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Yes and the 80s Nonstaglic Hit: Owner of a Lonely Heart

This week’s #SongLyricsSunday theme is “Drifter/Loner/Transient/Vagabond”. The blog prompt was given by the host Jim at A Unique Title For Me. For this week, I was on the fence for which song to pick: Should I pick a song that is well-known or a song that isn’t? I thought for a while and came up with the solution: I wanted to write about a song that I really love. “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.

Yes and “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

Everyone has heard of Yes or their songs once in their lifetime. More well-known in the 70s, this British progressive band had successful albums like The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge. Their signature hit came from these albums: “Roundabout”.

But the 80s came, changing the way how we listen to rock music. Rock became more diverse as sub-genres like punk rock, pop-rock, and new wave were introduced. Because of this, even bands like Yes changed their sound. Yes focused on making their music more commercialized and pop-oriented. The result was 90125 released in 1983. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was the most successful song from the album, charting on the Billboard charts. But also, “Cinema” garnered the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Yes in the 80s

Behind the Scenes of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

Trevor Rabin of Yes
Trevor Rabin

“Owner of a Lonely Heart” was written by then-members Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, and Chris Squire. Their producer and former member at the time, Trevor Horn, had a hand in writing the song. Rabin wrote the basis of the song in 1979 when he wrote it while he was using the toilet. He recorded a demo using an acoustic guitar and a 4-track machine. He then pitched the song to record companies but got rejected. Arista Record owner Clive Davis even said that the song would be “too strange, and would not be a hit”.[1]

By 1982, Trevor Rabin joined up with Alan White and Chris Squire to form the band Cinema. While finishing up their first album, Trevor Horn heard Rabin’s demo of the song while Rabin was using the toilet. Trevor Horn begged Rabin to use the “Owner of a Lonely Heart” on the album as it was the hit the group needed, Rabin refused. Trevor Horn then begged again, this time in front of the members of Cinema. This time was different. The whole band agreed to record.


Trevor Horn of Yes
Trevor Horn

Trevor Horn wanted to change the song up. “Horn pushed for a programmed sound and a drum tone inspired by Stewart Copeland’s tight snare drum on The Police’s Synchronicity”.[2] He also wanted to change the lyrics up. He also changed the song’s genre from acoustic rock to hard rock. By the time original Yes vocalist Jon Anderson joined the band (thus changing the band’s name from Cinema to Yes), Anderson also re-wrote the lyrics as he disliked Horn’s rewrite. This also led the song to change the musical genre once again.

Although the song had a lot of rewrites before the final product was released on 90125, Rabin said he had fun making the song. He clarified who did what in an article for Something Else!: “Jon did add to my lyrics in the verses and deserved what he got, as did Chris. One can hear my development of the song on 90124; sound doesn’t lie. Trevor Horn being allotted a percentage was a thank you for introducing me to the Synclavier, which is one of the keyboards I used on the song and I had not used it before.”[3]

Why I like Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

There is so much to love about the song: that slick guitar introduction, Jon Anderson’s vocals, the chorus, and the lyrics. But what I like best is the lyrics, they are so inspiring. With lines like “You are the move you make” and ” Give your free will a chance”, the message of “Owner of a Lonely Heart” that you make yourself, no one else. You are the one who controls your destiny, who makes the moves in your life. You can’t be shy, take chances if you want to move forward. ” You’ve got to want to succeed” — as my favorite line in the song goes.

As a person who believes in going forward is the best way, I seem to be stuck in one place now. I really want to quit my job in teaching as I really want to change careers. However, I get rejected from most of the non-teaching job positions that I applied to as I don’t have the skills or the experience. It is so frustrating because I want to move upwards. I want to get away from being stuck in one place like so many people are. I might be silly, I don’t want to be most people and want to run away from the negativity that comes from being stuck in one place.

On the other hand, I am also stuck on how to make money off this blog. I have been trying and trying to get this blog off the ground, but it is baby steps. I should join a course or get help, but don’t really to turn to. If you have any good recommendations for blog courses or help, let me know.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart”? What kind of message do you get from the song? Let me know in the comments!

The Lyrics of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

Move yourself
You always live your life
Never thinking of the future
Prove yourself
You are the move you make
Take your chances, win or loser
See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you, and that’s the only way
Shake, shake yourself
You’re every move you make
So the story goes

Owner of a lonely heart
Owner of a lonely heart
(Much better than a)
Owner of a broken heart
Owner of a lonely heart

I know (x3)
Maybe there’s another way to do this

Say – you don’t want to chance it
You’ve been hurt so before
Watch it now
The eagle in the sky
How he dancin’ one and only
You, lose yourself
No not for pity’s sake
There’s no real reason to be lonely
Be yourself
Give your free will a chance
You’ve got to want to succeed

Owner of a lonely heart
Owner of a lonely heart
(Much better than a)
Owner of a broken heart
Owner of a lonely heart

Owner of a lonely heart

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
Look before you leap
Owner of a lonely heart
And don’t you hesitate at all – no no
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

The Rules

If you want to participate, here are the rules:

  • Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
  • Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
  • Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
  • Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
  • Ping back to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
  • Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
  • Feel free to suggest future prompts.
  • Have fun and enjoy the music.

