The Smashing Pumpkins

1979

Composed by Billy Corgan

Song Review by

Light, bright and just slightly off-kilter, ”1979” was a somewhat surprising hit for the Smashing Pumpkins in February 1996. With James Iha’s guitars conjuring up just a hint of down-tuned drone a la My Bloody Valentine, and Corgan winding a clear vocal through a mid-tempo melody with nary a shout or wrenching outburst in sight, the song was the perfect winter wonder. Disaster was lurking around the edges though, as a key portion of the accompanying video was lost when a production crew associate left the only copy on top of his car like the proverbial cup of coffee, or wallet, or important files, and drove away, effectively driving the images into nowhere. Never recovered, a frustrated band managed to recreate the moment, and duly dispatched it to MTV, where it became a heavy hitter. Although this wobble would become one of the earliest in a string of disasters that would eventually unhinge the band, before hindsight shook out its mane, the beauty and tenderness of ”1979”, with the pure poetry in lyrics like “you and I should meet, junebug skipping like a stone” did more to erase the angst and anger of a generation of X-ers with its nostalgia tripping than just about anything else.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness 1995 Virgin 4:26
1979 1996 EMI Music Distribution 5:11
The Aeroplane Flies High 1996 Universal Music 4:27
1997 Grammy Nominees 1997
Various Artists
Chronicles / Polygram 4:25
The Ultimate Rock Collection Gold and Platinum, Vol. 6: 1989-1995 1997
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:25
Greatest Hits 2001 Virgin 4:23
End Sessions, Vol. 2: The End 107.7
Various Artists
4:57
blue highlight denotes editor's pick