Main Index Pablo Honey The Bends OK Computer Kid A Amnesiac Hail to the Thief In Rainbows The King of Limbs A Moon Shaped Pool Thom Yorke Jonny Greenwood Ed O'Brien Colin Greenwood Philip Selway
Several entries from Ed's Diary are related to the recording process of this song:
tuesday, july 27th 1999
a pretty frustrating day, but now we've been doing this for so long, you realise it can't all be like last week. it starts well with a different version of 'how to dissapear' and 'everything in its right place'. we then get sidetracked by a couple of loose ideas for songs (one is very like the Fall). However we have definitely lost our way with ' you and whose army'- it was sounding great last week, so what happened today? time to go home.
friday, july 30th 1999
spend the first 3hrs on 'up the ladder'. things are happening; jonny brings in the 'missy eliot' chord??!! thom starts singing lyrics from another song, cozzie comes with a catchy riff for the chorus and phil is ..funking. with that going on its very easy for me. working through something is such a cliche but if youre in the right frame of mind its so true. finish by playing "lost at sea/in limbo" , "optimistic", "c-minor song". it would be great to have another look at "you and whose army?" next week, and rescue it for the 'lets leave it for a while' pile. plank's not here today as he's in Lobo, Norway with Mike Scott- they have no nights in summer.
tuesday, august 3rd 1999
start by working on 'lost at sea'. thom thinks weve already recorded the definitive version whilst in paris. not sure about that, mind you he admits that thats because of the way hes singing it (which hes only done with a tape alone whilst driving). i really like this new version, as much as anything for its relentlessness and energy. anyhow move onto a new song 'cuttooth' - its got a 'neu' thing about it - long and hypnotic.... finish with attempting to rescue 'you and whose army'...
wednesday, september 1st 1999
i read a rumour from the internet [never believe a single nuance - sd] that we are supposed to be collaborating with 'godspeed you black emperor' on 'how to disappear' - this person cited a number of chance occurences, including such impossible coincidences as 'they came to see us at a gig'. if that were sufficient corroborating evidence then, judging on the bands i've seen recently, you can hear us with 'the divine comedy' and the mighty 'asian dub foundation'.
twice around 'follow me around' - mmm. not great, but salvaged by 'you and whose army' - jonny thinks that voice and guitar are all that's needed until the end part; and it sounds right; or at least it's definitely a place to start. run through 'optimistic', cuttooth', and 'up on the ladder' for nige, who's down for the day to do some wiring and 'studio arranging'.
tuesday, december 7th 1999
spent an hour playing around with cuttooth. came in and heard phil on drums and thom on rhodes going through it. it's one of those moments when you hear something being played and all you want to do is pick up a guitar and join in. so i's only three chords so not too taxing even on my very limited music theory. looked at 'you and whose army' again from two weeks ago. tried this 'different' vocal idea that thom and jonny had been going on about.....three part but with a very low bass harmony, kind of inkspots-esque. this is always dangerous territory ie there would be nothing more fucking sad than this slick sophisticated 40's vocal group sound... mind you there's not much chance it could be slick....but you know what i mean. anyway sounds alright and the rest sounds better. thom is now doing a vocal comp of 'i will''s 2am and this is his idea of fun and relaxation..........strange
wednesday, february 2nd 2000
sore heads all round, but things are being sorted out, i think. while we 'negotiate' nigel has taken the opportunity to set the studio upstairs for mixing. 'you and whose army' is put up and he starts to mix. sounds good. have to redo my guitar which is fun as it feels a little like playing live. thom continues work on going through and sampling sections from this dat of sounds that we made last night......nothing too strenuous as i think we are tiring a little. it always happens like this. some weeks seem way more productive than others and probably are but the secret is not to get freaked out.....just keep going and it will return. meanwhile jonny 'haydn' greenwood continues to arrange his strings.........
A few lines related to this song can be found in the hidden Kid A booklet [click to enlarge]:
This piece of artwork, that also had been used for the cover of the hidden booklet of Kid A, appeared in the Dead Children Playing book that accompanied the exhibition of artwork that Stanley held at Iguapop Gallery in Barcelona in 2006 (click image for full size):

Q: "What is it New Labour that particularly frustrates you? How do you feel about the other main political parties? Will you vote? Young people are increasingly labelled as 'apathetic' and criticised for not voting. What do you think about this idea? Do you think it is irresponsible to vote for someone you don't believe in? Would you consider launching "You And Whose Army" as an official anti-election tune?"

