"Going for the One" as written by and Jon Anderson....
Get the idea cross around the track
Underneath the flank of thoroughbred racing chasers.
Getting the feel as a river flows.
Would you like to go 'n shoot the mountain masses?
And here you stand no taller than the grass sees.
And should you really chase so hard.
The truth of sport plays rings around you.

Going for the one
Going for the one

Get in the way as the tons of water
Racing with you crashing through the rudder.
Once at the start you can gamble
That you really surely really mean to finish.
After seeing all your sense of fear diminish.
As you treat danger a pure collection.
As you throw away misconceptions.
Going for the one.
Going for the one.
Going for a
Listen in time
Taken so high
To touch to move
Listen to life
Touching touch time
Travel twilight
Taken so high.
Roundabout, sounding out, love you so
Love you so
Love you so

Now the verses I've sang
Don't add much weight to the story in my head
So I'm thinking I should go and write a punch line.
But they're so hard to find
In my cosmic mind
So I think I'll take a look out of the window.
When I think about you
I don't feel low.
N'should I really chase so hard.
The truth of sport plays rings around you.
Going for the one.
Going for the one.
Going for to
Listen in time
Taken so high
To touch to move
Listen to life
Touching touch time
Travel twilight
Taken so high
Taking your time
Turn on to love
Turnstile to one
Tender timing
Rocking rolling
Listen in time
Taken so high
To touch to move
Listen to life
Touching touchtime
Travel twilight
Taken so high
Taking your time
Turn on to love
Turnstile to one
Tender timing
Rocking rolling
Turn on to love
Turnstile to one
Tender timing
Rocking rolling

Moments decide.
Moments delight.
Moments in flight.
Talk about sending love.


Lyrics submitted by K-Wise, edited by maketrax

"Going for the One" as written by Danny Spanos Adrienne Anderson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Going for the One song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIt's about the futility of sports. Chasing a ball around. "The truth of sport plays rings around you." - (Olympic rings reference) Going for number one -The winner, the best. The thrill of it is what matters. The way it makes you feel alive. it gives you a kind of spiritual high.
    Beach Bumon February 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot a bad interpretation, Mr. Beach Bum. I couldn't make heads or tails out of this song at all. Lines like "there you stand no taller than the grass sees" don't make much sense to me. And the third verse is even harder to fathom.
    stevebufoon June 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey Steve, Parts like "Shoot the Mountain Masses" means hunting. "Get in the way as the tons of water Racing with you crashing thru the rudder.' some sort of of boating reference. The "grass sees" thing i think is about being like other animals, using their physical abilities to survive. The rest can be chalked up to Anderson's inability to speak in only cosmic debris.
    Beach Bumon August 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually this song has more to do with the sport of chasing after spiritual salvation. and the feelings of futility that sometimes come with that. in the first two verses hes not riding the horse hes under the flanks trying to get the message through. in the second hes not riding in the boat hes being shot through the tons of water out the rudder. the third verse he truly decides that it is almost humorous the way we chase after salvation. so he writes a puncline.
    from here you stand no taller than the grass sees states how we are no more significant than the grass is on this earth from a higher power point of view.
    downriveron September 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSorry, have to disagree. I don't see it as being about the futility, but about the addiction of sport.
    Going for the one means going for the best. Mountain masses are rapids (shoot the rapids). 'Here you stand no taller than the grasses' means you're the same as everyone else there - in the same boat.
    Should you really push yourself to the limit? That's what sport does to you - it's much bigger than you and runs rings around you. You throw away all concepts of danger and go for it.
    When you think about what you've achieved you don't feel depressed at all. It's really touching life, feeling alive, and as strong a feeling as love.
    Wyrmon February 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI see it more generally as being about wu wei--action without action. Anderson is poking fun at the idea that chasing hard will win you the prize; that instead you should act "as a river flows" (all very Taoist). Sport here is just a metaphor for life, and the final verse pretty clearly makes that point.
    TotalMassRetainon April 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is very special to me. The thing about Yes is they try very hard to inspire the correct emotions through music. Their verses are only an element to what the song is about, but theoretically, taking the words away and the song should still inspire the appropriate emotions.
    In the case of, Going for the One, I always felt that the song is about the beauty of pursuit. The first verse is basically Jon's description of some kind of cosmic high stakes race, and the emotions experienced behind the wheel competing in this race. He takes the racer away from the race objectively and explains in an omnipresent way that what you see as a goal and a win, is merely just a drop in the bucket compared to the grand scheme of things - in fact there are racers out there; perhaps different dimensions that would play RINGS around you.
    Then Jon likes to just throw out some "phrases" that inspire emotions or thoughts one would have while in the climax of a pursuit. However, as we all know; pursuits take very many shapes and forms.
    The final verse takes us back to Jon's room, he's writing this song and he's pursuing the ending. He very much wants to wrap this song up in a perfect way, a great punch line. Taking a step back, a look out the window for inspiration, he realizes that slowing down and taking a moment to let his mind wander, and wander on to someone special in this case, he finds his goal and his punchline. Ever so eager to finish, to succeed, sometimes we need to stop and realize that we place the finish line further or closer to ourselves - if we let nature take its course we may find ourselves gracefully achieving our goals instead of forcing nature to act faster.
    BrianGreenon July 18, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, Yes were approached by the International Olympic Committee about writing music for the 1976 Olympics for interstitial usage and also in commercial "bumpers". I'm not sure of the particulars, but either Yes or the IOC eventually decided to not employ this song and Emerson, Lake & Palmer's version of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare For The Common Man" was employed instead. Gives a new insight into "The truth of sport plays rings around you," doesn't it, especially if you consider them to be the rings of the Olympic emblem.
    KermitProgon February 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou guys are all on acid. Just kidding! We are all friends here, but most Yes Songs lyrics are so recondite or ambiguous at best. It makes my head hurt to ascertain any meaning out of them whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, this band is so great. I bought the Yes Album when I was 13, and have loved them ever since. I have seen them several times in concert, and they are wonderful. Jon Andersons voice, at whatever his age is, is incredibly clear even today. The fact they are still together and at their ages can still tour and play at that high level is very rare considering the sex drugs and rock and roll era they come from. Musically they are virtuoso, and thats what attracted me in the first place. So I gave up trying to get any meaning out of their lyrics a long time ago!
    mark100741on July 23, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about God. But not just God as a separate entity.... it's about the experience of God. But it's even bigger than that.
    Going for the One .... the One is God. (Which is why one should be capatolized by the way). It's about the pursuit of and then the experience of God and then trying to live in that experience of God as a way of being. Like permanently. Other traditions would call it enlightenent or non-dual consciousness.
    So: Would you like to go and shoot the mountain masses.... and here I stand no taller than the grass sees. Can be interpreted this way.... God is the mountain and as you look up and ponder God you may ask Do I really want to engage and climb this mountain.... and here I am.... I stand no longer than a blade of grass.
    So: Should you really chase so hard..... Trying too hard is egoic. It doesn't work.
    Letting go would be more advantageous. Surrender as spiritual practice
    So: The truth of sport plays rings around you. Sport... any sport is Duality. There are winners and losers. Or may be viewed good and bad or right and wrong. Duality. Non dual consciousness.... all are One. No separation. Therefore; Sports may be fun. But for this type of spiritual path the Jon Anderson is talking about... you are just going in circles.
    So: Once you start can you gamble (a bet... are you all in?) can you be sure that you really surely really mean to finish. Because there will be consequences. And huge challenges. And a series of "letting goes". Including perhaps friends and family members. Because you're going to find out about ego.... until you let go of that too, among other constructs.
    So: Your fears will diminish once you reach a point once where your consciousness has progressed such that you realize these "dangers" are a collection of mental projections; meaning they are not real. And you throw away these "misconceptions."
    You're on a profound spiritual path. Life as spiritual practice. Everything... literally Everything belongs on this path. It's all wood on the fireplace. You are going for the One. So in these references: Listen in time. Listen to life. To touch to move (body sensations). Taken so high. (Pay attention... to everything. Your body counts and your desires. However, sensations can and do get in the way. e.g. Jesus talks to the woman at the well "whoever drinks the water I will give them will never thirst" "the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life" )

