Tonight, Tonight

From SPCodex, The Smashing Pumpkins wiki
"Tonight, Tonight"
The single cover of "Tonight, Tonight" is credited to Billy Corgan.[1]
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedApril 15, 1996 (Europe)
June 11, 1996 (U.S.)
Studio sessions
  • Symphonic rock
  • alternative rock
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)Flood, Alan Moulder, Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Tonight, Tonight"

"Tonight, Tonight" is the fourth single from The Smashing Pumpkins' third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It was written by the band's frontman, Billy Corgan, and was released in April 1996 in Europe. "Tonight, Tonight" was critically acclaimed and commercially well-received upon its release, reaching number one in Iceland, number two in New Zealand, number seven in the United Kingdom and number 36 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The music video accompanying the song was also successful and won several awards.

A shorter acoustic version of the song, titled "Tonite Reprise", was included as a B-side to the single and on the triple LP version of Mellon Collie. This single also later appeared in an extended form on the box set The Aeroplane Flies High.[2] Additionally, the song appears on the band's greatest hits release, Rotten Apples.[3]

Song history[edit | edit source]

Billy Corgan began writing for the follow-up to Siamese Dream after the tour in support of that album;[4] however, the recording of "Tonight, Tonight" first began while the Pumpkins were still on the Siamese Dream tour when Corgan booked the band into a local Chicago studio to record all of their song ideas on tape.[5]

On The Howard Stern Show, Corgan has said that the song pays homage to Cheap Trick, with its black humoresque lyrics and theme, and that the song is addressed to himself, who escaped from an abusive childhood against all odds, so as to keep him believing in himself.

Composition and lyrics[edit | edit source]

"Tonight, Tonight" is written in the key of G, performed on instruments tuned down a half-step so the actual pitch is G/F #. In the original recording sessions, "Tonight, Tonight" was initially written in the key of C instead of G.[5] However, since Corgan was unable to sing the song in C, he wrote a version during the Mellon Collie recording sessions to suit his range.[5] The strings for the song were arranged by Billy Corgan and Audrey Riley, and recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.[6] Corgan said that recording with a 30-piece string-section for the song "was probably one of the most exciting recording experiences I have ever had."[5] Unlike most songs on Mellon Collie, "Tonight, Tonight" was recorded at night.[7]

Lyrically, "Tonight, Tonight" hangs together with the rest of the Mellon Collie.[8] The lyrics of the song have been compared to Robert Herrick's poem "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time".[9]

Equipment[edit | edit source]

From a May 6, 2020 Instagram story

Reception[edit | edit source]

"Tonight, Tonight" was met with critical acclaim. AllMusic reviewer Amy Hanson stated that the song "packs an emotional punch".[9] Jim Alexander of NME regarded the song as "swirling [and] grand".[10] Time's reviewer Christopher John Farley called the song "an expansive rock anthem, complete with soaring guitars and a 30-piece string section."[11] Entertainment Weekly's reviewer David Browne praised the use of strings in the song, saying that it was "whipped into a frenzy by hurricane-like strings".[12] On Mellon Collie's entry in Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, "Tonight, Tonight" was praised as "the Pumpkins at their finest".[13]

While "Tonight, Tonight" never approached the chart success of "1979", it was among the most successful singles from Mellon Collie. Its highest position on any national chart was a number two peak on the New Zealand Singles Chart. Its highest position in the United States was at number four on Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks.[14] It also achieved number five on the Modern Rock Tracks and number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.[15] The song also charted at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart, and peaked at number 21 on the Australian Singles Chart on June 9, 1996.[16] It placed at 50th in a list of best rock songs of all time broadcast by Kerrang! TV.

Music video[edit | edit source]

The music video was directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and starred Tom Kenny and Jill Talley, a married couple who were, at the time, cast members on the sketch comedy program Mr. Show with Bob and David and would later gain international fame for their voicework on SpongeBob SquarePants. The original idea for the music video was for a Busby Berkeley-style video, complete with "people diving into champagne glasses".[17] The band was set to begin production on the video when they discovered that the Red Hot Chili Peppers had done a similarly styled video for their song "Aeroplane", which was almost identical to what they had wanted to do.[17] The second idea for the video was that as the band played on a surreal stage, the camera would go into audience members' eyes and the viewer would see that person's vision of the song.[18] The third and final concept, inspired by Georges Méliès's silent film A Trip to the Moon (Méliès' name can be seen written on the sailboat in the video), came from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who got the idea for the video because the album cover for Mellon Collie reminded them of early silent films.[19] Hence, the video was filmed in the style of a turn-of-the-century silent film using theater-style backdrops and primitive special effects.[19] Most of the video's backdrops and puppetwork were created by artist Wayne White.[20]

