The Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight - 1996

The Smashing Pumpkins - "Tonight, Tonight" - 1996

"Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins is a track from their 1995 album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Released in 1996 as a single, the song received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year. Its orchestral arrangement, inspired by the sounds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, marked a significant departure from the band's earlier grunge and alternative rock sound. The music video, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, pays homage to Georges Méliès's 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon, further solidifying its place in music history as a work of art.

The Making of "Tonight, Tonight"

The song was written by lead vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan, who sought to create a cinematic feel that would stand in contrast to the heavy, guitar-driven tracks that characterized much of the band's earlier work. The recording featured a 30-piece string orchestra, and its lush, layered production was a testament to Corgan's ambitious vision for the album.

Music Video

The music video for "Tonight, Tonight" is a visually stunning piece that blends early cinema aesthetics with the song's epic scope. Its narrative, inspired by A Trip to the Moon, features a young couple embarking on a fantastical journey through space. The video's innovative use of special effects and period costumes contributed to its acclaim, winning it several awards and nominations beyond the MTV Video Music Award, including Best Direction and Best Art Direction.

Impact and Legacy

"Tonight, Tonight" stands as one of The Smashing Pumpkins' most beloved tracks, showcasing the band's ability to experiment with different sounds and styles. Its success helped to cement the band's place in the rock pantheon of the 1990s and demonstrated the potential for alternative rock music to incorporate orchestral elements.

Critical Reception

Critics lauded "Tonight, Tonight" for its ambitious orchestration and emotional depth. It has frequently appeared on lists of the greatest songs of the 1990s and of all time, reflecting its enduring appeal and influence on subsequent generations of musicians.

Lyrics and Themes

The lyrics of "Tonight, Tonight" convey a message of hope and the belief in the potential for personal transformation. Corgan's poetic lyrics encourage listeners to seize the moment and embrace the possibilities of change, themes that resonate with fans worldwide.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What inspired the music video for "Tonight, Tonight"? (Georges Méliès's 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon) (!The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope) (!The 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing) (!Jules Verne's novel From the Earth to the Moon)

In what year was "Tonight, Tonight" released as a single? (1996) (!1995) (!1997) (!1994)

How many pieces were in the string orchestra used in the recording of "Tonight, Tonight"? (30-piece string orchestra) (!20-piece string orchestra) (!40-piece string orchestra) (!50-piece string orchestra)

Who directed the music video for "Tonight, Tonight"? (Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) (!Spike Jonze) (!Michel Gondry) (!Mark Romanek)

What album is "Tonight, Tonight" from? (Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) (!Siamese Dream) (!Adore) (!Machina/The Machines of God)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Who is the lead vocalist and guitarist of The Smashing Pumpkins who wrote "Tonight, Tonight"? (Billy Corgan) (!James Iha) (!Jimmy Chamberlin) (!D'arcy Wretzky)

What genre of music is The Smashing Pumpkins most commonly associated with? (Alternative rock) (!Heavy metal) (!Pop) (!Electronic)

In what decade did The Smashing Pumpkins first gain major popularity? (1990s) (!1980s) (!2000s) (!1970s)

Which of the following albums is not by The Smashing Pumpkins? (!Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) (!Siamese Dream) (!Adore) (Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction)

How many MTV Video Music Awards did the music video for "Tonight, Tonight" win? (Multiple awards, including Video of the Year) (!None) (!One) (!Two)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is a key theme of "Tonight, Tonight"? (Hope and the potential for personal transformation) (!Despair and hopelessness) (!Romantic love) (!Anger and rebellion)

Which line from "Tonight, Tonight" conveys a sense of urgency and seizing the moment? ("Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight") (!"The world is a vampire, sent to drain") (!"Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage") (!"We must never be apart")

What literary technique is prominent in the lyrics of "Tonight, Tonight"? (Metaphor and imagery) (!Irony) (!Alliteration) (!Onomatopoeia)

How does "Tonight, Tonight" encourage listeners? (By promoting the belief in the possibilities of change and renewal) (!By advocating for social and political change) (!By reflecting on past regrets) (!By celebrating hedonism)

What emotional tone does "Tonight, Tonight" primarily convey? (Inspirational and uplifting) (!Melancholic and somber) (!Angry and confrontational) (!Euphoric and ecstatic)


"Tonight, Tonight" Hope and transformation
Billy Corgan Lead vocalist and guitarist
1996 Year of single release
String orchestra 30-piece ensemble used in recording
Music video inspiration A Trip to the Moon

Open Tasks


  1. Explore other music videos inspired by films or literature: Research and create a short presentation on how these works influence contemporary music videos.
  2. Write a short essay on the theme of hope in "Tonight, Tonight": Discuss how the lyrics and music video convey this theme.
  3. Create a playlist of songs that, like "Tonight, Tonight", incorporate orchestral elements: Share your playlist and explain why you chose each song.


  1. Analyze the lyrics of "Tonight, Tonight": Identify and discuss the use of literary devices such as metaphor and imagery.
  2. Compare and contrast "Tonight, Tonight" with another Smashing Pumpkins song: Focus on themes, musical style, and lyrical content.
  3. Conduct a group discussion on the evolution of music videos over the decades: Use "Tonight, Tonight" as a case study to illustrate changes in style and technology.


  1. Write a research paper on the impact of the 1990s alternative rock scene on modern music: Include "Tonight, Tonight" as a key example.
  2. Design your own music video for "Tonight, Tonight": Plan the concept, storyboard, and describe the visual effects you would use.
  3. Organize an online webinar on the history of The Smashing Pumpkins: Include a segment on the making of "Tonight, Tonight" and its legacy.

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