Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The backstory to the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979”

The song “1979” from The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album is probably their most popular song. But why call it that? Billy Corgan did write the song about the time he was 18, making the difficult transition from being in high school to an adult. But using “1979” was simply because it had the right number of syllables and rhymed with the other words he wanted to use in the lyrics.

The video shoot was a bit chaotic. It took three days. But when it was all over, a member of the crew left the master tapes on the roof of his car and drove away. That production assistant had to stand on a streetcorner with a sandwich board that read “Lost tapes, reward for return.”

Those tapes were never found, and the video had to be reshot.

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 38449 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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