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"Bulls on Parade" is a song released by Rage Against the Machine in 1996, and can be found on their second album Evil Empire.


"Bulls on Parade" addresses the issue of the American military-industrial complex, a situation in which industry (the arms industry, primarily) urges government to take military action, with the intent of obtaining military contracts, and to thereby increase its revenue.

Verses in the song like "Weapons not food, not homes, not shoes, not need, just feed the war cannibal animal", and "They don't gotta burn tha books they just remove 'em" are examples of the several references to the military-industrial complex in the song.

With the words "Terror rains drenchin', quenchin' tha thirst of tha power dons", the song suggests that fear of terrorism is used to manipulate the American population to support military action. The phrase “the terror rains” serves a double meaning, suggesting that “the terror” by the government literally reigns.

The song is widely known for its popular guitar solo where a vinyl scratch effect used by Tom Morello done by toggling between two pickups - one on and one off - while rubbing his hands on the strings over the pickups to create the effect that someone is scratching a vinyl disc.

This song was used in Neversoft's Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. After beating Tom Morello in a guitar battle, this song is unlocked. This song will also be released for Rock Band as part of its Metal Track Pack retail disc, and also as a downloadable track in the future.

Live performances

"Bulls on Parade" made its live debut on January 25th, 1996 at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia. The track then made its international debut on Saturday Night Live in April of 1996. RATM was going to play two songs, but as they hung inverted American flags from their amplifiers, they were expelled from the building after finishing the first song.

At various shows, the band has dedicated the song to Tony Blair.

After breaking up in late 2000, the three instrumentalists formed the band Audioslave with vocalist Chris Cornell. During their 2005 Out of Exile tour, the band played an instrumental version of Bulls on Parade, followed immediately by Sleep Now in the Fire with Chris Cornell.

The song was covered at the 2009 Electric Proms by UK Grime artist, Dizzee Rascal.

Music video

The video for "Bulls on Parade", directed by Peter Christopherson and produced by Fiz Oliver at Squeak Pictures, premiered on MTV's 120 Minutes on April 14, 1996. On July 31, 1996 it was nominated for Best Hard Rock Video in the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.

The video contains footage from the Sydneymarker Big Day Out (25th of Jan, 1996) and their side show at the Hordern Pavilionmarker in Sydneymarker (27th of Jan, 1996). Throughout the video shots of young people protesting in the streets with political signs, military drills, flags, and other similar images are montaged together. An antique-style film is used which promotes scratches, dust and film grain.Several scenes show people wrapping 'Evil Empire' banners on walls, telephone posts and posting up other propaganda. There is a scene where a character wearing a black "Libertyville" jacket with a baseball cap is painted by the renown Phantom Street Artist Joey Krebs who paints his iconoclastic figures on cities wall. This is the actual portrait created by the street artist of Tom Morello himself. Various lyrics are flashed on top of these scenes in a scrawled sort of chicken-scratch throughout.


The song was voted number 15 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

Track listing

  1. "Bulls on Parade"
  2. "Hadda Be Playing on a Jukebox [Live-version]"


Peak position
Australian Singles Chart 29
Dutch Singles Chart 46
French Singles Chart 27
New Zealand Singles Chart 22
Norwegian Singles Chart 4
Swedish Singles Chart 9
Mainstream Rock Tracks 36
Modern Rock Tracks (US) 11
Official U.K. Top 40 8


  1. Anon., Saturday Nigt Live Incident, Public release and distribution. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  2. Australian, Dutch, French, New Zealander, Norwegian and Swedish Singles Charts December 26, 2007)

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