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. First recorded in 1992, the song was later re-recorded and became the band's breakthrough hit in early 1997. It remains the group's highest charting single to date.

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.[1] However, according to an external interview site, Vander Ark revealed that the suicide was a poetic license; the real incident which inspired the song was when his pregnant girlfriend had an abortion.[2]


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,[3] for release as a single. The single was released on January 27, 1997.[4] Subsequent pressings of Villains replaced the original album version with the single version. "The Freshmen" peaked at number 5 in the United States.

In addition, a slightly modified single version was released to radio, featuring Brian Vander Ark singing the final lyrics of the second verse ("thinks about her now and how he never really wept") in the same melodic sequence as he sings the homologous lyrics at the end of the first verse ("stop a baby's breath..."), as opposed to his higher-pitched, almost yelled rendering of these lyrics in the version that appeared on the album.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[5]
Canada (RPM)
Netherlands (Mega Top 100)[5]
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 5
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[7] 7
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[8] 9
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[9] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[10] 7

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
Canada (RPM)[11] 48
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 21


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[13] Gold 600,000[14]

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.[15]
  • 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".[16]
  • 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]