Olias of Sunhillow

Everyone probably has albums that come and go from their life. Some that touch you in a way that it seems they are indispensible, even if you don’t play them every day. When you realize you don’t have a copy and you need it, you feel lost. I have several of those, and I have at this point triple backup of most of them because I am that retentive.

There is one though, one that I have had and gotten rid of many times. I don’t know exactly why.

Olias of Sunhillow

I first got this from the library in Illinois. I knew about Yes and had heard plenty. So when I saw this in its thick protective mylar sleeve at the library with it’s spacey cover art and crazy song titles I thought that that is what it was. I was part right. Olias is a solo album by Jon Anderson the lead singer of Yes. I wasn’t really prepared for it liking it all that much, but in truth I had plumbed most of the libraries treasures and this one I had passed on several times and so it was inevitable that I get it at some point. The album was a concept album, I think perhaps my first, and I found myself surprised and liking it immediately. It told the story of a man Olias, who was building a ship or glider that he could use to transport and save his people from their planet, which was broken by some catastrophe, to another planet. It was very dramatic, and semi classical and despite being nothing at all like the type of music I was listening to at the time, it really spoke to me. It probably helped that I was into fantasy stories at the time and it reminded me of a story of an epic quest, much like The Hobbit, only with a falsetto voice.


also check this out for pics of the album and the original story by Jon


When I had to return the album to the library, I ended up buying the tape. It became a staple of my nighttime music. I think I spent about 2 months falling asleep to it and the sounds of cars going by in my room in the townhouse in Roselle.

Eventually Olias was replaced by Cygnus X-1 by Rush.

The tape has been lost to history.

A few years later, well, probably 10, Olias crossed my mind and I spent a few days searching all of my music hoards and was perplexed to find that I no longer owned it. A few minutes of searching the internet machine and I had scored another copy. Forgive me. Olias was heard from again. It was different this time. More dated and aged, but now it had a familiarity about it that was charming. I still loved it. I listened to it a few times and then burned it to a CD and it made its way downstairs again… where it was lost, again.

During my recent consolidation of all my music to the 500 GB external I noticed that it wasn’t there. Hmm… missing again. What happens to this thing? I put it from my mind.


Last weekend, I thought about it again. I checked Amazon MP3 and what do you know, they have it.

This weekend, after waking from a dream that reminded me of it, I thought about it again. I grabbed my phone and I bought it for 7.95, probably as much as I paid for the tape back in the 70’s.

It still sounds great. Plus, now it is on the cloud. Never to be lost again.

Fly high Olias.

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