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Yes and the 80s Nonstaglic Hit: Owner of a Lonely Heart


[1] “Trevor Rabin Clears the Air on Yes Owner of a Lonely Heart: I’ve Bitten My Lip for a Long Time.” Something Else!, 20 Aug. 2017,

[2] Red Bull Music Academy 2011, 1:09:59–1:10:40.

[3] “Trevor Rabin Clears the Air on Yes Owner of a Lonely Heart: I’ve Bitten My Lip for a Long Time.” Something Else!, 20 Aug. 2017,

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Jim Adams

    I saw Yes in concert at the Academy of Music, New York, NY, USA on February 19, 1972 just as they were becoming famous. I got the tickets for free and I even got a blind date to come with me.

    1. Nichelle

      The 80’s produced some great music. There was so much variety and it always made for something to talk about.

  2. Anita Alig

    To be honest, I’ve hated this song ever since the day I heard it first. Listening to it again now, I’m afraid I still do.

  3. Stephanie

    I’ve never heard the song or the band before. It’s different music than I usually listen to, but it’s not bad. Reading through the lyrics, it makes me think about how we are the only person to decide our life.

  4. Neely Moldovan

    I have always loved owner of a lonely heart. Such a great car jam!

  5. I’ve actually never heard of “Yes” before 😅 I’m only 23, so that might explain it, but it is strange to think that I haven’t heard of people and/or bands that used to be so well known. It definitely makes me want to expand my musical horizons!

  6. Be Back After

    Unfortunately never been a fan of this one

  7. 80s music has this very characteristic sound, I love it. You hear it and you immediately know it’s an 80s tune. I don’t know this song though. But I like the melody and the beat.

  8. I enjoy this song. I feel like its a classic. I haven’t heard it in awhile though because we mostly listen to Reggaeton music.

  9. Neil Alvin

    Not a fan of this one sorry. Will wait for your new posts.

  10. Nicole Hinrichs

    I’ve never heard this song before but I’m really digging the vibe! I love discovering new music, thank you!

  11. Cindy

    How have I not heard of this group! Love the lyrics.

    I’m sorry you are feeling stuck! I took a great blogging class in January of this year that’s all about monetizing. It helped me tremendously. The instructors also offer some free courses. Here’s a link:

  12. Polly

    I’ve heard this before but I didn’t pay attention to much of it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a few 80’s song but this one… I’m not really familiar.

  13. Flossie McCowald

    “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is def one of my fave songs from this era. But I had no idea of the backstory behind its getting to the form we all know and love -interesting!

  14. Kileen

    Love old but gold songs! Definitely need to add this one to my playlist. Thanks for sharing!


  15. Diana

    This is a beautiful song, love the lyrics. I can see why you like it.

  16. Christa

    I took a blog course about a year ago. I learned so much (but went in knowing almost nothing). I’ve made back the money I invested in the curse and am slowly seeing improvements. But it’s a long process.

  17. joy

    to be honest i don’t think (?) i’ve ever heard this song before. thanks for sharing the back story.

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  18. Arunas

    I like British rock. I remember this song – the music video was shown frequently on MTV. I think, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” is one of the best tracks of Yes’ career.[


    old is gold will definitely update my list thanks for sharing this. I always have something to come back to in your posts thanks for sharing

  20. Melissa major

    love this song, it’s one of my favourites from the 80s! love the lyrics too

  21. Melanie williams

    This is a yes…I know and love this song for sure. Massive fan of this genre xx

  22. Joanna

    This is an iconic song of the 80s that is still played on the radio today. I didn’t know the story behind the song but I always enjoy hearing it.

  23. Dalene Ekirapa

    The message in that song is absolutely amazing! haven’t heard about them but this sure is an inspiring song. ‘Move yourself because you’re the move you make!’ I’ll run with that.

  24. Wren LaPorte

    I love music that is from or inspired by the 80s! I was born in the 80s, maybe that is why! lol

  25. Sarah M

    80’s music has its own beauty. I was born in the ’80s and I didn’t hear ‘owner of the lonely heart’. I was too young to remember this hit.

  26. Whitney Kutch

    The 80s produced such great music – what a great flashback! It was so much fun to listen to this song again 🙂

  27. Liz Bayardelle

    Oh I do so love 80s music. Never really got into yes, but Bon Jovi is the best thing that ever happened.

  28. Oh yeah love this song! Was just listening to it in the car today… humming along!

  29. Kemi

    As a young ‘un lol I love 70s and 80s music and have heard probably 2 of their songs in passing. Not heard this before. I like the lyrics and they had good lyrics back in the day. I sound like my mother now lol.

  30. Viano Dee

    I’ve never heard Owner of a Lonely Heart till now but I think the song encourages people to be the best they can be because what they become is as a result of the choices they make.

  31. Serena

    That 80’s!!! There was something special about that decade eh! This track took me straight there! Great post!

  32. Chesz F

    Oldies songs are really interesting and easy to hear. Nowadays, since the rise of rap everyone could sing. You just have to talk fast and walah you have a rap.

  33. Aliya

    Wow, it was interesting talking a walk down back to the 80’s. I personally didn’t know any of these songs, but I enjoyed them. Thanks for sharing!

  34. TeamRyce

    i’m a fan of 80s and 90s songs but never heard of this before. now i’m curious and been searching for other songs of this band.

  35. Keith

    It is not my first time to go to see this web site. I am browsing this site daily and obtain wonderful information from here.

  36. Roger Freedland

    I cannot thank you enough for the article.Really thank you! Keep writing!

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