|"Knights of Cydonia"|
|Single by Muse|
|from the album Black Holes and Revelations|
|B-side||"Assassin" (Grand Omega Bosses Edit)|
|Released||27 November 2006|
|Muse singles chronology|
"Knights of Cydonia" is a song by English alternative rock band Muse and is the closing track on their 2006 album Black Holes and Revelations. The song's title comes in part from the region of Mars named Cydonia, famous for the "face on Mars".
The radio edit version was first aired on KROQ-FM radio on 6 June 2006, and released to other radio stations in the United States on 12 June 2006. The song was released as the third single from Black Holes & Revelations in the UK on 27 November 2006, debuting at No 10 in the UK Singles Chart (see 2006 in British music). It also hit the No. 10 spot on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in the United States, becoming their third top-ten hit on that chart. The song was described by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac on 27 October 2006 as ‘six minutes and seven seconds of pure genius’. In 2007, Eve of Summer recorded a remix.
The first live performance of "Knights of Cydonia" took place at a BBC Radio 1 event, Radio 1's Big Weekend, held at Camperdown Park in Dundee on 13 May 2006. Also performed at this event were "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Starlight", the first two singles from Black Holes and Revelations. Live performances of "Knights of Cydonia" give Matt Bellamy's intro falsetto more prominence than its studio counterpart, along with Dominic Howard's introductory drum pattern being included in the performance. Since 2008, live performances have included an introduction of Ennio Morricone's "Man With a Harmonica" from Once Upon a Time in the West where bassist Chris Wolstenholme plays a harmonica piece. Other live additions include Bellamy playing an extra guitar part during the solo at the end of song, Howard ending the song with a short drum solo and the coda of "Space Dementia" played as a finale.
In 2007, "Knights of Cydonia" was the number-one song in Australia's Triple J Hottest 100. The song was also ranked No. 18 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time, 2009 and No. 53 on Rhapsody's list of the Top 100 Tracks of the Decade. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 44 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
The intro, as performed on the live album H.A.A.R.P, is a citation of the five tone musical phrase from the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The song uses synthesised and live trumpet parts overlaid with vocals from both Matt Bellamy's higher and lower reaches spanning B3-E5. The guitar sound in the song was inspired by the 1962 number one hit "Telstar" by The Tornados (George Bellamy, Matt Bellamy's father, was the band's rhythm guitarist). The song, taken in entirety, also bears a striking resemblance to George Bellamy's composition "Ridin' the Wind". The first noise heard in the song is an explosion, then a horse neigh. The first 2:03 of the song is a guitar solo to the tune of the lyrics, before Bellamy sings "Come ride with me, through the veins of history."
Bellamy has stated that on the album in general he tried to create a vision of what is occurring in the song. For example, the bassline has a galloping rhythm resembling someone riding a horse.
The Knights of Cydonia video was shot over five days: three days in Romania; one day in London; and one day in Red Rock, California; it was made available on 11 July 2006. It was filmed and edited as a thematic smörgåsbord: a Spaghetti Western film with post-apocalyptic influence, complete with beginning and end credits, livened with the occasional kung-fu cowboy or metal-clad maiden astride a unicorn. The presence of futuristic elements such as robots and ray-guns may indicate that the town "Cydonia" is meant to be located on a terraformed Mars. At the end of the video one can see Roman numerals MCMLXXXI which translates as 1981. However, in the introduction of one version of the video, the numerals MCLMXXXI are seen, which despite claims that it could equal 2081 (MMLXXXI) or 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI), is not a valid Roman numeral. However, other versions show MCMLXXXI in both places.
The video was directed by Joseph Kahn, and stars British actor Russ Bain as the protagonist (The Man With No Name), Richard Brake as the antagonist (Sheriff Baron Klaus Rottingham), and Cassandra Bell as the love interest (Princess Shane Kuriyami). Throughout the video, the actors mouth out the lyrics, such as Russ Bain pilloried in town square mouthing ‘No one's going to take me alive’, and Cassandra Bell at the gallows ‘You and I must fight for our rights’. In both instances, the mouthed words occur after the song lyrics and complete before the song moves on to the next line. The band appears in some scenes, partly as holograms. Additionally, the population of the town Cydonia is 143, a common symbol for "I love you", although the actual meaning is unknown.
A very brief scene in which Bain has sex with his love interest was edited out of the video for presentation on television. The complete, uncensored version is available for viewing at the Director's website, and at YouTube.com. In the scene where Bain has sex, the camera crew can be intentionally seen in the mirror left of the bed.
In the first minute of the video, the words A Gustof von Musterhausen Production appear in a pink background for a few seconds. Musterhausen appears to be a fictional person, although there is a MySpace page for one Gustaf von Musterhausen (not Gustof), which seems to be solely dedicated to providing information about the video.
A remix of the song was released as Future Funk Squad vs. Muse – "Knights Of Cydonia" (Breaks Mix).
A remix by Simian Mobile Disco titled Knights of Cydonia (Simian Mobile Disco Remix) is also included on Muse's Invincible EP, released in 2007. The song, however, utilises very few elements of the original song.
A "Nostalgia Dubstep" remix of this song has been utilised in Jason Charles Giles' animated short Dubstep Dispute that in turn was played on Cartoon Network in 2013, specifically Adult Swim's Off the Air episode "Light".
A remix by Gramatik was released in the "Official & Bootleg Remixes, Colabs & Rare Tracks" album in 2012.
A cover of the song was recorded by the ska band Demon Waffle and released on their album Drink Your Dinner in 2017.
Prior to its entry in the Singles Chart, "Knights of Cydonia" had been active in the Downloads Chart, and sat at No. 41 the same week that the physical release debuted at No. 10 in the Singles Chart. Three weeks earlier, the song sat at No. 104 in the Downloads Chart marking a substantial jump in that time period. The song also reached number 2 in the charts in both Flanders and Wallonia of Belgium. It peaked at number 20 in Norway.
The song was the winner of Triple J's annual Hottest 100 countdown for 2007 winning by only 13 votes, and later was voted No. 18 in 2009's Hottest 100 of All Time countdown, where it was the second-highest ranked song from the 21st century.
|UK Singles (OCC)||10|
|UK Download (OCC)||41|
|US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)||10|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||400,000|
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.