Cannonball

Album: Last Splash (1993)
Charted: 40 44
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Songfacts®:

  • The Breeders started as the side project of Kim Deal, who was with the Pixies at the time, but often at odds with their frontman, Frank Black. Written and sung by Deal, "Cannonball" made the US Hot 100 - something the Pixies never did.

    Deal formed the band with Tanya Donelly of Throwing Muses (and later, Belly), and they released their first album, Pod, in 1990 (Kim played bass in the Pixies; she switched to guitar with The Breeders). The Safari EP followed in 1992, with Kim's sister Kelley Deal joining the band. Donelly left for Last Splash, with drummer Jim MacPherson coming on board to round out the band with Josephine Wiggs. When Kelley got caught in a drug bust in 1995, Kim morphed the band into the Amps, which released the album Pacer in 1995. The Breeders would return in 2002 with the album Title TK.
  • The song was originally titled "Grunggae," a combination of "grunge" and "reggae." The name came from Kim Deal thinking the accented riff resembled the accent in reggae.
  • The British music paper Melody Maker named this song their Single of the Year for 1993.
  • Mojo magazine May 2013 asked Kim Deal if she had a sense this song would be a hit. She replied: "Did we record a song that opened with me saying, 'Check 1-2,' and then loads of vocal feedback from my brother's harmonica mike, and think, 'This is destined for radio?' That was the sort of thing that didn't get you played on the radio then. We thought no one would play it."
  • The loud/soft dynamics in this song is something Kim Deal brought over from the Pixies. The titular cannonball could portend the aggressive part of the track. Most songs with the cannonball metaphor (Supertramp, Damien Rice) use it to indicate a person who is reckless in love. Deal's lyrics are designed to complement the melody; we wouldn't recommend reading too much into lyrics like "I'll be your whatever you want, the bong in this reggae song."
  • The video was directed by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon.
  • The single was released as a 4-song EP, which also included a cover version of Aerosmith's "Lord of the Thighs."
  • Nissan used this in commercials for the 2000 Sentra. The song was also heard in trailers for the South Park movie.

Comments: 12

  • Riot from Palm Desert, CaThe album "Pod" actually started the Breeders side-project, which was a joint side-project between Kim Deal and Tanya Donelly (formerly of "Throwing Muses"). Tanya Donelly left after recording the "Safari" EP to form "Belly".

    "The Breeders" was a name that Kim and Kelley used for their band in the 70's.

    Kelley also had her own side-project, "The Kelley Deal 6000", which was formed after her drug rehabilitation.
  • Gen from Los Angeles, CaKelley is Kim's identical twin sis, so some might get them confused...but yes, it was Kelley who was in rehab that caused the band to go on hiatus. I never heard which drug it was though.
  • Scott from Palm Desert, CaThis was a strange yet catchy song. Must have really p.o.'d Frank Black.
  • Viktoria from AntwerpThe video for the song, much-played on MTV, was directed by Kim Gordon and Spike Jonze.
  • Kate from KowloonThe video, as I remember it was directed by Spike Jonze, not Kim Gordon.
  • Jessie Ann from Purchase, NyIt was in "a walk to remember"
    I was shocked.
    I liked the movie, but the song gets on my nerves a bit
  • Kai from Püttlingen, GermanyThe Breeder's first LP, "Pod", was Kurt Cobain's fave CD of 1990.
  • Philly from Washington, Dc"Pod" is The Breeder's first album. Excellent. Rumor has it Kim Deal has reunited The Breeders to some extent and they are working on another album. Keep hope alive...
  • Philly from Washington, DcAnd - changing the subject a bit - Kim Deal launched another side project, The Amps, after Last Splash and before Title TK. The Amps album, "Pacer," is absolutely splendid. One song off of it, "Full on Idle," ended up on Title TK.
  • Philly from Washington, DcNo, actually it was Kim Deal's sister Kelley who was busted for drugs - I think it was heroin. Seem to recall it was some sort of sting and she signed for a UPS package filled with heroin and was nailed. She ended up in rehab and after that released two albums, the first of which - "Go to the Sugar Altar" - touched on addiction, etc. and was somewhat autobiographical, as I understand it.
  • Andrea from La, CaThe Breeders did not release anything until 2001 because Kim Deal could not find band members who weren't pay to play.
  • Joe from Houston, TxThe Breeders did not release another album until 2001 because Kim Deal was busted for cocaine...
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