real thing

The Real Thing (Faith No More album)

}} The Real Thing is the third album by Faith No More, released in 1989. It was their first record with Mike Patton and became their breakthrough. On this album, Faith No More advanced their sound range combining heavy metal, Progressive metal, hip hop, funk, jazz, and soul. The music recording was complete by the time Patton (the singer for experimental/thrash/funk band Mr. Bungle) came on board. Patton wrote the lyrics and recorded them over the already finished music.

Most known for its tracks "Falling to Pieces," and "Epic," whose video featured a fish flopping about on the ground, the album's "Falling to Pieces" also became popular (its video was a favorite of MTV's Beavis and Butthead). The video for "Epic" was subject to controversy because of the perceived treatment of the fish, which appears to be dying—it was in fact slow motion footage; the fish was returned to its tank alive. Reportedly, keyboardist Roddy Bottum stole the goldfish from Icelandic singer Björk at a party she was throwing. He returned it to her after the shoot, which lasted mere seconds. Mike Patton claimed during the band's "Live at the Wireless" performance for Australian radio station Triple J, in 1990, that the title track was "Written after my girlfriend left me for Sebastian Bach."

The Real Thing is Faith No More's best selling album, selling 2 million copies in the US alone and around 4 million worldwide. Singles released were "Epic", "From out of Nowhere", "Falling to Pieces" and "Edge of the World" of this album. "Epic" also ranked #30 in VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs in May 2006.

The album also features "War Pigs," a cover of the anti-war protest song by Black Sabbath, as well as "Edge of the World," a jazzy piano ballad about a paedophile. "Surprise! You're Dead!" also had a video that never saw much airplay on TV.

"Epic" is featured in the video games Rock Band, Burnout Paradise, and Singstar.

Track listing


Surprise! You're Dead!

"Surprise! You're Dead!" is the fourth song on the album. Unlike the rest of the album, the song carries a distinct thrash metal influence in its sound, as it was written solely by Jim Martin in his days as a guitarist in Agents of Misfortune (along with Metallica songs such as "For Whom the Bell Tolls" with Cliff Burton).

Jim Martin's later recorded it in 1997 on his solo release Milk and Blood. The song was later included on the soundtrack for Gremlins 2: The New Batch in 1990 and Faith No More's compilation albums Epic and Other Hits in 2005 and The Works in 2008.

The song also has a black & white music video directed by Billy Gould, but wasn't released officially until the release of Video Croissant. It is speculated whether this had to do with the violent subject matter, although it is most likely because the record label only allowed so many official singles. The video is compiled from footage shot during a South American tour in 1990.

Zombie Eaters

"Zombie Eaters" is the fifth song on the album. The lyrics can be interpreted as being about either a baby's perception of the world around him or a needy, dependent relationship. The song remains one of the more popular tracks on The Real Thing and can be found on the band's 2008 compilation album The Works as well as multiple live releases.

The band Ill Niño has covered this song with Chino Moreno as a guest, it appears on the band's EP The Under Cover Sessions.

Woodpecker from Mars

"Woodpecker from Mars" is the instrumental ninth track on the album, except for cassette editions; on which it is the tenth and final track. It was recorded prior to the hiring of Mike Patton. It was later released in 1992 as a live bonus disc on limited edition French pressings of Angel Dust. It shares its title with a 1956 Woody Woodpecker cartoon.

Musically it sounds similar to a heavier version of pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd songs, such as "Interstellar Overdrive", "Astronomy Domine", "A Saucerful of Secrets" and in that context, the title probably refers to mythology, the Woodpecker being the bird of the Roman God Mars.

Edge of the World

"Edge of the World" appears on the CD and cassette versions of the album. The song is a piano driven ballad that incorporates heavy influences from jazz and lounge music. It was also released on the band's compilation album The Platinum Collection in 2006. Billy Gould described the song in these word:

This one's real simple. It's all done with fingers. There's no guitar - just piano and bass. The verses are minor and it goes to major for the chorus.
It was also released as a promo single in Brazil on CD and 12" vinyl with two tracks; the album version and the live version of the song.


Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
1989 Kerrang! United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 1
1989 Sounds United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 20
1989 Villiage Voice United States "Albums of the Year" 27
1998 Kerrang! United Kingdom "Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" 50
2001 Classic Rock United Kingdom "100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever" 64
2005 Rolling Stone Germany "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" 105
2005 Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die *
2006 Classic Rock & Metal Hammer United Kingdom "The 200 Greatest Albums of the 80s" *

Chart positions


Chart Peak
Australian Album Charts 2
The Billboard 200 11
UK Albums Chart 30
Swedish Album Charts 38
RIANZ Album Chart 48

Year end

Chart Peak
The Billboard 200 41


Year Title Peak chart positions
US Main US Mod AUS
1989 "From out of Nowhere"

83 23
1990 "Epic"

9 25 2 1 25
"Falling to Pieces"

92 40 12 26 41
"—" denotes singles that were released but did not chart.

Year end

Year Title Peak chart positions
The Billboard Hot 100
1990 "Epic" 75


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