The Smashing Pumpkins – The Aeroplane Flies High (Five-Disc Box Set (1996)

by Record Facts

The Aeroplane Flies High is a five-disc box set released by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins in 1996.
It contains expanded versions of the five singles from their album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and also included a 44-page booklet with pictures and writings by the band’s lead singer Billy Corgan, as well as lyrics.
A limited edition release, the box reached number 42 on the Billboard charts, and sold 300,000 units (1.5 million discs in all), generating a platinum disc for the band.

Originally intended to be limited to 200,000 copies, Virgin Records produced more after the original run sold out due to overwhelming and unexpected demand.

The Aeroplane Flies High contains all five singles — “Bullet With Butterfly Wings,” “1979,” “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight,” “Thirty-Three” — from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness in a box set shaped like a 45 single carrying case from the ’60s.
Though the set contains all of the B-sides from the five singles, the running order isn’t quite the same as the original releases; for example, in its original release, “Butterfly Wings” only had two B-sides, but it is augmented for covers of new wave artists like the Cars, Blondie, and Missing Persons.

In total, the box set has more songs than Mellon Collie, and, by and large, the quality of the music is quite strong. Occasionally, Billy Corgan‘s prolificacy gets the better of him; there are a number of songs where his reach exceeds his grasp, and he doesn’t quite come up with an engaging melody to match his detailed production.

At other times, his musical experimentations catch hold, such as when he delves into jazz or orchestrated pop. Still, all of these pleasures are ones that are only of interest to dedicated Smashing Pumpkins fans who already know Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness inside and out.
A casual fan will have a hard time sorting out the wheat from the chafe on The Aeroplane Flies High, but that work will be a pleasure for the diehards.


“Bullet with Butterfly Wings”

1. “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”  – 4:16
2. “…Said Sadly”  (James Iha) – 3:09
3. “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight”  (Ric Ocasek) – 3:10
4. “Clones (We’re All)”  (David Carron) – 2:43
5. “A Night Like This”  (Robert Smith) – 3:36
6. “Destination Unknown”  (Dale Bozzio, Terry Bozzio, Warren Cuccurullo) – 4:14
7. “Dreaming”  (Debbie Harry, Chris Stein) – 5:11


1. “1979”  – 4:28
2. “Ugly”  – 2:52
3. “The Boy”  (Iha) – 3:04
4. “Cherry”  – 4:02
5. “Believe”  (Iha) – 3:15
6. “Set the Ray to Jerry”  – 4:10


1. “Zero” –  2:39
2. “God”  – 3:09
3. “Mouths of Babes”  – 3:46
4. “Tribute to Johnny”  (Corgan, Iha) – 2:34
5. “Marquis in Spades”  – 3:17
6. “Pennies”  – 2:28
7. “Pastichio Medley” (mislabelled at 25:59 on disc)  (Corgan, Iha, D’arcy Wretzky, Jimmy Chamberlin) – 23:00

“Tonight, Tonight”

1. “Tonight, Tonight” – 4:15
2. “Meladori Magpie” – 2:41
3. “Rotten Apples” – 3:02
4. “Jupiter’s Lament” – 2:30
5. “Medellia of the Gray Skies” – 3:11
6. “Blank” – 2:54
7. “Tonite Reprise” – 2:40

“Tonite Reprise” is a solo acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight” with slight alterations to the lyrics. It also appeared on the vinyl version of Mellon Collie.


1. “Thirty-Three”  – 4:10
2. “The Last Song”  – 3:55
3. “The Aeroplane Flies High (Turns Left, Looks Right)”  – 8:31
4. “Transformer”  – 3:25
5. “The Bells” Iha – 2:17
6. “My Blue Heaven”  (Walter Donaldson, George A. Whiting) – 3:20

All tracks written by Billy Corgan, except where noted.


