A Song for a Son

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"A Song for a Son"
Song by The Smashing Pumpkins
from the album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor
Released December 8, 2009
Format digital download
Recorded 2009
Length 6:02
Label Self-released
Songwriter(s) Billy Corgan
Producer(s) Kerry Brown, Billy Corgan, Bjorn Thorsrud

"A Song for a Son" is a 2009 song by the alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was the first track released from Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, Vol. 1: Songs for a Sailor from the band's 8th album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. The song contains an extended guitar solo, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, recorded live by Billy Corgan.[1] Written on an acoustic guitar, Corgan left the meaning of the song vague, but later realized it has a lot to do with his relationship with his father.[2] Corgan consciously set the song in 1975, the year he started listening heavily to rock music, considering Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, UFO, and Rainbow influences on the sound.[3]


Rolling Stone, after the release of "A Song for a Son" wrote, "Nothing in Corgan’s prolific recording history could have prepared us for the over five minutes of classic rock that is “A Song for a Son,” which starts off with a “Stairway to Heaven”-esque riff before exploding into the rest of ZoSo’s touchstones... If “A Song for a Son” is any indication of what we can expect from 'Billy', each EP will likely be the length of Exile on Main Street".[4]

Ryan Dombal of the online magazine Pitchfork Media described "A Song for a Son" "an epic" saying that "There's a contemplative intro, a shredding solo, and plenty of classic rock panache in between".[5] Matthew Perpetua of Pitchfork gave the song a 2 out of 10, saying the song "is not awful so much as it is bloated and dreary. It has all the signifiers of a big, serious art-rock ballad, but there's nothing to it but empty gestures."[6]

The song was also reviewed by About.com's Tim Grierson, who calls Corgan "charitable with Teargarden by Kaleidyscope":[7] "Led by a stately piano figure reminiscent of Adore, "A Song for a Son" eventually introduces electric guitars into the mix, climaxing with an ecstatic solo. Overall, it's a moody, vaguely psychedelic number that's a promising start to this ambitious, unconventional, and awesome album.[8]


The song is featured in the closing minutes of The Chicago Code (Season 1, Episode 7).


Technical personnel


  1. ^ Video of the second half of the solo being recorded Archived April 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.. TwitVid account of Kerry Brown.
  2. ^ Bosso, Joe. "Billy Corgan on The Smashing Pumpkins' new direction". MusicRadar.com. June 10, 2010.
  3. ^ Mervis, Scott. "Smashed Pumpkins: Billy Corgan battles to keep the legacy alive". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Kreps, Daniel (December 7, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Unveil New "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope" Track "A Song for a Son"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ Dombal, Ryan (December 7, 2009). "Hear the Epic New Smashing Pumpkins Track: "A Song for a Son"". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  6. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (January 4, 2010). "The Smashing Pumpkins "A Song for a Son"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2010. 
  7. ^ Grierson, Tim (September 16, 2009). "The New Smashing Pumpkins Album, 'Teargarden by Kaleidyscope,' Will Be Epic ... and Free". Tim's Rock Music Blog. About.com. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ Grierson, Tim (December 7, 2009). "Smashing Pumpkins Debut First 'Teargarden' Track, "A Song for a Son"". Tim's Rock Music Blog. About.com. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Ain't No Sleep When You're Living the Dream". Blog of Kerry Brown. Posted October 7, 2009.
  10. ^ "Lisa Harriton in the studio with The Smashing Pumpkins". SmashingPumpkins.com. October 8, 2009.