RIP Alex Chilton
Two of my last three posts have been obituaries. As the guy I eulogized on here last week once sang, "I'm so sick of goodbyes." I was just coming home from a night of St. Patrick's Day revelry with the missus when I got a text from a friend that Alex Chilton had died. It's not at all the way I was looking to end the night.
Just about everyone has heard Chilton's music, even if they don't know it. If you've ever spent any time listening to an oldies radio station, you've heard The Box Tops number one hit from 1967, "The Letter."And even if you've never actually heard Big Star, you probably know their song "In The Street" from the Cheap Trick cover that served as the theme song to That 70's Show. Then again, if you're reading a music blog, you probably already know all this.
I saw Alex Chilton do a solo show at the Exit/In in the early 90s. In addition to being a really cool low tech light show (a flicked cigarette may not seem like much, but it's amazing when you're tripping), it also provided one of my all time favorite one liners. Mainly though it was just great seeing a guy who, though he may have been jaded about the business of music, always had a deep and obvious passion for rock and roll. About a decade later I saw one of Big Star's reunion concerts. The bill also included Superdrag, which meant seeing bookends of Tennessee's greatest pop bands, both geographically and chronologically. Needless to say, it was a hell of a night.
As much as I'm happy to have the memories of seeing Chilton play, mostly I'll cherish the music. If there is finer melodic example of adolescent love than "September Gurls," I haven't heard it.
Big Star - "The Ballad Of El Goodo (Live Acoustic)" (mp3) from Big Star Live