On November 2, 1999, Los Angeles rockers Rage Against The Machine unleashed The Battle of Los Angeles on the world. “Sleep Now In The Fire”, the fifth track off the album, is this week’s #ThrowbackThursday pick.
Released as a single in 1999, “Sleep Now in The Fire” is a politically charged track, with numerous references to greed as well as major criticism of actions taken by the U.S. government during wartime – specifically the bombing of Hiroshima and the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Rage Against The Machine guitarist, Tom Morello’s solo is also a point of interest in the song. Using only feedback from his amp and his whammy bar to adjust the pitch, he creates a high pitch solo while flicking the guitar’s toggle switch on and off.
The video itself holds a place in history as well. Directed by activist film director Michael Moore, the video was shot on January 26, 1999, on the steps of Federal Hall, which happens to be located diagonally across the street from the New York Stock Exchange. A crowd gathered for the video shoot, and caused the doors of the NYSE to close.
The video for Rage Against The Machine’s “Sleep Now In The Fire” premiered on MTV on March 6th, 1999. Nominated at the 2000 MTV Music Video Awards for “Best Rock Video”, it lost to Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff”. This caused the infamous incident where RATM bassist Tom Commerford climbed the set in protest, resulting in a night in jail.