Open main menu

"The Distance" is a song by the American alternative rock band Cake. Released in 1996, "The Distance" was the second single from the band's second album Fashion Nugget, and considered one of their most popular songs.[1] It was written by the band's guitarist at the time, Greg Brown.

"The Distance"
Single by Cake
from the album Fashion Nugget
ReleasedOctober 15, 1996
FormatCD single
RecordedSeptember 1996 (1996-09)
Songwriter(s)Greg Brown
Cake singles chronology
"I Will Survive"
"The Distance"
"Frank Sinatra"
Live performance (on band's Vevo channel)
Music video
”The Distance” on YouTube
Audio sample
"The Distance"


Track listingEdit

  1. "The Distance" - 3:00
  2. "Multiply the Heartaches" - 2:49
  3. "Jolene" (Live) - 8:25
  4. "It's Coming Down" - 3:44


The song is based around Cake's standard guitar, bass, and drums setup, with flourishes of solo trumpet, and John McCrea's characteristically deadpan, driving vocals. The song does not employ McCrea's rhythm guitar, but does feature some overlaid synthesized and other non-traditional sounds. In the official music video, a glimpse of the Melodica can be seen.

Music videoEdit

The video for "The Distance" features footage of the members of the band performing the song in a busy office lobby, mixed with footage of a businessman who inexplicably starts to run off into the sunset; first he runs from his office building (the same one the band is performing in) to the suburbs, then into the country and a forest, and finally into the sea. While the man is running, various people in humorous animal costumes cheer him on. It takes place in downtown San Francisco and other Northern California locations and first aired in September 1996.

In popular cultureEdit

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song as a bonus track on their 2007 video game Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Lyrics to the song are mentioned in the young adult novel, The Compound.

In 2011, Relient K covered the song for their cover album, Is for Karaoke.

The song was also used in The Simpsons episode "Saddlesore Galactica".

British TV network ITV used the track as backing music for the trailer to its coverage of the 2015 Tour de France on ITV4.

A cover version of the track with an unknown female singer was used in a 2016 GEICO commercial.

Used in the intro presentation to the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Subway 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

A cover version of the track with a different unknown female singer was used in the trailer of the documentary Icarus.

The song's opening lyric: "Reluctantly crouched at the starting line", is prominently featured in the remix "The Starting Line" by Neil Cicierega on his album "Mouth Moods" [2]

Chart positionsEdit

Chart (1997) Peak
Canadian RPM Alternative 30[3] 5
UK Singles Chart[4] 22
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay 35
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[5] 38
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[5] 4


  1. ^
  2. ^ MOUTH MOODS Website. Retrieved February 21 2019
  3. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 64, No. 18, December 16, 1996". RPM. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  4. ^ "Chart Log UK: Chris C. – CZR".
  5. ^ a b "Cake—Artist Chart History".