Yours Is No Disgrace

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"Yours Is No Disgrace"
Italian single cover, with part 1 on the A-side and part 2 on the B-side
Single by Yes
from the album The Yes Album
B-side"The Clap"
ReleasedJune 1971[1]
StudioAdvision, London
GenreProgressive rock
Length9:41 (album version)
Official audio
"Yours Is No Disgrace" (2008 Remaster) on YouTube

"Yours Is No Disgrace" is a song by English progressive rock band Yes, which first appeared as the opening song of their 1971 album The Yes Album. It was written by all five members of the band: Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye and Bill Bruford. The song was also released as a single in Italy and the Netherlands. The song has been a regular feature of Yes' live shows.[2] It has also appeared on many live and compilation albums, including Yessongs, Classic Yes and Yesstory.[3]

The opening track of The Yes Album, "Yours Is No Disgrace" lasts for nearly ten minutes.[3] According to AllMusic critic Dave Thompson, the length and complexity of "Yours Is No Disgrace" was a tester for Yes' longer songs over their next few albums, most notably "And You and I," although he says "at the time of release, however, it was unique – and, listened to in isolation today, it remains so."[3]


According to Edward Macan, "Yours Is No Disgrace" "is generally recognized as Yes' first antiwar song" (though "Harold Land" from their debut album deals with the subject of war).[4] Anderson has stated that the theme of the song was recognition that the kids fighting the war had no choice but to fight and that the war wasn't their fault.[5] Author Bill Martin describes "Yours Is No Disgrace" as "a remarkable and subtle song about the Vietnam War."[6] The lyrics make their point by contrasting the suffering of the soldiers in Vietnam with people partying in Las Vegas.[7] The music critic Dave Thompson praises the line "On a sailing ship to nowhere" as "[conjuring] a mental image that the music cannot help but echo."[3]

The original words "armies gather near" (confirmed in every recorded live version) have been misprinted as "armies scatter the earth" numerous times, suggesting this may have been a mis-transcription in the first published version, as the album cover itself did not include lyrics.[citation needed]


The song begins with a staccato introduction, which builds tension right away.[2][3] The introduction's main riff was contributed by Jon Anderson, and was the subject of an argument in the band since some of the other members thought it was overly derivative of the theme music for the TV series Bonanza.[8] This is followed by Steve Howe's guitar riffs, which have been described by various critics as both joyous and menacing.[2][3] Howe built up the guitar parts using overdubs, which was a new experience to him.[9] Howe stated that he created "a 'studioized' solo because it was made up in different sections. I became three guitarists."[9] Ultimate Classic Rock critic Ryan Reed describes Howe's playing as "a masterwork of staccato crunch, frenetic lead twang and jazz-rock sizzle."[10] Author Dave Simonelli remarks that the "jagged but simple related pattern of chords" that Howe plays are developed in a manner analogous to a symphony.[11] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau also praises Howe's playing on the song.[12]

Howe has stated that his guitar solo on the song is one of his favourites because it was the first time he was able to overdub his parts in that manner.[5] Tony Kaye was against the idea of using any kind of synthesizers out of the studio, so Jon Anderson handled Kaye's parts on the Dewtron "Mister Bassman" bass pedal synthesizer for live performances. According to Yes biographer Chris Welch, the vocals by Anderson and Squire "exude a sense of optimism as if all past battles are finally over and nothing can now stop the band's musical odyssey."[2]

Track listing[edit]

Italy (1971)

1."Yours Is No Disgrace (pt 1)"4:45
2."Yours Is No Disgrace (pt 2)"4:50

Netherlands (1971)

1."Yours Is No Disgrace"3:15
2."The Clap"3:07

Netherlands (1972 re-issue)

1."Yours Is No Disgrace"5:40
2."Your Move"3:28
3."Sweet Dreams"3:42



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yes singles".
  2. ^ a b c d Welch, Chris (2009). Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857120427.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, D. "Yours Is No Disgrace". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  4. ^ Macan, E. (2013). "Yes: Redemption Through Gnosis". In Friedman, J.C. (ed.). The Routledge History of Social Protest in Popular Music. Routledge. p. 132. ISBN 9781136447297.
  5. ^ a b Yes (1996). Yesstories: Yes In Their Own Words. MacMillan. ISBN 9780312144531.
  6. ^ Martin, B. (1998). Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock, 1968-1978. Open Court Publishing. pp. 199–200. ISBN 9780812693683.
  7. ^ Chambers, S. (2002). Yes: An Endless Dream of '70s, '80s and '90s Rock Music : an Unauthorized Interpretative History in Three Phases. GeneralStore. pp. 21–22. ISBN 9781894263474.
  8. ^ Stump, Paul (1997). The Music's All that Matters: A History of Progressive Rock. Quartet Books Limited. p. 103. ISBN 0-7043-8036-6.
  9. ^ a b "10 Heavy Yes Songs That Are Surprisingly Great". Society of Rock. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  10. ^ Reed, Ryan (18 May 2022). "The 10 Heaviest Yes Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  11. ^ Simonelli, D. (2012). Working Class Heroes: Rock Music and British Society in the 1960s and 1970s. Lexington Books. p. 168. ISBN 9780739170533.
  12. ^ Christgau, R. "Yes". Retrieved 16 August 2014.


  • Dimery, Robert 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die New York: Quintet Publishing Limited, 2005. ISBN 9780789313713
  • Covach, John Rudolph and Boone, Graeme MacDonald Understanding Rock: Essays in Musical Analysis New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0195100050

External links[edit]