Epic (Faith No More song)

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Artwork for North American commercial cassette single; the US CD single was the promo-only release
Single by Faith No More
from the album The Real Thing
ReleasedJanuary 29, 1990 (1990-01-29)
StudioStudio D (Sausalito, California)
Producer(s)Matt Wallace
Faith No More singles chronology
"From Out of Nowhere"
"Falling to Pieces"

"Epic" is a song by American rock band Faith No More. It was released as the second single from their third album, The Real Thing (1989), in 1990 in United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. The song was the band's breakthrough hit, peaking at number nine on the US Billboard Hot 100, number two in New Zealand, and number one in Australia for three weeks. It is among the band's most popular songs and a staple in their concerts.

"Epic" was ranked number 30 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs.[1] In 2009, it was ranked the 54th best hard rock song of all time by VH1 and appeared at number 46 on the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time, an Australian music poll.[2][3]

Composition and musical style[edit]

Bassist Billy Gould said, "It was conceived naturally as a riff in the studio between Roddy, myself and Mike Bordin during rehearsal that later got fleshed out into an entire song." He also said that, after the disappointing performance of the album's first single ("From Out of Nowhere"), the record label had low expectations and let the band pick whatever song they wanted as the next music video (and thus, the next single). "So we picked 'Epic' because it just felt the most natural at the time. We had very little expectations of it becoming a commercial hit," said Gould.[4]

The song has been labeled rap metal,[5][6][7][8] rap rock,[9][10][11] funk metal,[12][13] alternative metal,[14] and hard rock.[15]

Music video[edit]

Directed by Ralph Ziman, the music video for "Epic" features surreal images, which are combined with performance footage of the band soaked by an artificial rainstorm on a sound stage. The final shot is of keyboardist Roddy Bottum playing the piano outro on an upright model, which explodes in slow motion after he finishes and walks away from it.

Guitarist Jim Martin was a schoolmate, close friend and fan of the late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. In the video, he can be seen wearing a T-shirt with a photo of Cliff with the words "A Tribute to Cliff Burton". In addition, Mike Patton can be seen wearing a Mr. Bungle shirt[16] that reads "There's A Tractor In My Balls Again".[17]


The video gained controversy due to a scene at the end where a fish is out of water and appears to be dying on camera.[citation needed]

During an interview, the band joked that the fish seen flopping around in the music video belonged to Icelandic singer Björk, who at the time was the singer for the band The Sugarcubes, and they claimed to have stolen it from her at a party. There are also stories of Björk giving the fish to Bottum after a poetry reading in San Francisco.[18] This was confirmed by the singer who defended the group, saying that "I know those guys, I know they wouldn't do anything to harm [him]. But I know, if I had gone home with MY fish, which was given to ME, none of this would have ever happened."[19]


"Epic" was the band's most successful single in the US and was generally well received. According to Rolling Stone, it set a standard that Faith No More did not match with its later albums.[20] Both the Philadelphia Daily News and Los Angeles Times praised the song, citing the song as "radio-ready" and "radical", respectively.[21][22] However, The New York Times also cited Faith No More as "style-crunching," using "Epic" as their example.[23] The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop annual year-end critics' poll ranked "Epic" at number five on their poll of the best singles of 1990, tying with Lisa Stansfield's "All Around the World".[24] Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers would later accuse Patton of stealing his style in the form of this video and numerous performances.[citation needed]

Track listings[edit]

American release

This version was released in the US as a "Slash sticker" labelled 7-inch and as a cassette with a "Burning Splash" sleeve.[25]

1."Epic" (Radio remix)3:59
2."Edge of the World"4:09

Australian release

The 7-inch and cassette versions of this release only had tracks 1 and 2, unlike the 12-inch which featured all 3.[25]

2."The Morning After"3:44
3."We Care a Lot" (Live at Brixton)3:50

UK and international release

The initial release of "Epic", released in the UK, Germany, Japan and internationally. The 7-inch editions only had tracks one, two, and occasionally three. Track five was exclusive to Japanese issues.[25]

2."War Pigs" (Live in Berlin on November 9, 1989)8:02
3."Surprise! You're Dead!" (Live at Octagon Center, Sheffield, UK, January 1, 1990)2:52
4."Chinese Arithmetic"[A]" ((Live at Sheffield))4:16
5."Epic" ((Live)[B] (Japanese bonus track))4:28

UK and international reissue

Reissue version of the single "Epic". The 7-inch vinyl and cassette versions only had the first two tracks.[25]

2."Falling to Pieces" (Live at Brixton)4:45
3."Epic" (Live at Brixton)4:55
4."As the Worm Turns" (Live at Brixton)2:46


Personnel are sourced from Mix.[26]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[40] Platinum 70,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[41] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Silver 200,000
United States (RIAA)[43] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref(s).
United Kingdom January 29, 1990
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
United Kingdom (re-release) August 28, 1990
  • 7-inch vinyl
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
Japan November 10, 1990 CD [48]


