I wonder if you will listen to the Yes hit song “Owner of a Lonely Heart” the same way after you learn where the lyrics were written. During his NAMM Oral History interview, Trevor Rabin, the songwriter, and guitarist for the band revealed that he had the song’s musical hook in his mind for a while before the lyrics came to him. Perhaps even more surprising is to learn that those lyrics came to him while in the bathroom of all places. As an educated musician and arranger, Trevor was not sure if the melody for the song was actually any good and he wondered if it was too simple and perhaps not memorable enough. Then, one day while visiting the bathroom, the lyrics came to him all at once and he knew they would be a perfect pairing for that melody. Boy, was he right!
Although Yes first formed in 1968, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was their first and only number-one hit song. The song was released in 1983 as the first single from the album 90125 (the band's 11th album). Making it on the list of the top 100 songs of 1984, Billboard magazine has listed the tune at number eight!
In part, the lyrics read:
After my own indecision
They confused me so
Owner of a lonely heart
My love said never question your will at all
In the end you've got to go
Trevor’s story just shows that it pays to have paper and pen with you at all times!
Trevor tells the story here in his 2018 NAMM Oral History interview.
Dan Del Fiorentino