Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Billy Corgan, songwriter

Although Billy Corgan seems to be able to write a million songs a year, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. Sometimes it takes years for a Pumpkins song to take shape.

Take, for example, the song “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” Billy first came up with the basic idea back in 1993, right in the middle of the sessions that resulted in the Siamese Dream album. It began with the phrase “The world is a vampire” but really didn’t get moving until 18 months later when Billy suddenly came up with the “rat in a cage” line right in the middle of a BBC session.

That phrase popped into his head the same day the band recorded “Landslide” for the Pieces Iscariot album. Eighteen months after that, the Pumpkins released the final version as the first single from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

Tuesday’s post had something to do with Tool.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38296 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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