Dayton and the production crew initially had problems locating costumes for the video because the movie Titanic was being shot at the same time in Los Angeles.[21] Titanic director James Cameron rented nearly every turn-of-the-century prop and costume in the city, leaving the "Tonight, Tonight" production crew little to work with.[21] Directors Dayton and Faris compromised by renting the leftover costumes and hiring designers to remake them into the elaborate period clothing seen in the video.[21] The video took three days to shoot.[22]

The video, which debuted in May 1996, begins with a group of people celebrating the launch of a zeppelin to the moon. Tom Kenny's character kisses Jill Talley's character's hand as the two enter the zeppelin, which was being held to the ground by people dressed as sailors using rope. The zeppelin approaches the Moon, which has a face like the Moon's face in A Trip to the Moon. Shots of the band performing in similar, turn-of-the-century attire using older, acoustic instruments are interspersed. The two characters jump off the zeppelin and land onto the Moon's surface, slowing their descent using umbrellas. Suddenly, several hostile humanoid aliens appear, surrounding the couple. Tom Kenny's character gets ready to defend them, but Jill Talley's character intervenes, makes a stand against creatures and defends both of them by hitting a few of the creatures with her umbrella, which vaporizes them, but the two are trapped and tied. The two form a plan, and then break free of the ropes and attack the aliens with their umbrellas. The couple escapes on a rocket similar to the one in A Trip to the Moon and land in the sea, where a merman resembling the sea-god Poseidon puts on a performance for them, including an octopus, singing mermaids, and starfish, before sending them back to the surface in a bubble. In the end they are rescued by a ship called "S.S. Méliès", in reference to the movie director.

The music video received heavy airplay on MTV and won several awards. Corgan remarked that "I don't think we've ever had people react [like this] just seemed to touch a nerve."[17] It won six awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996: Video of the Year, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video (Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris), Best Special Effects in a Video (Special Effects: Chris Staves), Best Art Direction in a Video (Art Director: K. K. Barrett and Wayne White) and Best Cinematography in a Video (Director of Photography: Declan Quinn).[23] "Tonight, Tonight" was nominated for Best Editing in a Video (Editor: Eric Zumbrunnen) and Viewer's Choice,[23] and was also nominated for Best Music Video, Short Form at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards.[24] It is still considered one of the greatest music videos of all time, ranking number 40 on Stylus Magazine's list of the top 100 music videos of all time.[25]

Though regular 6-string acoustic guitars and electric bass guitar was used in the original studio recording of the song, in the music video, in keeping with the turn-of-the-century theme, some interesting instruments were used as 'props'; James Iha can be seen using a Gibson harp guitar and D'arcy Wretzky is seen playing an instrument that resembles the 1924 Gibson mandobass.

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

time is never time at all
you can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
and our lives are forever changed
we will never be the same
the more you change the less you feel
believe, believe in me, believe
that life can change, that you're not stuck in vain
we're not the same, we're different tonight
tonight, so bright
and you know you're never sure
but you're sure you could be right
if you held yourself up to the light
and the embers never fade in your city by the lake
the place where you were born
believe, believe in me, believe
in the resolute urgency of now
and if you believe there's not a chance tonight
tonight, so bright
we'll crucify the insincere tonight
we'll make things right, we'll feel it all tonight
we'll find a way to offer up the night tonight
the indescribable moments of your life tonight
the impossible is possible tonight
believe in me as i believe in you, tonight

Single track listings[edit | edit source]

The Tonight, Tonight single was released with two different versions containing different B-sides, one as a standard single and the other as a CD included in the singles box set, The Aeroplane Flies High. All songs written by Billy Corgan.

UK single release
1."Tonight, Tonight"4:15
2."Meladori Magpie"2:41
3."Rotten Apples"3:02
4."Medellia of the Gray Skies"3:11
Japanese single / The Aeroplane Flies High track listing
1."Tonight, Tonight"4:15
2."Meladori Magpie"2:41
3."Rotten Apples"3:02
4."Jupiter's Lament"2:30
5."Medellia of the Gray Skies"3:11
7."Tonite Reprise"2:40

Release history[edit | edit source]

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country External sites
April 15, 1996 Virgin • Hut Recordings 7243 8 93503 2 6 • HUTCD 69 CD UK Discogs MusicBrainz [1]
April 15, 1996 Virgin • Hut Recordings 7243 8 93503 4 0 • HUTC 69 Cassette UK Discogs [1]
June 11, 1996 Virgin v25f-38547 • 7243 8 38547 2 1 CD US Discogs [1]
1996 Virgin 7243 8 38567 25 CD US Discogs MusicBrainz [2]
July 3, 1996 Virgin VJCP-15015 • HATCDF-69 CD Japan Discogs MusicBrainz [2]

More releases: DiscogsMusicBrainz

Personnel[edit | edit source]

Charts[edit | edit source]

Certifications[edit | edit source]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[46] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] Silver 200,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Cover versions[edit | edit source]

"Tonight, Tonight" has been covered by electropop band Passion Pit, whose version was featured on Levi's Pioneer Sessions 2010 Revival Recordings[48] and was also featured during the season 1, episode 3 of MTV's Teen Wolf (Pack Mentality.);[49] Their cover plays near the end of the movie 10 Years.[50] Panic! at the Disco, as a live recording, wherein they replaced the lyrics "The place where you were born" with "The place where Jon Walker [former Panic! at the Disco bassist] was born", and The Voice U.S contestant Katrina Parker, who covered this song on the show's first live round.


