Cool kids never have the time

The bumper sticker on the Dodge Charger says, “Proud Parents of a ‘D’ Student” and the camera follows a group of ’70s suburban teens (in bad need of a hobby) while they meander through their seditious day. In the backseat sits the nearly beatific Billy Corgan, front man for the Smashing Pumpkins.

Entitled “1979” it won the 1996 MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video and it’s fitting to know that after it was shot in suburban Chicago someone left the footage on top of a car before driving away. The band (everyone had a bit part) had to fly back from New York, where they were performing, and reshoot the entire video.

Formed in 1988, the (Cure-influenced) Smashing Pumpkins started out with vocalist, Corgan, guitarist James Iha, and a drum machine. In time bassist, D’arcy Wtretzky and jazz drummer, Jimmy Chamberlain joined the group, which released its debut album, “Gish” in 1991.  Although critically acclaimed, it was their second album, “Siamese Dream” in 1994 that brought them breakthrough success…paving the way for a grinding international tour schedule.

In 1995 the slightly despondent Corgan took a break from the road and wrote dozens and dozens of songs, 28 of which would be included on the Smashing Pumpkins’ double-album, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” in 1996. One that wasn’t initially slated for the album was (the partially completed) “1979” which the producer felt wasn’t good enough.

But of all the dozens and dozens of songs he’d just written, Corgan considered this one to be the most important, so he did enough revising for it to become a track on the second disc.  When it was released a single “1979”  reached Number 12 on the Billboard Charts in ‘96 and is by far the group’s biggest (and some might say, most accessible) hit.

 LISTEN TO THIS SONG -Wednesday 20 February

“1979”

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 slipping dues down to see

That we don’t even care as restless as we are

We feel the 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 the ghouls

No apologies ever need 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

 

 

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