According to the Filter biography on their official website, former live guitarist Richard Patrick reportedly received the nickname "Piggy" while in Nine Inch Nails. As well, "Piggies" is a song on The Beatles' 1968 self-titled (or 'white') album, a noted influence on Charles Manson, who scrawled the word "pig" in blood on the front door of the Sharon Tate mansion wherein he and his 'Family' killed Tate and several others on August 8, 1969. The mansion was also where Reznor recorded The Downward Spiral in 1993-4. Whether or not Patrick or the Tate murders are directly related to this song is unknown, though Reznor kept the Tate door when he moved to Nothing Studios in New Orleans. The drum solo featured in the last half of the song is actually Reznor himself. Initially, it was a drum test being used as a placeholder in the song, but he liked it too much to replace it.
Characterized by its very simplistic structure, "Piggy" contains a simple set of drum and other percussion loops with only bass and organ accompaniment, joined by piano and noise loops in the latter half. Though heavily debated, the album version of "Piggy" is the first of several songs on The Downward Spiral to incorporate the famous "Downward Spiral Motif." While this version of the motif does not contain the final "five note measure" found on other songs such as "Closer" and "The Downward Spiral", the structure remains relatively the same. Played by the organs on the second verse, the notes to this short variation of the motif are as follows:
Released by Reznor through his remix.nin.com account, this is a vocalless, unmastered version of the album recording. Its ending is also extended by several repetitions of noise loops and the bass riff after the loud drums have faded out.
Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
"Piggy" was remixed by Rick Rubin for the 1995 remix album Further Down The Spiral. It features Dave Navarro on guitar and samples "Put Your Love in My Tender Care" by the Fatback Band. This remix was also featured on 2004's 2nd CD of the 10th Aniversary Deluxe Edition of The Downward Spiral. Featured first on the Dissonance tour, it is one of the only remixes ever played live, and was revived for the NIN|JA 2009 tour.
Recorded in bootleg-like quality, this live performance video is featured on the first disc of Closure.
Piggy (And All That Could Have Been)
A professionally recorded live version appears in video and audio on And All That Could Have Been. Reznor gives the microphone away to audience members to sing the "nothing can stop me now" refrain in the latter half of the song, and his ending piano solo segues directly into the performance of "The Frail."
This version of the song made its debut on 2008's Lights In The Sky Tour. It features Justin Meldal-Johnsen on upright bass and Reznor on tambourine and marimba, usually segueing directly from "19 Ghosts III" via Reznor's tambourine playing as it slows from the quicker tempo to match that of "Ghosts Piggy." Its title is sourced from tour setlists.
"Piggy" has become a popular song in Nine Inch Nails live shows, played seemingly on a nearly regular basis. During live shows Reznor will frequently venture into the crowd during this song with a microphone and invite fans to sing along.
Bridge School Benefit
Reznor performed a new version of "Piggy" on piano with a string quartet at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit concert.
Hey pig Yeah you Hey pig piggy pig pig pig All of my fears came true Black and blue and broken bones you left me here I'm all alone My little piggy needed something new Nothing can stop me now I don't care anymore Nothing can stop me now I just don't care Hey pig Nothing's turning out the way I planned Hey pig there's a lot of things I hoped you could help me understand What am I supposed to do I lost my shit because of you Nothing can stop me now I don't care anymore Nothing can stop me now I just don't care Nothing can stop me now You don't need me anymore
The last line of the song is not sung in the final album cut.