Phantom Limb (The Shins song)

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"Phantom Limb"
Single by The Shins
from the album Wincing the Night Away
B-side "Nothing at All"
Released 14 November 2006
Format download, CD
Genre Indie rock
Length 4:49
Label Sub Pop
Songwriter(s) James Mercer
Producer(s) James Mercer,
Joe Chiccarelli
The Shins singles chronology
"Fighting in a Sack"
"Phantom Limb"

"Fighting in a Sack"
"Phantom Limb"

"Phantom Limb" is a song by American indie rock band The Shins, and is the fourth track on their third album Wincing the Night Away. The song was also released as the first single from that album in the United States on November 14, 2006 as a digital download and a week later on CD. On January 22, 2007, "Phantom Limb" was released as a single in the United Kingdom. This song was #75 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[1]

Songwriter and lead singer James Mercer described it as "a hypothetical, fictional account of a young, lesbian couple in high school dealing with the shitty small town they live in."[2]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video, directed by Patrick Daughters, includes dramatizations of the stories of Joan of Arc, the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire and the Donner Party, all played by children and the band themselves.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Phantom Limb" - 4:49
  2. "Nothing at All" - 4:07
  3. "Spilt Needles" (alternate version) - 2:27
  4. "Phantom Limb" (video)

The vinyl version of this single features "Nothing at All" and "Split Needles" on the flipside as two separate grooves, similar to that of Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief.


Upon release, the song reached #42 on the UK Singles Chart. In the United States, the song debuted at #86 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, becoming the first song by the band to chart in the Hot 100.[3] It was also their first song to appear on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, peaking there at #16.

In media[edit]

The chorus of the song has been used repeatedly as background music to episodes of Australian soap opera Home and Away.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak


Canada Rock (Billboard)[4] 37
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[5] 42
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 86
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[7] 5
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[8] 16


  1. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2007" (December 11, 2007). Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-12-21.
  2. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2006-08-24). "The Shins Stretching Out On Third Album". Billboard. 
  3. ^ Hasty, Katie (2007-02-01). "Beyonce Stays Ahead Of Fall Out Boy Atop Hot 100". Billboard. 
  4. ^ "The Shins Chart History (Canada Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Shins Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Shins Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "The Shins Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved August 7, 2017.