Posts Tagged ‘Wilco’

Alex Chilton in memoriam

March 18, 2010

Guitarist and songwriter Alex Chilton has passed away. According to Rolling Stone Magazine Chilton suffered a heart attack yesterday in New Orleans, just days before Big Star were scheduled to perform at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Chilton passed away at the age of 59.

Alex Chilton (December 28, 1950, Memphis, Tennessee – March 17, 2010 New Orleans) was best known for his work with the pop bands the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton earned an early commercial sales success in the 1960s as a teen vocalist for the Box Tops. Hit single The Letter, released in 1967, reached number one on he US Billboard and number five on the UK singles chart. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it #363 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

After breaking up the Box Tops in 1970 and returning to Memphis Big Star was formed a year later with guitarist/co-songwriter Chris Bell, drummer Jody Stephens and bassist Andy Hummel.

They soon became one of the most influential rock groups to emerge from the early 1970s, blending power pop with the sound of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Big Star were critically acclaimed but largely ignored commercially.

They were a big influence on bands as R.E.M., The Replacements and The Posies. The band released three albums, 1972’s #1 Record, 1974’s Radio City and 1978’s dark but beautiful Third/Sister Lovers all placed on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Classic tracks “Thirteen” and “September Gurls” both made the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Chilton is forever a musical icon. Artists as diverse as Beck, Wilco, Elliott Smith, R.E.M., Cheap Trick, Jeff Buckley, Whiskeytown and Håkan Hellström have covered Big Star’s songs.

The Replacements wrote the song Alex Chilton in his honor, for their 1987 album Pleased to Meet Me.

Rest in Peace, Alex.