Infobox Single
Name = Spoonman

Caption =
Artist = Soundgarden
from Album = Superunknown
A-side =
B-side = "Cold Bitch"
Released = February 15, 1994
Format = CD single, Cassette, Vinyl
Recorded = July 1993 – September 1993 at Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, Washington
Genre = Grunge
Length = 4:06
Label = A&M
Writer = Chris Cornell
Producer = Michael Beinhorn, Soundgarden
Certification =
Last single = "Rusty Cage" (1992)
This single = "Spoonman" (1994)
Next single = "The Day I Tried to Live" (1994)
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Album = Superunknown
Type = studio
prev_track = "Black Hole Sun"
prev_no = Track 7
this_track = "Spoonman"
track_no = Track 8
next_track = "Limo Wreck"
next_no = Track 9
"Spoonman" is a song by the American alternative rock band Soundgarden. Written by singer Chris Cornell, "Spoonman" was released on February 15, 1994 as the first single from the band's fourth studio album, "Superunknown" (1994). "Spoonman" is often credited as one of the songs that launched Soundgarden's career into the mainstream. The song peaked at number three on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It would later appear on the band's greatest hits album "A-Sides" and the 2007 Chris Cornell compilation "The Roads We Choose - A Retrospective". A remixed version of the song by Steve Fisk appears on the "Black Hole Sun" and "My Wave" singles.

Origin and recording

The song was originally written for the soundtrack to the film "Singles" in 1992. At this time, Soundgarden, along with fellow grunge band Pearl Jam, was working on the soundtrack for the film. Pearl Jam's bassist, Jeff Ament, had been put in charge of creating the name for a fictional band that would appear in the film. Before finally choosing Citizen Dick for its name, Ament had compiled a list of potential names which included the name "Spoonman". The name was inspired by Artis the Spoonman, a street performer from Santa Cruz, California and later Seattle, who plays music with a set of spoons.Prato, Greg. [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:h98n1yk5zzza "Spoonman > Review"] . Allmusic. Retrieved on August 1, 2008.] Soundgarden vocalist and songwriter Chris Cornell eventually used the names on the list to create songs for the film. "Spoonman" was among these, and an acoustic version was created from it. This early version of the song can be heard in the background during a scene of the film.

Rather than just leave the song on the film's soundtrack, Soundgarden began working on an electric version of "Spoonman". The song's inspiration, Artis the Spoonman, played a prominent role in the song itself. The final version of the song featured Artis the Spoonman playing his spoons as part of the song's instrumental. Drummer Matt Cameron also plays pots and pans on the song. [ [http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/making_5-94.shtml "Soundgarden"] . "Making Music". May 1994.]


While most rock music is composed in 4/4 (common time) or 3/4 time, "Spoonman" is fairly unique in that it is a mix of 4/4 and 7/4 time. Other notable compositions that employ 7/4 - 4/4 mix are Soundgarden's "Outshined", The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", Pink Floyd's "Money", Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill", and Radiohead's "Paranoid Android". The song was performed in drop D tuning. [Rotondi, James. "Alone in the Superunknown." "Guitar Player". June 1994.]


Cornell on the song:

It's more about the paradox of who [Artis] is and what people perceive him as. He's a street musician, but when he's playing on the street, he is given a value and judged completely wrong by someone else. They think he's a street person, or he's doing this because he can't hold down a regular job. They put him a few pegs down on the social ladder because of how they perceive someone who dresses differently. The lyrics express the sentiment that I much more easily identify with someone like Artis than I would watch him play. [ [http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/request_10-94.shtml "Interview with Chris Cornell"] . "Request". October 1994.]

Release and reception

The band would play it while on its 1993 tour with Neil Young. [Genovese, Robin. [http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/chart_6-96.shtml "Soundgarden"] . "Chart". June 1996.] With hype building around the band's upcoming album "Superunknown", Soundgarden released the single a month before the album's release. On the choice of "Spoonman" as the album's first single, bassist Ben Shepherd called it a "great first choice," adding that "it just jumps out at you instantly." Shepherd said, "You know how you listen to a record and there is one song that literally seems to leap out of the speakers -- well, "Spoonman" did that to me." [Masters, Drew. [http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/meat_3-94.shtml "Soundgarden"] . "M.E.A.T. Magazine". March 1994.] Shortly after the single's release, the song became widely popular, reaching high positions on rock charts. The song peaked at number three on the "Billboard" Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number nine on the "Billboard" Modern Rock Tracks chart. It would later win the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.cite web| url=http://www.rockonthenet.com/archive/1995/grammys.htm |title=37th Grammy Awards - 1995
publisher=Rockonthenet.com |accessdate=2007-12-08

Outside of the United States, the single was released in Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In Canada, the song reached number 12 on the Canadian Singles Chart. "Spoonman" reached the UK Top 20 and would peak at number 23 on the Australian Singles Chart. "Spoonman" reached the top 30 in Australia and Ireland and was a top ten success in New Zealand.

"Spoonman" appears in the video game "ATV Offroad Fury" for PlayStation 2. It is also featured in the video game "Rock Band 2".cite web | url = http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/53595 | title = New Rock Band 2 Bands, Details Announced | first = Maarten | last = Goldstein | date = 2008-07-14 | accessdate =2008-07-14 | publisher = Shacknews]

Music video

for the song also featured Artis prominently, making him the focus of the video instead of the band. The video was directed by Jeffrey Plansker. The video was released in February 1994.Cite web|url=http://www.mvdbase.com/artist.php?last=Soundgarden&first=&sortord=1=|title=Soundgarden music videos|accessdate=2008-02-22|publisher=Music Video Database]

Cornell on the music video:

I think we were fairly smart with "Spoonman" in that you really don't see us that much in the video. You see various pictures of us, but it's not quite the same as having us in your living room all the time. We're trying to maintain some degree of mystique about Soundgarden, I guess. I remember back when I was a kid, long before MTV, and the only way to see my favorite bands was to go to their concerts. It was an incredible experience. MTV has helped a lot of bands, but they've also helped rob a lot of groups of that special mystique. It's tough when you can see a great rock band on TV one second, then hit the clicker and be watching a soap opera or a sit com the next. That's what rock and roll has become for some people. [Hughes, Keith. [http://web.stargate.net/soundgarden/articles/hp_10-94.shtml "Soundgarden: Their Shining Hour"] . "Hit Parader". October 1994.]

Track listing

;European CD and 12"
#"Spoonman" (Chris Cornell) – 4:06
#"Fresh Tendrils" (Matt Cameron, Cornell) – 4:16
#"Cold Bitch" (Cornell)
#"Exit Stonehenge"

;UK Cassette and Picture 7"
#"Spoonman" (Cornell) – 4:06
#"Fresh Tendrils" (Cameron, Cornell) – 4:16

;US Promo CD
#"Spoonman" (edit) (Cornell)
#"Spoonman" (Cornell) – 4:06;German CD
#"Spoonman" (edit) (Cornell)
#"Cold Bitch" (Cornell)
#"Exit Stonehenge"

;UK 12" DJ Promo
#"Spoonman" (Cornell) – 4:06

;Canadian and Australian CD
#"Spoonman" (Cornell) – 4:06
#"Cold Bitch" (Cornell)

Chart positions


External links

* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:h98n1yk5zzza Allmusic review of "Spoonman"]

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