Very sad to learn that musician Alex Chilton recently passed away.
I first knew his name as the producer of my punk rock favs the Cramps’ best record, and shortly had the pleasure of discovering Big Star as a moony college student. I remember hearing “Thirteen” for the first time, and being moved to tears. Still one of my all time favorite songs of all time. And, oh yeah, then I found out sang that “Letter” song (as a teenager) that my Mom loves.
It still surprises me when I meet rock n’ roll fans who don’t love, or don’t even know about Big Star. How is that even possible?! They shouldn’t be consigned to the one of most beloved “cult acts.” Commerical failure, doomed artist, inspired as many indie bands as VU blah blah blah. The music is right up there in terms of artistry and pop appeal with the Byrds, the Who and the Beatles. Do yourself a favor and get familiar, America!
Paul Westerberg, of Replacements fame, wrote a fitting eulogy, published in the Times.
I don’t there is better tribute than this, though:
Here are some of my favorite Box Tops / Big Star / Alex Chilton songs: