Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time - Rated 434/500!
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - "Thirteen" - Rated 406/500!
Seemingly snake-bit from the start, Big Star's pure creative side exploded with their first two albums, both of which would eventually become icons of American Power Pop. This Memphis foursome, originally founded by Chris Bell in 1971 and joined shortly thereafter by the legendary chameleon Alex Chilton, would suffer due to personnel issues and distribution problems by their label, delaying their place in musical history. One of the ultimate cult bands in popular music, #1 Record and Radio City would both influence artists-to-come such as Tom Petty, R.E.M., The Replacements and The Bangles, to name just a few. Both titles placed within Rolling Stone magazine's poll of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#1 Record (1972) is the band's only full album to feature Chris Bell. This brilliant debut sustains a 1960's British feel mixed with a Memphis edge. The layered twin alpha-male harmonies are slightly reminiscent of Lennon and McCartney's early Parlophone sides. The singles released, "When My Baby's Beside Me" and "Don't Lie To Me" reveal surprisingly elegant songwriting from talent so young while another album track, "In The Streets", would later be resurrected and slightly reworked as the main opening theme to the television sit-com That 70's Show, turning a whole new generation onto their staying power.
Chilton wrote this acoustic ballad about two kids in love with rock & roll, featuring the deathless couplet 'Won't you tell your dad, 'Get off my back'/Tell him what we said about 'Paint It Black.' It's simple musically; as Chilton said, 'I was still learning to play and stuff.' It never came out as a single or got any radio play, but 'Thirteen' is one of rock's most beautiful celebrations of adolescence.
Reissues of Big Star's work are abundant, including multiple repressings of these albums, but unless you're willing to take out a second mortgage to afford OG copies of #1 Record and Radio City, this is truly your best bet. Both Craft pressings were taken from the original analog master tapes and sound exactly as you'd hope. The rockers explode, the ballads melt, and everything in between feels as cushy and warm as ever. If you have some Christmas cash still burning a hole in your pocket, use it to get these into your collection.
- 180g Vinyl LP
- Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis
- All Analog mastering by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl in Memphis
- Pressed at Memphis Record Pressing
- Made in USA
|Christopher Bell||guitars, vocals|
|Alex Chilton||guitars, vocals|
|Andy Hummel||bass guitar, piano, vocals|
|Jody Stephens||drums, vocals|
- The Ballad Of El Goodo
- In The Street
- Don't Lie To Me
- The India Song
- When My Baby's Beside Me
- My Life Is Right
- Give Me Another Chance
- Try Again
- Watch The Sunrise