Wednesday, April 25, 2012

40 Year Itch : Big Star's Debut

When ex Boxtops crooner Alex Chilton teamed up with Anglophile Chris Bell,  one thing they shared in common was the love of a classic mid-60's pop song.

"I loved British music myself." Chilton said in a 1987 interview."When I first got interested in rock n roll, it was when all the British stuff first started coming out. ( From) '64 through '66, I thought music was great. But then in '67, when all the psychedelic Californian music started happening, people got more pretentious, but '64 to '66 was still three-minute songs and everything was fairly understandable.

Big Star wasn't the only band reliving the glory years of 60's pop. The Raspberries and Badfinger come immediately to mind. But Chilton and Bell weren't just reclaiming the 60's, they were reclaiming their own youth. Has a song ever better captured the hopelessly romance of first love the way "Thirteen" does? Or the thrills that can be found by passing around a  joint in a car borrowed from unknowing parents ("In The Street")?

The album failed to sell more than 10,000 perhaps , in part, due to poor distribution and possibly because of the singles chosen.  "When My Baby's Beside Me" and  "Don't Lie To Me"  are fairly straight-forward ravers and don't offer much of a glimpse into what a treasure #1 Record is. It took Rolling Stone's Bud Scoppa ten months to get around to reviewing the album but he got it right when he said it's "exceptionally good...even Rundgren hasn't made a whole album as impressive as this one".

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