March of the Pigs

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"March of the Pigs"
March of the pigs.jpg
US CD single cover
Single by Nine Inch Nails
from the album The Downward Spiral
B-side"A Violet Fluid"
ReleasedFebruary 25, 1994 (1994-02-25)
StudioLe Pig (Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles)
GenreIndustrial metal[1]
Songwriter(s)Trent Reznor
Nine Inch Nails singles chronology
"March of the Pigs"
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 6
Halo 7
Halo 8

"March of the Pigs" is a song by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from their second studio album, The Downward Spiral (1994). It was released on February 25, 1994 as the album's lead single.


"March of the Pigs" has an unusual meter, alternating three bars of 7
time with one bar of 8
to effectively create one long measure of 29
.[2] The song's high energy (analogous to a previous NIN track, "Wish"), segued by two piano breakdowns, has made it a staple of NIN's live concert performances.[citation needed] It is also one of the band's shortest hit songs, clocking in at just under three minutes.

Music videos[edit]

Nine Inch Nails in the "March of the Pigs" music video

After abandoning a more elaborate version before filming could be completed, Reznor and the live band assembled for the then-impending Self Destruct Tour (featuring drummer Chris Vrenna, keyboard player James Woolley, guitarist Robin Finck and bassist/guitarist/keyboardist Danny Lohner) regrouped with director Peter Christopherson to film a stripped-down, minimalist music video for the song. The video, released in March 1994, features the band performing the song live in front of a white wall backdrop, with Reznor moving around aggressively, pushing the other band members and their instruments, and repeatedly tossing his microphone away. Throughout the video, stagehands visibly move into the frame to reset the equipment he knocks over, handing Reznor a microphone each time he needs to start singing again after an instrumental section. The bulk of the video appears to be filmed in one long take, with the camera zooming and panning continuously. When Reznor appeared as a guest programmer on the ABC Rage TV program, he explained that they just kept playing the song over and over to the point of exhaustion to get the final take. The video uses the live performance audio of the song recorded at the video shoot, rather than synchronizing the footage to the studio-recorded version from the album as most music videos do.[3] This version of the song is also included on the "Closer" cassette single.

Portions of the earlier, uncompleted video are included on the Closure DVD disc image file that appeared on file-sharing network The Pirate Bay in December 2006; this file is believed to be a leak of a completed but (so far) officially unreleased deluxe DVD reissue of the band's 1997 VHS/laserdisc long form music video Closure. In this version of the video, the band performs the song in a red cave-like set with water at their feet, and a person with dwarfism appears.

Live performance videos of "March of the Pigs" are included on each of the band's live releases: Closure, And All that Could Have Been, and Beside You in Time.

The single[edit]

The American "March of the Pigs" CD single contains two mixes of the title track, two remixes of its fellow The Downward Spiral track "Reptile," and "A Violet Fluid," a non-album instrumental track. In the UK, the single was released as a two-disc (each sold separately) CD single, adding a censored radio edit of "March of the Pigs" and "Big Man With a Gun" from The Downward Spiral. The disc art for this single features a curled-up millipede, an image that was later used on the cover of the single "Closer".

"March of the Pigs" peaked at #98 on the Australian ARIA singles chart.[4]

Thirteen years after its release, it debuted at #9 and peaked at #6 on the Canadian Singles Chart.[5]

US CD[edit]

1."March of the Pigs"2:54
2."Reptilian" ("Reptile" remixed by Dave Ogilvie)8:40
3."All the Pigs, All Lined Up" ("March of the Pigs" remix)7:25
4."A Violet Fluid"1:04
5."Underneath the Skin" ("Reptile" remixed by Dave Ogilvie)7:16

UK CD[edit]

Disc one
1."March of the Pigs" (clean version)3:01
2."All the Pigs, All Lined Up"7:25
3."A Violet Fluid" (listed as "A Violent Fluid" in UK releases)1:04
4."Big Man With a Gun"1:37
Disc two
1."March of the Pigs" (LP version)2:54
2."Underneath the Skin"7:16
3."Reptilian" (remixed by Ogilvie)8:40

Cover versions[edit]

Appearances in other media[edit]

The song was released as a track for the video game Rock Band on February 26, 2008 for Xbox 360 and on February 28 for PlayStation 3. It was available as a standalone download or as part of the 'Nine Inch Nails' song pack (also including "The Perfect Drug" and "The Collector"). It was also featured on Rock Band Track Pack Vol. 1 for the PlayStation 2 and the Wii, alongside the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

In a 1994 episode of Beavis & Butt-head, the boys watch the video for "March of the Pigs" and enjoy much of the song except for the piano parts. After Trent Reznor knocks over his microphone at the end of the video, Beavis says, "Thank you very much. We're Nine Inch Nails." somewhat dismissively, with Butt-head adding "Good night."


  1. ^ Nettleton, Chris (March 5, 2007). "Nine Inch Nails - Live: Beside You In Time (DVD)". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Mason, Kerri (March 7, 2014). "Nine Inch Nails' 'The Downward Spiral' at 20: Classic Track-By-Track". Billboard. Retrieved March 15, 2021. Peaking at 269 BPM and weaving in and out of a maddening 29/8 time signature, it’s as ballistic as Reznor has ever been.
  3. ^ Huxley, Martin (September 1997). Nine Inch Nails: Self Destruct. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-15612-X.
  4. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 08 May 1994". ARIA. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  5. ^ "JAM! Music SoundScan Charts". Canadian Online Explorer. 2007-06-17. Archived from the original on December 26, 2004. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Shinn, Travis. "Hear Stone Sour's Fiery Cover Of Rage Against The Machine's "Bombtrack"". Revolver. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  8. ^ "March of the Pigs - song by Horse The Band". Retrieved December 10, 2020 – via Spotify.

External links[edit]