Why did Smashing Pumpkins pick the year 1979 for a song title?

23 October 2020, 09:15

Smashing Pumpkins in London, Notting Hill in 1992
Smashing Pumpkins classic line-up consisted of Billy Corgan, James Iha, Darcy Wretzsky and Jimmy Chamberlin. Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

As the band celebrates 25 years of of their Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness album, we look back at one of its' most iconic singles.

Smashing Pumpkins are celebrating 25 years of their Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

The double album - which was released on 23 October 1995 and included the likes of Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Tonight Tonight and Thirty-Three - was a commercial and critical success and made Billy Corgan and co one of the prominent alternative bands of the 90s.

Nothing seems to evoke the decade more than the album's 1979 single- a dreamy loop and sample-ridden track that was quite uncharacteristic of the band's style at the time.

The track and its nostalgic video has been an alt ear worm since it was released, but what makes the year 1979 so special anyway?

Find out a bit more about the track and the reason for its title here.

READ MORE: What do the kids on Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream look like?

Smashing Pumpkins on the cover of their 1979 single
Smashing Pumpkins on the cover of their 1979 single. Picture: Press

Why was 1979 titled 1979?

1979 was the second single to be taken from Smashing Pumpkins third album and it was released on 23 January 1996.

Written by Smashing Pumpkins' frontman Billy Corgan the song was entitled 1979 because it was the year that Corgan was 12.

If you're wondering what was so significant about that age, it was the year that the rocker - who was born on 17 March 1967 - considered to be his transition into adolescence.

"Shakedown 1979/Cool kids never have the time/On a live wire right up off the street/You and I should meet"

If the song didn't feel like enough of a nostalgic, coming-of-age tale than its video would have taken you there.

Directed by the team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the promo sees suburban teens drive around a Dodge Charger and is interspersed with shots of the frontman as well as the other band members who play roles within the video.

Watch it here:

Corgan is quoted as being very happy with the finished article and described it as being the closest to realising everything they ever wanted.

And it seemed the critics and fans agreed. The song received two GRAMMY nods for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, while its accompanying video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video in 1996.

If Corgan's purpose in writing 1979 was to create a nostalgic ode to adolescence which would stand the test of time, then we'd have to call it mission accomplished.

READ MORE: Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan denies playing twister with Nirvana... even though there's video footage


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