From SPCodex, The Smashing Pumpkins wiki
Song by The Smashing Pumpkins
Studio sessionsSpring 1992 – Soundworks
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)Kerry Brown

"Starla" is a song from The Smashing Pumpkins' 1994 compilation album, Pisces Iscariot, and originally released on the "I Am One" single in 1992. At just over 11 minutes, it is the longest song on Pisces and one of the longest in the band's studio catalogue. In a 1998 interview, Billy Corgan said it was the most emotionally important song on the album, too.[1]

Background[edit | edit source]

Corgan got the inspiration for the song title when a fan at one of the Pumpkins' concerts told them her name was Starla, a name that Corgan admired. Subsequently to writing the song, Corgan discovered that her name was actually Darla.[2]

While there was likely someone named Starla prior to The Smashing Pumpkins song, there are many children today who were born with namesake owing to the song.[3]

Recording[edit | edit source]

The full recording as heard on Pisces occurred in a single all-night session to meet a hard deadline.[4] At the beginning of the session, Billy Corgan only had the intro guitar riff written. The rest including the lyrics were written on-the-fly.[3]

In a column he wrote for Guitar World, Corgan explained how the song got its arrangement and the interesting effect used at the beginning of the song:

An epic, mesmerizing track built up around extended solos, "Starla" was produced by Kerry Brown and recorded through a Soundcraft TS12 board onto a TASCAM MS16 one-inch tape machine. Brown used a Yamaha SPX90 for the reverb effect on Corgan's voice, and an Eventide H3000 Ultra-Harmonizer is responsible for the backwards effect that runs through the first third of the song. "I remember that overdub guitar solo," says Brown. "Just him, the headphones, and the cabinet. You don’t hear that much anymore. You can’t simulate what you can do with a cabinet in front of you. I mean, Billy was bending notes on a mic stand!"[5] AllMusic wrote that "Starla" "proves that Corgan was one of the finest (and most underrated) rock guitarists of the '90s".[6]

At around the 5:26 mark in the song, you can hear an ambulance siren[3] that was from when Corgan was recording the acoustic section with a window open.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Live from Tuscon, Arizona, May 15, 2022
Piano version by Billy Corgan solo, live from San Francisco, November 1, 2017

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

i'm in here
please take me home
starla dear, i'm all alone
when you can't decide what's on your mind, it's clear
i'm near
starla dear

to disappear takes some more time
starla dear, you're on my mind

soon, soon i'll be leaving
soon, soon i'll be leaving
i hear all you're saying
i hear all you're failing

i'm in here
please take me home
starla dear, i'm all alone
when you can't decide what's on your mind, it's clear
i'm here
starla dear

serve yourself
no one else can do for you like you
no one else fails like me
in my eyes i burn alive
fly like a bird
no more words just you and i
high in the sky


I Am OneGish CD version and UK 7" and 12" vinyl releasesSingle
Gish2011 Reissue bonus CD – Trippin' Through the StarsStudio
Siamese Dream2011 reissue bonus DVD – Live at the Metro (Live on August 14, 1993)Studio
Pisces IscariotMain releaseCompilation
The Smashing Pumpkins (Machina promo)Promotional
Ghost Children: A Tribute To The Smashing PumpkinsTribute
Rarities and B-SidesCompilation
If All Goes WrongThe Fillmore ResidencyVideo
Smashing Pumpkins 4/21/94Live

Tour stats

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Listessa interviews Billy Corgan". SPFC. Listessa. May 9, 1998. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  2. Corgan, Billy. Pisces Iscariot Liner Notes. 1994.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Corgan, Billy. "Fireflies (with Sierra Swan)". Thirty-Three (Podcast). Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  4. Billy Corgan, Pisces Iscariot remaster liner notes, July 2012
  5. Richard Thomas, "Signal To Noise: The Sonic Diary Of The Smashing Pumpkins", Electronic Musician, October 1st, 2008
  6. Prato, Greg. "Pisces Iscariot Review by Greg Prato". AllMusic. Retrieved May 17, 2023.

External links[edit | edit source]