On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 (1995)
” 1979″ is a song by American alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins. It was released in 1996 as the second single from their third studio album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. “1979” was written by frontman Billy Corgan, and features loops and samples uncharacteristic of previous Smashing Pumpkins songs.
We’re leaving Northern Ireland and the UK today, dear reader, and making our way back to the US. We find ourselves in Chicago in Illinois. Formed in 1988 The Smashing Pumpkins were led by singer and songwriter, Billy Corgan, and slotted into the alternative rock groups at the time though they sought their own path of merging various genres into their sound. We join the Pumpkins in 1995 with the release of their double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track 1979.
Written by Billy Corgan, 1979 is a homage to his youth with the year signifying the point where he was 12 years old and entering adolescence. The song offers a series of potential anecdotes from Corgan’s past with the chorus unifying the underlying theme of nostalgia. This was a carefree time for the singer, having fun with friends and not being hindered by the responsibilities that come with maturity. It reminds me of how life was up to going to university when life was simple and you didn’t have to worry about bills and things. Once you leave home though, reality sets in, and it ain’t pretty.
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was a huge success for The Smashing Pumpkins when first released and spawned numerous hit singles. 1979 was among the most acclaimed but I did prefer Bullet with Butterfly Wings and Tonight, Tonight. 1979 still had merit though and became one of the band’s best loved songs. The original line up disbanded in 2000 due to rifts, drugs and fading sales. They reformed in 2006 with Billy Corgan leading a tweaked line up and continue to perform today.
Favourite songs so far: