Ants Marching

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"Ants Marching"
Single by Dave Matthews Band
from the album Under the Table and Dreaming
Released 1995
Format CD single
Recorded Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, NY
Genre Folk rock, jazz fusion, bluegrass
Length 4:31
Label Bama Rags Records
Dave Matthews Band singles chronology
"Typical Situation"
"Ants Marching"
Audio sample
file info · help
Remember Two Things track listing
"Ants Marching" (Live)
"Tripping Billies" (Live)
Under the Table and Dreaming track listing
"Dancing Nancies"
"Ants Marching"
"Lover Lay Down"
The Best of What's Around Vol. 1 track listing
"Louisiana Bayou" (Live)
"Ants Marching (Live)"
"Two Step" (Live)

"Ants Marching" is a song by the Dave Matthews Band, released as the second single from their 1994 album Under the Table and Dreaming. It reached #18 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart[citation needed] and received some album-oriented rock play as well.[citation needed] A different recording of it was included on their prior album, Remember Two Things. A version of this song, recorded in concert on March 26, 2005, is included on the Dave Matthews Band compilation album The Best of What's Around Vol. 1.


"Ants Marching" is considered to be the definitive and most recognizable Dave Matthews Band song by many of their devoted fans.[citation needed] As Dave Matthews himself once said, "This song is our anthem". "Ants Marching" is a favorite of the band's to play live in concert, being the most played song over the course of the band's touring career, having been fully played 1,105 times over the band's 22-year career. The live versions of "Ants Marching" are recognizable by the typical snare intro by the band's drummer, Carter Beauford, as can be heard on the band's most recent live release, Live at Wrigley Field. For some live versions however, the band will skip the snare intro, and go straight into the song, which is known as the "direct intro"; the version on Live Trax Vol. 13 has a unique guitar duet intro by Matthews and electric guitarist Tim Reynolds. The band's addition of trumpeter Rashawn Ross for the 2006 tour has had a positive effect on the band's horn section in live performances of "Ants Marching", as he introduced several new interpolations, including The Jacksons' "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)". When the song is performed live, Matthews stops singing during the fourth verse so that the crowd can sing the lines "People in every direction / No words exchanged, no time to exchange."


The song is centered on the idea that people get caught up in the monotony of their everyday lives and forget to focus on what is truly important. The metaphor used is that people are like marching ants in the line, "All the little ants are marching, red and black antennae waving, they all do it the same, they all do it the same way." The title of Under the Table and Dreaming is derived from the verse:

Goes to visit his mommy
She feeds him well - his concerns, he forgets them
And remembers being small
Playing under the table and dreaming.

Track listings[edit]

U.S. CD single[edit]

  1. "Ants Marching" (Album Version) – 4:31
  2. "Ants Marching" (Live Version) – 4:45
  3. "Ants Marching" (Live Acoustic Version) – 4:19

Australia CD single 1[edit]

  1. "Ants Marching" (Album Version) – 4:31
  2. "Ants Marching" (Live Version) – 4:45
  3. "Ants Marching" (Live Acoustic Version) – 4:19
  4. "All Along the Watchtower" – 7:04

Australia CD single 2[edit]

  1. "Ants Marching" (Album Version) – 4:31
  2. "What Would You Say" – 3:41
  3. "Typical Situation" (Edit) – 3:57
  4. "Ants Marching" (Live Version) – 4:45


Chart (1995) Peak
US Billboard Pop Songs 19
US Billboard Alternative Songs 18
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 22
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 25

In popular culture[edit]

"Ants Marching" was featured on the two part Season 5 Community finale. "Ants Marching" was made available for download on November 6, 2012 for Rock Band 3 Basic and Rock Band 3 PRO mode for use with real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards.[1]


The Piano Guys recorded a cover of the song as a mash-up with Beethoven's Ode to Joy, released on their album 'Wonders' on 25 August 2014.


  1. ^ Tach, Dave (2012-11-02). "Rock Band Music Store adds Dave Matthews Band". Polygon. Retrieved 2012-11-07.