Starship Trooper
by Yes

Album: The Yes Album (1971)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song is divided into three parts:
    I. "Life Seeker"
    II. "Disillusion"
    III. "Würm"

    The entire band contributed bits to the song, but lead singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and guitarist Steve Howe got the writing credits. Anderson wrote the lyrics for the song and assisted with the theme and overall composition; Squire wrote the music for "Disillusion," and Howe wrote "Würm," which is an instrumental that ends the piece.
  • Starship Troopers is the title of a 1959 science fiction novel written by Robert Heinlein, which was the basis for a 1997 film. The book has nothing to do with the song, excepting the title, which Jon Anderson thought was great. When we spoke with Anderson in 2013, he explained: "I just like the idea of Starship Trooper being another guardian angel and Mother Earth. The third verse was all about, 'you know who I am, just take care of my soul.' So it was as though I was writing about my search for truth and search for an understanding of what God truly is."
  • There are many references to nature in this song, including "Sister Bluebird" and "Talks by the water." When we asked Jon Anderson if there was a specific place that inspired the song, he replied: "I think it was more to do with in the days of the '60s, when there was a lot of energy about being a hippie, being a spirit, a force to love, peace. All that kind of energy that came from The Beatles. So there was always that feeling you would sit down with friends down by the lake. You sit together and you would say how beautiful life truly is, and that love is all we need. So when I'm singing it, I'm always thinking about my brothers and my sister. I have two brothers and a sister. Then I think about my family, my son and my daughters.

    So it's interconnected with the realization that the most peaceful place is down by the lake, down by the river close to water. I think that has something to do with our ancient evolvement as human beings. I know that whenever I sing that - and I sing that at every show - I'm always thinking about my family, my connection with the Royal family, the oneness of being and things like that.

    I know it's a far cry from what you see on the TV and what you read about, but there are billions of people out there that are all connected on the same level, and no matter where I go, there are people that are just so wonderful. I've traveled quite a lot, and no matter where I go, people are the same everywhere."
  • A lot of work went into arranging and recording this song. Using a 16-track tape machine, producer Eddie Offord would take pieces from various takes to craft the song. Steve Howe's guitar solo was two different takes combined, alternating between the best parts of each. This created an interesting panning effect on the final product.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 25

  • Chad from Dm, IaPerfection, no more, no less. Every time I put this song on I have an emotional reaction. The entire song is perfect from beginning to end. You could not change one note and make it better. The way it changes and builds is phenomenal. Wurm kind of gets to me, I have one of two reactions: i either violently play air guitar/drums/bass all at the same time while leaping around like an idiot because i just cannot control myself; or I have tears in my eyes due to the sheer beauty and perfection. The only bad thing about the song is that it ends.
  • Michael from EnglandLove the guitar solo at the end like a slow train getting faster and faster, brilliant for running to.
  • Paul from Chicago, IlThis tune came on the radio just as a friend and I got in his car. The song started as we drove from point A and when we arrived at point B it was over. We
    didn't say a word from A to B. When we exited his vehicle we looked at one another and said " Did you get in to that!!" That was the year it first made the airwaves. Went to see YES for the first time all these years later. And they did not let me down. Wonderful concert.
  • Mariana from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaI think that song is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard. the whole song is fantastic, but the "würm" part is simply amazing, the guitar of Steve is perfect. and the cd "the yes album" is my favourite of the band
  • John from Melbourne, AustraliaI particularly like the cross-imaged soloing at the end. Two different guitar sounds brought forward in the production alternately - from memory I'm pretty sure the non-dominant solo continues in the background anyway while the other channel is to the fore.
  • Liz from Wilton, NhThe middle part of Starship Trooper (acoustic guitar w/the vocal duet) is directly adapted from a section of their earlier song "For Everyone." (Check out the BBC and Millennium compilations.) It's circa 1969, with Peter Banks on guitar -- and a surprise in the middle! Suddenly Chris Squire takes lead vocal and sings the now-familiar line "Lonliness is a power that we possess..." with Jon Anderson shifting to harmony. Great fun, hearing what they re-used later on in its original form. And I for one think Chris Squire had a lovely voice.
  • Rick from Mount Ephraim, Nj"Würm" originally evolved from a song called "Nether Street" by Steve Howe's earlier group Bodast. While "Wurm" (without the umlaut over the "u") means "worm", the Würm is a river in Germany.
  • Rick from Mount Ephraim, Nj"Würm" originally evolved from a song called "Nether Street" by Steve Howe's earlier group Bodast. While "Wurm" (without the umlaut over the "u") means "worm", the Würm is a river in Germany.
  • Hilarleo from Berkeley, CaSpeaking of books, here there is an obvious- literal- literary connection here.
    But just what does this song have to do with Heinlein's "Starship Trooper"?
  • Erica from Barrington , IlLove this song. Heard it a dream I had when I was in high school. I could not figure out who made it. Then one day my Physics teacher gave me a Yes cd to listen to. I heard Heart of the Sunrise & Starship Trooper. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard it. How can a song like this play in my head in a dream & not even a week later I hear it on the radio. I guess I'm just weird like that

