Rage Against the Machine exploded on the scene in 1991, with raw, political, and unapologetically fierce songs that blend elements of punk, metal, rock and rap.
With Zack de la Rocha on passionate vocals, Tom Morello on guitar, Tim Commerford on bass, and Brad Wilk on drums - RATM have always been a rallying cry for those fed up with the system. If you know the band well, just the mare mention of them probably already has your fists clenching in a rebellious spirit.
Rage have always been a staple in The Rock 2000 countdown, with one song in particular appearing in the top 10 eighteen times…The following list explores data from across every single Rock 2000 countdown (including Rock 500, Rock 1000, and Rock 1500 countdowns), to give you a definitive list of Rage Against the Machine’s most successful 15 songs in The Rock 2000.
The 15 best-performing Rage Against the Machine songs across all Rock 2000 countdowns:
15. People of The Sun (1996)
From the album "Evil Empire," the track "People Of The Sun" is inspired by the Zapatista movement in Mexico, underscoring the band’s inclination towards socio-political issues.
It’s only appeared in 4 Rock 2000 countdowns - first in 2017, and it’s appeared the last three years, staying around the #1308 ranking on average.
14. No Shelter (1998)
"No Shelter" was a non-album single, specifically recorded for the 1998 “Godzilla” soundtrack, and acts as a commentary on the infiltration of commercialism in society, particularly in the film industry.
Over the years, it has made nine appearances in The Rock 2000 countdown, securing an average rank of #851, with its highest being #476 in 2005.
13. Sleep Now In The Fire (1999)
Released as part of the 1999 album "The Battle of Los Angeles," "Sleep Now In The Fire," tackles the themes of American greed and imperialism. The music video, directed by Michael Moore, led to the band's arrest when they performed an impromptu performance on Wall Street.
With nine Rock 2000 countdown appearances, the track maintains an average place of #678, peaking notably at #373 in 2005.
12. How I Could Just Kill A Man (2000)
A cover of Cypress Hill's song, "How I Could Just Kill A Man," is part of Rage Against the Machine's 2000 album "Renegades." This rendition keeps the raw energy of the original but adds the band's unique flair and was a significant part of the group's live performances.
With eight Rock 2000 appearances, it holds an average rank of #603 and has achieved a peak of #430.
11. Take The Power Back (1992)
From their self-titled debut album, released in 1992, "Take The Power Back" deals with the American educational system and its Eurocentric bias.
The track has appeared seven times across Rock 2000 countdowns, securing an average rank of #566 and peaking at an impressive #243.
10. Fistful Of Steel (1992)
"Fistful Of Steel," also part of the band’s debut album, explores themes of using one's voice as a weapon against injustice. Its potent lyrics and unique instrumental blend made it a standout track in the band's introduction to the world.
It's made its mark on Rock 2000 countdowns five times, averaging around the #537 ranking, and reaching as high as #214 last year (2022).
9. Wake Up (1992)
Another one from their debut "Rage Against the Machine" album, "Wake Up" challenges political corruption and control. It gained further recognition when it was featured in the credits of the film "The Matrix," further cementing its place in popular culture.
Across its eight Rock 2000 appearances, it maintains a steady ranking of around #519, and clinched its best at #315.
8. Testify (1999)
From "The Battle of Los Angeles," "Testify" scrutinizes media and political manipulation. Released in 1999, its music video incorporates visual clips of various political leaders, providing an artistic commentary that resonated with fans.
With an impressive nine Rock 2000 appearances, it proudly flaunts an average rank of #429, peaking as high as #232.
7. Renegades of Funk (2000)
From the 2002 album "Renegades," this song is a cover of Afrika Bambaataa's "Renegades Of Funk." It serves as a tribute to those who went against the grain in social, political, and musical arenas, linking the struggles of the past and the present.
The track is a popular one in The Rock 2000, with sixteen appearances, averaging at #525 and peaking at an impressive #187 in 2016.
6. Guerilla Radio (1999)
Also from "The Battle of Los Angeles," "Guerilla Radio" is a politically charged anthem against corporate America. The song won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2001, further solidifying its place in rock history.
Spanning a solid fifteen appearances in the Rock 2000, it averages a rank of #436 and reached #132 in 2015 at its peak.
5. Bullet In The Head (1992)
Released on the 1992 self-titled debut album, "Bullet In The Head" delves into the concept of governmental manipulation. It has been seen as a standout track, representing the raw energy and political fervor that defined the band's early work.
‘Bullet in the Head’ has made eight countdown appearances, holding a solid #294 average rank, and attaining a peak of #158 in 2021.
4. Bulls On Parade (1996)
From the 1996 album "Evil Empire," "Bulls On Parade" explores the commercialization of wars. Its famous guitar riff and Tom Morello's unconventional use of his instrument as a DJ turntable make it one of the band's most memorable tracks.
With an impressive seventeen Rock 2000 appearances, this track averages at the #340 mark. The highest its reached is #24 last year (2022), and has secured a spot in the top 100 five times (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 & 2015).
3. Bomb Track (1992)
Acting as a powerful opening for their debut album, "Bomb Track" is all about rebellion, and is an unapologetic declaration of the band's revolutionary standpoint.
The tune has appeared in twenty Rock 2000 countdowns, and holds a sweet average of #137. It’s also a staple within the top 150 songs - only ever dropping below that ranking four times out of its twenty appearances, and peaking at #27 in 2008.
2. Know Your Enemy (1992)
Also part of the self-titled debut album, "Know Your Enemy" discusses government surveillance and manipulation. Its lyrics were seen as a direct challenge to the establishment, making it a powerful statement in the band's discography.
Featuring eighteen times in The Rock 2000 countdowns, ‘Know Your Enemy’ is another staple, averaging at the #153 mark.
The song reached a high of #25 in 2011, and has appeared in the top 100 twelve times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022).
1. Killing in the Name (1992)
‘Killing in the Name’, also from their debut album, is undoubtedly Rage’s hugest tune, resonating not only within Rock 2000 countdowns but also throughout the band's entire discography.
The anthem is a vehement protest against racism and police brutality. Its immense popularity is evident in the Rock 2000 - featuring every single year since the birth of the countdown.
‘Killing in the Name’ has an astonishing average of #11, boasting eighteen Top 10 positions, and has won the coveted #1 spot three different times (2010, 2017 & 2021).
Taking all of this into account, and looking at our, massive, f*ck-off spreadsheet, ‘Killing in the Name’ is officially the second most-successful song in The Rock 2000, after Metallica ‘One.’
Plus, it’s a tuuuuune.
Voting for the Rock 2000 has now closed - the countdown kicks off on Monday August 14th at 8am.