In late 1976, the band travelled to Switzerland and started recording for their album Going for the One at Mountain Studios, Montreux. It was then that Anderson sent early versions of "Going for the One" and "Wonderous Stories" to Wakeman, who felt he could contribute to such material better than the band's past releases. Moraz was let go, after Wakeman was booked on a session musician basis. Upon its release in July 1977, Going for the One topped the UK album charts for two weeks and reached number 8 in the US. "Wonderous Stories" and "Going for the One" were released as singles in the UK and reached numbers 7 and 25, respectively. Although the album's cover was designed by Hipgnosis, it still features their Roger Dean "bubble" logotype. The band's 1977 tour spanned across six months.
Tormato was released in September 1978 at the height of punk rock in England, during which the music press criticised Yes as representing the bloated excesses of early-1970s progressive rock. The album saw the band continuing their movement towards shorter songs; no track runs longer than eight minutes. Wakeman replaced his Mellotrons with the Birotron, a tape replay keyboard, and Squire experimented with harmonisers and Mu-tron pedals with his bass. Production was handled collectively by the band and saw disagreements at the mixing stage among the members. With heavy commercial rock-radio airplay, the album reached number 8 in the UK and number 10 in the US charts, and was also certified platinum (1 million copies sold) by the RIAA. Despite internal and external criticisms of the album, the band's 1978–1979 tour was a commercial success. Concerts were performed in the round with a £50,000-central revolving stage and a 360-degree sound system fitted above it. Their dates at Madison Square Gardens earned Yes a Golden Ticket Award for grossing over $1 million in box office receipts.