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Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows
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So who knows Big Star and is a fan?

For those that haven't heard of Big Star, you may recognize them from In the Street, the theme to That 70s Show (link is to their version).

Formed in Memphis in 1971, its members included Alex Chilton, famous as lead singer of the Box Tops who at age 16 sang The Letter -- a no. 1 hit which most everyone should recognize.

Big Star's biggest songs (per spotify) are Thirteen, Ballad of El Goodo, September Gurls, and In the Street. Many consider Big Star to be a very influential band, yet they are relatively unknown. From wikipedia:

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Big Star was an American power pop band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, and reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. In its first era, the band's musical style drew on the vocal harmonies of the Beatles, as well as the swaggering rhythms of the Rolling Stones and the jangling guitars of the Byrds. To the resulting power pop, Big Star added dark, existential themes, and produced a style that foreshadowed the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s. Before it broke up, Big Star created a "seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations" in the words of Rolling Stone,[1] as the "quintessential American power pop band" and "one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll".[2]
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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"I never travel far without a little Big Star"
"Children by the millions wait for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round"

They were a huge influence on The Replacements sound and Paul Westerberg's writing, not just with "Alex Chilton" but much of their catalog.



"You can never win or lose if you don't run the race." - Richard Butler

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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [Brian in MA] [ In reply to ]
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Brian in MA wrote:
"I never travel far without a little Big Star"
"Children by the millions wait for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round"

They were a huge influence on The Replacements sound and Paul Westerberg's writing, not just with "Alex Chilton" but much of their catalog.

Alex Chilton's voice: millions of singers have tried to duplicate it and failed. And the McGuinn influence was obvious, especially in Big Star and "Thirteen." The man had a way to sing a song, that's for sure.

And Big Star played in our home in the early 70s (along with Badfinger) due to my dad, believe it or not. He and my uncle were semi-pro musicians, playing weekends in a working band during the late-60s to mid-70s, and they both personally liked the band's sound due to Chilton, who'd been in the Box Tops (a band whose songs they played in their bands in the late-60s).

Chilton himself left us way to soon in 2010. I loved the way he sang and phrased a song.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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H- wrote:

Formed in Memphis in 1971, its members included Alex Chilton, famous as lead singer of the Box Tops who at age 16 sang The Letter -- a no. 1 hit which most everyone should recognize.

That's some fine dancing going on in that video. Like, rad.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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Alex Chilton, yes, but also Chris Bell. A truly great artist and really sad story:

https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/4xw4ng/the-genius-of-chris-bell-one-of-rocks-greatest-tragedies


Is there a prettier song in pop than this?:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-yvdIHOdxw



"Are you sure we're going fast enough?" - Emil Zatopek
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [Bretom] [ In reply to ]
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Alex Chilton, yes, but also Chris Bell.

Totally. Forgive me for mentioning only Alex -- trying to keep it short and included only Alex as everyone has heard The Letter. That is great article. Also great song. I will have to get I Am The Cosmos.

Perhaps you can say that initially, and briefly, Big Star was Chilton and Bell, much like McCartney/Lennon, Jagger/Richards, etc. Also Jody Stephens is a good drummer and though he doesn't appear on many recordings after Big Star, I like the Golden Smog albums. I was listening to Golden Smog years before I knew of Big Star.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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Yes they were highly influential.

Alex Chilton & Chris Bell ( Perhaps the stronger influence on the Big Star Sound) - were both song writing and studio production geniuses!

Unfortunate timing and some bad management decisions meant that at the time and afterward for years, they were virtually unknown beyond those in-the-know in the music business and some dedicated fans who had happened to see them live locally.

Chilton & Bell had a knack for writing perfect, harmonious and melodic pop songs with just the right amount of edge. These days it's referred to as, "Power Pop"! The early REM sound, was really an extension of Big Star.

Another American Band of roughly the same era that was VERY good, but like Big Star, received very little commercial success were the Shoes.

"September Gurls" by Big Star, could be on my Desert-Island Top-10!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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As much as I love Big Star, Alex Chilton & September Gurls, no one pulls it off quite like Susanna Hoffs. Yowzer..


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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [axlsix3] [ In reply to ]
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That's Michael [Micki] Steele; Susanna Hoffs is in the white jacket

I left the only woman I ever loved in a strip bar in Cleveland
Last edited by: RandMart: Sep 13, 17 9:06
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [axlsix3] [ In reply to ]
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Indeed - great version of September Gurls. It was the Bangles version that I think really got people looking back at the greatness of Big Star.

