The huge success of Siamese Dream gave the Smashing Pumpkins a lot of creative freedom. The Chicago alt-rockers were suddenly all over MTV and the budget for their third album swelled. They spent countless hours in the recording studio in the summer of 1995, eventually producing the 28 songs on Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It was a huge smash with fans and critics, scoring hits with "1979," "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and "Tonight, Tonight." It brought the band into arenas and, for a short while, they were on top of the world, but the sudden death of their touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin in July 1996 sent the group into a downward spiral.
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness marked the final time the original Smashing Pumpkins ever recorded together, and a very vocal segment of their fanbase sees it as their absolute best work.