Thom: "this song is not a personal attack. but no i wont vote and havent votedfor a man willing to go along with son of star wars. its not exactly surprising that a large section of the population will not give a flying fuck about the election. everybody blames evryobody else. and new labour is happy to let filingdales be used in world war 3. they are not in touch and have blatantly betrayed all who supported them except those friendly business interests. we were involved in a campaign to encourage people to vote a few years ago in the uK. this was hijacked by labour. labour are good at highjacking and betraying. they attempted something rather similair with jubilee2000. frightening levels of paranoid bullshit. err oh dear. world war 3."
Q: "'You And Whose Army' is about Blair, isn't it?"

Thom: "Originally, it was about the voices in my head that were driving me 'round the bend - to be honest (bursts out laughing). And then, once I came up with that 'You And Whose Army' phrase, I was able to stick other ideas on there and Blair emerged as the song's real subject matter. The song's ultimately about someone who is elected into power by people and who then blatantly betrays them - just like Blair did. At the same time, I think he couldn't help betraying this country. I think the man's a fool. He's just a product of his time, like any important public figure. I've become slightly more charitable towards him of late. Anyone who's put into that position just immediately becomes like all the people surrounding him. He can't help it - that's just who he is. So it's never been a personal thing. When we put that image of Blair in the Kid A booklet, it was just us saying, 'He's just a public figure. He's fallen from grace and he's useless like everybody else'. The problem with Blair is that he's surrounded by all this other stuff that will end up destroying anything worthwhile he as a human being might want to achieve. That's why I call him 'a fool', because a fool is just someone who plays to the court; he's a court jester, in other words, and that's all he is. But that's basically the same with most presidents these days. I'm not saying things here that most people don't already recognise themselves, I'm sure."
Ed: "We did track that one together. We rehearsed it a bit, not too much, then just went in and did it. It's just us doing our thing as a band. It's interesting because the whole lead up is about two minutes - holding back, holding back. Then it breaks out for that final minute. In the Radiohead of old, on OK Computer, that break would have lasted four minutes. We would have carried on 'Hey Jude'-style."
Q: "OK. Um, is it fair to say that more of the tracks on Amnesiac are kind of based on a studio concept of, kind of, the band in a room together as opposed to each of you off on your own working on a piece of equipment?"

Colin: "I don't know. Um, uh, it's kind of a mixture again like the last record, really. There's live things on it. But our last, most live record was OK Computer where this record and Kid A has elements of live and studio but it was more studio-based as a record."

Q: "Uh-huh."

Colin: "I mean, like 'Dollars and Cents' is a live jam, but then that's a live jam that's been cut up. And 'You and Whose Army' was like basically was a whole live performance. But each song is different."
Elsewhere, Radiohead's 'vocal science' bypassed state of the art digitalia for antiquarian technology and the sort of ad hoc boffinry redolent of John Lennon and George Martin's techniques at Abbey Road during the late Beatles era (Yorke confesses that Revolution In The Head, Ian MacDonald's book detailing the recording of every Beatles song, was "my bedside reading all through the sessions for the albums"). On 'You And Whose Army?', the muzzy vocal - which sounds like Morrissey sliding into a Temazepam coma - was an attempt to recapture the soft, warm, proto-doowop sound of 40s harmony group The Ink Spots. "We hired all these old ribbon microphones, but it didn't work because you need all the other gear, like the old tape recorders. So what we ended up using is an eggbox. And because it's on the vocal mic, and the whole band's playing at the same time, everything on the track goes through this eggbox."

Radiohead also used a device called the Palm Speaker on 'You And Whose Army?', creating a halo of hazy reverberance around Yorke's vocal. "The Palm Speaker is something else that Monsieur Martenot invented, to go with the Ondes," explains Greenwood. "It's a bit like a harp with a speaker in the middle of it. The strings are tuned to all 12 semitones of an octave, and when you play a note in tune, it resonates that specific string and it creates this weird kind of echo that's only on those pitches."
"I'm really proud of 'You and Whose Army?': Jonny was listening to ['30s vocal group] the Ink Spots, and he and Nigel had a bee in their bonnet about how it should be done. And I was like, 'Are you sure about that?'"
The song was premiered live on june 17th 2000 in Fréjus, France:

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This drawing was used in the Hail To The Thief era version of

Live performance #154 during the making of The King of Limbs:
154. january 24th 2010 The Music Box Theatre at The Fonda Los Angeles, CA USA Link
Live performances #155 to #164 during the touring for The King of Limbs:
Live performances #165 to #172 during the touring for The King of Limbs:
  2016 A Moon Shaped Pool tour may 2016 06/2016 july 2016 august 2016 sept./oct. 2016
Pyramid Song [12] 23 27 03 02 27 29 31 06 08 20 03 07
You and Whose Army? [4] 20 26 01 04
Hunting Bears [3] 21 01 04
Like Spinning Plates [2] 28 08