The Freshmen (song)

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"The Freshmen"
Single by The Verve Pipe
from the album Villains
Released January 27, 1997
Format CD single and Cassette
Recorded 1992 (original)
1995-1996 (album)
1996 (single)
Genre Alternative rock, post-grunge
Length 4:10 (original)
5:09 (album)
4:30 (single)
Label RCA
Writer(s) Brian Vander Ark
Producer(s) Donnie Brown (original)
Jerry Harrison (album)
Jack Joseph Puig (single)
Certification Gold (RIAA)
The Verve Pipe singles chronology
"Cup of Tea"
"The Freshmen"

"The Freshmen" is a song by American alternative rock group The Verve Pipe. The song was first featured, in acoustic style, on their 1992 album I've Suffered a Head Injury. It was recorded a second time and released on the band's 1996 album Villains. Later that year, the band recorded the song again, this time with producer Jack Joseph Puig,[1] for release as a single. The single was released on January 27, 1997.[2] Subsequent pressings of Villains replaced the original album version with the single version. "The Freshmen" peaked at number 5 in the United States.

Background and content[edit]

According to the FAQ on "Verve Pipings", guitarist and lead singer Brian Vander Ark wrote the song in 1991 about the guilt he felt from his ex-girlfriend committing suicide.[3] He had previously said that in order to respect her family, he had told the public that the incident was entirely his poetic license.[3][4]

In later interviews, he confessed that the suicide of a girlfriend was based on his personal experience. However, during a visit to Gull Lake High School on March 12, 2012, Brian Vander Ark said that the abortion aspect of the story was largely fictional:

"At the time I was dating a girl in college. We broke up and my friend dated her and then I went out with her again. We went back and forth. From there I came up with the story of her getting pregnant and having an abortion," Vander Ark said. "It started though with, by the way the girl is fine and not a bad thing happened; it was just coming up with that story, and the inspiration is alive."[5]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[6]
Canada (RPM)
Netherlands (Mega Top 100)[6]
U.S. Billboard Hot 100
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
Canada (RPM)[7] 48
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 21


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold 600,000[10]

See also[edit]


  • Mustard Plug covered this song for a Michigan radio station. It does not appear on any of their albums.
  • In 2004, Skott Freedman released a piano version of the song on his album Judge a Book.[11]
  • In 2005, then-Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo covered the song on his debut covers album Covering the Bases.
  • In 2010, Jay Brannan released a soft indie version of the song as a single "The Freshmen".[12]
  • In 2011, The Warriors of Heavy covered the song in the album Heavy Metal Vol. 5, an album of only cover songs.


External links[edit]