One of many and probably the best of Roger Dean's album covers for Yes, Tales From Topographic Oceans incorporates (at the band's suggestion) famous English Rocks including the Last Rocks at Lands End, Brimham Rocks, the logan rock at Treen and standing stones from Stonehenge and Avebury. Also included is the Mayan temple Chichen Itza. One of the most evocative album covers in Progressive Rock history and one that perfectly captures the music contained within.
Tales from Topographic Oceans is the sixth studio album by British progressive rock band Yes. It is a double album, released on Atlantic Records in December 1973 in most of the world and in January 1974 in North America.
According to the documentary Classic Artists: Yes, Jon Anderson was originally going to call the album Tales From Turbographic Oceans. He mentioned the title while having dinner with Atlantic CEO Phil Carson, who noted that "turbographic" sounded like "topographic". Anderson liked the word and changed the album title accordingly.
Tales from Topographic Oceans was recorded in studio 3 of Morgan Studios at the same time heavy metal band Black Sabbath was recording their fifth album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, in studio 4. According to Sabbath lead singer Ozzy Osbourne's 2010 autobiography I Am Ozzy the band decorated their recording studio with model cows–complete with electronic udders–bales of hay, and a small barn, to give the room an "earthy" feel.
The album's concept, a two-disc, four-piece work of symphonic length and scope (based on the Shastric scriptures, as found in a footnote within Paramahansa Yogananda's book Autobiography of a Yogi), was their most...