El Scorcho

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"El Scorcho"
Single by Weezer
from the album Pinkerton
  • "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly"
  • "Devotion"
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1996
RecordedSeptember 1995 – June 1996
Songwriter(s)Rivers Cuomo
Weezer singles chronology
"Say It Ain't So"
"El Scorcho"
"The Good Life"

"El Scorcho" is a song by the American alternative rock band Weezer. It is the first single from the band's second album Pinkerton, released in 1996. The music video features the band playing in an old ballroom in Los Angeles (as revealed by Weezer's Video Capture Device DVD), surrounded by light fixtures of diverse origin, flashing in time to the music. The name of the song was supposed to have come from a packet of hot sauce from Del Taco, labeled "Del Scorcho".[1]

The song was a somewhat unconventional single for the band, featuring a loose, often wandering riff, improvised-sounding vocal contributions from all the band members, and a sudden shift into double-time and a different music style for the bridge. The track failed commercially; several radio stations refused to play the song, and the video stiffed on MTV. This is considered to be one of the causes for the initial commercial failure of the album.

It was, however, extremely popular in Australia, and made it to #9 on the Triple J Hottest 100 chart, the national poll conducted by alternative rock station Triple J for the year's most popular alternative songs. It was subsequently released on the 1996 Triple J Hottest 100 compilation.

The song is available as a downloadable track for the video game series Rock Band.


Lead singer Rivers Cuomo mentioned in a 2006 interview with the Harvard college newspaper, The Crimson, that the lines mentioning "Cio-Cio San" and "watching Grunge leg-drop New Jack" were actually taken from an essay from a classmate of his at Harvard in an Expository Writing class. The printed lyrics to the song identify these two lines as quoted with the enclosure of quotation marks. "...one example is, in 'Pinkerton,' in 'El Scorcho,' two lines in the song are actually taken from someone else’s essay in my Expos class. Because at one point, we had to do a little workshop thing, and we each got assigned to review someone else’s essay. So, I reviewed this one person’s essay, and I liked some of the lines in it, so I took them and used them in the song." The actual meaning of "watching Grunge leg-drop New Jack through a press table" is a reference to ECW wrestler Johnny Grunge leg dropping New Jack, through a table, possibly referencing a photograph of Grunge wrestling New Jack that was published in Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

The line "listening to Cio-Cio San" is in reference to Puccini's opera, Madame Butterfly, The main characters of which are an American sailor—Pinkerton—and a Japanese girl named Cio-Cio San. The singer who played Cio-Cio San at the opera's premiere in 1904 was named Rosina Storchio, though the alternate spelling indicates that this is likely an unintentional reference. This, in conjunction with the song "Pink Triangle", and the continued reference to the opera gives the album an overarching theme. Additionally, the line "I'm the epitome/of public enemy" is a lyric from Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype".[citation needed] The first line of the song has been mistakenly thought to refer to punk band Half Japanese.

Lyric changes[edit]

The song also mentions the band Green Day in the lyric "I asked you to go to the Green Day concert/You said you never heard of them." In 2005, Weezer often changed the lyric to "I asked you go to the Foo Fighters concert" while on the Foozer tour; and changed it to "the Weezer concert" later the same year. During their stop in Chicago for Lollapalooza, this was again changed to "I asked you to go to the Pixies concert" (a line that was also used in the 2019 tour with them), who were playing just before Weezer on a nearby stage; and at the Panic! at the Disco and Weezer 2016 Summer Tour, the line was sung "I asked you to go to the Panic concert".[citation needed]

Music video[edit]

For the single, Cuomo refused to make any "Buddy Holly"-like videos explaining "I really want the songs to come across untainted this time around...I really want to communicate my feelings directly and because I was so careful in writing that way. I'd hate for the video to kinda misrepresent the song, or exaggerate certain aspects."[3] The final video featured the band playing in an assembly hall in Los Angeles, surrounded by light fixtures of diverse origin, flashing in time to the music.[4] Matt Sharp appears wearing a FC Barcelona shirt. At the beginning of the video, a neon sign reads "Weerez", although at the end, it reads Weezer. It debuted on MTV's program 120 Minutes and only received moderate airplay on the channel.[3] Mark Romanek directed the video.

Track listing[edit]

UK 7" Single/UK CD #1
  1. "El Scorcho" – 4:03
  2. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" – 1:57
UK CD #2
  1. "El Scorcho" – 4:03
  2. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" – 1:57
  3. "Devotion" – 3:11
  1. "El Scorcho" – 4:03
  2. "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" – 1:57
  3. "Devotion" – 3:11

"You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" was recorded for and released on the soundtrack to the film Angus. This version is a completely new recording.


Chart (1996) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[5] 70
Canadian Alternative (RPM) 5
Japan (Japan Hot 100) 73
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company) 50
US Modern Rock Tracks (Billboard) 19




  1. ^ "=W= Story". =W= Story. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  2. ^ Riesman, Abe. "Rivers' End: The Director's Cut". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  3. ^ a b Luerssen D., John. Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story. ECW Press, 2004, ISBN 1-55022-619-3 p. 202
  4. ^ Luerssen D., John, 2004 p. 195
  5. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  6. ^ "YouTube - The Long Goodbye: ""El Scorcho"". YouTube.
  7. ^ "The Hood Internet". The Hood Internet. 2009-06-18. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  8. ^ YouTube (2009-07-11). "Brand New covering Weezer". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-07-06.

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