Megalomania (song)

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Muse song
Name Megalomania
Length 4:38
Alternative titles
First live performance 12th April 2001
Latest live performance 28th August 2011
Recorded Real World Studio Wiltshire and St Mary the Virgin, Bathwick 2001
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer John Leckie



An overblown anti-religious album closer using a Gothic-style church pipe organ. Matt once described recording this song as being difficult, saying "the reason recording the song is difficult is that it's about deconstructing the Church, you know? Saying how it's a relic of the past, and how it's basically just something to empower man to give manpower to, you know, to take money from people, stuff like that. Well I suppose there are some good things behind it, but the Pope is corrupt."[1] He also stated in the same interview that the organ was the only thing worth going to Church for.

Matthew Bellamy definition of Megalomania

"This is directed at what would be God, asking why we should go forth and multiply? What's the point?"[2]


Megalomania is a song driven by pipe organs. Written mostly in E harmonic minor with some elements of E melodic minor, it moves at a loose tempo of 73 BPM. The outro is noteworthy for its use of the chromatic mediant technique: the chords alternate between D and F# (the latter's root note being the major third of the former) until resolving to the F#.

Bellamy's lead vocal range spans from D♯3 to B4, and reaches up to G5 in the prominent backing vocals.

General information

Bellamy has described the recording of this anti-church song, using the organ at St. Mary's Church, Bathwick, as a "dark moment" in his life. The vicar of the church insisted on seeing the lyrics to the song before allowing them to use the organ, although none had yet been written for the song. Bellamy proceeded to write out some "positive", "nice" lyrics for him and he allowed them to record the song.[3] When requesting permission to play one of the biggest church organs in Europe in order to finish recording the song, the priest at the church asked to see the lyrics to the song to ensure the band weren't devil worshippers.

Matt wrote the song on holiday in the Maldives, whilst learning to dive, and it was inspired by his pessimism towards the relationship he was in at them time.[3]

The earliest known performance used a grand piano rather than an organ or keyboard with organ effect. A video can be found of this performance on the DC Muse Hub.

The working title for Megalomania was Thoughts of a Dying Atheist at first.

Not to be confused with the later song of the same name as the WIP name, Thoughts of a Dying Atheist on Absolution.

After nearly a 6 year break after having last been played on 5th May 2002, Megalomania was played at London's Royal Albert Hall on 12th April 2008, seven years to the day it was first played. The song was played on the Royal Albert Hall's pipe organ, the first time it had been played on a pipe organ in concert. Matthew Bellamy introduced the song by saying something like "since we're at the Royal Albert Hall, it would be rude not to play this beast" (referring to the organ). Morgan Nicholls played an ukelele during the song. This performance was offered to the band's fans as a present for 2011's Christmas on their website.


The song was first played in 2001 on the Origin of Symmetry Tour with it continuing to make regular appearances throughout 2001. It got a few plays the following year before getting dropped in May 2002. It wasn't played again for 6 years until the 2008 Royal Albert Hall gig where it was played on the massive organ featured in the hall. It was played a handful of times in 2011, the most notable at the Reading and Leeds gigs where the band played Origin of Symmetry start to finish, before getting dropped yet again.

More here


Megalomania is "a symptom of mental illness marked by delusions of greatness, wealth, etc." or "an obsession with doing extravagant or grand things".


Paradise comes at a price

That I am not prepared to pay What were we built for? Could someone tell me please

The good news is she can't have babies And won't accept gifts from me What are they for? They'll just grow up and break the laws you've loved

Take off your disguise I know that underneath it's me Who are you oooh

Useless device it won't suffice I want a new game to play When I am gone - it won't be long Before I disturb you in the dark

And paradise comes at a price That I am not prepared to pay What were we built for? Will someone tell me please

Take off your disguise I know that underneath it's me


  1. [1]
  2. Rock Sound - 2001
  3. a b Muse: The Making of Origin of Symmetry (2007-10-07). Xfm. Retrieved from [verify]

Go back to Origin of Symmetry