William Scott Bruford, Jon Anderson, Steve James Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alec Johnson and Maxwell Dominic Bacon wrote a song reflecting on the dawn of the nuclear age for Britain and its announcement to aboriginal peoples in Western Australia.
It’s from the album Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe released in 1989.
I chanced upon it while going through some of my CDs and was delighted to once again here a batch of progressive rock brought by members of the group Yes. Brought back fond memories of a concert long ago, Anderson, ever the elf, leaping about stage and lifting an impossible tenor in song after song, Bruford driving an otherworldly drum beat, Howe bringing leads from a guitar that prickles the spine and Wakeman showcasing what electronic keyboards can bring to a tune.
Here’s the background of the tune: In 1954 the British Government, to become the third nuclear power, in order to maintain the balance of power between East and West, exploded their first atom bomb at Woomera, in Western Australia. They failed to contact all of the aborigine peoples at the time. The aboriginal people still call this “the day of the cloud.”
Jon Anderson’s voice rises clear of the rest of the sound, a clear bell carrying the message.
This place ain’t big enough for red and white.
This place ain’t big enough for stars and stripes.
This place… this place…
This place is theirs, by their birthright.
This human tide, give it some.
We can break the ties
Of recent changes.
Know the ones who
Hold the key.
Singing out the congregation.
We are them and they are we.