Celebrity Skin (song)

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"Celebrity Skin"
Single by Hole
from the album Celebrity Skin
  • "Best Sunday Dress"(UK CD, 7")
  • "Dying" (demo) (UK CD)
ReleasedSeptember 1, 1998 (1998-09-01)
RecordedApril 1997 (1997-04)–February 1998 (1998-02)
StudioConway Recording Studios and Record Plant West in Los Angeles, California
Producer(s)Michael Beinhorn
Hole singles chronology
"Gold Dust Woman"
"Celebrity Skin"
Audio sample

"Celebrity Skin" is the tenth single by American alternative rock band Hole, released on September 1, 1998 by DGC Records. It is the debut single from their third studio album of the same name and is Hole's most commercially successful single, being the only one to reach number one on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 126 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".[1]


The song was written and recorded in 1997 after Hole's reported hiatus in 1996 due to frontwoman Courtney Love's rising movie career. According to Love, cowriter Billy Corgan wrote the song's main guitar riff during his time at the Celebrity Skin sessions.[2]

"Once you've stood onstage bleating your schoolgirl poetry," Love observed, "are you going to stay there, when you have the power and ability to give yourself a platform? I mean, here's the celebrity, and we all know it's stupid and ephemeral, but why not foster it? Why not feed it? Because all that it will do is give the thing that has substance – the art – more power."[3]

The lyrics, written by Love,[4] contain references to Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem A Superscription, William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, and Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night ("My name is 'Might-Have-Been"), as well as the song sharing the name of an indie American pornographic magazine and a short-lived punk rock group from Los Angeles that featured ex-Germs drummer Don Bolles. Love joked on Later... with Jools Holland in 1995 that the song was entitled "Celebrity Skin" "'cause [she] touched a lot of it."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Celebrity Skin" was directed by Nancy Bardawil.[6][7] The video features the band performing the song on a stage, women wearing pink-purple ball gowns hanging from the ceiling and the women later lifting up their skirts as they amble around the stage. The video design bears resemblance to a key sequence in the Marilyn Monroe film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).[8] As well as performance footage, there are also a number of close-ups of Courtney Love and Melissa Auf der Maur lying in coffins. Patty Schemel, although still a member of the band at the time of shooting, does not appear in the video. Schemel was replaced by a lookalike (Samantha Maloney using red hair to emulate Schemel) and only informed a music video was planned after it was shot.[9] The video was shot in black and white and the footage was colorized by Cerulean Fx in post-production.

Formats and track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]


Guest musician



In popular culture[edit]

The song was used in the film American Pie, but did not appear on the soundtrack, as well as being featured in the intro of the video game NHL Rock The Rink, as well as the video games Rock Band and Sing Star as a playable track and downloadable content. The song received two Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song, losing to "Uninvited" by Alanis Morissette and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, losing to "Pink" by Aerosmith.

It also appeared in the 2011 family film Hop. In 2012, the song was performed by Heather Morris and Chord Overstreet in the Glee episode "Makeover"

A line from the song inspired the alternative rock group Garbage to name their third album Beautiful Garbage.[22]

The song was used as a lip sync for your life on the third episode of the tenth season of RuPaul's Drag Race on which Courtney Love was a special guest.

In 2018 Love performed the song with Rockin'1000 in Florence being backed by 1500 musicians.

The song plays during the end credits of the film Captain Marvel.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years". NME. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  2. ^ "Courtney Love". Behind the Music. 2010-06-22. VH1.
  3. ^ Moran, Caitlin: The girl who wanted to be God, Select, September 1999, p92
  4. ^ Celebrity Skin (Media notes). Hole. DGC/Geffen Records. 1998. DGCD-25164.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Love, Courtney. Later... with Jools Holland on May 5, 1995.
  6. ^ ""Celebrity Skin" by Hole | Music Video | VH1.com". VH1. August 13, 1998. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  7. ^ Thompson, Dave. Alternative Rock. San Francisco, California: Miller Freeman. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-879-30607-6.
  8. ^ Kinselia, Ana (July 12, 2016). "Five of the World's Most Fashionable Music Videos". Another Magazine. Archived from the original on April 18, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Patty Schemel (2011). Hit So Hard: The Life and Near-Death Story of Patty Schemel (DVD). The Ebersole Hughes Company.
  10. ^ Patty Schemel, though credited, did not provide the drum tracks on the recorded versions of the song; Schemel was replaced by session drummer Deen Castronovo.
  11. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Hole – Celebrity Skin". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 7080." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Lescharts.com – Hole – Celebrity Skin" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  14. ^ "Íslenski Listinn (8.10–15.10. 1998)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). October 9, 1998. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  15. ^ "Charts.nz – Hole – Celebrity Skin". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  17. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Hole – Celebrity Skin". Singles Top 100. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Hole Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  20. ^ "Hole Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  21. ^ "RPM's Top 50 Alternative Tracks of '98". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  22. ^ "Unforthcoming Attraction", written by Peter Robinson, published by NME, October 6, 2001, issue
  23. ^ Shepherd, Jack. "Captain Marvel soundtrack: All the 90s songs featured in MCU film starring Brie Larson". The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 23 March 2019.