Throwback Thursday: Smashing Pumpkins


I could go on and on about the endless supply of cool bands from the 1990’s. However, one that really sticks out is The Smashing Pumpkins. Led by bald musician Billy Corgan, the band was one of the most commercially successful of the decade. Give Corgan’s net worth a Google search, and estimates will put it at somewhere around 50 million dollars. Not bad Billy, not bad at all. They were first put on the map in 1991 when they released their debut album, Gish. Bringing their mix of heavy metal guitars, psychedelic rock elements, and pop melodies, the Smashing Pumpkins were destined for success.

The band went on to become hugely commercially successful after releasing their second studio album Siamese Dream. Once the band released their third studio album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, they reached multi-platinum level. Alternative rock ruled the 1990’s, and bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins were riding the wave. Don’t call the Smashing Pumpkins “grunge” though. Bands originating out of Seattle like Nirvana and Soundgarden originated the term. The trend back then was to fight the corporate machine and to rebel against the major label control in typical jaded rock star fashion. The Smashing Pumpkins really captured the essence of this movement because they really didn’t care. They didn’t care if other bands labeled them careerists for selling a bunch of records. They just made the kind of music they wanted to make, on their own terms. That’s the real spirit of rebellion.

Along with their unique guitar sound, Corgan’s distinct voice makes every Smashing Pumpkins song a worthwhile listen. Just looking at their list of hits, each one sounds different from the next. “Cherub Rock”, a personal favorite, starts with an isolated drum beat before delving into hard rock bliss. Another classic is “Today”. The song’s structure is yin and yang, alternating between mellow and dreamy verses to loud noise rock. And then who can forget about “1979”, their most successful single. More pop-inspired than their other hits, “1979” evokes a feel good vibe with its simplistic chord changes and the dreamy sampling of Corgan’s voice in the background.

If you’re looking for a solid band to add to your Spotify playlists, The Smashing Pumpkins are a perfect choice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Mellon Collie or Siamese Dream to keep me awake late at night to finish homework. Needless to say, their music is not only complex and beautiful but also catchy so it’s not difficult to get hooked on. Go check their music out.

Image via Kilscene.