Big Star

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"Thirteen" is such a fucking good song.

NA (Nick A.), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Isn't it just.

Sick Nouthall (Nick Southall), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 20:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I like the third one the best myself. "Radio City" is the most fully realized of the three "official" BS albums, but "Third" really did something that hadn't been done before, I think.

The Stax org was in such disarray in the early '70s that it's a wonder the records even got out there as much as they did. I've read that each of the first two albums only got into the marketplace in ridiculously small quantities...4000/5000 is a number I've seen.

I don't know if they "define" any era. A post above maintains that to define era, their records would've have to been bought by somebody. So I guess they were one of the first true indie/critic's bands...the reviews were mostly glowing. In retrospect they do seem to define the period much better than any number of more popular acts, though. I see nothing wrong with revisionist nostalgia myself.

For a long time I loved them without reservation, then went thru a period during which I'd just heard them too much. For a lot of us they were like the Beatles, the absolute gold standard of pop records. Now I just accept them as a great pop band, period, and wish people would quit gushing about them so much, or maintaining that they weren't really all that good. As a live band they seem to have sucked; but I can't think of any better-conceived record than "Radio City." Such style. And they seem to define not an era but a state of mind, one epitomized by the Eggleston "red ceiling" photo that graced the original "RC" LP...bad dreams and vibes in an oversexed room, distilled into melancholy, perhaps? With a few good times vaguely recalled? Maybe that's the '70s, I don't know.

Interesting to see what the new Big Star album will be like...

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 21:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

a friend of mine is assisting with the engineering at Ardent. He says it sounds amazing.

of course, Chilton & company could scrape a chalkboard with rusty chisels and this guy would say it's the best thing ever.

(I think I listen to Third the most, too)

Will (will), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

there is a new studio album?

kyle (akmonday), Tuesday, 4 May 2004 22:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, they've been recording at Ardent since March, I believe.

I wonder how committed Chilton is to the whole idea of Big Star these days. Probably not very. I didn't think much of "Hot Thing."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When did 'Hot Thing' come out?

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Umm, it was sometime after the Columbia reunion...maybe '95? It's on the somewhat misbegotten Rkyo "Big Star Story."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, £15 for a 'best of', £10 for #1 Record/Radio City. Hmmm.

de, Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Really? That's so wrong.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Wednesday, 5 May 2004 00:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

guys seriously I love "Ballad of El Goodo" so much

I want to be in a band that covers this

iiiijjjj, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

don't make me say a bunch of shit about it, just fire back re: yes this would be a pretty good thing to do, be in a band that covers this

iiiijjjj, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:42 (ten years ago) Permalink

yeah

ghost rider, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

I purchased the Blitzen Trapper song 'Summer Town' just because the vocal hook reminded me of BS' 'Thirteen.'

calstars, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:46 (ten years ago) Permalink

iiiiijjjjj where do you live?

calstars, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:46 (ten years ago) Permalink

Ya know, Evan Dando covered "El Goodo".

Pleasant Plains, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:50 (ten years ago) Permalink

'Thirteen'>>'El Goodo'

Drooone, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

fucking love them. i honestly feel sad for anyone who who passes them by.

Frogman Henry, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

drooone otm but it doesn't even matter

ghost rider, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 01:55 (ten years ago) Permalink

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake
-- mark s, Wednesday, October 17, 2001 5:00 PM (5 years ago)

"overrated"

gershy, Tuesday, 19 June 2007 05:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

overrated Grandpappy Indie (VU notwithstanding); not worthless, but nor are Wishbone Ash, for goodness sake

-- mark s, Wednesday, October 17, 2001 5:00 PM (6 years ago) Bookmark Link

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

ENLIGHTENING

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:25 (nine years ago) Permalink

uh x-post

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

and 'mod lang' is what needs to get cover treatment

strgn, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 11:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Mod Lang" is quite easy to play, so a cover would be cool.

whisperineddhurt, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 15:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

and somehow, strangely, Big Star lives on.
http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/user/?region=gb_london&query=detail&interface=shepemp&event=257724
wish i could go ... is this one of them Don't Look Back things? Are they playing Radio City in its entirety?
i'll also take this opportunity to say that Alex Chilton probably has one of the top 5 singing voices in rock and roll history. Serious.

tylerw, Tuesday, 11 March 2008 15:41 (nine years ago) Permalink

Actually, listening to Radio City and Third, Alex Chilton kind of reminds me of a vanilla Barrett Strong Rude from Lethem's "Forttress of Solitude." Moments on Third definitely sound fucked up enough to come from three-week coke binges.

That being said "Blue Moon" and "Stroke it Noel" totally PWNs! The former is better than "Thirteen" (which, sadly, contains no oboes).

Drugs A. Money, Wednesday, 12 March 2008 02:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

sweet jesus this band is good. they seem to have such a unique and effortless ear for hook and melody. such a pleasure to listen to.
and on another note, 'i'm in love with a girl' appeared on a shuffle the other day. i was feeling a little absent-minded and it took me about 30 seconds to recall who it was without checking. such a sweet, simple song and yet it feels about 20 years ahead of its time.

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 8 May 2008 16:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

"i'll also take this opportunity to say that Alex Chilton probably has one of the top 5 singing voices in rock and roll history. Serious."

Agreed. Vulnerability and attitude in brilliant proportion.

Usual Channels, Thursday, 8 May 2008 16:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah, i'll concur there

Charlie Howard, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

Sweet, poppy, cool, but also kinda fucked up. Quite obviously on Third, but also the hatefully desperate vibe on "Life Is White," and "She's a Mover" is some MANIC shit. I loved them when I was younger -- I was listening to "Thirteen" when I was 13 (funny how i hear it differently now -- so I was amazed when I put their records on about a month ago and they sounded better than ever. It's true, they will always somehow sound contemporary, like any inspired true-believing rock&roll, hey hey my my

people explosion, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

Hes got a good range on Like Flies On Sherbert too, a bit more free than the Big Star stuff

silkworm exploding, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

I love that album! It was a recent discovery for me. It's absolute proof that he was in complete sympathy with all things Rock n Roll. "Hey! Little Child" is amazing with its "Whold Wide World" beat* and Chuck Berry-level teenage lechery.

"Oh little fool, are you learning anything in school
maybe you might drop out, maybe travel somewhere down south
Hey hey little child"

*is there a better name for this beat? I had heard it all my life, but it never really came to life until I heard the Wreckless Eric song

people explosion, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

hehe! very observant. I really dont know though, have to do some research...

silkworm exploding, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

Radio City: best guitar and drum sound, ever. perfect. archetypal.

nerve_pylon, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:41 (nine years ago) Permalink

@people explosion:

it's called the "Cha-Cha".

Steve Shasta, Thursday, 8 May 2008 17:43 (nine years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0Wa3P_dO0&fmt=18

from the dvd accompanying the Oxford American Best of the South issue this month

will, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 13:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

that is sweet! thanks.

tylerw, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

the 'aptly titled number one record' thing's kind of off though, right? i thought that lazy stax distribution meant that they never really did much, sales-wise.

i'm seeing them in a couple of months. i think i'd maybe prefer to see alex play skewed guitar solos and clichés stuff alone, but, still, way exciting.

schlump, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 14:57 (nine years ago) Permalink

aptly titled 'cause it was their first.

cool video!

G00blar, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Hey! Little Child" is a cha-cha. xp

whisperineddhurt, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

why in the world would they couple this footage with that tune?

andrew m., Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

aptly titled 'cause it was their first.

ahhh, thanks.

schlump, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 15:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

have the ardent studio sessions been discussed here yet?

dell, Friday, 25 July 2008 10:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

I think what the fella meant was that it was No 1 Record as in it's NUMBER ONE, man. As in, Fuckin A, totally bodacious etc.

Freedom, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:35 (nine years ago) Permalink

have the ardent studio sessions been discussed here yet?

is that the thank you friends comp? i think this is where i heard about it. i was pretty excited to hear the demo of downs, because there's a story about the recording of it in the book. apparently they were playing it, when some ardent a & r guy bowled in saying, this could be a HIT!, this song has POTENTIAL!, and so alex said 'i want to use a basketball for the snare drum'. well good.

schlump, Friday, 25 July 2008 12:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Could someone explain where the song "Jesus Christ" came from? That is to say, they never had, to my knowledge, any other songs with any religious content and yet it seems to be unironic in its sentiment. The "we're gonna get born now" perhaps belies this a small bit.

Freedom, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

"it seems to be unironic in its sentiment."

are you kidding. just listen to the way chilton sings the verses.

Shacknasty (Frogman Henry), Monday, 20 October 2008 16:33 (nine years ago) Permalink

"they did rejoice/fine and pure of voice/and the wrong shall fail/and the right prevail": this couplet seems so completely trite that maybe it has to be ironic given that the album as a whole is about fucky uppyness, but I dunno, does chilton discuss it anywhere?

Freedom, Monday, 20 October 2008 16:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

also there's loads of incongruous, disconcerting elements to the music which are clearly mocking or doubting the chorus.

