Smashing Pumpkins’ Chartbuster: A Tribute or a Rip-off?

Smashing Pumpkins
Smashing Pumpkins | Shutterstock

The ‘Rush’ Behind ‘Cherub Rock’: A Tale of Musical Pilfering

Billy Corgan, the charismatic frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, has unabashedly confessed that their first chart-topping sensation was, in essence, a doppelganger of a Rush song. Now, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill, garden-variety rock song. We’re talking about “Cherub Rock,” the opening track of their ’93 album “Siamese Dream.” This song is a sonic powerhouse that catapulted the Pumpkins into the rock stratosphere.



But here’s the kicker: Corgan, in a moment of rock ‘n roll honesty, admitted that the intro of “Cherub Rock” was “ripped off from ‘By-Tor and the Snow Dog’ by Rush. It’s a straight rip-off of Rush.” For those unaware, “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” is an eight-minute epic from Rush’s ’74 album “Fly by Night.” It’s a prog-rock saga that tells the tale of a battle between good and evil, complete with a multi-part structure and complex time signatures. Listen to both songs. Do you hear similarities?



Corgan’s confession is like finding out your favorite home-cooked meal was actually takeout. But let’s not forget, Corgan has always been a card-carrying member of the classic rock fan club, with favorites ranging from Rush to Black Sabbath to Van Halen. This revelation makes us wonder: what other rock anthems might be wearing a clever disguise?

Background Information

Smashing Pumpkins, led by Billy Corgan, is an American alternative rock band that gained popularity in the 1990s. Their unique blend of gothic rock, heavy metal, dream pop, and psychedelic rock has made them one of the most influential bands of their time.

On the other hand, Rush is a Canadian rock band known for their complex compositions and lyrical themes. They’ve been a major influence on various rock genres, including progressive rock and heavy metal.

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