Siva

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"Siva"
SmashingPumpkins-Siva.jpg
Single by The Smashing Pumpkins
B-side"Window Paine"
ReleasedAugust 1991
Format12" vinyl, CD
Studio sessions
GenreAlternative rock
Length4:20
LabelCaroline/Virgin
Songwriter(s)Billy Corgan
Producer(s)Butch Vig, Billy Corgan
The Smashing Pumpkins singles chronology
"Tristessa"
(1990)
"Siva"
(1991)
"Rhinoceros"
(1991)

"Siva" is the first single from The Smashing Pumpkins' debut album Gish, and was written by Billy Corgan. "Siva" was also the first music video filmed by the band.

During live shows in the early 90s, the band would typically preface "Siva" by saying it's a song about killing your parents and taking drugs.

Background[edit | edit source]

In an early interview with Billy Corgan, he admitted that he had thought of the name for the song before he had written it, had labeled dozens of tapes with its name, and even considered naming the band "Siva" instead of "Smashing Pumpkins". Corgan has stated the riff was conceived on an Ovation acoustic guitar while working at a record store in Chicago.[1] He considered it the band's first true rock song that defined their sound and captured their live energy. He debated making it the first track on Gish, but felt "I Am One" was the more powerful opener.[2] Lyrically, Corgan considered "Siva" as one of the first songs that served as a personal manifesto.

Corgan originally titled the song "Shiva", referring to the Tantric concepts of Shiva – the inhaler and destroyer of worlds – and Shakti as opposing masculine and feminine forces.[3] A book Corgan was reading had it spelled "Siva", hence he went with that spelling, but the band nonetheless still pronounces the song "Shiva".[2]

Historically, "Siva" is a jam song with varying arrangements. In the studio, producer Butch Vig helped the band trim down the song into a more pop composition.[2] The guitar solo features the band's first use of the Big Muff pedal that was famously used on Siamese Dream.[2]

The song was only released as a single in the UK and Australia, as well as appearing on the Peel Sessions EP. On January 29, 2008, it was also made available as a downloadable track for the video game Rock Band.

Music video[edit | edit source]

"Siva" was the first music video filmed by the band

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

i spin off and lose my head
throwing stray a spark instead
gather strength down in my heel
and dig in the world i peel

way down deep beneath my heart
lies a soul that's torn apart
tell me, tell me what you're after
i just want to get there faster

i don't live, i inhale
i don't give, i unveil
don't wanna live in your misery
i don't live, i inhale

sprinkle all my kisses on your head
stars full of wishes fill our beds
she said, "i'm dead"

all this pain smothers me
like a bomb that you can't see
tell me, tell me what you're after
i just want to get there faster

i don't live, i inhale
i don't give, i unveil
i don't live, i inhale
i don't live

Track listing[edit | edit source]

All tracks are written by Billy Corgan.
No.TitleLength
1."Siva"4:20
2."Window Paine"5:49

Release history[edit | edit source]

Released Label Catalog ID Format Country External sites
August 1991 Hut Recordings HUTT 6 12" UK Discogs MusicBrainz [1]
1991 Caroline Records • Hut Recordings TCHUTC6 Cassette Australia Discogs [1]
1991 Caroline Records HUTCD6 CD Australia Discogs [1]
More releases: DiscogsMusicBrainz

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (1993) Peak
position
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[4] 45

Availability

TitleNotesType
Rhinoceros7" vinyl promo singlePromo
GishMain releaseStudio
SivaSingle
Peel SessionsEP
Siamese Dream2011 reissue bonus DVD – Live at the Metro (Live on August 14, 1993)Studio
The Cutting EdgeJune 30, 1993 – Hilversum, NL (studio / acoustic)Bootleg
23 MinutesVideo
Unplugged: 100% Pure Acoustic PerformancesBootleg
Mayonaise DreamBootleg • Live
Mashed PotatoesBootleg
VieuphoriaLost '94 TapesVideo
PluggelectricJune 30, 1993 – Hilversum, NL (studio / acoustic)Bootleg
The Smashing Pumpkins 1991–1998Promotional CDPromotional • Compilation
1991-1998Promotional • Compilation
Ghost Children: A Tribute To The Smashing PumpkinsTribute
Rotten ApplesUS versionCompilation
Greatest Hits Video Collection (1991–2000)Video
Rarities and B-SidesCompilation
Live Smashing PumpkinsLive
Inside the Dream MachineBootleg • Live
Mayonaise Dream: Broadcast from Tower Records. July 1993Bootleg • Live
Live in Japan 1992Live

Tour stats

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Corgan, Billy. "Guitar Geek U.S.A." Guitar World, August 1995.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Siva" Gish deep dive, June 2020
  3. Smashing Pumpkins band commentary, "Siva." Greatest Hits Video Collection.
  4. "Charts.nz – The Smashing Pumpkins – Siva". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 23, 2016.

External links[edit | edit source]