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
Length 4:58
Label Virgin
Songwriter(s) Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Cherub Rock"
"Cherub Rock"

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


"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.[4] The song was performed in standard tuning with an E octave played at the 7th fret, a technique 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,[5] against the wishes of record executives who believed that "Today" would be a stronger opening single.[6] Although Corgan's wishes were honored, the single was indeed received with much less enthusiasm than "Today",[6] although it remains a fan favorite. An acoustic version of the song is performed on Vieuphoria and its CD companion, Earphoria.[7]

The song was a moderate success for the band, being performed on Saturday Night Live on October 30, 1993[8] and making it to the Triple J Hottest 100 at number 43.[9] Readers ranked "Cherub Rock" at number 97 in Guitar World's list of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time.[10] In June 2008 a readers' poll in Rolling Stone magazine, "Cherub Rock" was listed as the 25th greatest guitar track of all time.[11] In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 67 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[12]

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."[13]

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.[14]

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.[15]

The song features on numerous rhythm video games such as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,[16] Rock Band,[17] and Power Gig: Rise of the SixString.[18]

Rochester, New York band Roses Are Red covered the song for Reignition Records' 2005 compilation The Killer in You: A Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins.[19]

The song was used in ECW by Psicosis.

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



Chart (1993) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[20] 91
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[22] 31
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[23] 23
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[24] 7


  1. ^ Dahlen, Chris (December 11, 2002). "Smashing Pumpkins - Earphoria". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ Danaher, Michael (August 4, 2014). "The 50 Best Grunge Songs". Paste. Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (May 21, 2007). "The Ultimate Nineties Alt-Rock Playlist". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ Kelly, Christina. "Smashing Pumpkins-The Multi-Platinum Band is over the infighting but can the harmony last?" US Magazine, 1995–12–01.
  5. ^ Ducker, Eric. "Smashing Pumpkins' 'Siamese Dream' Turns 20: How Five Music Video Directors Brought Billy Corgan's Masterpiece to Life". Spin. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Soniak, Matt. "The Late Movies: The Smashing Pumpkins". Mental Floss. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ Prato, Greg. "Vieuphoria – Smashing Pumpkins". Allmusic. Retrieved December 15, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Triple J Hottest 100, 1993
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Commentary for "Cherub Rock" music video. The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection (Virgin Records, 2001).
  15. ^ 1999 NASCAR Busch Series All Pro Bumper to Bumper. TBS Superstation. 1999. 
  16. ^ "Guitar Hero 3 Setlist Revealed". PC World. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Rock Band Songs". Harmonix Music Systems. Archived from the original on January 7, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Track list released for Power Gig: Rise of the SixString". GamePro. Archived from the original on November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ Prato, Greg. "Smashing Pumpkins Tribute: The Killer in You". Allmusic. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2270." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 16, 1993. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. ^ " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  24. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External links[edit]