The Smashing Pumpkins

Additional musicians
  • Andy Chase – engineer
  • John Craig – illustrations
  • Pual Eledge – photography
  • Flood – production, engineering, mixing
  • Jeff Lane – mixing
  • Tommy Lipnick – engineering
  • Jeff Moleski – engineering, mixing
  • Tommy Moleski – engineering
  • Alan Moulder – production, mixing
  • J. Nicholas – mixing, mixing assistant
  • Frank Olinsky – art direction, design
  • Neil Perry – mixing
  • Claudine Pontier – engineering
  • Russ Spice – engineering
  • Howie Weinberg – mastering
  • Martin White – engineering
  • Yelena Yemchuk – photography, “Zero” cover art


200,000 copies pressed initially
Release date: November 26, 1996
Genre: Alternative rock
Length: 138:53

Label – Virgin Records

The Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania (2012)

Following up on, and in many ways amending, much of the bombastic overcompensation of 2007’s Zeitgeist, Smashing Pumpkins 2012 release Oceania is an exuberant, gloriously melodic, fluid return to form for Billy Corgan. While Zeitgeist certainly contained many of the elements that make for a classic Smashing Pumpkins release — including slabs of distorted guitars, passionate vocals, and poetic lyrics, not to mention drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who was the sole remaining original member besides Corgan and who subsequently left the band — there was something cold and perhaps a bit too calculated about the production. Ultimately, Zeitgeist didn’t do much to dissuade audiences that Corgan, undeniably the mastermind behind the best Pumpkins work, was now overvaluing his abilities in an attempt to recapture fans disillusioned by his various side projects. Thankfully, none of these concerns are applicable to Oceania. Ostensibly an “album within an album” of the greater 44-track Teargarden by Kaleidyscope concept project, Oceania works as a stand-alone album. Conceptual conceits aside, these are some of the most memorable and rousing songs Corgan has delivered since 1993’s Siamese Dream, the album that Oceania most closely mirrors in tone and aesthetic. Which isn’t to say that Corgan is treading old ground; on the contrary, there is something fresh and inspired about the songs on Oceania. Admittedly, kicking the album off with the heavy psychedelic acid rock groove of “Quasar” — in which Corgan croons several EST-era-style affirmations including, “God right on! Krishna right on! Mark right on!” — is a move that almost begs comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins‘ euphoria-inducing 1991 single “Siva.” A similar sentiment comes to mind with the latter album rocker “The Chimera,” a classic rock-sounding groover that sparkles with crisscross laser-beam guitar lines recalling the jewel-toned guitar heroics of Queen‘s Brian May. But these are welcome comparisons, born out of Corgan finally delivering a gorgeous and cohesive set of songs that balance some his more arch, cerebral inclinations with his generously romantic and sweepingly cinematic gift for revelatory guitar rock. Elsewhere, we get the soaring “Panopticon” and the minor-key, prog rock-inflected drama of “Violet Rays.” However, Oceania is perhaps best represented by the euphoric mid-album ballad “Pinwheels.” Starting with a repeated keyboard line and building to swells of acoustic and electric guitar before settling into one of the most swoon-worthy melodic anthems Corgan has ever written, “Pinwheels,” much like the rest of Oceania, is a masterpiece of pop songcraft and rock production. As Corgan croons on the song’s chorus, “Sister soul, lovers of the tune, sing!/I got you/I got you.” On Oceania, the Smashing Pumpkins definitely have us.


1. “Quasar” – 4:55
2. “Panopticon” – 3:52
3. “The Celestials” – 3:57
4. “Violet Rays” – 4:19
5. “My Love is Winter” – 3:32
6. “One Diamond, One Heart” – 3:50
7. “Pinwheels” – 5:43
8. “Oceania” – 9:05
9. “Pale Horse” – 4:37
10. “The Chimera” – 4:16
11. “Glissandra” – 4:06
12. “Inkless” – 3:08
13. “Wildflower” – 4:42

All tracks written by Billy Corgan.

The Smashing Pumpkins


  • Geoff Benge – guitar technician
  • David Bottrill – mixing
  • Balthazar de Ley – studio technician
  • Kevin Dippold – engineer, backing vocals
  • Ryan Grostefon – engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Greg Norman – studio technician
  • Richard Shay – photography
  • Bjorn Thorsrud – producer
  • Noel Waggener – art direction
  • Sam Wiewel – engineer
  • Jason Willwerth – assistant

Released: June 19, 2012
Recorded: April – September 18, 2011
Genre: Alternative rock, psychedelic rock
Length: 60:02

Label – EMI / Caroline Distribution / Reprise / Martha’s Music