"Siberian Khatru" is the third and final song on progressive rock band Yes' album Close to the Edge. Live versions of the song are found on the Yessongs, Keys to Ascension, and Live at Montreux 2003 albums, and it also is on several compilation albums. It is notable for being the only song on Close to the Edge that is not a multi-part suite. However, Siberian Khatru contains several separate melodies, tones, and sections in the tradition of progressive rock. An interesting live version appears on the groups' 2-disc album set Yessongs which is preceded by Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky.
The word 'khatru' was apparently invented by Jon Anderson. Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is an acknowledged influence on the song.
Siberian Khatru begins with an introductory guitar riff, after which the main instrumental theme (played by the keyboards) is introduced, a four-measure phrase consisting of three bars in common time (4/4) and the last bar in 3/4, some say it's in 15/4 time. This theme is repeated until the verse section begins. The lyrics start at about 1:05. The song progresses through various sections, featuring solos by Steve Howe
and Rick Wakeman
. There is a polyrhythmic
section featuring the guitar, playing in a meter of 12, and bass and drums playing in a meter of 8. The conclusion is similar to the introduction, returning to the main instrumental theme with a guitar solo on top of it.
Musicians inspired by "Siberian Khatru"
, the guitarist of Red Hot Chili Peppers
has cited the guitar solo at the end of "Siberian Khatru" as the main influence for his own guitar solo on the 1999 Red Hot Chili Peppers
song Get on Top
"I was thinking about Steve Howe's solo at the end of Yes' "Siberian Khatru". The band sound is really big-and they're playing fast-and then this clean guitar comes out over the top. It's really beautiful, like it's on its own sort of shelf. For 'Get On Top', i wanted to play something that would create a contrast between the solo and the background."