This is a fantastic piece of music. I’ve managed to avoid the original, by Simon & Garfunkel, so far. The song itself is a little dated, no one has to look for America anymore. It’s the same strip malls full of chain restaurants and stores everywhere.
I have the compilation, “New Age Of Atlantic”, on which this originally appeared . It’s another Malibu house fire survivor. This particular file is a bonus track on the latest edition of “Fragile”.
I lifted the following from Sakalli music blogspot, and it is obviously the same source as wiki, it’s word for word in places, except there it’s stated this came from a session between “Fragile” and “Close to the Edge”. The liner notes on the cd do nothing to clear this up. I’m going with the version included here. Nothing like a little controversy. Keep the comments flowing.
Tony Kaye was replaced by the classically-trained Rick Wakeman, who had just left Strawbs, and proved to be the last piece in the puzzle of the ultimately best line-up of the band. As a soloist, Wakeman proved to be a good foil for Steve Howe. He also brought two vital additions to the group’s instrumentation: the Mellotron (which Kaye had been unwilling to employ) and the Minimoog synthesizer. Surrounded by banks of keyboards, Wakeman’s flowing blond hair and sequened cape provided a strong visual focus on stage.
The first recording by this lineup (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire and Wakeman) was a dynamic ten-minute interpretation of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”, which originally appeared on a compilation album (“New Age Of Atlantic” 1972). The mellotron work (end of track) was actually played by Bruford. It was both the end of one era (their last non-original track) and the beginning of another, showcasing all the elements of the new Yes sound in place.