Smashing Pumpkins' fourth album, Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, was the jump start for no less than five singles. In order of release, we saw "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", "1979", "Zero", "Tonight, Tonight", and "Thirty-Three"; but who knew that "Thirty-Three" had almost lost the race to "Muzzle"?
Considering "Muzzle", now only available as a rather hard to find promotional CD, for release as a single makes a lot of sense. The song has very strong lyrics, and musically it is, a fitting end to the string of singles that spun off Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness. However, it was decided around August/September 1996 that "Muzzle" would not be released after all, thus making "Thirty-Three" the closing single of the Mellon Collie era in November 1996. On a side note, all five commercially released singles had also seen expanded EP-like releases worldwide, which were gathered and put together for the epic The Aeroplane Flies High box set release at the end of 1996 - making it the perfect Christmas gift for the Smashing Pumpkins fan.
Looking back, it seems almost unfair that "Muzzle" didn't make it to that box set, perhaps even as a sixth single! The song did rather well in the charts after all: "Muzzle" reached number ten on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks, and number eight on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks. Additionally, it reached number one on the alternative charts in Canada.
'Virgin Records tried, and failed, to get me to use an edited version of 33. Which is why they said it failed in marketplace: 'too long'. - BILLY CORGAN
Also available on tour, a new shirt featuring lyrics from "Muzzle"!