Bullet with Butterfly Wings

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"Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
Bullet with Butterfly Wings.jpg
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedOctober 13, 1995
FormatCD, cassette
Recorded1995
Genre
Length4:16
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Rocket"
(1994)
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
(1995)
"1979"
(1996)

"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" is the debut and lead single for The Smashing Pumpkins' 1995 double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. This song was the band's first top-forty US hit, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also spent six weeks at number two on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and peaked at number four on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. In Canada, the song peaked at number 18 on the RPM Top Singles chart and spent four weeks at number one on the RPM Alternative 30 chart, becoming Canada's most successful rock song of 1995. It also reached number one in Iceland for a week.

The song won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1997. It was named the 91st best hard rock song of all time by VH1 in 2009[3] and ranked number 70 on the 2008 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" of Rolling Stone.[4] The song came second in the Triple J Hottest 100, 1995,[5] was later voted number 51 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time, 2009[6] and placed at number 25 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years, 2013.[7]

Background

The song had its origins during the recording of 1993's Siamese Dream. According to frontman Billy Corgan, "somewhere, I have a tape of us from 1993 endlessly playing the 'world is a vampire' part over and over".[8] It was not until 1995 that Corgan finished the song with the noted chorus "rat in a cage", on an acoustic guitar during the same session that "Landslide" was recorded.[8] The lyrics "Can you fake it, for just one more show?" may refer to the band's experience headlining the 1994 Lollapalooza festival, with Corgan calling it the "old job".[9][10] Along with other parts of the album, Corgan appears to compare himself to Jesus Christ, with the line "Jesus was an only son / Tell me I'm the chosen one".[9]

Equipment

Corgan used his notorious 1974 Stratocaster (painted baby blue), because the heavier wood gave it the basic Strat sound with a bit more bottom.

Music video

Filming for the music video took place in Los Angeles, California with Samuel Bayer as director.[11] The visual look of the video was inspired by the work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado on gold mining,[12][13] while, in contrast, the band used the video to debut their new glam rock wardrobes - notably, Billy Corgan's black shirt with the word "Zero" written in silver, and silver pants.[14] The video also marks the last filmed appearance of Billy Corgan prior to his decision to shave his head.[15][16]

When asked why the band chose Bullet for the first video, Corgan responded "the record company did a survey of K-Mart shoppers between 30 and 40 and this is the song they came up with". "This is the blue light special", said Chamberlin,[17][18][19] though it's likely in the context of the interview that these statements were a joke.

Lyrics

The world is a vampire, sent to drain
secret destroyers, hold you up to the flames
and what do i get, for my pain
betrayed desires, and a piece of the game
even though i know, i suppose i'll show
all my cool and cold, like old job
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
now i'm naked, nothing but an animal
but can you fake it, for just one more show
and what do you want, i want to change
and what have you got
when you feel the same
even though i know, i suppose i'll show
all my cool and cold, like old job
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
tell me i'm the only one
tell me there's no other one
jesus was an only son
tell me i'm the chosen one
jesus was an only son for you
despite all my rage i am still just a rat in a cage
and i still believe that i cannot be saved

Track listing

Original US/UK CD single
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Bullet with Butterfly Wings"Billy Corgan4:16
2."...Said Sadly"James Iha3:09

"...Said Sadly" features Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt on vocals.

1996 Reissue
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Bullet with Butterfly Wings"Billy Corgan4:16
2."...Said Sadly"James Iha3:09
3."You're All I've Got Tonight"Ric Ocasek3:10
4."Clones (We're All)"David Carron2:43
5."A Night Like This"Robert Smith3:36
6."Destination Unknown"Dale Bozzio/Terry Bozzio/Warren Cuccurullo4:14
7."Dreaming"Debbie Harry, Chris Stein5:11
US 7" double A-side single
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."1979"Billy Corgan4:24
2."Bullet with Butterfly Wings"Billy Corgan4:16

Release history

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country Discogs MusicBrainz
October 23, 1995 Hut Recordings • Virgin HUTCD 63 • 7243 8 93198 2 8 CD UK 3941272 d0cdf072-e50f-3244-9ece-39df5c6241aa [1]
October 24, 1995 Virgin 7243 8 38522 2 2 • V25F-38522 CD US 648514 cbe30d53-27d2-3743-86e8-34c0f15775ba [1]
October 23, 1995 Hut Recordings • Virgin HUTCD 63 • 8931982 CD Australia 6551720 98a94356-cf0c-4f39-afbc-9eab24e073b1 [1]
October 23, 1995 Delabel • Hut Recordings • Virgin 724389330021 • 724389330021 • 7243 893 300 2 1 CD France 1554899 f5eeb224-d328-3b7e-b9bc-074ff1c5b149 [1]
October 24, 1995 Virgin 7243 8 38522 4 6 Cassette US 3183940 [1]
November 6, 1996 Virgin 7243 8 38565 2 7 CD US 6335784 cd4030f9-2e02-40a3-a828-297d976a7864 [2]
July 23, 1996 Virgin 7243 8 38522 7 7 7" US [3]

More releases: DiscogsMusicBrainz

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[34] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versions

In other media

The song is used, slightly edited, as the title song for the Animal Planet reality television series Whale Wars, which follows the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as they chase Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.[44] The song is also used in the South Park episode "Whale Whores", which parodies Whale Wars.[45]

"Weird Al" Yankovic performed the chorus in "The Alternative Polka" from his Bad Hair Day album.[46]

The song was featured as a playable track in the video game Guitar Hero 5.[47]

It was also used in the launch trailer for Dead Space 2[48] and TV spot for Battlefield 1.

