[Photo via godlis.com]
Paying tribute today to the sad passing of one the most influential musicians of a generation, the one and only Alex Chilton succumbed to a heart attack today in his home of New Orleans at the much too young age of 59. From his teen years in the Boxtops to co-founding the seminal band Big Star in Memphis in the early ’70s to his later solo work, he’s influenced everyone from REM to The Replacements to Wilco and is still influencing young bands today. His legendary status was bolstered by the recent resurgence in popularity of Big Star, who were even scheduled to play at the renowned SXSW music festival in Austin, TX this coming Saturday. He was equally adept at writing a glorious jangly pop gem like Thirteen or September Gurls as he was at mining the tortured underside of his psyche in songs like Holocaust, quite possibly the darkest saddest song ever written.
I only had the privilege of seeing him play live one time back in the late ’80’s but did get lucky enough to sit and chat with him at the bar for quite a while and it still remains one of my favorite musical memories. An immense void was left in the music world today.
R.I.P. Alex Chilton 1950-2010
Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Andy Hummel, and Jody Stephens,you may not know their names but if you’ve listened to any rock music in the past three decades you’ve undoubtedly heard their influence. Much like the Velvet Underground, Big Star records have become required listening for anyone looking to start a band.
It’s been over 35 years since Big Star initially released their influential first two records, #1 Record and Radio City. This June 16th marks the beginning of a treasure trove of releases for the band as Ardent/Stax Records reissues completely remastered versions of those two records on one cd, including a never before released single mix of In The Street, a song which Cheap Trick brought new life to as the theme to “That 70’s Show” and a single edit of O My Soul form Radio City. Wholly underappreciated in their day, Big Star’s quirky and unique take on jangly guitar power pop is still influencing bands today from REM to Teenage Fanclub to Wilco to countless others.
But thats just the beginning, in September, Rhino records releases Keep An Eye On The Sky, an amazing 98 track box set spanning from 1968 to 1975 and including pre Big Star recordings,unreleased demos,and many live and alternate takes. It also promises extensive liner notes and rare and never before seen photos of the band. I for one, can’t wait, this looks amazing.
Never one to rest easy, Rhino completes the trifecta by also releasing the same week a special Rhino Handmade Deluxe Edition of Chris Bell’s exquisite solo album I Am The Cosmos.
In celebration of their influence, an array of videos today of various Big Star / Chris Bell covers for you, plus one original by the man himself, Mr Alex Chilton.
The Ballad Of El Goodo
In The Street
Don’t Lie To Me
Alex Chilton – When My Baby’s Beside Me
Give Me Another Chance
Watch The Sunrise
Way Out West (with a bizarre Styx song intro)
Back Of A Car
I’m In Love With A Girl
You and Your Sister(Chris Bell)
This last one’s not a Big Star cover but I though it ws a fitting way to close out this post.
Citizen Helene – The Alex Chilton Song
Friday the 13th. How’s your luck holding out? Anybody going to see M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Happening today ?, let me know how it is. I’ll be busy catching The Sparklers at Tritone in Philly tonight, come on out.
