Bastille Day

Background and Commentary

The French Revolution imagery was “inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, with proud and defiant guitar rifs and tempos. Neil’s first real themes of a class struggle and oppression. The opening line was what the Queen of France said: ‘If there’s no bread, let them eat cake.'”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Geddy’s high vocals in the piece evoke the “righteous anger” of that revolutionary period.—Christopher McDonald, Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class

“‘Bastille Day’ is a barnstormer of a speed metaller, one of the band’s heaviest three or four songs, wrapped around a tale of the French Revolution, vocals on fire.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

“‘Bastille Day’ is one of the finest hard rock songs ever recorded, with music to match the angry words of the French Revolution. . . . Neil expresses both the savagery of the mob and the reasons for its behavior. While at other times in the band’s career Neil’s mistrust of people acting en masse would bring out a palpabe loathing of such collective action [think ‘Witch Hunt,’ for example], on this song you can’t quite tell which side he is on. This impression is reinforced by Geddy’s passionate vocal. After all, the band now had the experience of playing in front of thousands of excited people and seen both the positive and negative aspects of communal experiences.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

“Rush’s Led Zeppelin influence is most obviously prominent on Caress of Steel in ‘Bastille Day’ (which discusses the storming of the Bastille in the French Revolution), though it is apparent on all three of the shorter songs on the album. The piece reappeared on the R30 CD and DVD as part of the instrumental ‘R30 Overture.’ Reportedly, Dream Theater‘s core members John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy and John Myung named the first incarnation of the band Majesty after a comment by Portnoy suggesting the ending of ‘Bastille Day’ was majestic.—Wikipedia

Two “Bastille Day” tribute versions.

Lyrics

There’s no bread, let them eat cake
There’s no end to what they’ll take
Flaunt the fruits of noble birth
Wash the salt into the earth

But they’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Free the dungeons of the innocent
The king will kneel and let his kingdom rise

Bloodstained velvet, dirty lace
Naked fear on every face
See them bow their heads to die
As we would bow as they rode by

And we’re marching to Bastille Day
La guillotine will claim her bloody prize
Sing, oh choirs of cacophony
The king has kneeled, to let his kingdom rise

Lessons taught but never learned
All around us anger burns
Guide the future by the past
Long ago the mould was cast

For they marched up to Bastille Day
La guillotine claimed her bloody prize
Hear the echoes of the centuries
Power isn’t all that money buys

Tablature

By Jimmy Pena (jimmy@walrus.com)

Excerpted from Ultimate Guitar.

| = not a standard bar line; just used to separate music
~ = vibrato or held note
h = hammer on
p = pull off
^ = upstroke
V = downstroke
tr = trill; play the note(s) indicated rapidly and repeatedly (same thing
as tremolo picking)
o \_
o / repeat sign (always look for these!)

[Intro] – doubled electrics
e:—————————————————————–|
B:—————————————————————–|
G:o—————————————————————o|
D:o—————————————————————o|
A:—————————————————————–|
E:—3h5-5-5-5-5-5–3h5-5-5-5-5-5-3h5-5-5-5-5-5—3-3-3-2–2–0—-|

e:—————————————————————–|
B:—————————————————————–|
G:o—————————————————————o|
D:o—————————————————————o|
A:—————————————————————–|
E:—5h7-7-7-7-7-7–5h7-7-7-7-7-7–5h7-7-7-7-7-7–5-5-5-4–4–2—-|

[Riff 1] – doubled electrics
E5 G5 C5/G D5/A A5 D5/A
e:——————————–|——————————|
B:——————————–|——————————|
G:———–5-5–7–7—-7\——|————5-5–7–7———|
D:—2–2-5–5-5–7–7-7–7\——|—2-2-2-5–5-5–7–7-7——-|
A:—2–2-5–3-3–5–5-7–5\——|—2-2-2-5–3-3–5–5-7–5\—|
E:—0–0-3–3-3–5–5-5–5\——|—0-0-0-3–3-3–5–5-5——-|

[Riff 2] – doubled electrics
G C G5 A5
e:—3~——–0~————————————————–|
B:—3~——–1~————————7-7-7-7-7–7-7-7-7——–|
G:—0~——–0~————————7-7-7-7-7–7-7-7-7——–|
D:—0~——–2~———–5~–5-7~–7–7-7-7-7-7–7-7-7-7——–|
A:—2~——–3~–3-2~-0~–5~–5-7~–7–5-5-5-5-5–5-5-5-5——–|
E:—3~-3-2-3—————3~–3-5~–5—————————-|
V ^ V ^ V ^ V ^ V
[Riff 3] – doubled electrics
—————————————–
G D/F# C G |1. G5 A5 D5 |2. G5 A5 E5
e:—3————|——————|—————————–|
B:—3–3—-3–3-|——————|—————————–|
G:o–0–2—-0–0-|———–7-7-7-7|—————————-o|
D:o–0–0—-2–0-|—5—7—7-7-7-7|—5—7\–2—————-o|
A:—2–x—-3–2-|—5—7—5-5-5-5|—5—7\–2—————–|
E:—3–2———|—3—5———-|—3—5\–0—————–|

[Riff 4] – doubled electrics
D5 A5 G D/F#
e:———————————————————-|
B:———————————————————-|
G:o-7-7-7——-7-7-7——-7-7-7————————–o|
D:o-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7——————–o|
A:–5-5-5-7-7-7-5-5-5-7-7-7-5-5-5-7-7-7—–5-5—–5-5—–|
E:——–5-5-5——-5-5-5——-5-5-5—3——-2——0–|

E5 B5 A
e:————————————————————–|
B:————————————————————–|
G:o-9-9-9——-9-9-9——-9-9-9——————————o|
D:o-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9-9————————o|
A:–7-7-7-9-9-9-7-7-7-9-9-9-7-7-7-9-9-9—–7-7—7-7———–|
E:——–7-7-7——-7-7-7——-7-7-7—5—–4——2-2——|

For complete tab, go to Ultimate Guitar.

Tutorials

“Bastille Day” guitar cover

“Bastille Day” bass cover

“Bastille Day” drum cover

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~ by rvkeeper on January 31, 2011.

 
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