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Single by Rage Against the Machine
from the album Evil Empire
Released October 1997
Format CD, 7", 12"
Genre Rap metal
Length 4:39
Writer(s) Zack de la Rocha
Tom Morello
Tim Commerford
Brad Wilk
Producer(s) artist
Brendan O'Brien
Rage Against the Machine singles chronology
"Down Rodeo"
"No Shelter"

"Vietnow" was the final single for Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire album. Officially it is only the third single from the album, as "Down Rodeo" was a promo release only.

The cover photograph of an elderly lady seen from the back, carrying a boombox radio and walking down a mountain was taken by the Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide in the Sonoran Desert in 1979. The original photograph is called "Mujer Ángel" and has also appeared in the black-and-white photography book Canto a la Realidad: Fotografia Latinoamericana, 1860-1993 as compiled by Erika Billeter.

The song's lyrics concern right-wing AM radio shows, hosted by people such as Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North and Michael Reagan[citation needed]. The verse riffs bear a resemblance to "The Wanton Song" by Led Zeppelin, whom Tom Morello has cited as a major influence.

The lyrics "is all the world jails and churches", are perhaps influenced by the works of American novelist James Baldwin. Baldwin's 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain includes the character Roy Grimes arguing with his mother and commenting, “You think that's all that's in the world is jails and churches?” At least one of James Baldwin's books is contained on Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire liner notes.[1]

The line "Comin down like bats from Stacey Koon" is a reference to Sgt. Stacey Koon, one of the 4 LAPD policemen videotaped beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991. He and Laurence Powell were the only two convicted of the four.

The song made its live debut during the 1996 Big Day Out festival in Australia.

The song was covered by the hardcore punk band Stray From The Path in 2012.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Vietnow"
  2. "Clear the Lane"
  3. "Intro/Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" (Live)
  4. "Zapata's Blood" (Live)


  1. ^ "Rage Against the Machine: Book List". Retrieved 2011-11-19. 

External links[edit]