1: Big Star – Thirteen
Buy #1 Record/Radio City
2: Stevie Wonder – Superstition
Buy At The Close Of A Century
3: J.J. Cale – Thirteen Days
Buy Anyway The Wind Blows
4: REM – Supernatural Superserious
5: School Of Fish – Three Strange Days
Buy School Of Fish
Big Star – Watch The Sunrise
Buy #1 Record / Radio City
Yeasayer – Sunrise
Buy All Hour Cymbals
Cheers Elephant – Sunshine Spaceships
Buy Here We Are
Bloc Party – Sunday
Buy A Weekend In The City
Bishop Allen – Corazon
Buy The Broken String
Chris Nickey – 90 Miles An Hour(Down A Dead End Street)
Morgan Ryan – Hallelu
Matchtown – Valley
Band Of Horses – The Funeral
Buy Everything All The Time
The Jayhawks – Will I See You In Heaven
Buy Rainy Day Music
1: Dave Edmunds – Girls Talk
Buy Repeat When Necessary
2: Tim Easton – Help Me Find My Space Girl
Buy Special 20
3: The Cribs – Girls Like Mystery
Buy Mens’s Needs, Women;s Needs, Whatever
4: Wheat – I Met A Girl
Buy Per Second, Per Second, Per Second…Every Second
5: Big Star – I’m In Love With A Girl
Buy #1 Record / Radio City
So after nearly a week of no posts you’re probably wondering what’s up at Bag Of Songs, I no internet access to update during the week so I’ll kind of summarize with some photos and a little accompanying mini mix for you today. The beginning of the week started off having to get upo at 4:00 AM in lovely freezing 10 degree weather to board a 7:00 AM flight to Memphis for a work trip. Arrived right on time and spent the morning seeing a bit of Memphis and then checked into my hotel to await the arrival of my coworkers who were all on later flights. As the hours passed and no one arrived it became pretty obvious that their flights into Memphis didn’t go nearly as smoothly as mine, taking anywhere from 7 to 12 hours for a 2 and half hour trip. The next morning brought another extra special treat, a fire alarm going off in our hotel at 7:00 AM. Everyone had to climb down the stairs and evacuate the building until the firemen arrived and the all clear was given to re-enter. Thankfully there was no big fire, just a smoke alarm going off for some reason or other. Wednesday night was my birthday and a group of my friends joined me for a night out on the town on Beale Street, Memphis equivalent of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where a great time was had by all. Thursday night was the trip home arriving in Philadelphia just in time to head over to the North Star Bar and catch a set by the always amazing Jealous Girlfriends. Finally, after that it was arrival home.
The White Stripes – In The Cold Cold Night
Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets
Buy Here Come The Warm Jets
Marc Cohn – Walking In Memphis
Buy Marc Cohn
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel
Buy 30 #1 Hits
Dr. Dog – Worst Trip
Buy We All Belong
James Hunter – No Smoke Without Fire
Buy People Gonna Talk
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators – Fire Engine
Buy I Have Always Been Here Before
Altered Images – Happy Birthday
Buy Happy Birthday
Big Star – Thank You Friends
Buy Third/Sister Lovers
Jealous Girlfriends – How Now
More Jealous Girlfriends
Eric Lichter – Home
The random mix of the day went over really well the last time I put one up so I thought I’d do it again. A small reprieve from all of the year end craziness that’s been going on in the blogosphere and in the shopping malls. A mix of new and old and in between.
Jason Isbell – Brand New Kind Of Actress
Buy Sirens Of The Ditch
Blue Rodeo – Til I Am Myself Again
Bush-Difonzo – Meet The Beatles
Buy Good Intentions
Klark Kent – Don’t Care [wiki]
Buy Kollected Works
Ray Davies – In A Moment
Buy Working Man’s Cafe
Bishop Allen – Click, Click, Click, Click
Buy The Broken String
Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining
Buy Under The Blacklight
Brinsley Schwarz – Funk Angel
Buy Brinsley Schwarz/Despite It All
Neil Young – Harvest
Big Star – Motel Blues
Buy Big Star Live
In the immortal words of the one and only Paul Westerberg, “I never travel far, without a little Big Star“. Here’s some holiday sentiment from the guiding star of musicians everywhere, Alex Chilton and his band Big Star.
Thank You !
…to all of you who stop by here everyday to read ,listen and comment, and to all of the artists whose work has been featured here over the past year or so. Enjoy your day wherever you may be and safe travels to all.
Here’s a few Thanksgiving treats from some of our blogging friends for you today
Aquarium Drunkard keeps the tradition alive with his annual airing of Alice’s Restaurant.
Pitchfork and Jagjaguwar records bring the first taste of of the new Black Mountain record In The Future, coming in January.
MP3: Black Mountain – Tyrants
Buy In The Future
Our friend The Duke over at The Late Greats left us with a nice mix of Thanksgiving tunes before heading off for the Holiday.
And what would Thanksgiving be without leftovers. Well, Casey at The College Crowd Digs Me doesn’t exactly have leftovers but does have a nice writeup on the Kansas classic Leftoverture.