Five Per Cent For Nothing
by Yes

Songfacts®:

  • 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
  • For the Fragile album, each member of Yes contributed one track. Drummer Bill Bruford created "Five Per Cent For Nothing," 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."

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

Editor's Picks

George Harrison

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in Rock

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Angelo Moore of Fishbone

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17

Martyn Ware of Heaven 17Songwriter Interviews

Martyn talks about producing Tina Turner, some Heaven 17 hits, and his work with the British Electric Foundation.

Famous Singers' First Films

Famous Singers' First FilmsSong Writing

A look at the good (Diana Ross, Eminem), the bad (Madonna, Bob Dylan) and the peculiar (David Bowie, Michael Jackson) film debuts of superstar singers.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.