Yes Sir, I Will

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Yes Sir, I Will
Yes Sir I Will.jpg
Studio album by Crass
Released 1983
Recorded 1983
Genre Anarcho-punk
Length 43:53
Label Crass
Producer Crass
Crass chronology
Christ The Album
Yes Sir, I Will
Ten Notes on a Summer's Day
Alternative covers
Cover of the remastered 'Crassical Collection' rerelease
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]

Yes Sir, I Will was the 5th and penultimate album released in March 1983 by anarcho-punk band, Crass. The album was essentially a bitter and virulent attack on then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her government in the aftermath of the Falklands War and was set nearly wholly over a raging and an almost free-form improvised backing provided by the group's musicians.[2]

Many of the lyrics from this album are extracted from Penny Rimbaud's extended poem Rocky Eyed. The original vinyl release contained no banding between songs, thus presenting the contents as one long piece split over both sides, making it the longest punk song ever recorded (the CD release was tracked by individual song).[3]

Rimbaud summarised the album in an interview to Radio Free France :

The boundaries increasingly ceased to have any relevance - prior to the Falklands War, one naively believed that there were separations between 'this' and 'that' and that if you dealt with 'this' then you could do 'that'... like songs - each song had its own little separate thing to deal with and Yes Sir, I Will is a statement about the fact that there isn't any separation - that it's all one and the same thing, that there is no single cause or single idea - there's no-one else to blame but yourself. That you can't say, "Well let's now concentrate on the Northern Ireland problem", "let's now concentrate on the problem of sexual relationships"... you can't do that - everything now is one major problem and that problem stems from yourself.[4]

Sleeve notes for the album include parts of Rimbaud's article The Pig's Head Controversy that originally appeared in the Crass-produced magazine International Anthem.[5]

The title of the record is ironic, taken from a news cutting reporting a conversation said to have taken place between Charles, Prince of Wales, and a badly burned soldier (Simon Weston) who had returned from the Falklands; "Get well soon," the Prince said. And the heroic soldier replied "Yes sir, I will".[6] Rimbaud, commenting on this, has said, "That was the hook. That was such an audacious thing to do at the time. Especially given that one had to feel compassion for Simon Weston."[7]

The album has an extreme disparity between the aggression of the music and the peacefulness of their message. In an interview about the nature of the anger that often crossed between passion and aggression on the album, Gee Vaucher said :

If you're going to rant and rave or be angry about anything, one does it because you have a vision of the opposite. We've worked the way we have done for the last seven years because it seemed that people weren't informed about what was happening in the world on a simple basis, especially a lot of young people. The feeling I got from a lot of young people was that there was something drastically wrong with the world - technically they didn't know how that was operating and obviously we've offered them information which hopefully gave them the possibility of deciding for themselves, and a broader outlook on their own lives.[4]


A film made by Crass member Gee Vaucher to accompany Yes Sir, I Will was shown at the UK National Film Theatre's Stuff the Jubilee festival of punk films in 2002, and the track was remixed in 2002 by Rimbaud to incorporate additional jazz instrumentation provided by the jazz instrumentalists, Ingrid Laubrock (saxophone) and Julian Siegel (double bass), to augment the original performance.[8]

The 'Crassical Collection' version of this release, including new artwork by Vaucher, remastered sound and liner notes by Steve Ignorant and Rimbaud, was released on May 17, 2011. The reissue also contains a second disc (entitled Why Don't You Fuck Off?), which has Rimbaud's 2002 remix of the album, featuring Laubrock and Seigal.[9]



  • "Be warned! The nature of your oppression is the aesthetic of our anger" - Crass, Yes Sir, I Will album cover (1983)
  • "You must learn to live with your own conscience, your own morality, your own decision, your own self. You alone can do it. There is no authority but yourself." - Crass, Yes Sir, I Will (1983)
  • "The listener experiences and shares the performer's exhaustion as voices crack, the beat wanders, energy flags and returns" - George McKay describing the album in Senseless Acts of Beauty (Verso, 1996)


CD release[edit]

No track titles appear on the original releases - these titles are taken from the Crassical Collection edition.

  1. "Step Outside" and "Rocky Eyes" (5:30)
  2. "Anarchy's Just Another Word" (2:36)
  3. "Speed Or Greed" (1:00)
  4. "The Five Knuckle Shuffle" (2:08)
  5. "A Rock 'n' Roll Swindler" (6:47)
  6. "Burying The Hatchet" (5:41)
  7. "Taking Sides" (20:08)

'Crassical Collection' re-issue track listing[edit]

Note that the tracks on disc 1 are cut up incorrectly. This track list assumes that it uses the original cuts from the 1990 CD. Disc 2 is cut up correctly.

Disc One - Yes Sir, I Will[edit]

  1. "Step Outside"
  2. "Rocky Eyes"
  3. "Anarchy's Just Another Word"
  4. "Speed Or Greed"
  5. "The Five Knuckle Shuffle"
  6. "A Rock 'n' Roll Swindler" and "Burying The Hatchet"
  7. "Taking Sides"

Disc Two - Why Don't You Fuck Off?[edit]

  1. "Birth Of A Notion"
  2. "Step Outside"
  3. "Rocky Eyes"
  4. "Anarchy's Just Another Word"
  5. "Mouthing The Words"
  6. "The Five Knuckle Shuffle"
  7. "A Rock 'n' Roll Swindler"
  8. "Taking Sides"


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Glasper, Ian (2007). The Day the Country Died: A History of Anarcho Punk 1980 to 1984. Cherry Red Books. pp. 61–62. ISBN 1901447707. 
  3. ^ "CRASS Yes Sir I will". Southern Records. Southern Records. 
  4. ^ a b Berger, George (2008). The Story of Crass. Omnibus Press. pp. 244–245. ISBN 978-1-60486-037-5. 
  5. ^ The Pig's Head Controversy
  6. ^ Mark Titchner (9 April 2009). "Mark Titchner's top 10 songs about liberty". Whitechapel takeover. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Phil Newall (20 June 2011). "Crass 'Yes Sir, I Will'". Louder than War. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Anarcho-punk legends' free jazz odyssey". Record Collector Mag. 
  9. ^ "CRASS Yes Sir I will". Southern Records. Southern Records.