    So what (the hell) is this: Roundabout sounding out love you so.
    I'm quite sure (like 99% sure) that the lyric here is not Roundabout. Punt Roundabout. In its place put: Not about. So the lyric is this: Not about sounding out love you so.
    Meaning this. On this spiritual path, it is not about sounding out (i.e. saying repeatedly) I love you. Over and over. It's not about that. I'm far from an expert on Love or Unitive Consciousness. But my opinion is that as high a form and experience there is in a truly loving experience between human beings.. this love is higher than that. And the aspirant here is contemplating that. Going straight to God.
    And if he or she reaches that.... then living out this experience. My understanding is that in these traditions that encourage this as a possibility one is God (Jesus for example) or can experience God (Buddha for example or Teresa of Avila). And if you could reach that or were that (God in human form I mean) you would experience everything (Literally) as Love or as an expression of Love.

    So it's a journey to Love. Therefore; Moments decide. Meaning all moments matter. Moments delight. Again all moments matter; such that it's within the realm of possibility that (over time) you may begin to see the difficult periods of life provide the greatest learning opportunities. And therefore these could become (retrospectively) the most delightful as you reflect on your life path.
    Moments in flight. I don't know .... really. However, here's my guess. Those people who reach enlightenment see things as One. It's all One. And some refer to this moment as their moment of Awakening. And In that single moment....Everything changes. And it's permanent.
    And it's all Love.
    My understanding is the some traditions view Love as the Ultimate Reality. In other words Love is what holds the Universe together. And it's the energy that holds everything in the Universe together. The Universe, the Galaxies, our World and the vibrations in all matter and all atoms. Love is what is holding it all together.
    All of these moments talk about sending Love.. The highs and the lows speak to Love. Calling all to Love.

    But I don't know anything. This is my best effort. Clumsily written. And my brain is hurting trying to write what I think Jon Anderson is trying to convey. So I'm not going to edit any more. But,I'd love to ask Jon if I was on track. And if I am. My guess is he wouldn't tell me. Unless I could assure him I'd never tell anyone. Literally. (I would)
    Because people on this path who are having any progress are so grateful and humbled... they don't share this stuff. And; the way I see it, they aren't trying to be "Rock Stars". Talk about Duality. I really admire someone trying to put words to things that are way above what words can convey. But check this out. Check Youtube: Yes Going for the One Live 1977 This is my favorite version. At the end of the song.... the very end meaning the last notes are fading away and the crowd erupts with applause ... what do Jon and the bassist and Rick Wakeman do. Look at it. They turn away. Literally. And fade into the shadows. Love it.

    I could be wrong. %100 wrong. All projection. My story. Just sayin
    david10867on August 30, 2015   Link

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