Sunday, November 20, 2011


It's somehow fitting the the guy who turned me on to Big Star many years ago (gulp, decades), is the person who first tipped me to a new documentary about them. Frank co-owned a record store, Scratching the Surface, and I've mentioned his influence on me a few times, but I'll sum it up quickly: the Sonics, the Wailers, the Flamin' Groovies, and Big Star are just four of the bands he pushed on me, when I was a young punk rocker in the midst of the ol' classic rock purge (you purged back then too, right?). Like a lot of people, he couldn't understand why Big Star wasn't huge. After all these years, I think I might know why. And it's the same reason why they don't get heavy rotation on my record player.

Besides the fact that they played few live gigs, Big Star were just too good of a band. It's the same reason why a lot of people (myself included) would take the Stones over the Beatles. Not everybody wants a perfect band, or even a polished band. Face it, most of us like bands that release stinkers every now and then, maybe to remind us that they're human, and that the good stuff is just everything coming together in some sort of serendipitous event. That could explain why, while I know Big Star is an excellent band, and I appreciate Alex Chilton's songwriting, I hardly ever listen to them. Come to think of it, most of the people I know of who really dig them are either musicians or music critic types. In other words, schooled. The vast majority of record buyers aren't. Maybe they should have put out a crappy album, or rocked out a little more, or ditched those sweaters. Maybe then the world would have listened.

Big Star - Don't Lie to Me mp3 at MFR
Big Star - Kizza Me mp3 at That's Plenty
Big Star - Kangaroo mp3 at Mecca Lecca
Big Star - In The Street mp3 at All Things Go
Big Star - Thirteen mp3 at Music For Humans
Big Star - Thank You Friends mp3 at Indie Rock Cafe
Big Star - I'm In Love With a Girl mp3 at Star Maker Machine
Big Star - Nightime mp3 at Pretty Goes With Pretty
Big Star - The Ballad of El Goodo mp3 at Pretty Goes With Pretty
Big Star - Jesus Christ mp3 at The Adios Lounge
Big Star - Femme Fatale mp3 at Cover Me Velvet Underground cover
Big Star - Hot Burrito #2 (live) mp3 at The Adios Lounge Flying Burrito Brothers cover
Elliot Smith - Thirteen (live) mp3 at Large Hearted Boy
Wilco - Thank You Friends mp3 at Everybody Taste
The Replacements - September Gurls mp3 at Everybody Taste
Six more Big Star covers at Everybody Taste
Big Star - In the studio at YouTube
Nothing Can Hurt Me: The Big Star Story - Documentary site
Like Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones - The Adios Lounge Good piece about Alex Chilton and Memphis music.
Big Star at Wikipedia

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