|Single by The Smashing Pumpkins|
|from the album Siamese Dream|
|Released||July 13, 1993|
|Format||CD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl|
|The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology|
"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.
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"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. 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 1970s classic arena rock.
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 and making it to the Triple J Hottest 100 at number 43. Readers ranked "Cherub Rock" at number 97 in Guitar World's list of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time. In June 2008 a readers' poll in Rolling Stone magazine, "Cherub Rock" was listed as the 25th greatest guitar track of all time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 67 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.
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.
In popular culture
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.
CD / 12" vinyl version
- "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
- "Pissant" – 2:30
- "French Movie Theme" / "Star-Spangled Banner" – 3:50
7" vinyl version (5000 copies only)
- "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
- "Purr Snickety" – 2:50
7" Siamese Singles vinyl version (Box set only)
- "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
- "Siamese Dream" – 2:40
- Billy Corgan – vocals, lead guitar, production
- James Iha – rhythm guitar, vocals
- D'arcy Wretzky – bass, vocals
- Jimmy Chamberlin – drums
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||31|
|US Modern Rock Tracks (Billboard)||7|
|US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)||23|
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||91|
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- Commentary for "Cherub Rock" music video. The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection (Virgin Records, 2001).
- 1999 NASCAR Busch Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper. TBS Superstation. 1999.
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- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2270." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 16, 1993. Retrieved December 15, 2014.