"Bombtrack" is a song by American rap metal Rage Against the Machine that opens their self-titled debut album. Like most of Rage Against the Machine's songs, the song's lyrics discuss social inequality, proclaiming that "landlords and power whores" were going to "burn". The intro riff was composed by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello when he was playing with the band Lock Up, and, upon hearing it, they told him it was too "heavy". Impressed by their song, Rage Against The Machine named it Bombtrack in reference to hip hop terminology in which the word 'bomb' means 'the greatest'.
A music video was released, depicting support for the Sendero Luminoso Maoist revolutionary group and its leader Abimael Guzman. The video clip did not appear on the group's first home video, citing Rage's first altered political opinion. In 2003, the video finally appeared as bonus material on their Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium DVD.
The single artwork features Cuban photographer Alberto Korda's famous image of Che Guevara, Guerrillero Heroico. A mirrored version of the iconic two-tone portrait by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, Guevara's face is further doctored in a way reminiscent of Andy Warhol's prints of Marilyn Monroe.
Perhaps the song's most notable appearance outside of the music industry would be its appearance in Oliver Stone's controversial film Natural Born Killers, when Mickey breaks out of his prison cell in search of Mallory.
The song made its live debut on March 8, 1992, in San Luis Obispo, California.
The acoustic version of the song was only played live once. This was at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas on December 12, 1993.
The lyrics, "Hardline, hardline after hardline!" are, on occasion, changed to "Hardline after muthafuckin' hardline!" as well as the line during the chorus, "Burn! Burn, yes ya gonna burn!" are occasionally changed to, "Burn! Muthafucka, burn!"
When first recorded in the studio, and during live performances, bassist Tim Commerford is known to sing in the chorus along with de la Rocha.
"Bombtrack Evening Session version",
"Bombtrack Live version",
The 'Evening Session' version was recorded on BBC Radio 1 during Mark Goodier's Evening Session.,
Bombtrack - 4:03,
Bombtrack (Live) - 6:00,
Special Pinkpop Edition:
On the 24th of June 1994, a special edition of the "Bombtrack" CD single was released for the Pinkpop Music Festival's 25th birthday. This version contains an alternative track listing.
"Settle for Nothing" (Live),
"Bombtrack" Evening Session version,
"Bullet in the Head" Remix,
"Take the Power Back" (Live),
"Darkness of Greed",
"Bullet in the Head" (Live),
Tracks 3 & 8 recorded live at Melkweg in Amsterdam, Feb 7th '93. Track 6 recorded live in Vancouver, Canada, April 11 '93. Track 9 recorded live in Minneapolis, USA April 5 '93. Track 5 remix by Sir Jinx.
The Evening Session version of "Bombtrack" is a completely reworked, slower "swing" version of the song with altered lyrics, which later appeared on Evil Empire's "Without A Face".
The song's bassline was used as an alert to listener's of Howard Stern's radio show when Stern was broadcasting out of WXRK in New York City to let the listener the show was returning from a commercial break.
In popular culture:
The song was made available for download on May 8, 2012 to play in Rock Band 3 Basic and PRO mode utilizing real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits.