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)
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]