November 1993: Stone Temple Pilots Release CREEP
By the fall of 1993, breakout band Stone Temple Pilots had made quite a splash in the world of rock. The group's debut album, Core, released September 1992, galvanized legions of new fans with hard-driving FM radio jams like lead single, "Sex Type Thing." STP really took off with the release of second single, "Plush," which charged up the charts to peak at #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
Simultaneously, Stone Temple Pilots were dealing with some critics calling the band out as derivative, particularly in regards to the song "Plush" and its alleged similarities to Pearl Jam's signature sound. It was time for Scott Weiland and company to deliver a change-up and set the record straight. That's exactly what they did with the release of third Core single, "Creep." A moody and tense power ballad, Weiland's emotional vocals delivered the track's cathartic energy and angst.
"That's just the idea of being a young person somewhere, caught between still being a kid and becoming a young man," was Weiland's summation of "Creep" during an interview with Songfacts in 2014. "It's that youth apathy, that second-guessing yourself, not feeling like you fit in."
The song struck a chord with listeners, as the slow-burning track showed a different side of the band who at the time was being lumped in as part of the "grunge" movement the media was red-hot to perpetuate during the early 1990s. "Creep," released November 1, 1993, was a big hit at FM radio, sidling up the charts to peak at #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
"Musically speaking I was thinking about a song along the lines of "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young, which is in the key of D-minor, the saddest key of all," is how co-writer and bassist Robert DeLeo described "Creep." "Scott was thinking about the lyrics, and at that time in our lives we were struggling very much. What Scott was writing about was a real-life situation. Also about me, the thing about the gun. "Creep" is a very demeaning word. It was one of those instances where we looked at ourselves, looked in the mirror."