"Epic" has been covered both in concerts and on the Kerrang! Higher Voltage CD, a compilation of artists covering other songs. Such artists include the Welsh rock band The Automatic; the CD was released on June 20, 2007.[49] The metalcore band Atreyu also covered the song on their album Lead Sails Paper Anchor,[50] and the Swedish indie pop band Love Is All covered the song on the B-side to their What's Your Rupture? 7-inch "Wishing Well."[51] An arrangement by Mateo Messina was featured in the 2011 film Young Adult. Additionally, Canadian band The Veer Union released a cover of "Epic" in late October 2017. In 2023, The Lucid along with Violent J (Insane Clown Posse) released a re-imagining of "Epic" titled "Sweet Toof"; keeping the music unchanged but re-writing all lyrics and vocal melodies except for a callback to the original chorus during the outro.[52]

In popular culture[edit]


  • ^[A] Includes ad-lib from "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ EZ-Rock.
  • ^[B] Recorded in Norwich, 1990. Broadcast by The BBC Radio 1 "Rockshow", March 2, 1990. The profanity is obscured and the songs fade out.


  1. ^ "VH1 40 Greatest Metal Songs", May 1–4, 2006, VH1 Channel, reported by VH1.com Archived June 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine; last accessed September 10, 2006.
  2. ^ "Spreadit.org". Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  3. ^ "The Hottest 100 Archive: 2009 (All-time)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved February 4, 2023. Select 2009 (All-time) from the Year drop-down box.
  4. ^ Grant, Jess (November 29, 2012). "Billy Gould of Faith No More : Songwriter Interviews". Songfacts. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  5. ^ "The Story Behind the Song: Faith No More's Epic". June 7, 2021.
  6. ^ Considine, J.D. (September 14, 1990). "Faith No More's eclectic sound". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Hart, Ron (June 20, 2019). "Faith No More's 'The Real Thing' at 30: How They Switched Singers & Delivered a Classic". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
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  9. ^ "Top 10 Essential Rap-Rock Songs". About.com. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  10. ^ Walters, Barry (April 13, 2010). "Faith No More Return to the U.S. With Powerhouse San Fran Show". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "Faith No More: The Complete Guide". Clash. February 7, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2021.
  12. ^ Terich, Jeff (August 26, 2019). "Shadow of the Horns: The Best Metal Albums of 1989". Treble. Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  13. ^ Haire, Chris (August 12, 2009). "Psychostick returns funk metal to its silly roots". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  14. ^ Ramirez, AJ (August 3, 2011). "The 10 Best Alternative Metal Singles of the 1990s". PopMatters. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". Stereogum. January 5, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  16. ^ Cee, Gary (November 30, 1990). "Faith No More: Inside the insatiable Mike Patton". Circus Magazine. No. #369. pp. 62–64. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
  17. ^ "Faith No More music video". YouTube.[dead YouTube link]
  18. ^ "Epic by Faith No More Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  19. ^ "about: Linear Soul Child". bjork.com. Note: user has to select 'about : Björk about other people' from the drop down menu and select 'Linear Soul Child' on the menu. Archived from the original on June 20, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2013.
  20. ^ Weisel, Al (June 1, 1995). "Faith No More: King For a Day/Fool for a Lifetime". Rolling Stone. RealNetworks, Inc. Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved September 20, 2008.
  21. ^ Takiff, Jonathan (September 14, 1990). "Whaddya Get When Ya Rap on Metal? Faith No More Crosses Over & Under". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 40.
  22. ^ Hilburn, Robert (December 31, 1990). "Counting Out Most of the Year's Top Records Pop music: no more than four of 1990's No. 1 songs will be considered significant a decade from now. Here are some that might". Los Angeles Times. p. 12.
  23. ^ Pareles, Jon (December 30, 1990). "The Best Show? In the Court, not the Concert Hall". The New York Times.
  24. ^ "Pazz & Jop critics' poll—1990". Robert Christgau. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  25. ^ a b c d The Faith No More Discography
  26. ^ "Classic Tracks: Faith No More's 'Epic'". mixonline.com. Retrieved May 18, 2023.
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  28. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1286." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  29. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 7, no. 39. September 29, 1990. p. V. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Faith No More". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  31. ^ "Faith No More – Epic" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
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  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
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  40. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1990 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  41. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Faith No More – Epic". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  42. ^ "British single certifications – Faith No More – Epic". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Faith No More – Epic". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  44. ^ Chirazi, Steffan (1994). The Real Story. London: Castle Publications. pp. 138–142. ISBN 9781898141150.
  45. ^ Sounds Magazine. January 20, 1990. p. 48. {{cite magazine}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  46. ^ "New Singles". Music Week. January 27, 1990. p. 47.
  47. ^ "New Singles". Music Week. August 25, 1990. p. 23.
  48. ^ "エピック | フェイス・ノー・モア" [Epic | Faith No More] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved December 28, 2023.
  49. ^ Kerrang! issue 1164 June 20, 2007
  50. ^ "Smartpunk.com". Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  51. ^ "Love Is All Cover Faith No More, Add Dates". Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  52. ^ Metal Hammer (January 20, 2023). "Ex-Megadeth man David Ellefson has hooked up with Insane Clown Posse's Violent J to cover Faith No More and... wait, it's not April 1 already, is it?". loudersound. Retrieved January 24, 2023.