R.I.P. Alex Chilton

I sincerely apologize for my absence lately, but I was quite busy working on with my current band, Merciful London.  Like really busy.  Twelve hours a day busy.

And that meant that I actually missed the news last Wednesday that Alex Chilton died.  At age 59, he was scheduled to play a show on Saturday with the reincarnation of Big Star.  He was taken to the hospital complaining about his health.  He passed away because of a heart attack.

For those of you who don’t know Alex Chilton or the band Big Star off the top of your head, you are really missing out.  However, you may know the That 70’s Show theme song, done by Cheap Trick.  Originally, this song “In the Street” was a Big Star song off of #1 Record.  You may also know the Big Star song “Thirteen” because it was covered by so many people, including Elliott Smith and Wilco.  Or you may just know Alex Chilton’s name from the Replacement’s song “Alex Chilton” – which was featured on Rock Band 2.  Any way that you might have heard of him, I really suggest you listen to his music. 

Big Star is one of my favorite bands, because of the genius of Chilton and other founding member Chris Bell (who died in 1978).  Widely ignored in the 1970’s, Big Star’s music came into prominence later on as they are cited as influences of The Replacements, R.E.M., Sondre Lerche, The Posies, Gin Blossoms, Whiskeytown, Cheap Trick, Teenage Fanclub, and, well, the list can go on.

The new version of Big Star, which includes original drummer Jody Stephens, Jon Auer (from the Posies), and Ken Stringfellow (also from the Posies), decided not to cancel the show on Saturday.  Instead, they held the concert as a tribute show in Chilton’s honor.  Guests included Chris Stamey, Sondre Lerche, John Doe, Mike Mills, M. Ward, The Watson Twins, and original member Andy Hummel. 

I promise that I will get back to record reviewing this week, if not every day.  Because there were many new releases that I wanted to listen to during the past few weeks, expect posts on Broken Bells, Jamie Cullum, Ted Leo, and whoever else I feel like.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go immerse myself in videos of Saturday’s show and Big Star songs.

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2 Responses to “R.I.P. Alex Chilton”

  1. This news crushed me. I’m not even sure why, I never really got into Big Star all that much. But I knew of Alex Chilton and his influence, and so this really made me sad. I must have listened to #1 Record like 5 times the next day… I was missing something great.

    • you know, I have no idea why I felt so horrible about it either. I really like Big Star, especially #1 Record but Chilton wasn’t really one of my huge idols. Nonetheless, I think it’s because I have been getting into his stuff a lot during the past year, and it somehow really has affected me. More people should know about his stuff.

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