Shacknasty (Frogman Henry), Monday, 20 October 2008 16:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

And see about expanded Man Called Destruction over on Alex Chilton S&D

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:11 (five months ago) Permalink

But as mentioned upthread, you can find Rock City and other Big Star/Ardent-relevant material on Spotify and YouTube.

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:14 (five months ago) Permalink

(The latter can disappear duh)

dow, Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:14 (five months ago) Permalink

Thought Looking Forward just appeared on Spotify a few weeks ago.

Awaiting On U-Haul: Alfie's Best of Stig O'Hara (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 27 July 2017 00:17 (five months ago) Permalink

I am listening to "Sunshine on my Shoulders" by John Denver for the first time in about 40 years: Greatest Hits from '73 was one of the only records my parents had (suddenly remembered the orch-prog opus "The Eagle and the Hawk" and listened to the whole comp) (know that Glen C. is the pop-country artist everybody's thinking about now, but he never meant much to me)…

I bet Chris and Alex liked this song so much that they rewrote it to address their love affair (my harebrained theory): A/B this song with "thirteen" and then dare to tell me that they or possibly John Fry didn't dig John D. Fry probably was secure enuff to admit it, but no way could Alex or Chris say that they liked a square like Denver. What would Charlie Rich think of Alex if he knew that he dug JD?

veronica moser, Wednesday, 9 August 2017 01:44 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Finally getting around to listening to some of the alternate/rough mixes on the Complete Third. Sitting with my boy (he's 11) picking through the soundstage, trying to place, aurally, who's were, who's adding what, and what time of night (dawn) it might be. I'm sure there are examples, but right now, I can't think of another record where the grime and light of the studio space (not to mention outside) are so viscerally present in the texture of the recording.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 16 September 2017 20:30 (four months ago) Permalink

from Secretly Canadian (publicists):

Photography Pioneer William Eggleston Announces Debut Album, Musik, Out October 20th

Music of wild joy with freedom and bright, vivid colors."
- David Lynch

This is one of those announcements that we don't, can't, and won't get tired of repeating. Native Memphian William Eggleston, 77, who is widely regarded to be the most important photographer of the late 20th Century, has announced his debut record, Musik, due out October 20th. You likely know Eggleston for his remarkable, colorful photography and singular way of looking at the world, but let's delve into the artist's history with the musical medium.

It was during Eggleston's Sumner, Mississippi childhood, where he discovered the piano in the parlor that ignited in him a lifelong passion for music. It was a passion he carried forth his entire life, playing quite adeptly when a piano was handy: improvised turns on Bach, Handel, gospel, country, and popular selections from the Great American Songbook for friends and family. Though his travels found him rubbing elbows with Andy Warhol's Factory superstars in New York, where he lived for several years with Viva at the Chelsea Hotel, and observing a music scene in Memphis that included Big Star's Alex Chilton, and his old friend and owner of Ardent Studios, engineer Jon Fry, his own music went largely unheard by the general public.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCLER8g0Gss

In the 1980s, Eggleston, who disdained digital cameras and modernity in general, became surprisingly fascinated with a synthesizer, the Korg OW/1 FD Pro, which had 88 piano-like keys, and in addition to being able to emulate the sound of any instrument, also contained a four-track sequencer that allowed him to expand the palette of his music, letting him create improvised symphonic pieces, stored on 49 floppy discs, encompassing some 60 hours of music from which this 13 track recording was assembled.

Eggleston lives today in a small apartment off Memphis' Overton Park that he shares with a 9-foot Bosendorfer grand piano and an arsenal of ultra-high fidelity audio equipment, some of which was designed by his son, William Eggleston III. The synthesizer, alas, is broken and stubbornly refuses to be repaired, so for the purpose of this project another was purchased in order to be able to play back the floppy discs, which, along with a handful of DATs and other digital media, though frail, were digitized and mastered for this and future releases.

Mr. Eggleston often says that he feels that music is his first calling, as much a part of him, at least, as his photography. We take special pride in allowing the world to hear this side of a great artist who may now be rightly called a great musician.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:18 (three months ago) Permalink

Newcomers can check Egg party pix of Big Star Upthread, also he did some of their official photos, album covers etc, played piano on xpost "Nature Boy", and is xpost Lesa A.'s cousin.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:22 (three months ago) Permalink

lower-case "upthread", that is.

dow, Saturday, 23 September 2017 19:23 (three months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Only just noticed the sex position pictures in the lower corner of the Radio City cover photo.

Moodles, Thursday, 18 January 2018 03:20 (two days ago) Permalink


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