  • Michael from OxfordThis is my favourite song by my favourite band that few if any of my friends have ever heard of... I'm 16 and it's a shame that people tend to listen to stuff that gets old almost instantly.
  • Mike from Stratford, CtHello to all the Yes fans out there. Starship Trooper was always one of my favorites as well, unbelievable live. An amazing group of musicians (classic lineup: Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman, Bruford). Was pumped in '77 when Wakeman came back. Another great one (among many): Heart of the Sunrise.
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzThere are several great LIVE versions of this song. The first was from "Yessongs". The others are on "anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe" and "Keys to Ascension". There might even be one on the "house of Blues" live album. Each one has a different take on "Wurm" but they all rock!
  • Lester from New York City, NySaw these guys in '71, opening for Humble Pie and Black Sabbath. Ozzy got sick and Sabbath didn't play. Yes did all the songs from The Yes Album and encored with The Rascals "It's Love". Humble Pie had just released 'I Don't Need No Doctor', as a single, and did a 3 minute version of the song.
  • Jon from Pittsburgh, PaThis was the 1st (so called) Hard Rock Group back in the day I ever saw in concert. Starship Trooper when I 1st heard it I knew it would be a classic at least in my house. It in fact was the 1st live song I ever heard & every time I hear it,it brings back so many good memories. I just wish we were to be able to go back to that time even for just a little bit for that reason.
  • Wayne from Crockett, TxIf you like great bass guitar, then Starship Trooper should be on your top ten list.
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaWurm is evolved from a song by Steve Howe's former band Bodast called "Nether Street."

  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaThis is strange, But alot of YES songs remind me of books, and, the books have NOTHING to do with the songs! This song, starship trooper, reminds me (has anyone heard of R.L Stine?) of R.L Stines' new book seires...And the song, Ritual, Reminds me of the (Heard of Darren Shan?) Darren Shan's Cirqe Du Freak Seires!! its wierd....
  • Patrick from Des Moines, IaI've always like the Disillusion part with the acoustic guitar but Yes is most definitly my favorite band
  • Alex from Cave Creek, AzIn reference to Anderson,
    not JOHN
    JON!
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaThis is the first album that steve Howe did with yes. And he shows us in wurm what a fantastic job he can do!! :D
  • Max from Sydney, AustraliaYes did a fantastic job in this all of it good. and at the last part of the song (wurm) thats my favourite part in the song and i don't think anyone could do that for 4 mins!
  • John from Vancouver, Canadadeffinetly there best song. Steve Howe is a great guitar player. this song is awsome to just to get lost in. one of my favourite songs
  • Justin from Albany, NyI Love Yes and this is by far one of their best songs. Their sound is so much different than anything I have ever heard and this is one of the reasons why I like them so much.
  • Marlon from Nyc, NyAmazing lyrics, amazing solo , amazing music. This song is perfect, a great tune to get lost in. I love the figuritive language.
see more comments

Reverend Horton HeatSongwriter Interviews

The Reverend rants on psychobilly and the egghead academics he bashes in one of his more popular songs.

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

P.F. SloanSongwriter Interviews

P.F. was a teenager writing hits and playing on tracks for Jan & Dean when he wrote a #1 hit that got him blackballed.

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Jonathan Cain of JourneySongwriter Interviews

Cain talks about the divine inspirations for "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Faithfully."