Tales from Topographic Oceans is the sixth studio album by British progressive rock band Yes. It is a double album, released on Atlantic Records in December 1973 worldwide and early January 1974 in North America.
The album is the most controversial album in Yes's discography, and possibly in the entire history of progressive rock. The album's concept, a four-piece work of symphonic length and scope (incidentally based on the Shastric scriptures, as found in a footnote within Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi), was their most ambitious to date.
The album was released when "prog" was at the height of its popularity – with bands such as Genesis, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and the earlier albums of Yes, but is cited as a key to the genre's subsequent decline in popularity. For critics of progressive rock, the album exemplified everything that they considered wrong with the genre; the popular music magazine Melody Maker summed the album up in one word: "No." A similar reaction in Rolling Stone and others. The abstruse concept and extended execution were the main targets of the album's critics, who argued that too much musical padding had been employed with little in the way of a proper concept or lyrics to back it up. In this way, the album perhaps played a significant role in paving the way for the punk rock bands of the mid 1970s, epitomized by The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, by forfeiting a large chunk of the momentum that had been built up by the group's previous three studio albums.
Conversely, some critics and fans were enthralled by the album's sheer ambition and depth, lending Tales from Topographic Oceans an equal measure of critical approval that has stretched to this day.
Jon Anderson – lead vocals
Chris Squire – bass, vocals
Steve Howe – guitars, vocals
Rick Wakeman – keyboards
Alan White – drums, percussion
Concept and lyrics by Jon Anderson and Steve Howe. Music credited to Anderson, Howe, Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Alan White.
1- "The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)" – 20:25 (original album) (22:22 on 2003 remaster)
2- "The Remembering (High the Memory)" – 20:38
3- "The Ancient (Giants Under the Sun)" – 18:35
4 -"Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil)" – 21:37
Tales from Topographic Oceans (Atlantic 80001) reached #1 in the UK. It also reached #6 in the U.S. during a chart stay of 27 weeks.