Friday, March 19, 2010

R.I.P. Alex Chilton

Like any good music geek, I discovered Alex Chilton through music magazines, the words of critics from a generation removed loudly proclaiming the genius of this great, undiscovered cult band called Big Star. I bought #1 Record/Radio City through one of those (now extinct) record-and-tape clubs without hearing a note of music. Arguably, it was the best blind purchase I ever made in my entire life.

Big Star's small, perfect body of work is older than I am, and yet it hasn't aged a minute in nearly forty years. They should've been famous in their heyday; instead, they became cult legends long after their break-up. You can hear their influence hang heavy over R.E.M., the Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, and almost any other melodic guitar band of the past two generations. Chilton's songs have been covered by everyone from Wilco to The Bangles to Jeff Buckley, and Cheap Trick's version of "In The Street" still blasts from TV sets every night in syndication as the theme to That 70's Show.

Alex Chilton changed the world before he turned twenty-five. Wednesday night in New Orleans, the godfather of power-pop passed away at the age of 59. Below are ten essential moments from the canon of Big Star, along with one of the finest tribute songs imaginable. Enjoy.

September Gurls (from Radio City)

Thirteen (from #1 Record)

In The Street (from #1 Record)

Back Of A Car (from Radio City)

Kanga-Roo (from Third/Sister Lovers)

You Get What You Deserve (from Radio City)

The Ballad Of El Goodo (from #1 Record)

What's Going Ahn (from Radio City)

Nightime (from Third/Sister Lovers)

Watch The Sunrise (from #1 Record)

The Replacements - Alex Chilton (from Pleased To Meet Me)

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