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Big Star
August 26, 2009 6:01 PM   Subscribe

"In 1971, Memphis act Big Star laid down tracks for what became one of the greatest rock albums of all time, the aptly-titled "#1 Record." During the historic sessions, bassist Andy Hummel and co-founder Chris Bell shot the following footage" + Nightime + Thirteen + Kangaroo
posted by vronsky (48 comments total) 93 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy shit. I'd be an outlaw for your love, vronsky, but I hope a favorite will suffice. Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:11 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Vronsky? Won't you let me walk you home from school?


Love this, thanks.
posted by The_Auditor at 6:13 PM on August 26, 2009


The Ballad of El Vronsky?
posted by cheaily at 6:14 PM on August 26, 2009


I had no idea that footage existed -- it's like finding the check from the Last Supper. My little life now has scope and meaning. Thanks.
posted by Kinbote at 6:16 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Children by the million wait for posts by Vronsky to come 'round!

Gracias.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:19 PM on August 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thanks from me as well. What a great band.
posted by languagehat at 6:20 PM on August 26, 2009


Awesome! (But it should probably be noted that "Nighttime" and "Kangaroo" are from the "Third/Sister Lovers" album.)
posted by ericost at 6:25 PM on August 26, 2009


a+
posted by radiosilents at 6:26 PM on August 26, 2009


Take Care Vronsky, Please take care....
posted by Skygazer at 6:33 PM on August 26, 2009


Awesomeness. Thanks.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:40 PM on August 26, 2009


oh man
thank you thank you thank you.
posted by chococat at 6:46 PM on August 26, 2009


Late one night, years ago, back in college art school days, I was walking home through Central Square (where all the music bars were) in Cambridge MA. Coming the other way was an old friend - a very serious musician. He had this strange.... spaced out look on his face. As I stopped to say hi, he grabbed me by the shoulder. It was odd.

"I saw him", he said.

"Who?", I said.

"Him. I was standing RIGHT next to him. He was standing RIGHT THERE, right next to ME," he said, pointing to the ground.

"Who?"

"Alex... I stood next to Alex.... Alex.... (long pause)... Chilton!"
posted by R. Mutt at 6:50 PM on August 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fucking love Big Star. Thanks for this.
posted by dhammond at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2009


My life is right.
posted by scody at 7:15 PM on August 26, 2009


Thank you.
posted by basicchannel at 7:22 PM on August 26, 2009


Many thanks, vron!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:24 PM on August 26, 2009


Awesome. Word from NOLA is that Mr. Chilton remains awesome (he produced some recordings for some ex-bandmates and was kind enough to loan gear to them for extended periods, including a white Gibson SG). Thanks Vronsky.
posted by mwhybark at 7:32 PM on August 26, 2009






Also: Chordie has a decent selection of Big Star material, should you feel the need to sully these works of genius with your yowling and hamhanded banjo frails, as I do.
posted by mwhybark at 7:40 PM on August 26, 2009


As it turns out, thanks to my iPod, I can at last exclaim "I never travel far without a little Big Star" and mean it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:45 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


ha ha my thoughts exactly FelliniBlank :) This came up in related videos and though I have never really cared for solo Paul ( I find him phlegmatic, burned out and uninspiring - and goddamit, the one thing Paul never was was boring) this performance is really tight. Maybe there is a spark left in the old boy yet.

umm, also this chipmunk version which is kinda growing on me.
posted by vronsky at 8:07 PM on August 26, 2009


I can not listen to this all right now because I desperately want to save some for later.

* cries *
posted by jessamyn at 8:35 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


This makes me ridiculously happy.

Just picked up the #1 Record and Radio City vinyl reissues a couple of weeks ago after wearing out the third copy of the CD I've bought in the last fifteen years. Never gets old. Still sort of breaks my heart in all the right places.
posted by thivaia at 10:32 PM on August 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Curious that they'd pick Thank You Friends to accompany Bell-era footage, but pretty awesome nonetheless.
posted by anazgnos at 10:36 PM on August 26, 2009


The first time I ever got dumped, I don't remember the details of her face, or her last name. I was so young and at that age emotions outweighed details.

Or maybe they don't, because I remember later when I was driving around in circles through the county in my 1989 Ford Escort, drinking beers by myself and trying to imagine a time when I would forget that girl.

I remember the bump on the tires and the skip when the dirt road turned to gravel, and another when they hit the asphalt, and then again to pavement, and then backwards all the way to dirt. Repeat.

