Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City CD Reissue (Ardent/Stax) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, August 03, 2009

Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City CD Reissue (Ardent/Stax)

STREAM: Big Star - "In the Street"

"Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round" - The Replacements: “Alex Chilton”

Big Star - #1 Record/Radio City CD ReviewIn the 30+ years since the release of Big Star’s first two albums, #1 Record and Radio City, these discs have grown to a legendary/cult status that its members (Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel) never seemed to recapture. These albums, which were originally issued in 1972 and 1974, provided the foundation for modern power-pop at a time when bands like Led Zeppelin were all the rage. While discs were critically acclaimed, they sold next to nothing due to poor record company promotion and distribution. After being out of print for a number of years, Ardent/Stax Records has reissued the first two Big Star albums on one disc with the non-LP single versions of “In the Street” and “O My Soul”.

These discs have grown in prominence over the years after bands like R.E.M., Dream Syndicate, Cheap Trick and the Replacements have all cited Big Star as an inspiration. According to Wikipedia, #1 Record was ranked number 438 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. One of Big Star’s most recognizable singles, “September Gurls” (from Radio City), has been covered from artists that range from The Bangles to Superdrag.

#1 Record is the only disc to feature original guitarist Chris Bell, who collaborated with Alex Chilton on the brunt of the songwriting. The singles from this release were “When My Baby's Beside Me" and "Don't Lie to Me". The b-side of this later track included a unique version of "In the Street" (which is now enshrined in pop-culture history as the theme from “That 70’s Show”) which has been included on this compilation.

Radio City was released two years later with the band now down to a three-piece with the departure of Chris Bell. The disc does though include some un-credited work by Chris Bell on the tracks "O My Soul" and "Back of a Car". In reviewing Radio City, Rolling Stone's Ken Barnes said "Sometimes they sound like the Byrds, sometimes like the early Who, but usually like their own indescribable selves".

Big Star's MySpace Profile