More classic cuts, some classic Rock this time
- apparently it’s golden oldies time over here –
Big Star is perhaps the most famous obscure band in the world. They're the definition of a Cult band. They had it all but despite critical acclaim they didn’t make it. Distribution problems and just bad luck prevented albums to reach a wide audience.
After their break-up in 1975, Big Star's records went in and (mostly) out of print, yet the band continued to attract new fans, along with legions of musical offspring. One of the big clichés of Rock is that anyone who bought the Velvet Underground's early records went on to form a band, and certainly the same can be said for the Big Star catalogue. A lot of the music on the Indiescene of the 80’s and 90’s and even today was never possible without the music of Big Star or they would have sounded differently.
Before founding the band, Alex Chilton had achieved fame in the late 60’s as the 16-year-old vocalist sounding like an old Blues singer singing ‘The Letter’ with the Box Tops. Basically a puppet for producers, Chilton felt unfulfilled with his minor role and walked away from fame into an uncertain future in
Obviously they loved the Beatles, Byrds and Kinks so they sound like a pop band but there’s a certain dirty, even creepy, edge to it that ads layers of meaning to their music and lyrics. It’s highly tensed or intense music. There’s a certain urge to it. An element of anxiety that gave it a dark undercurrent not usually associated with guitar-pop music, is what their site says. A feeling of imminent collapse… against… an atmosphere of wild spontaneity… which creates… times on the album that the tension is virtually unbearable is what the liner notes of the second album Radio City say. The different dynamics and tempo changes of Daisy Glaze is a fine example of that statement. A lot of critics call it lost innocence [after the Box Tops debacle and the
Apart from that, there are off course the gorgeous melodies and the awesome sound. Especially that of the guitars and the powered interplay which is highly unique and immediately recognisable. I'm not really fond of the songs that show too clearly the influence of The Beatles. My favourite one is O My Soul and it proofs their original approach to Rock and their
After the break up, Chilton and
Big Star reformed a couple of years ago without Chris Bell who died in 1979. I haven’t seen them yet, because I no longer visit the big festivals, but if you can believe the critics, they’re still great.
#1 Record 1972
Sister Lover 1975