BTW - That's Michael Steele on lead vocals (and bass) and in most of that video with only a minor shot of Susanna Hoffs!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Yes sirs you are both correct. I was looking at a small screen on my phone and those 80's hairstyle made them both look similar. But make no mistake, when Susanna Hoffs is looking sideways with those bedroom eyes she's looking at me!


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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [axlsix3] [ In reply to ]
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axlsix3 wrote:

* Actual size

I left the only woman I ever loved in a strip bar in Cleveland
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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The Bangles first album, All over the Place, is great. I bought it after hearing Hero Takes a Fall or Going Down to Liverpool on the college radio station.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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First concert I ever attended in 1986, they were one of the openers. During their set they had to stop and ask the (60,000+) crowd what it was they were chanting/singing. It was "Get yer tits out".


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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [WelshinPhilly] [ In reply to ]
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WelshinPhilly wrote:
they had to stop and ask the (60,000+) crowd what it was they were chanting/singing. It was "Get yer tits out".

L7 would've

At the very least

I left the only woman I ever loved in a strip bar in Cleveland
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [RandMart] [ In reply to ]
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RandMart wrote:
WelshinPhilly wrote:
they had to stop and ask the (60,000+) crowd what it was they were chanting/singing. It was "Get yer tits out".


L7 would've

At the very least

Bloody right they would've.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [WelshinPhilly] [ In reply to ]
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I knew you'd be in on that one!!!

I left the only woman I ever loved in a strip bar in Cleveland
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [RandMart] [ In reply to ]
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I'm surprised L7 did not play at the inauguration...


Wargasm Wargasm, one two three
Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the amputee
Masturbate, watch it on TV
Crocodile tears for the refugee

Wargasm Wargasm, one two three
smutty bloody pictures, ecstasy
Blue balls waiting impatiently
From Alcatraz to Lady Liberty.

Body bags and dropping bombs,
The pentagon knows how to turn us on.
Wargasm Wargasm, one two three
People, people, ecstasy
wave those flags high in the air
As long as it takes place over there

RandMart wrote:
WelshinPhilly wrote:
they had to stop and ask the (60,000+) crowd what it was they were chanting/singing. It was "Get yer tits out".


L7 would've

At the very least
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [RandMart] [ In reply to ]
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RandMart wrote:
I
knew you'd be in on that one!!!


My then-gf was at Reading that year and saw it.

Back on the original topic, I always remember these guys citing Big Star as their biggest influence but I still never bothered to listen to Big Star:


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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [WelshinPhilly] [ In reply to ]
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I saw Alex first time at what must have been close to his low point - '85 in Chapel Hill - it wasn't pretty. Fast forward a few years and there was a big Big Star revival thing going on and he looked and played much, much better. Funny story is Alex doing a show i went to here in ATL mid-90's with Hootie and the Blowfish opening, literally the week before Hootie's album blows up. Small venue/small crowd. I was listening to HatB and thinking, this band SUCKS and I hope I never hear this twaddle again. There goes my career as an A&R man...

I went to see Alex every chance I could when he came to town and saw the Big Star reunion tour with Jon and Ken from the Posies filling in for Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. That was more of a nostalgia trip than anything else but it was still fun to hear the stuff Alex would never play at his solo shows.

Does anyone remember the story about Alex refusing to evacuate his home in NOLA before Katrina, being presumed lost/dead for a few days and turning up holed up at his local bar..? A man called Destruction, indeed.
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [WelshinPhilly] [ In reply to ]
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I always remember these guys citing Big Star as their biggest influence


I can believe it after listening to just three of their songs. And thanks for the heads-up. I like them and missed them when they came around.

Edit: I really like them. No more shitty laptop speakers, going spotify on main stereo while I get to work.
Last edited by: H-: Sep 15, 17 7:32
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [H-] [ In reply to ]
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H- wrote:
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I always remember these guys citing Big Star as their biggest influence


I can believe it after listening to just three of their songs. And thanks for the heads-up. I like them and missed them when they came around.

Death Cab For Cutie's lead singer recently released a song-for-song cover of TF's entire "Bandwagonesque" album, it's worth checking out.


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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [WelshinPhilly] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks, but wrong thread. ;)
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Re: Big Star a band you may not know but your fav band knows [axlsix3] [ In reply to ]
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axlsix3 wrote:
I'm surprised L7 did not play at the inauguration...

L7 will be releasing two new singles on [New Jersey's OWN] Don Giovanni records, and a documentary

https://www.punknews.org/...ease-two-new-singles



I left the only woman I ever loved in a strip bar in Cleveland
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