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"Bulls on Parade" is a song released by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine in 1996, and can be found on their 2nd album, Evil Empire.

"Bulls on Parade"
Bullsonparade domestic.jpg
Single by Rage Against the Machine
from the album Evil Empire
Released February 9, 1996
Format CD, 7", 12"
Genre Nu metal[1]
Length 3:51
Songwriter(s) Tim Commerford, Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk
Producer(s) Brendan O'Brien, Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine singles chronology
"Year of tha Boomerang"
"Bulls on Parade"
"People of the Sun"
Alternative cover

The song is widely known for its popular guitar solo containing 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. "Bulls on Parade" is also known for one of Tim Commerford's more famous bass solos, during the second wah-wah riff, and right before Morello's guitar solo. Morello has also stated that the sound he was going for was a "sort of 'Geto Boys' sound, menacing"[2] with E♭ tuning in both guitar and bass and a wah-wah pedal fully in the treble position to create a Houston 5th Ward gangland-style riff.


Live performancesEdit

"Bulls on Parade" made its live debut on January 25, 1996, at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia. The track then made its international debut on Saturday Night Live in April 1996. Rage Against The Machine 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.[3]

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

After breaking up in late 2000, the three instrumentalists of Rage Against the Machine 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.

When first recorded in the studio, the guitar and bass was originally tuned down a half step, but during live performances they are played in standard tuning.

Music videoEdit

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 Sydney Big Day Out (January 25, 1996) and their side show at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney (January 27, 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 posters designed by Barbara Kruger. There is a scene where a character wearing a black "Libertyville" jacket with a baseball cap is painted by the renowned Phantom Street Artist Joey Krebs who paints his iconoclastic figures on city walls. 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. The song came in 46th place on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1996. The song came in at 89th place on the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time in 2009. Its solo is also ranked 23° on Guitar World's 100 Greatest Solos list published in 2009.

In other mediaEdit

  • The song is played when a goal is scored by the New York Red Bulls at their home stadium Red Bull Arena.
  • The song features in the documentary films Free Tibet and Last Party 2000.
  • The song appeared as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series.
  • Bulls on Parade features in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock where it is unlocked after defeating Tom Morello in a guitar battle, who becomes unlocked as a playable character afterward. The song also appeared as a playable track in Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band in its Metal Track Pack.
  • It is the theme song for the defense of the NFL's Houston Texans, and is played in the stadium at home games to invigorate the crowd and players before games. The song has been officially endorsed by former Texans LB Connor Barwin.[4]
  • The San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League use it for their opening song when the starting players go on the ice before the start of the first period.
  • The instrumental was used in 2011 for the song "Hampede" by rapper inZanity, featured on The 9-5 EP.
  • Part of the lyrics are in Australian metalcore band House Vs. Hurricane's song 40 Deep, where the line "Rally around the family [with] a pocket full of shells" is used.
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin's theme song was based on it when he took this song to WWE's music producer Jim Johnston to make a song for him.[5]
  • Indie Folk/Roots band Dispatch recorded a cover of the song that can be found on their album Who Are We Living For?
  • Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive covered the song live at Rock Am Ring in 2015.

Track listingEdit

  1. Bulls on Parade
  2. Hadda Be Playing on the Jukebox (Live)


Peak position[6]
Australian Singles Chart 29
Canadian Alternative 30 3
Dutch Singles Chart 46
Finland (Suomen Virallinen lista) 1
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
Billboard Hot 100 Airplay (US) 62
Official UK Top 40 8


  1. ^ "30 Best Nu Metal Songs, Ranked". Spin Magazine.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Anon., Saturday Night Live Incident, Public release and distribution. Retrieved November 12, 2007.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Australian, Dutch, French, New Zealander, Norwegian and Swedish Singles Charts December 26, 2007)

External linksEdit