Five Per Cent For Nothing
by Yes

  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Yes drummer Bill Bruford wrote this instrumental about the management of the group. They get 5% for essentially doing nothing. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington
  • Each of the five members of Yes contributed one track of their own design to this album. Bill Bruford created this, which was played by the entire group with percussion instruments. "The Fish" was created by Chris Squire using only the bass guitar. Steve Howe did "Mood For A Day" as a solo guitar piece. "Cans And Brahms" was arranged by Rick Wakeman, and he played all the parts as well. Jon Anderson sang all the vocal parts in "We Have Heaven" himself. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Randy - Chicago Heights, IL
  • The liner notes for the album describe this song as "a sixteen bar tune by Bill Bruford, played twice by the group, and taken directly from the percussion line."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 7

  • Billy from Palm Harbor, FlI had always assumed that the song was "filler", as in the song consumes 5% of the overall time of the album.

    (I just realized while typing this that an Upper Case 5 on the keyboard is the % symbol. Something else to ponder...).
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaThis song was originally going to be called "Suddenly Its Wednesdey"
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaA truly crazy song.....short but good!
  • Jessica from Oxford, EnglandI wonder if Yes can rememeber writing these words when presenting Roy Flynn with a gold Dunhill lighter in 1969:-
    'To Roy Flynn,who has done more for us than anybody else in the business. We hope this small gift will enlighten you as much as you have enlightened us'
    ...six months later he was dumped.
    If the real truth were known, Yes would be a NO NO! I wonder if they realise how lucky they have been?
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaBill had Steve, Chris, and Rick play their instruments as if they were percussion instruments, thus turning the band into one percussion ensemble. You can hear glimmers of his future jazz fusion arrangement style here.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaThe story behind the title is that Yes's original manager, Roy Flynn, was dumped from the band shortly after "Time and a Word" was released in 1970. Flynn was a good nightclub manager, but the band needed someone who really knew the business, like Brian Lane. They eventually worked out a contract where Flynn would receive 5% of their earnings for his early efforts. According to Flynn, he never saw a single cent of it.
  • Jonathan from Ann Arbor, MiMy friends and I always joke about this song. If we have nothing to play, we'll go "hey lets play five per cent for nothing!" and we'll all just start doing a bunch of random stuff. I have grown to like this though. Although it may be strange, it is certaintly interesting and can really give you ideas. Keep it up Bill!
see more comments

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Kim Thayil of SoundgardenSongwriter Interviews

Their frontman (Chris Cornell) started out as their drummer, so Soundgarden takes a linear approach when it comes to songwriting. Kim explains how they do it.

Fire On The StageSong Writing

When you have a song called "Fire," it's tempting to set one - these guys did.

Amanda PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Call us crazy, but we like it when an artist comes around who doesn't mesh with the status quo.