Yours Is No Disgrace
|"Yours Is No Disgrace"|
|Single by Yes|
|from the album The Yes Album|
|Length||9:41 (album version)|
"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 some continental European countries such as Italy and the Netherlands. In Italy the song was divided between the A-side and B-side. In the Netherlands it was released as a maxi single, backed with "Your Move" and "Sweet Dreams". The song has been a regular feature of Yes' live shows. It has also appeared on many live and compilation albums, including Yessongs, Classic Yes and Yesstory.
The opening track off The Yes Album, "Yours Is No Disgrace" clocks in at nearly ten minutes. According to Allmusic critic Dave Thompson, the length and complexity of "Yours Is No Disgrace" was tester for Yes' lengthy songs over their next few albums, most notably "And You and I," although he states that "at the time of release, however, it was unique – and, listened to in isolation today, it remains so."
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). 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. Author Bill Martin describes "Yours Is No Disgrace" as "a remarkable and subtle song about the Vietnam War." The lyrics make their point by contrasting the suffering of the soldiers in Vietnam with people partying in Las Vegas. Thompson praises the line "On a sailing ship to nowhere" as "[conjuring] a mental image that the music cannot help but echo." 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. However, this does not appear to have impacted the overall anti-war interpretation of the song.
The song begins with a staccato introduction, which builds tension right away. 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. This is followed by Howe's guitar riffs, which have been described by various critics as both joyous and menacing. Howe built up the guitar parts using overdubs, which was a new experience to him. Howe stated that he created "a 'studioized' solo because it was made up in different sections. I became three guitarists." Ultimate Classic Rock critic Ryan Reed describes Howe's playing as "a masterwork of staccato crunch, frenetic lead twang and jazz-rock sizzle." 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. Village Voice critic Robert Christgau also praises Howe's playing on the song. Howe has stated that his guitar solo on the song is one of his favorites because it was the first time he was able to overdub his parts in that manner. Tony Kaye was against the idea of using any kind of synthesizers out of studio, so early live videos show no Moog, and Jon Anderson was forced to handle Kaye's parts on the Dewtron "Mister Bassman" bass pedal synthesizer. Later, when Rick Wakeman joined the band, he took over main riff on MiniMoog during 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."
- Jon Anderson – lead vocals, percussion
- Chris Squire – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Steve Howe – electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Tony Kaye – Hammond organ, Moog
- Bill Bruford – drums, percussion
- Welch, Chris (2009). Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857120427.
- Thompson, D. "Yours Is No Disgrace". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- 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.
- Yes (1996). Yesstories: Yes In Their Own Words. MacMillan. ISBN 9780312144531.
- Martin, B. (1998). Listening to the Future: The Time of Progressive Rock, 1968-1978. Open Court Publishing. pp. 199–200. ISBN 9780812693683.
- 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.
- Stump, Paul (1997). The Music's All that Matters: A History of Progressive Rock. Quartet Books Limited. p. 103. ISBN 0 7043 8036 6.
- "10 Heavy Yes Songs That Are Surprisingly Great". Society of Rock. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
- Reed, Ryan (18 May 2022). "The 10 Heaviest Yes Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
- Simonelli, D. (2012). Working Class Heroes: Rock Music and British Society in the 1960s and 1970s. Lexington Books. p. 168. ISBN 9780739170533.
- Christgau, R. "Yes". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 16 August 2014.