"Cherub Rock" is a song by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins. It is the first single from their second album, Siamese Dream (1993) and is the opening track. It was written by lead vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

"Cherub Rock"
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
from the album Siamese Dream
ReleasedJuly 13, 1993
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Cherub Rock"
Music video
"Cherub Rock" on YouTube


"Cherub Rock" was one of the last songs written for the album, and the lyrics relate to Corgan's relationship with his perception of the indie rock community and larger media.[4] The song was performed in standard tuning with an E octave played at the 7th fret, a technique which the band used on other songs, such as "Drown", "Tristessa", and "Starla". Corgan describes this as the "Pumpkin Chord", saying "We basically stole that from Jimi Hendrix. But Jimi Hendrix probably stole it from Wes Montgomery."[5] The prominent effect on the solo was achieved by recording the guitar solo to two different tapes which were then run simultaneously, with the speed of one tape slightly altered. "Cherub Rock" contains various overdubs influenced by the genres of shoegazing as well as 1970s classic arena rock.


Corgan insisted that the song be released as the first single from the album,[6] though record executives believed that "Today" would be a stronger opening single.[7] Although Corgan's wishes were honored, the single was indeed received much less enthusiastically than "Today",[7] although it remains a fan favorite. An acoustic version of the song is performed on Vieuphoria and its CD companion, Earphoria.[8]

The song was a moderate success for the band, being performed on Saturday Night Live on October 30, 1993[9] and making it to the Triple J Hottest 100 at number 43.[10] Readers ranked "Cherub Rock" at number 97 in Guitar World's list of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time.[11] In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 67 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.[12]

Following the 2011 re-issue of Siamese Dream, Consequence of Sound commented that the single "seemed tailor-made to feed the emerging modern rock radio format."[13]

Music videoEdit

The video features footage of the band performing the song live in a forest setting. It was shot outside San Francisco entirely on Super8 film on a modest budget. The director, Kevin Kerslake, employed various destructive techniques when developing the film to give the video a broken and dirty look. Corgan was reportedly extremely unhappy with the shooting experience, and the band never worked with Kerslake again.[14]

In popular cultureEdit

The song features on numerous rhythm video games such as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,[15] Rock Band,[16] Power Gig: Rise of the SixString[17] and Rocksmith 2014.

Rochester, New York band Roses Are Red covered the song for Reignition Records' 2005 compilation The Killer in You: A Tribute to Smashing Pumpkins.[18]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Billy Corgan

CD / 12" vinyl version

  1. "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
  2. "Pissant" – 2:30
  3. "French Movie Theme" / "Star-Spangled Banner" – 3:50

7" vinyl version (5000 copies only)

  1. "Cherub Rock" – 4:59
  2. "Purr Snickety" – 2:50



Chart (1993) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[19] 91
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 16
UK Singles (OCC)[21] 31
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[22] 23
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[23] 7


  1. ^ Dahlen, Chris (December 11, 2002). "Smashing Pumpkins - Earphoria". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  2. ^ Danaher, Michael (August 4, 2014). "The 50 Best Grunge Songs". Paste. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  3. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (May 21, 2007). "The Ultimate Nineties Alt-Rock Playlist". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  4. ^ Kelly, Christina. "Smashing Pumpkins-The Multi-Platinum Band is over the infighting but can the harmony last?" US Magazine, December 1, 1995.
  5. ^ "The Best, Worst, and Pumpkin Chord-iest of Smashing Pumpkins". November 27, 2020.
  6. ^ Ducker, Eric (July 26, 2013). "Smashing Pumpkins' 'Siamese Dream' Turns 20: How Five Music Video Directors Brought Billy Corgan's Masterpiece to Life". Spin. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Soniak, Matt (October 2012). "The Late Movies: The Smashing Pumpkins". Mental Floss. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  8. ^ Prato, Greg. "Vieuphoria – Smashing Pumpkins". Allmusic. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  9. ^ "Cherub Rock by Smashing Pumpkins - Songfacts". www.songfacts.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Triple J Hottest 100, 1993
  11. ^ "Top 100 Greatest Guitar Solos". HearYa - Indie Music Blog. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists." www.rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  13. ^ "Album Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Siamese Dream [Deluxe Edition]". November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  14. ^ Commentary for "Cherub Rock" music video. The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection (Virgin Records, 2001).
  15. ^ "Guitar Hero 3 Setlist Revealed". PC World. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "Rock Band Songs". Harmonix Music Systems. Archived from the original on January 7, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  17. ^ "Track list released for Power Gig: Rise of the SixString". GamePro. Archived from the original on August 6, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  18. ^ Prato, Greg. "Smashing Pumpkins Tribute: The Killer in You". Allmusic. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2270." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 16, 1993. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Smashing Pumpkins – Cherub Rock". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  23. ^ "Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External linksEdit