I Am One

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"I Am One"
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
ReleasedMay 1990 (Limited Potential)
1992 (Gish version)
FormatCD, 7" vinyl, 10" vinyl
GenreAlternative rock[1]
Length4:16 (Limited Potential)
4:07 (Gish version)
LabelLimited Potential
Caroline, Hut
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan, James Iha
Producer(s)Billy Corgan (Limited Potential)
Billy Corgan, Butch Vig (Gish version)
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"I Am One"
Gish version
10" vinyl and CD cover.
10" vinyl and CD cover.

"I Am One" is the debut single by The Smashing Pumpkins. It was the band's first ever release and remains the only single issued by the band with co-writing credits to both Billy Corgan and James Iha. It charted on the UK Singles Chart at a peak position of number 73.[2]

Two recordings of the song were released. One was recorded in 1990 and was the Pumpkins' first release and first on Limited Potential. This recording was financed with the money from Corgan's college tuition fund left by his grandmother.[3] "I Am One" was re-recorded for Gish and a new single was released on Caroline Records and Hut Recordings. Corgan later stated his regret with not re-working the song for Gish, as the two versions are nearly identical.[4]

With only 1500 copies pressed, the release is highly sought after by collectors.[5] There are apparently three test pressings also in existence, two owned by Billy Corgan and one was formally owned by Limited Potential owner, Mike Potential.[6]

"I Am One" features a doubled guitar solo – a technique later used on Pumpkins songs like "Ava Adore", "Tarantula", and "Bring the Light".[6]


In live performance (starting around the release of Siamese Dream) Corgan would often improvise a speech during the extended bass break; as a result the song could extend to 8–10 minutes in length. The speech section is known among fans as "the I Am One rant". These rants were criticized, sometimes even by the other band members, due to their abrasive nature.[4] Jimmy Chamberlin considered these rants to be "art-breakdown".[7] The rants were apparently based around the erosion of the belief structure in America's youth, and Corgan has stated they were the gestation for many ideas he later explored on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.[8] Some of the rants contained lyrics for future songs, most notably "Zero". The recording of "I Am One" on Vieuphoria / Earphoria features one such rant. When the band released their greatest hits compilation, Rotten Apples, in 2001, "I Am One" was one of the few singles that did not make the cut (the others were "Tristessa", "Rocket", "Thirty-Three", "The End Is the Beginning Is the End", and on American copies of the album, "Try, Try, Try").[9]

Music video

A video was filmed in 1992, but never released (until 2001) due to the band being unhappy with the result. Footage from the video was instead used on the long form video, Vieuphoria, and the long version of the music video was released on the Greatest Hits Video Collection.


i am one as you are three
try to find a messiah in your trinity
your city to burn
your city to burn
try to look for something in your city to burn
you'll burn
am i as i seem?
i'm down
down, so down

time is right for a guiding light
try to turn to reasons in your bitter life
your city to burn
your city to burn
try to look for something
in your city to burn, you'll burn

see you, don't you just want to?
see you, i am one
see you, don't you just want to?
see you

see you, don't you just want to?
see you, i am one
see you, don't you just want to?
see you, i am one

Formats and track listing

US Limited Potential
1."I Am One"Billy Corgan, James Iha4:16
2."Not Worth Asking"Billy Corgan4:00
Gish CD version and UK 7" and 12" vinyl releases
1."I Am One"Billy Corgan, James Iha4:07
2."Plume"Billy Corgan, James Iha3:37
3."Starla" 11:01
UK 7" vinyl promo
1."I Am One"Billy Corgan, James Iha4:07
UK & Dutch 10" vinyl
1."I Am One"Billy Corgan, James iha4:07
2."Terrapin"Syd Barrett2:55
3."Bullet Train to Osaka"Billy Corgan4:16

UK flexi-disc sent by record label to promoters, radio stations, etc.

Release history

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country Discogs MusicBrainz
May 1990 Limited Potential LimP 006 7" US aeadc941-af54-4db3-a5b0-005db8363344 [1]
1991 Hut Recordings Flexi-disc • 7" UK 4786735 [3]
1991 Hut Recordings HUTEN 18 10" UK & Europe 640265 b44a757f-4f17-46d9-9bbb-12c815a9d537 [4]
August 24, 1992 Hut Recordings HUTCD 18 CD UK 373073 e4c51de0-5af7-3921-ae9a-bdf3a8f00758 [2]
August 24, 1992 Hut Recordings HUTEN 18 10" UK 9314913 e859a6a3-6e11-4b92-ba6f-dfc4acb13f1c [2]
August 24, 1992 Hut Recordings HUTT 18 12" UK 890302 [2]

Single personnel

The Smashing Pumpkins

Technical personnel

  • Kerry Brown – production, CD single b-sides
  • Butch Vig – production, Gish version
  • Lynne Fischer – design, photography (Limited Potential)


The Smashing Pumpkins (promo)Promotional
Reel Time Sessions IBootleg • Demo
I Am OneUS Limited PotentialSingle
GishMain releaseStudio
Siamese Dream2011 reissue bonus DVD – Live at the Metro (Live on August 14, 1993)Studio
3 Feet HighBootleg • Live
The Cutting EdgeAugust 27, 1993 – Spijk en Bremerberg; Biddinghuizen, NL (soundboard / electric)Bootleg
The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–1998Promotional CDPromotional • Compilation
Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991–2000)Video
EarphoriaMain releaseLive
Rarities and B-SidesCompilation


  1. Hyden, Steve. Smashing Pumpkins - Gish/Siamese Dream review. The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  2. "Official Singles Chart Top 75". Official Charts. Retrieved July 31, 2017.
  3. Fricke, David. "Smashing Pumpkins Look Back in Wonder Archived September 9, 2009, at the w:Wayback Machine". Rolling Stone Magazine. December 20, 2000.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Smashing Pumpkins' Gish: 25 things you (probably) didn't know". WOW247. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  5. "I Am One (Limited Potential single) by Smashing Pumpkins". Genius. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Official Smashing Pumpkins". The Official Smashing Pumpkins. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  7. Blashill, Pat (October 1996). "Out on a Limb". Details Magazine.
  8. "RAYGUN". www.starla.org. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  9. "Greatest Hits - The Smashing Pumpkins | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved September 17, 2017.

External links