The song was the TNA Lockdown wrestling pay-per-view theme song for 2009.[49]

UFC also used it for the Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz fight in UFC 183's short trailer.[50]

A remixed version of the song can be heard in the teaser trailer for Rampage[51], and it is sampled in the film's end credits song, "The Rage", performed by Kid Cudi.

Availability

TitleNotesType
Live At The RivieraBootleg • Live
Live In ChicagoPromotional • Live
Chicago Tapes and Unreleased DemosBootleg
Bullet with Butterfly WingsOriginal US/UK CD singleSingle
Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessDisc one – Dawn to DuskStudio
MCIS Demos IBootleg
1979US 7" double A-side singleSingle
The Aeroplane Flies High"Bullet with Butterfly Wings"Compilation
Free TibetVideo • Compilation
As Featured on MTVVideo • Promotional • Live
Adore2014 Reissue DVD: Fox Theater, Atlanta, GA – August 4, 1998Studio
The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–1998Promotional CDPromotional • Compilation
MCIS Demos IIBootleg
Billy's Gravity Demos IBootleg
Rotten ApplesUS versionCompilation
Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991–2000)Video
Rarities and B-SidesCompilation
Live Smashing PumpkinsLive
Oceania: Live in NYCLive • Video

References

  1. A.U. (August 6, 2015). "The 95 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1995". Spin. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  2. 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette; 2011. Print.
  3. "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". Stereogum. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  4. "The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  5. "Triple J Hottest 100 1993". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  6. "Countdown | triple j's Hottest 100 of All Time, 2009". Triple J. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  7. "Countdown | Twenty Years of triple j's Hottest 100". Triple J. Retrieved November 24, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Corgan, Billy (January 1997). "King B's". Guitar World.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Pareles, John (October 22, 1995). "RECORDINGS VIEW;Alternative Rockers Think Big, Uneasily". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  10. McKelvey, Iain. "The Throwback, 1995". Vulture. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  11. "Smashing Pumpkins making of Bullet With Butterfly Wings - video dailymotion". Dailymotion. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  12. Finished challenges. "2 out of 3 - Bullet with butterfly wings: Digital Photography Review". Dpreview.com. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  13. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings". Personal.umich.edu. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  14. SPIN Media LLC (June 1996). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. pp. 53–.
  15. Mac, Ryan; Dunn, Charlie (December 14, 2010). "Review: Live 105's Not So Silent Night". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  16. "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  17. MTV News with Kurt Loder (Motion picture). MTV. October 1995.
  18. "spfc.org : interviews : MTV News Interview". www.spfc.org. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  19. "Behind The Scenes Smashing Pumpkins Bullet With Butterfly Wings Video MTV 1995". Retrieved November 2, 2019 – via www.youtube.com.
  20. "Australian-charts.com – The Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  21. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2864." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  22. "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 9053." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  23. "Lescharts.com – The Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  24. "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (20.1. '96 – 26.1. '96)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 20, 1996. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  25. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Smashing Pumpkins". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  26. "Charts.nz – The Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  27. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  28. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  29. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  30. "Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  31. "The Smashing Pumpkins Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  32. "RPM Top 50 Alternative Tracks of 1995". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  33. "RPM Year End Alternative 30". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  34. "American single certifications – Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings". RIAA. Retrieved November 25, 2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  35. Baines, Huw. "The Menzingers - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff - August 9 2013 (Live Review)". Stereogum.com. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  36. Leahey, Andrew. "Explains It All". AllMusic. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  37. Huey, Steve. "A Gothic Industrial Tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins". Allmusic. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  38. "Nerve Damage". Allmusic. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  39. Heaney, Gregory. "Dead New World". Allmusic. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  40. "The World is a Vampire". theghostandthegrace.com. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012.
  41. Melia, Daniel. "Deftones, Panic! At The Disco for Smashing Pumpkins tribute album". Gigwise. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  42. Karen O. "Bullet With Butterfly Wings (From "Hanna")". YouTube. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  43. . "Bullet With Butterfly Wings". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  44. Feeney, Steve. "Review: Pumpkins a smash at State Theatre". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  45. "The Fight Is On". Southparkstudios.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  46. ""Weird Al" Yankovic - Bad Hair Day". Spfc.org. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  47. Brudvig, Erik. "OFFICIAL GUITAR HERO 5 SONG LIST". IGN. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  48. "Dead Space 2". Electronic Arts. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  49. Lapatine, Scott. "Billy Corgan Adapts "Butterfly Wings" For Wrestling Commercial, Joins Twitter". Stereogum. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  50. "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  51. "RAMPAGE - OFFICIAL TRAILER 1 [HD]". Retrieved November 2, 2019 – via www.youtube.com.

External links