Starship Trooper

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For the Sarah Brightman song, see I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper. For other uses, see Starship Trooper (disambiguation).
"Starship Trooper"
Song by Yes from the album The Yes Album
Released 1971
Recorded Autumn 1970 at Advision Studios
Genre Progressive rock, space rock
Length 9:29
Label Atlantic Records
Writer Jon Anderson/Steve Howe/Chris Squire
Producer Yes and Eddy Offord
The Yes Album track listing
Side one
  1. "Yours Is No Disgrace"
  2. "Clap"
  3. "Starship Trooper"
Side two
  1. "I've Seen All Good People"
  2. "A Venture"
  3. "Perpetual Change"
"Life Seeker"
Single by Yes
from the album The Yes Album
A-side "I've Seen All Good People: Your Move" (UK)
Released 1970
Genre Progressive rock, space rock
Length 3:26
Label Atlantic Records
Writer(s) Jon Anderson
Producer(s) Yes and Eddy Offord

"Starship Trooper" is a song written by Jon Anderson, Steve Howe and Chris Squire that first appeared on Yes' 1971 album The Yes Album. The song is in three parts, "Life Seeker," "Disillusion" and "Würm." "Life Seeker" was released as a single on the b-side of the UK release of "Your Move."

Lyrics and music

The title of "Starship Trooper" comes from the 1959 novel by Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers.[1] "Starship Trooper" was constructed from pieces of music written separately by Anderson, Howe and Squire.[2] Howe had written the instrumental "Würm" section while he was in an earlier band,[2] Squire wrote most of the "Disillusion" section and Anderson wrote most of the rest of the song, particularly "Life Seeker."[3]

The song was heavily constructed in the recording studio, and as a result the band were never able to play it live quite the way it was recorded.[3] The song changes mood, rhythm, tempo and style continually, but according to Yes biographer Chris Welch, it still manages to "hang together."[4] Authors Pete Brown and Lisa Sharken describe the "Würm" section as "a Bolero-paced chord sequence that builds into an explosive solo.[5] They note that Howe's solo incorporates rockabilly and country music elements rather than on blues-based music with distortion as is typical for these types of solos.[5]

A theme of "Life Seeker" is the search for God.[1][3] Anderson has stated that the lyrics:

Mother life hold firmly onto me
Spread my knowledge higher than the day
Release as much as only you can show

refer to "the point within yourself that knows you," which we call "God."[3] The lyrics accept the fact that "no matter how much you want to get clearer visions of what you're up to, you're only going to get a certain amount."[3]

The song uses UFO imagery.[1] Other themes that have been inferred for the song include new age ideas and environmentalism.[1][6]

Critical reception

Yes biographer Chris Welch describes "Starship Trooper" as "one the most astonishing pieces" in Yes' repertoire.[4] Welch particularly praises the "Würm" section for its "grinding intensity."[4] The New Rolling Stone Album Guide critic Ernesto Lechner described the song as being "ethereal."[7] Pitchfork Media considered "Howe's slow, spacey guitar build at the end" of the song to be "one of the great Yes moments."[8]

Other appearances

"Starship Trooper" has appeared on many of Yes' live albums and DVDs, including Yessongs, 9012Live, Keys to Ascension and Symphonic Live.[9] It has also appeared on compilation albums such as Yesstory.[9]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Romano, W. (2010). Mountains Come Out of the Sky: The Illustrated History of Prog Rock. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781617133756. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Howe, S. "Starship Trooper". Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Yes (1996). Yesstories: Yes In Their Own Words. MacMillan. ISBN 9780312144531. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Welch, C. (2009). Close to the Edge: The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857120427. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Brown, P. & Sharken, L. (2003). Gear Secrets of the Guitar Legends: How to Sound Like Your Favorite Players. Hal Leonard. p. 64. ISBN 9780879307516. 
  6. Chambers, S. (2002). "Yes: An Endless Dream of '70s, '80s and '90s Rock Music : an Unauthorized Interpretative History in Three Phases". GeneralStore. pp. 22–23. ISBN 9781894263474. 
  7. Lechner, E. (2004). Brackett, N. & Hoard, C., ed. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 895. ISBN 9780743201698. 
  8. Dahien, C.; Leone, D. & Tangari, J. "Yes: The Yes Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Starship Trooper". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 

External links

Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics