Album: Siamese Dream (1993)
Charted: 44 69

Songfacts®:

  • This reflects the mood of lead singer Billy Corgan, who was very depressed when he wrote it. Corgan was in therapy, suffering from writer's block, and struggling with expectations that Smashing Pumpkins would be the next Nirvana.
  • With the lyric, "today is the greatest day," some listeners misinterpreted this as a hopeful song, when it was just the opposite. Billy Corgan said: "I was really suicidal. I just thought it was funny to write a song that said today is the greatest day of your life because it can't get any worse."
  • Corgan played almost all the instruments on this track, partly because he was a control freak and partly because drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was unreliable due to drug problems.
  • The record company put a lot of pressure on the band to complete the Siamese Dream album, which put Corgan in a tough spot because he was having trouble writing songs. "Today" came to him pretty quickly and his demo appeased the record company because they thought it would be a hit.
  • Corgan never thought much of this song. He considered it a light pop song, even though many listeners thought it was quite meaningful.
  • In America, this wasn't released as a single, since Virgin Records wanted fans to buy the album, not just the one song. It was issued to radio stations as a promotional single, where it got significant airplay alongside heavy rotation on MTV. Smashing Pumpkins were still considered a "college radio" band at the time, but this song reached a wider audience and set the stage for their breakout album Mellon Collie and the
    Infinite Sadness
    , released in 1995.

    Billboard's rules (amended in 1996) stated that any song not for sale as a single was not eligible for the Hot 100, so this song never appeared on that chart. It did show up at #69 on the Airplay chart, however, a reflection of the band becoming radio-friendly for the first time. Their singles "Disarm" (#48) and "Landslide" (#30) also made that chart.
  • The video was directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, a French photographer who directed some very vibrant videos for Red Hot Chili Peppers ("Give It Away"), Garbage ("Queer") and U2 ("Mysterious Ways").

    In the "Today" video, Billy Corgan plays the role of a guy who takes an ice cream van into the desert (on his uniform, his name is spelled "Billie"). Part of it was shot at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, California in a homage to the 1970 film Zabriskie Point.
  • Corgan says he remembers a time when he was younger and the local ice cream man decided that today would be the day that he quit, so he drove around the neighborhood giving free ice cream to all the kids. At the start of the video this is echoed when Billy's character gives smiling children free treats, then drives off on his wild ride. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Matthew - Santa Barbara, CA
  • The album was produced by Butch Vig, who worked with Nirvana and was one of the first to use Pro Tools software to record and mix directly into a computer. He is also the drummer for Garbage.
  • Smashing Pumpkins performed this on Saturday Night Live on October 30, 1993. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Colorado Springs, CO

Comments: 23

  • Josh from UsaGreat dream logic in this video. For me sex has always been something that's just out of reach in dreams and it seems that way for Billie as well, while he's stuck selling ice cream (I remember around this same time, Bono, describing fans who were stuck on U2's sound as "pop kids" and I'm sure that's what it feels like, to serve the "kids" with the hits). Billy probably saw his share of guys in the crowd getting it on with women that he seduced for them with his music. So who shows up as his date in his dream? His guitarist, his bandmate, the guy he's stuck on stage with strumming those seductive tones and chords. Isn't that just life? The ice cream truck is his stage, so make the most of it, F that thing over with the most wild and uninhibited designs possible, just like those people being uninhibited in the grass. In the end, Billie is dumped on the road like a one night stand and he's loving it.
  • Ken from Philadelphia, PaActually "pink ribbon scars" almost certainly refers to Billy's own scars. He was a "cutter" and, as a result, he has his share of pink ribbon scars.
  • Ryan from Anahola, HiThis song is in Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour.
  • Justin from Denver, CoIt's about suicide. "Today is the greatest day I've ever known. Can't live for tomorrow"...duh.

    Pink ribbon scars are track marks.
  • Alteri from Athens, Greecei was listening to this song in 1997.
    12 years later i found myself singing "today is the greatest day i've ever known..".and it was the first time i really understand..
  • Rob from Sheffield Lake, OhThe people having sex was all a mirage in Billie's head (I know his name is spelled Billy but he's called Billie in the video), I think it was meant to express his sense of desire and distraction (basically, his want to commit suicide) while he had a larger goal, to deliver ice cream in a desert (to deliver good music where there was none (remembering this was a time where he thought VERY highly of his music, even though he still does, which is probably the reason he makes it so good)), In the end, he finds that he can have fun doing his duty, or that there is a good side to life. that's what I've always gotten out of the video.

    And to the person who thought this song was funny until they learned what it meant: Depression doesn't mean you can't be funny, the song was meant to be very sarcastic, and I actually like that kind of dark humor.
  • Matt from Houston, TxMan, how could I have survived teenage years without this album.what with the ice cream trucks and hummers and rockets and whatever a silverf*** is, all the songs have something you can relate to.
  • Annie from Sofia, Bulgariabeen listening to that song forever, im in love with both it and the video, never knew he was suicidal when he wrote it... they both go together fantastically, if you ask me. actually im planning to get married on this song. seriously, think its the best thing to sound while going to the altar.
  • Chris from New York, NyAnother beautiful song written from the heart of corgan
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, PaI like in the video when he throws his hat into the back of the icecream truck...awesome...who knew someone dressed as an ice cream man could be sooo hott. i think the lyrics are beautiful and the meaning behind them makes it even more beautiful...it reminds me of this guy i used to love and it broke my heart when he was taken away...this was our song we used to sing the lyrics to eachother as we passed in the halls and then we'd laugh real hard...
  • Pavel Tsvetkov from Varna, BulgariaWhether this song came out first or second is immaterial; and if Corgan feels 'Today' is just one of the tracks on their album, then this comes to prove that authors are rarely objective about the product of their art. Is not the Artist just an instrument of God?
    'Today' is the song that made me fall in love with the music of 'The Smashing Pumpkins'. And - subjective as I am - the video to this song is their best ever - even if it was cheaply shot.
    Their first albums were the most successful: slow, sad and emotionally violent - but beyond and above all - full of tenderness.
    This was later lost.
    Their last releases mark the impotence of words and sounds not meant to be shared. 'The Smashing Pumpkins' had nothing to say anymore. I could hardly express my disappointment with 'Zero', 'Dusk Till Dawn', etc.
    Yet, if there ever was a rock band I could listen to again and again, then that would be 'The Smashing Pumpkins'. They are great in their own imperfect way.
  • Dena from Nowhere To Be, NjI believe "Today" is a morbidly sarcastic song. I always wondered though, if when Billy wrote "Pink ribbon scars will never forget..." he was refering to the scars on his left hand.
  • Stacey from St.petersburg, FlThe video is about when Billy Corgan's was younger thee ice cream man quit one day and give out free ice cream to the children in the neighborhood
  • Orangebeaker from Edinburgh, ScotlandI think this song is about suicide. "Pink ribbon scars that never forget" refers to scars on the wrists of someone who has attempted suicide. "I tried so hard to cleanse these regrets" - people who slit their wrists usually do so in water as it soothes the pain. So, "Today is the greatest day i've ever known, cant wait for tomorrow, tomorrow's much to long" is saying, today is when he's finally going to end it all, he cant face another day. It's greatest as in biggest, not best. I'm not sure about the "I want to turn you on" bits at the end though, any ideas?
  • Mark from CanberraI was really disapointed by the video clip. Its such a powerful and moving song and the video just didn't do it any justice
  • Richard from Indianapolis, InCorgan did not play ALL the instruments in this song/recording. Cherub Rock debuted in the stats before Today!
  • Tim from Kilkenny, IrelandHAH! I thought this song was sort of funny . . . until, of course, I read Corgan was depressed during its writing. Oops. I still think this would be a cool song to play at a funeral . . . "Today is the greatest day I've ever known" and so on! Hee.
  • Nick from Arlington Heights, IlI believe that the video for Cherub Rock began playing on MTV before the video for Today, Cherub Rock started playing in July/August, Today i believe debuted in October
  • Dennis from Toledo, OhIt's not a stupid video, it's not supposed to make sense that much. Basically Billy plays an ice cream man who stops giving a f**k. everyone else is out in the desert making out and pleasing themselves, while he's just having fun his own little way and smothering his inhibitions.
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlWhat a stupid video. They shouldn't have had all those people making out, it didn't make any sense being interspersed with the ice cream man stuff. Great song though.
  • Cam from St. Catharines, CanadaThat random girl he picked up was a guy... James Iha. ;)
  • Chrissy from Miami, FlActually Billy Corgan said he got the theme for this video based a certain event-he remembered when he was younger, that the ice cream man quit and drove around in a van or something like that
  • Andy from Halifax, EnglandThe video is of the average classic love story:
    Ice-cream man goes for a drive, picks up random girl, finds random sign of humanity (petrol station i think), cover the van in paint, then let someone else drive away in it.
    CLASSIC
    (plz correct me if im wrong)
see more comments

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