1979 Song Meaning by The Smashing Pumpkins

Do you know that rock band The Smashing Pumpkins 1979 might not have come into being if not for Billy Corgan’s perseverance? And the shooting of the video clip for the song took place not without adventures.

The most interesting facts related to the track will be discussed in the article.

Song History 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins

For starters, by the end of the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album, 1979 was still a bunch of chords that didn’t quite fit together.

Billy Corgan also had a snippet of the melody without lyrics. Of course, producer Mark “Flood” Ellis, under whom the band recorded this double disc, considered the composition too weak to be included on the album.

Here is how Corgan recalled it:

He just said, “Not good enough,” and was ready to forget about it, but I had some kind of inner feeling towards this song from the very beginning. I was almost afraid to go where she was taking me. It’s the kind of song that if I thought about including it on previous albums, I’d wonder if I’d sound like shit when I played it. It’s just not your typical Pumpkins song.

So, when he hesitated whether to use it, it angered me. I thought: “No shit like that, this is not another song you cooked up in haste.” It really inspired me to finish it and prove him wrong. That same night I wrote the whole song in four hours. The next day, Flood listened to it once and said, “This one’s on the album.”

The Meaning of the Song 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins

The main theme of the album Mellon Collie Corgan called farewell to youth. This composition was perfect for her.

Billy composed it, indulging in school memories. Further, the author’s attempt to explain what the song 1979 is about.

I remember when I was seventeen, eighteen, I felt weird because I had a job and a car. I could go wherever I wanted, but at the same time I was limited by home and school. This is such a hectic period when you are overwhelmed with sexual energy, and you still don’t have sex. That’s how I felt about writing the song. Why 1979? I have no idea. She had to be named somehow. This song is more intuitive than literal. I trust my intuition much more than consciousness.

Release and achievements

The song 1979 was released as the second single from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, the third in The Smashing Pumpkins discography. It climbed to number twelfth on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Mainstream Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts.

The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Music video 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins

The clip from 1979, awarded in 1996 with the MTV Video Music Award as the best alternative video, should be told separately.

It was directed by well-known directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who previously shot the video for the song Rocket – The Smashing Pumpkins. Members of the group specifically went to them in Los Angeles to personally communicate and, so to speak, refresh their acquaintance. Billy Corgan later said that the video was successful in part because he and Jonathan grew up in a similar environment.

There is no need to retell the plot of the video. Let’s just say that it is based on Corgan’s ideas about how a teenager should feel, in general, happy with life, but somewhat tired of the boring lifestyle of the suburbs. All members of the group appear in the clip.

By the way, the video had to be shot again, because the first time the films were lost. A box with them was placed on the roof of a departing car, and it fell off somewhere along the road. A police officer saw them being picked up by an elderly Mexican, but only an empty box was found, although the group posted numerous advertisements promising large rewards for the tapes. As a result, the musicians were forced to return from New York, where they gave a concert, and redo all the work.

How well they did it, you be the judge. Watch the online video clip of 1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins.

Interesting Facts

  • Billy Corgan considers the 1979 video to be The Smashing Pumpkins’ best video and says that it was the closest thing they had to realizing what they had in mind.
  • The continuation of the 1979 video is a video filmed for the song Perfect. The same people appear in it, but already matured.
  • The first candidate for the role of director of the video was the famous Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Jackass). He offered to shoot the band members in the form of guests of an alien hotel. Such an undertaking would cost the group more than a million dollars.

1979 The Smashing Pumpkins Lyrics

Shakedown 1979
Cool kids never have the time
On a live wire right up off the street
You and I should meet
Junebug skipping like a stone
With the headlights pointed at the dawn
We were sure we’d never see an end
To it all

And I don’t even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don’t know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
Forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

Double cross the vacant and the bored
They’re not sure just what we have in store
Morphine city slippin dues
down to see

That we don’t even care
As restless as we are
And we found pull
In the land of a thousand guilts
And poured cement, lamented and assured
To the lights and towns below
Faster than the speed of sound
Faster than we thought we’d go
Beneath the sound of hope

Justine never knew the rules
Hung down with the freaks and ghouls
No apologies ever need to be made
I know you better than you fake it

To see that we don’t even care
To shake these zipper blues
And we don’t know
Just where our bones will rest
To dust I guess
forgotten and absorbed
Into the earth below

The street heats the urgency of now
As you see there’s no one around

Song quote

We wrote this song for Michael Jackson, but we realized that he couldn’t moonwalk to it.

Billy Corgan

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