Sunday, March 21, 2010

Big Star - Thirteen

Alex Chilton, Frontman of soul-pop group The Box Tops, co-founder of Anglophile Dixie guitar legends Big Star and latter day solo artist, unexpectedly passed away a few days ago after suffering a heart attack in New Orleans, aged just 59.

Today we will honour Alex Chilton with a tune, but first we will take a look of the major things this man has done in creation of music. William Alexander "Alex" Chilton born 1950 and sadly passed away in March 17, 2010, he was an American songwriter, guitarist, singer and producer best known for his work with the pop-music bands the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton's early commercial sales success in the 1960s as a teen vocalist for the Box Tops was not repeated in later years with Big Star and in his indie music solo career on small labels, but he did draw a loyal following in the indie and alternative music fields.

As lead singer for the Box Tops, Chilton enjoyed at the age of 16 a number-one international hit, "The Letter." The Box Tops went on to have several other major chart hits, including "Cry Like a Baby" (1968) and "Soul Deep" (1969).

In 1971 did Alex join the power-pop group Big Star. Alex and Chris Bell co-wrote "In The Street" for Big Star's first album #1 Record, a track later known as the theme song of That '70s Show.

Between the Big Star and the reunion of the Big Star did Alex alot of solo things in the 80's and 90's. The last Big Star album, entitled In Space was released September 27, 2005

He had been scheduled to play a concert with Big Star at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas on March 20; As far as I know the show took place as a tribute to Chilton, with guests joining the surviving members of the band.

Todays tune "Thirteen" was originally featured on the 1972 album #1 Record. It was never released as a single by Big Star. Rolling Stone describes it "one of rock's most beautiful celebrations of adolescence", and rated it #396 in a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Here is a live clip at the Rhythm Festival Clapham, Bedfordshire August 2008

"Thirteen" has been covered by several notable musicians. They include:
Evan Dando, Garbage, Håkan Hellström, Kind of Like Spitting, Mary Lou Lord, Magnapop, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Kathryn Williams among others. When asked if there was a Big Star cover he was especially fond of, lead singer Alex Chilton mentioned Garbage's version of this song.

More Info at Official Big Star Website

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