I do remember: the whole time I was listening to Big Star #1 Record. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
posted by gordie at 10:54 PM on August 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


one of the greatest rock albums of all time

debatable, yet still a very nice post
posted by caddis at 11:23 PM on August 26, 2009


Stellar. Thanks.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:59 PM on August 26, 2009


Thank you, Vronsky
This thread wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.

[I've seen Big Star twice in the last year. Three times if you count Teenage Fanclub last month].
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:38 AM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


i used to have Elliott Smith's version of Nighttime (not Thirteen, never cared for that one) and i'm so sad i can't find it anywhere now. boooo
posted by rollerball at 2:48 AM on August 27, 2009


I can only assume they took their name from the local grocery store chain, I believe now long since defunct.
posted by absalom at 5:25 AM on August 27, 2009


You assume right -- and how different things would have been if they'd driven past a Piggly Wiggly instead that fateful morning. . . .
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:06 AM on August 27, 2009


Big Star is high on my list of "guilty displeasures"--bands that I feel like I should be able to get into and yet, cannot.

Why can't I get into this band?
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 6:19 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I discovered Big Star sophomore year of college, 2001. Fell in love with them and could never get enough. #1 Record and Radio City are still on my regular rotation.

I strongly recommend Bell's I Am the Cosmos, too, if you've never heard it.
posted by nath at 6:34 AM on August 27, 2009


Big Star is high on my list of "guilty displeasures"--bands that I feel like I should be able to get into and yet, cannot.

Why can't I get into this band?


I don't know, but they occurred to me in reverse. I think I bought the #1 Record/Radio City when I was 18 or 19 and it didn't really appeal to me...too 'straight' or 'normal' or something, especially for a band I thought had a rep for being "fucked up" in some way or another. Somehow, a year or two later I was convinced to check out Sister/Lovers by a friend, and that one, being actually pretty fucked up, hit me immediately. Having done so, I found myself more able to appreciate the slightly off-kilter Radio City, while still finding #1 Record too 'straight'...but eventually the scales fell for that one too, probably helped along by I Am the Cosmos. Although "Feel" is still probably the worst track to introduce anyone to the band with.
posted by anazgnos at 7:31 AM on August 27, 2009


Holy fuck! Awesome, thanks!
posted by equalpants at 7:57 AM on August 27, 2009


Thank you, Vronsky
This thread wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.


Well, then, I'd say thanks to vronsky's mother are in order as well. He certainly wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:26 AM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I own hundreds of albums, but I never tire of #1 Record, never. ST 100/6 is to me one of the perfect songs, short and to the point and ever so bittersweet. Those harmonies get me every time (and I sorely feel their absence on Radio City).

RIP Chris Bell, and thanks so much for posting this.
posted by Palindromedary at 9:05 AM on August 27, 2009


Thanks for the tip, anazgnos. I'll give that one a shot at some point for sure.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 10:01 AM on August 27, 2009


Fantastic! Thanks.

I saw Big Star back in... 1994 (I think it was), at the Reading Festival, bolstered by half The Posies of course--still have the treasured t-shirt. Now, if only Teenage Fan Club would make it over the Atlantic....
posted by NailsTheCat at 12:18 PM on August 27, 2009


The first time I heard that first album I could not believe how old it was. Truly ground breaking.
posted by zzazazz at 12:28 PM on August 27, 2009


Aye, that's true flapjax. Let us raise a glass to mothers. I drink to your mother, and you drink to my mother, OK? And we'll all drink to Alex Chilton's mother.


Because like James Joyce said -- "Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not."
posted by vronsky at 12:35 PM on August 27, 2009


Favorited for later; thanks, vronsky!
posted by aldus_manutius at 1:54 PM on August 27, 2009


adding some more Alex goodness to this thread:

Alex on 120 Minutes

Alex on Entertainment Tonight

Bruce Eaton's book about Radio City
posted by Robotilt at 3:19 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


My first big Star moment was watching them rehearse in a garage near where I lived. I think I was in 8th grade. They hadn't invented garage bands yet. There were just garages, and bands. And 14 year old girls to hang around them.
posted by memewit at 5:46 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]




Wait, memewit expand on that please?
posted by splatta at 7:24 AM on September 2, 2009


I've had this in my bookmarks bar since it was posted, meaning to go back and watch the videos, and only just now did -- what a fantastic post, particularly the first video. I got into Big Star, as a lot of people probably did, via the Replacements. One of the best decisions I've ever made.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 10:42 AM on September 3, 2009


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