William Patrick Billy Corgan Jr. is an American musician, songwriter, producer, TV writer, poet, and professional wrestling promoter best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins. Formed by Corgan and guitarist James Iha in Chicago, Illinois, in 1987, the band quickly gained steam with the addition of bassist Darcy Wretzky and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin. The bands direction has largely been driven by Corgan through his confessional lyrics, grandiose production values, and virtuosic musical interplay. Three years after their first studio album release, Gish, the Smashing Pumpkins had transformed themselves into a major label success. Strong album sales and largescale tours propelled the bands increasing fame in the 1990s until their breakup in 2000. Corgan started a new band called Zwan, and after their quick demise, he released a solo album and a collection of poetry before setting his sights on reforming Smashing Pumpkins.
Corgan was born in Elk Grove Village, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, as the oldest son of William Corgan Sr., a bluesrock guitarist, and Martha Louise Maes Corgan Lutz. His parents had one more child, Ricky, before divorcing in 1970. His father was soon remarried to a flight attendant, and Corgan and his brother went to live with them in Glendale Heights, Illinois. During this time, Corgan alleges he was subject to much physical and emotional abuse by his stepmother. Corgan also developed a protective bond with his younger halfbrother, who had special needs as a child. When Corgans father and stepmother separated, all three children would live alone with the stepmother, with both of Corgans birth parents living separately within an hours drive.