Live In ChicagoLive • Promotional
Live At The RivieraBootleg • Live
Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessDisc one – Dawn to DuskStudio
Tonight, TonightUK single releaseSingle
The Aeroplane Flies High"Tonight, Tonight"Box set
As Featured on MTVVideo • Promotional • Live
Adore2014 Reissue DVD: Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA – August 4, 1998Studio
The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–1998Promotional CDPromotional • Compilation
The VideosVideo • Promotional
MCIS Demos IIBootleg
Billy's Gravity Demos IBootleg
Rotten ApplesNorth American versionCompilation
Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991–2000)Video
Rarities and B-SidesCompilation
Ghost Children/Friends and EnemiesTribute
MySpace Smashing Pumpkins TributeTribute
Celebrating *20* Years of SadnessLive
Oceania: Live in NYCLive • Video
Neath The Darkest Eves'Neath The Darkest Eves: The Complete SessionsLive • Video
London By DayLive

Tour stats

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Tonight Tonight" at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  2. The Aeroplane Flies High at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  3. Rotten Apples at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  4. Kot, Greg (October 22, 1995). "Double Take: Smashing Pumpkins raises the stakes with 'Mellon Collie'". Chicago Tribune.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Corgan, Billy (January 1997). "King B's". Guitar World.
  6. Spevak, Jeff (January 23, 1997). "Super Angst Sunday". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
  7. Corgan, Billy. "The Smashing Pumpkins: The Billy Corgan Interview". YouTube. Rick Beato. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  8. Kelly, Christina (December 1, 1995). "Smashing Pumpkins-The Multi-Platinum Band is over the infighting but can the harmony last?". US Magazine.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Amy Hanson. Tonight, Tonight at AllMusic. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  10. Alexander, Jim. "Smashing Pumpkins : Rotten Apples". Retrieved April 17, 2007.
  11. Farley, Christopher John (November 13, 1995). "A JOURNEY, NOT A JOYRIDE". Retrieved April 18, 2007.
  12. Browne, David (October 27, 1995). "PUMPKIN BATCH: Smashing Pumpkins". Retrieved April 18, 2007.
  13. "487) Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". Rolling Stone. November 2003. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  14. "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness". Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  15. "Tonight, Tonight – Smashing Pumpkins". Retrieved March 6, 2011.
  16. "THE SMASHING PUMPKINS – TONIGHT, TONIGHT (SINGLE)". Retrieved April 17, 2007.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Corgan, Billy (1996). Smashing Pumpkins Videography (Interview). MTV. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. Daher, Karl (May 29, 1998). "Listessa Interviews Billy Corgan". Listessa. Retrieved April 18, 2007.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Commentary for "Tonight, Tonight" music video. The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–2000: Greatest Hits Video Collection (Virgin Records, 2001).
  20. Jagernauth, Kevin (September 5, 2012). "Exclusive: Wayne White Talks Smashing Pumpkins Video "Tonight Tonight" In Clip From 'Beauty Is Embarrassing'". IndieWire. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Haring, Bruce (September 12, 1997). "A 'Smashing' Wardrobe Run". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  22. de Barros, Adriana. "Smashing Pumpkins vs. George Méliès". Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved August 6, 2007.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "1996 13th MTV Video Music Awards". Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  24. "Rock On The Net: Grammy Awards: Best Music Video". Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  25. Stylus Staff (July 20, 2006). "Stylus Magazine's Top 100 Music Videos of All Time". Archived from the original on May 28, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  26. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  27. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  28. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3034." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  29. "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 3032." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  30. "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 22. June 1, 1996. p. 13. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  31. "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (29.6. – 5.7. '96)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). June 29, 1996. Retrieved October 2, 2019.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  32. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Smashing Pumpkins". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  33. "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Smashing Pumpkins" (in Dutch). w:Dutch Top 40.
  34. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight" (in Dutch). w:Single Top 100. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  35. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  36. "Notowanie nr756" (in Polish). LP3. July 26, 1996. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved April 25, 2019.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  37. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  38. " – The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  39. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  40. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  41. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  42. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  43. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  44. "RPM Year End Alternative Top 50". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  45. "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in íslenska). January 2, 1997. p. 25. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  46. "New Zealand single certifications – The Smashing Pumpkins". Recorded Music NZ.
  47. "British single certifications – Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 24, 2016. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Tonight, Tonight in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  48. Borges, Christine. "MP3: Passion Pit Covers Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight"". Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  49. "Pack Mentality: Songs from the Show". Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  50. 10 Years on IMDbTemplate:EditAtWikidata

External links[edit | edit source]