Perhaps one of the Smashing Pumpkins best known track is 1979. The song peaked to #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, #10 on Top 40 Mainstream, and to #1 on Mainstream Rock & Modern Rock Tracks.
Billy said at VH1 Storytellers that 1979 was the last song written for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The song didn’t have many lyrics till the last day of recording the album. Billy had went home the night before and did a demo, he wrote down lyrics for the songs and the band recorded it. He went on to express that sometimes when he writes songs he has a picture in his head “…the memory I have for this particular song,” Billy said, “I was about 18 years old, driving down the road near my home, and it was really heavily raining—as it could only seem to rain in a gloomy way in Illinois—and I remember just sitting at a traffic light…That’s the memory I wrote the song from.”
The music video was highly successful and won MTV Video music award for Best Alternative Video in 1996.