Combining heavy metal guitar sounds with hip-hop beats, and white-hot political observations, Rage Against the Machine had as much impact on the American music scene as the Sex Pistols did on the UK’s.
Anti-corporate, anti-capitalist and anti-government, the Machine’s boiling blend of music took aim at those in power, with a view to engendering change. Their eponymous debut album is littered with political commentary, most notably Killing In the Name. A version of this, which contains 17 different versions of a particular swear-word, was unwittingly played on BBC Radio1.
Subsequent albums, such as Evil Empire and Renegades take a similar stance and plough even punkier furrows to get their message across.
Never afraid of confrontation, Rage Against the Machine launched an internet campaign in 2009, to keep Simon Cowell’s X-Factor Christmas song from the top slot. Killing In the Name was the UK’s Christmas Number One, in that year.