Saturday, January 1, 2011

In Memoriam: Alex Chilton

The Box Tops: The Letter


Big Star: I'm In Love With A Girl


Alex Chilton: Baron of Love Pt. 2


Chameleonesque singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, a legend of the Memphis music scene, died in March on the cusp of a comeback, perhaps the fifth or sixth such comeback in his long career - more if we include such personal notes as his escape from Hurricane Katrina, and his scheduled high-buzz set with a resurrected group performing under the name of the grungy proto-altrockers Big Star at SXSW in 2010, which went on as a tribute without him just days after his passing [and which included was also originally intended to include Big Star cofounder Andy Hummel, who in a curious synchronicity of events, would pass a few months later].

But though his post-seventies turn to post-modern jazz tinged with Memphis soul never brought him the same recognition as his earlier work, Chilton, who at sixteen had made a splash with The Box Tops - the first recording artists to have a Memphis recorded, nationwide, number one hit - and then in his early twenties resurged at the helm of Big Star, is still recognized widely for his role in the evolution of modern Rock music; both bands featured prominently in the annals and archives of both the Stax museum and the Smithsonian museum of Rock and Blues, which I just came back from visiting down in Memphis, and their song On The Street found fitting placement as the theme song for That 70's Show. I shared my own tribute over at Cover Lay Down in the days after his death, but fittingly, today's post also marks the sixth time we've visited him here at Star Maker Machine since our inception. Surely, it won't be the last, either.

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