The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

On their epic third album, the Pumpkins evolved their thunderous guitar riffs and psychedelic leanings into a highly ambitious and desirable package…

In 1995, The Smashing Pumpkins had the unenviable task of following their iconic second album, Siamese Dream. It had sent them hurtling into the mainstream, and the Chicago band spent a five-month period writing their 28-track opus, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.

The album was built around dream-like imagery and, as Pumpkins mastermind Billy Corgan once said: “The human condition of mortal sorrow”.

There were epic moments of grandeur, such as Tonight, Tonight and 1979, with nods towards their grunge-infused roots on Bullet With Butterfly Wings and Zero. Even the more experimental moments, We Only Come Out At Night and Galapogos, fit the overall exploratory nature of the album.

Given how vast Mellon Collie… was, spanning nearly 90 minutes, the vinyl release was spread across 3LPs. It gives the stunning, celestial artwork of John Craig, a big part of the entire album experience, the platform it deserves. Each copy in the run of 20,000 was individually numbered, which may seem a lot on paper, but so few people want to let go of this masterpiece, it’s still highly sought after. There’s also an unknown quantity of un-numbered copies out in the wild.

Mellon Collie… has since been reissued and remastered as a 4LP boxset, which is an excellent release, but nothing quite compares to owning an original. A mint-condition copy will set you back close to £300 on the collectors’ market, but it’s worth every penny.

Glen Bushell