Billy Corgan Biography

Poet, Singer, Guitarist (1967–)
Billy Corgan is an American musician best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist in the alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins.


Billy Corgan is an American musician born on March 17, 1967, in Elk Grove, Illinois. Raised by a blues guitarist father, in 1985 Corgan formed his own band, but it never caught on. He founded a new alternative rock band, Smashing Pumpkins, in 1989 where he was the lead vocalists and guitarist. A year later the band signed a recording contract, and in 1991 they released their debut album Gish. The band experienced success through the 1990s with albums such as Siamese Dream (1993) and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995), the latter of which went platinum nine times in the U.S. Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000, but reunited in 2006.

Early Life

Musician William Patrick Corgan, Jr., better known as Billy Corgan, was born on March 17, 1967, in Elk Grove, Illinois. Corgan was raised primarily by his father, blues guitarist Bill Corgan, Sr., and his stepmother. The young Corgan played music in high school and formed his first band, The Marked, in 1985. Even after relocating to Florida, the band never hit its stride, and a few years later Corgan found himself back in Chicago, working in a record store and scheming his next musical venture.

Forming Smashing Pumpkins

With guitarist James Iha, bassist D'Arcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Corgan founded Smashing Pumpkins in 1989. The band??s psychedelic alternative rock ??and Corgan??s ripping guitar solos and lead vocals ??soon gained a loyal following in the Chicago club scene. Smashing Pumpkins signed with Caroline Records in 1990, and their debut album, Gish, was released the following year.

Disbanding and Reunion

In 2000, following a struggle with Chamberlin??s heroin addiction, the Pumpkins parted ways, after which Corgan and Chamberlin founded the short-lived band Zwan. After its demise, Corgan released his solo debut, TheFutureEmbrace, in June 2005. Smashing Pumpkins reunited in 2006, with Ginger Reyes on bass and Jeff Schroeder on guitar replacing Wretzky and Iha. The band played its first reunited show in May 2007 and released Zeitgeist later that summer.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!