Cherub Rock

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"Cherub Rock"
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
from the album Siamese Dream
Released July 13, 1993
Format CD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded 1992
Genre Alternative rock, Grunge
Length 4:58
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Billy Corgan
Producer(s) Butch Vig, Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Rhinoceros"
(1991)
"Cherub Rock"
(1993)
"Today"
(1993)

"Cherub Rock" is a song by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was the first single from their second album, Siamese Dream (1993), and was written by lead vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan. It was nominated for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal at the Grammy Awards of 1994.

Composition[edit]

Sample of "Cherub Rock" from Siamese Dream, which features layers of guitar overdubs influenced by arena rock and shoegazing, as well as repeated use of "the Pumpkin chord".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Cherub Rock" was one of the last songs written for the album, and the lyrics relate to Corgan's relationship with his perception of the indie rock community and larger media.[1] The song was performed in standard tuning with a G sharp octave played at the 11th fret, which the band used on other songs, such as "Drown", "Tristessa", and "Starla". The prominent effect on the solo was achieved by recording the guitar solo to two different tapes which were then run simultaneously, with the speed of one tape slightly altered. "Cherub Rock" contains various overdubs influenced by the genres of shoegazing as well as 70's classic arena rock.

Reception[edit]

Corgan insisted that the song be released as the first single from the album, against the wishes of record executives who believed that "Today" would be a stronger opening single. Although Corgan's wishes were honored, the single was indeed received with much less enthusiasm than "Today", although it remains a fan favorite. An acoustic version of the song is performed on Vieuphoria and its CD companion, Earphoria.

The song was a moderate success for the band, being performed on Saturday Night Live on October 30, 1993[2] and making it to the Triple J Hottest 100 at number 43.[3] Readers ranked "Cherub Rock" at number 97 in Guitar World's list of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time.[4] In June 2008 a readers' poll in Rolling Stone magazine, "Cherub Rock" was listed as the 25th greatest guitar track of all time.[5] In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 67 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[6]

Following the 2011 re-issue of Siamese Dream, Consequence of Sound commented that the single "seemed tailor-made to feed the emerging modern rock radio format."[7]

Music video[edit]

The video features footage of the band performing the song live in a forest setting. It was shot outside San Francisco entirely on Super8 film at a very modest budget. The director, Kevin Kerslake, employed various destructive techniques when developing the film to give the video a broken and dirty look. Corgan was reportedly extremely unhappy with the shooting experience, and the band never worked with Kerslake again.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

TBS used nearly the entire opening of the song (minus one drum pattern, ending a few hooks before the start of Billy Corgan's vocals) in the opening of their coverage of the 1999 All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300.

The song features on numerous rhythm video games such as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Rock Band, and Power Gig: Rise of the SixString.

Rochester, New York band Roses Are Red covered the song for Reignition Records' 2005 compilation The Killer in You: A Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins.

Track listing[edit]

CD / 12" vinyl version

  1. "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
  2. "Pissant" – 2:30
  3. "French Movie Theme" / "Star-Spangled Banner" – 3:50

7" vinyl version (5000 copies only)

  1. "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
  2. "Purr Snickety" – 2:50

7" Siamese Singles vinyl version (Box set only)

  1. "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
  2. "Siamese Dream" – 2:40

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 31
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 7
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 23
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 91

References[edit]

External links[edit]