I Am One

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"I Am One"
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
from the album Gish
ReleasedMay 1990 (Limited Potential)
1992 (Gish version)
FormatCD, 7" vinyl, 10" vinyl
GenreAlternative rock[1]
Length4:16 (Limited Potential)
4:07 (Gish version)
LabelLimited Potential
Caroline, Hut
Producer(s)Billy Corgan (Limited Potential)
Billy Corgan and Butch Vig (Gish version)
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"I Am One"
Gish version
10" vinyl and CD cover.
10" vinyl and CD cover.

"I Am One" is the debut single by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It was the band's first ever release and remains the only single issued by the band with co-writing credits to both Billy Corgan and James Iha. It charted on the UK Singles Chart at a peak position of number 73.[2]

Two recordings of the song were released. One was recorded in 1990 and was the Pumpkins' first release and first on Limited Potential. This recording was financed with the money from Corgan's college tuition fund left by his grandmother.[3] "I Am One" was re-recorded for Gish and a new single was released on Caroline Records and Hut Recordings. Corgan later stated his regret with not re-working the song for Gish, as the two versions are nearly identical.[citation needed] A video for the song was also filmed, but never released (until 2001) due to the band being unhappy with the result. Footage from the video was instead used on the long form video, Vieuphoria, the long version of the music video was released on the Greatest Hits Video Collection.[4]

With only 1500 copies pressed, the release is highly sought after by collectors.[5] There are apparently three test pressings also in existence, two owned by Billy Corgan and one was formally owned by Limited Potential owner, Mike Potential.[6]

"I Am One" features a doubled guitar solo – a technique later used on Pumpkins songs like "Ava Adore", "Tarantula", and "Bring the Light".[6]

The music video features a live performance by the band.


In live performance (starting around the release of Siamese Dream) Corgan would often improvise a speech during the extended bass break; as a result the song could extend to 8–10 minutes in length. The speech section is known among fans as "the I Am One rant". These rants were criticized, sometimes even by the other band members, due to their abrasive nature.[4][better source needed] Jimmy Chamberlin considered these rants to be "art-breakdown".[7] The rants were apparently based around the erosion of the belief structure in America's youth, and Corgan has stated they were the gestation for many ideas he later explored on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.[8] Some of the rants contained lyrics for future songs, most notably "Zero". The recording of "I Am One" on Vieuphoria / Earphoria features one such rant. When the band released their greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples, in 2001, "I Am One" was one of the few singles that did not make the cut (the others were "Tristessa", "Rocket", "Thirty-Three", "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", and on American copies of the album, "Try, Try, Try").[9]

Formats and track listing[edit]

US Limited Potential vinyl version
1."I Am One"4:16
2."Not Worth Asking"4:00
Gish CD version and UK 7" and 12" vinyl releases
1."I Am One"4:07
UK 7" vinyl promo
1."I Am One"4:07
UK & Dutch 10" vinyl
1."I Am One" 4:07
2."Terrapin"Syd Barrett2:55
3."Bullet Train to Osaka" 4:16

UK Flexi Disc Sent by record label to promoters and radio stations etc.

Single personnel[edit]

The Smashing Pumpkins[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Kerry Brown – production, CD single b-sides
  • Butch Vig – production, Gish version
  • Lynne Fischer – design, photography (Limited Potential)


  1. ^ Hyden, Steve. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish/Siamese Dream review. The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 75". Official Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Fricke, David. "Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder". Rolling Stone Magazine. December 20, 2000.
  4. ^ a b "Smashing Pumpkins' Gish: 25 things you (probably) didn't know". WOW247. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "I Am One (Limited Potential single) by Smashing Pumpkins". Genius. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "The Official Smashing Pumpkins". The Official Smashing Pumpkins. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Blashill, Pat (October 1996). "Out on a Limb". Details Magazine.
  8. ^ "RAYGUN". www.starla.org. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  9. ^ "Greatest Hits - The Smashing Pumpkins | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 17, 2017.

External links[edit]