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The Smashing Pumpkins – “1979” single

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on May 30th, 2021. Artwork published in .
    The Smashing Pumpkins – “1979” single 1
    Source: https://www.cdandlp.com CD and LP. License: All Rights Reserved.

    1979” was released in 1996 as the second single from the Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Accompanied by an award-winning video, it became the band’s highest-charting single.

    The artwork stands in stark contrast to the retro design of the album, with its elaborate romantic collages and the Victorian typeface. The look of “1979” is very much contemporary, i.e. 1990s. Paul Elledge’s cover photo shows the band members on rollerskates, posing in front of the neon sign of a “game room / party room” – apparently a reference to the front and back covers of Linda Ronstadt’s Living In The U.S.A. The photography uses a combination of long-exposure plus flash, resulting in an aesthetic that is reminiscent of the spontaneousness and embraced imperfection of lomography. The extrawide techno typeface is Mata. The only published typeface design by Greg Samata was released with T-26 in 1995.

    Both the Mellon Collie album art and the “1979” single were designed by Frank Olinsky. When Olinsky asked band leader Billy Corgan why he had chosen him, “he said he owned quite a few CDs that I had art directed/designed and he liked that I didn’t have one style that I imposed on all my projects. Rather, he felt that each was a good design that fit the particular recording.” [2009 interview] These releases are a case in point.

    [More info on Discogs]

    Jewel case with front cover.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com ricky6616. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Jewel case with front cover.

    Jewel case with back cover. The track numbers and the credits are set in a quintessential 1990s typeface, Conor Mangat’s  (Emigre, 1993).
    Source: https://www.ebay.com ricky6616. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Jewel case with back cover. The track numbers and the credits are set in a quintessential 1990s typeface, Conor Mangat’s Platelet (Emigre, 1993).

    Open jewel case with compact disc.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com ricky6616. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Open jewel case with compact disc.

    Promo poster, pairing Mata with .
    Source: https://www.ebay.com posteramerica. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Promo poster, pairing Mata with Futura.

    Compact cassette (side A) with front cover.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com kin_and_mane. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Compact cassette (side A) with front cover.

    Compact cassette (side B) with back cover. Mata is paired with Platelet.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com kin_and_mane. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Compact cassette (side B) with back cover. Mata is paired with Platelet.

    Front cover of the vinyl release of the “1979” mixes, featuring a globe (or disco ball) with the SP heart logo.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com cdlp6nrk. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Front cover of the vinyl release of the “1979” mixes, featuring a globe (or disco ball) with the SP heart logo.

    Back cover of the vinyl release of the “1979” mixes.
    Source: https://www.ebay.com cdlp6nrk. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Back cover of the vinyl release of the “1979” mixes.

    Typefaces

    • Mata
    • Platelet
    • Futura

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