Butterflies and Hurricanes

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"Butterflies and Hurricanes"
Muse butterfliesandhurricanescd.jpg
The "Butterflies and Hurricanes" CD cover.
Single by Muse
from the album Absolution
Released20 September 2004
  • 5:01 (album version)
  • 4:48 (single version)
  • 4:20 (radio edit)
Muse singles chronology
"Apocalypse Please"
"Butterflies and Hurricanes"
"Supermassive Black Hole"
DVD single
The "Butterflies and Hurricanes" DVD cover.
The "Butterflies and Hurricanes" DVD cover.
7" single
The "Butterflies and Hurricanes" 7" cover.
The "Butterflies and Hurricanes" 7" cover.
"Butterflies and Hurricanes" promotional CD

"Butterflies and Hurricanes" is a song by English rock band Muse. It was released as the sixth and final single from their third studio album, Absolution (2003), on 20 September 2004. Unlike Absolution, the single was released through Atlantic Records.

The song was one of two songs recorded with a studio orchestra during the initial stages of production. It is also notable for its Rachmaninoff-esque piano interlude. The title and theme were mainly inspired by the butterfly effect of chaos theory. The theory describes how even the smallest of changes in present conditions, like the flapping of a butterfly's wings, can cause a chain reaction and have a significant effect in the future, like a hurricane. The song was also dedicated to Dominic Howard's father, who died shortly after the band's performance at the Glastonbury Festival.[1]

Background and composition[edit]

Some parts of the song have been around at least as early as 1999. Matt Bellamy had suggested a piece featuring the band and an orchestra playing over a "mechanical paradiddle" to Dom Howard, the band's drummer. According to Bellamy the song really took shape when he spent a few hours fiddling around on a Steinway piano he found at a hotel he was staying in:

Matthew Bellamy also declared about the song: "It's about hope, about trying to find the strength to get through any given situation. I was trying to find a classical type of piano style that would be heavy and work with bass and drums. It had that sort of mechanical paradiddle thing all the way through, and then it breaks down into this kind of romantic, flowing weird bit in the middle".


There are several versions of "Butterflies and Hurricanes". For the original studio recording, the song's introduction, verse and choruses were harmonically driven by piano and keyboards. The single version contains both guitar and keyboard, but the interlude is slightly shorter, reducing the song from 5:01 to 4:48. The vinyl single includes a full-length version with guitars in the mix. Finally, the radio edit of the single goes further by omitting the entire piano interlude, bringing the song down to 4:10.


The song was reworked with a more prominent electric guitar sound during the Absolution tour, including some extended guitar solos before the piano interlude (and a bass fill to segue Matt Bellamy's transition from guitar to the piano). This version was also performed live during the Black Holes and Revelations tour, and can be heard in the Wembley Stadium concerts.

Music video[edit]

The promotional video comprises stock footage of the band playing "Butterflies and Hurricanes" at different venues during their Absolution tour with some effects added, and images of the Colosseum in Rome serving as the main backdrop.


"Butterflies and Hurricanes" was covered with a full orchestral accompaniment by the pop pianist William Joseph on his 2004 debut album Within.

Butterflies and Hurricanes was used in ITV4's coverage of the 2008 Tour de France when they produced an hour-long program showing the greatest moments of the race. This song was used in a montage at the end of the program.

The song was used by the Ski equipment brand Nordica in 2007 for their website introduction.

It was also used as the main theme song for the Sony Computer Entertainment video-game Formula One 05, produced by Sony Studio Liverpool in England.

The song was used by the WGI ensemble Rhythm X throughout their 2010 show "Inspired"

The song has also been featured in several BBC sports programmes. Most notably an orchestral version of the song was used as the main theme for the BBC's Sports Personality of the year award back in 2005, and also on the BBC's 2010 Six Nations championship coverage.[2]

The piano solo was played during Julie Zetlin's rhythmic gymnastics routine in the 2012 Summer Olympics qualifying round.

The song is also featured in the soundtrack to Criterion Games open-world racing video game Need For Speed: Most Wanted. It is especially used in the demo version and the opening of the game. An edited version is also used featuring less vocals and more strings. It is referred to in-game as "Intro Version"; though this version has never been released. Also, the song is featured in the new trailer for DreamWorks' film adaptation of Need for Speed.

The song is also featured in the United States cable news and information channel MSNBC, a joint venture of Microsoft and Comcast's NBC unit, it is now NBCUniversal.

The song appeared in the Philippine based cargo, courier and money remittance provider LBC Express, a 24-hour air cargo delivery service also known as HARI NG PADALA! In November 2013, LBC Express launched the new logo and tagline, We like to move it.

It also appeared in Thailand as the backing track for the TV channel SciFi.

Maya Dela Rosa, portrayed by Jodi Sta. Maria, alongside with Nikki Grace Lim (portrayed by Janella Salvador), the stars of ABS-CBN's daytime television drama, Be Careful With My Heart.

It also featured in the Philippines leading all-news channel, Solar News Channel (now 9TV) and its slogan, "Inform. Inspire".

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" (Remix With Additional Guitars Full Length) - 5:02
  2. "Sing for Absolution" (Live Acoustic Radio 2) - 4:28

Clear Vinyl 7"[edit]

  1. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" (full length) - 5:01
  2. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" (Glastonbury 2004)


  1. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" - 4:48
  2. "Butterflies and Hurricanes video" - 4:48
  3. "The Groove in the States video" - 9:51
  4. "Raw video footage"

Promo CD[edit]

  1. "Butterflies and Hurricanes" (radio edit) - 4:10
  2. "Butterflies and Hurricanes"


  1. ^ "Drummer's father dies at festival". BBC News. 29 June 2004.
  2. ^ "Q: What song was played on Sports Personality of the Year when the viewers were reminded of the contenders and voting options? A: It was "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse". BBC.co.uk. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2012.

External links[edit]