Flower (Soundgarden song)

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Single by Soundgarden
from the album Ultramega OK
B-side "Head Injury" / "Toy Box"
Released May 14, 1989
Format CD single, cassette, vinyl
Recorded Spring 1988
Genre Grunge
Length 3:25
Label SST (231)
Songwriter(s) Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil
Producer(s) Drew Canulette, Soundgarden
Soundgarden singles chronology
"Hunted Down"
"Loud Love"
Audio sample

"Flower" is a song by the American rock band Soundgarden. Featuring lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by guitarist Kim Thayil, "Flower" was released in May 1989 as the only single from the band's debut album, Ultramega OK (1988). The song was included on Soundgarden's 1997 greatest hits album, A-Sides. An alternate BBC version of "Flower" recorded on 14 May 1989 appeared on the Deluxe Edition of the band's 2010 compilation album Telephantasm.

Origin and recording[edit]

"Flower" features lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by guitarist Kim Thayil. Thayil on the song:

This song marks the first time I ever blew on a guitar. I put the guitar down on the ground near the amp to get a humming feedback, as opposed to a squealy one, and blew across the strings in rhythm with the drums. There's probably some obscure Mississippi blues guitarist like 'Blind Lemon Pledge' who's done that before, but "Flower" is the first time any rock band had recorded the sound of someone blowing across the strings. It sounds like a sitar.[1]


Thayil stated, "On the song "Flower" from Ultramega OK, loads of people asked me how I played that so fast—they think I'm playing all these wild barre chords. It's just tuning the bottom E down to D!"[2]


Regarding "Flower", Cornell said "it's about a girl ... who becomes a woman and basically invests everything in vanity and then burns out quick."[3]

Release and reception[edit]

"Flower" was released as a single in 1989 with a previously unreleased B-side titled "Toy Box". The B-side "Head Injury" can be found on the Ultramega OK album. "Toy Box" was recorded during the sessions for Soundgarden's first EP, Screaming Life. "Flower" was the only single released from Ultramega OK. The cover photo of the single was taken by Charles Peterson, a noted photographer of the early Seattle music scene.[4] A "BBC Version" of "Flower" was recorded on 14 May 1989 for John Peel at the Hippodrome in Golders Green, London and appears on the Deluxe Edition of the band's 2010 compilation album Telephantasm.[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Flower" was directed by Mark Miremont.[6] The black-and-white video features the band performing the song amid scenes of the band members wandering around a city. Released in late 1988, "Flower" was Soundgarden's first music video. The video was put into rotation on MTV's underground alternative music show, 120 Minutes, and subsequently helped the burgeoning Seattle grunge scene gain attention and garner exposure to a somewhat mainstream audience.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Flower" (Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil) – 3:25
  2. "Head Injury" (Cornell) – 2:22
  3. "Toy Box" – 5:39


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Spex Germany "Singles of the Year"[7] 1989 31


  1. ^ Gilbert, Jeff. "Primecuts: Kim Thayil". Guitar School. May 1994.
  2. ^ Leonard, Michael. "Unknown Pleasures". The Guitar Magazine. December 1996.
  3. ^ "Kashmir". Sounds. May 13, 1989.
  4. ^ "Flower". Unofficial SG Homepage. May 29, 1997.
  5. ^ "Radio 1 - Keeping It Peel - 14/05/1989 Soundgarden". BBC. 1989-05-14. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  6. ^ "The Music Videos of Mark Miremont". markmiremont.com. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ "Best - Singles of the Year". poplist.de. Retrieved 2008-04-16.