On the ancient Roman calendar, the Ides was the 15th day of March, May, July and October. The Ides of March became notorious for the assassination of Julius Caesar in the senate house on March 15, 44 BC. According to Plutarch, a soothsayer had warned Caesar of a great peril that threatened him on the Ides of March. During this song, Kennedy sings an ominous warning of impending danger.
Some say the end is nigh
That no one will get out alive
Some say it's written in the stars
Beware the Ides of March
In William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, the soothsayer warns the titular Roman dictator to "beware the Ides of March."
Clocking in at 7:39, "The Ides Of March" journeys from a slow ballad to a rocker that showcases Kennedy's guitar work. The Alter Bridge and Slash vocalist said he, drummer Zia Uddin, and bassist Tim Tournier wrote the song one night after a few drinks. "It was an attempt to sum up what so many of us felt during the beginning of the pandemic," Kennedy explained. "We were bored, frustrated and self-medicating to avoid going stir crazy. What I like about the narrative, is it pushes the idea that if everything is going to hell, at least try and do it in a celebratory fashion."
Kennedy first came up with the "Ides Of March" title while walking with his wife at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. "That phrase, at least to me, is really a warning, it's a warning of what could come," he explained to ABC Audio in a March 2021 interview. "At that point, when we were on that walk, I think it was March of last year, we didn't know what was gonna come, and we didn't know how bad things were gonna be."
After starting off in a dark place, the song takes many twists and turns amid its journey. By the time it gets to the bridge, the track has a more optimistic vibe.
Don't let this fall apart, don't let it fall apart
Break the divide, just step away
Cool heads prevail in times of change
Remember who we are
Kennedy said the "cool heads prevail in times of change" line is especially significant to him. "Anytime I'm in a situation where the world as it is starting to get to me and it's starting to mess with me, that phrase will come into play," he explained. "It's become very, very, very important to me, personally."
The song is the title track of Kennedy's Ides Of March album. Recorded in Florida with producer Michael "Elvis" Baskette, it sees him reuniting with longtime friend and drummer Zia Uddin and with bassist/manager Tim Tournier, both of whom worked on Kennedy's 2018 debut solo record, Year Of The Tiger.
Myles Kennedy released "The Ides Of March" on March 16, missing the date of the Roman holiday by one day.