long as it has been on my dad’s

The emphasis is mine.

If his dad had been so drunk, how could he even remember the song? And I’m surprised his dad is still alive after driving drunk all those times.

My last favorite comment on that page is:

I heard that Jon Anderson wrote this song after having an acid trip about life being like a game of chess.

Maybe if I took some acid, I’d understand it.  Maybe this weekend.

Sort of like you have to smoke a lot of weed to understand Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie. Got it.

Cooooool, baby. Cool.

I’ll get back to you after this weekend, dudes and dudettes.

7 responses to “I’ve seen all good people turn their heads…and cough?

  1. All Yes songs sound the same to me, and make no sense.

    One big progrock mess.

    I like Yes. I’ve seen them live (don’t judge) but tell them to STOP. They’re practically mummies.

  2. Thank you for confusing me all the more. And I didn’t think that was possible.

    On another note, why did we not become songwriters? We could all be rich and famous, and still not make any sense whatsoever!!!

    • unfinishedrambler

      Wow. I’ve read your blog. I didn’t think that was possible either.

      I don’t know why we didn’t become songwriters. Hmmm…maybe we could start up our own company?

  3. The singer is a pervert. End of analysis.

  4. I didn’t think the song could make LESS sense with the lyrics printed out, yet it does.

    Ah well. Our generation has yet to explain The Safety Dance, so I guess we’re even.