Saturday, 20 March 2010

Another Sad Loss

I don't know what is happening this year as another musical hero of mine died this week. Alex Chilton of The Boxtops and more famously Big Star died on 17 March aged 59 of a suspected heart attack.

Chilton's career took off when he was just 16 when a member of soul group The Boxtops who had an international number one with the song 'The Letter'.

In 1971 Chilton joined Big Star, a band that had limited success but who influenced many. You need only to hear Teenage Fanclub and early R.E.M. to see how much they were influenced by Big Star. With Chris Bell Chilton wrote some truly fabulous songs. However after three albums it was all over. Bell left after the second album Radio City in 1974 and the third Third/Sister Lover was released 4 years later. Bell died in a car crash in 1978.

Chilton continued to tour, record an influence and 1993 he reformed Big Star with drummer Jody Stephens and Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. I was lucky enough to see Big Star a couple of years ago in London and it was a great gig (apart from a misguided attempt at playing Ode to Joy).

Big Star made some of my very favourite records and Alex's death has left yet another hole. He will be missed.

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