“If you’re writing anything decent, it’s in you, it’s your spirit coming out. If it’s not an expression of how a person genuinely feels, then it’s not a good song done with any conviction.” – Alex Chilton
by Walter Price
Growing up during the alt rock movement, the days when the masses started to realize that not all great music was coming from the big label factories and just as these music factories decided there was a ton of money to be made off the backs of these ‘indie’ artists was a great time for a music fan. Unknown music was starting to circulate.
I remember a good friend of mine who had an impeccable ear for what was next, he had his pulse on what was gaining a foothold in the consciousnesses of different minded music lovers. This fella was my local 120 Minutes of sorts. He offered up a heavy dose of U2, The Clash, Love and Rockets and R.E.M.. And it is R.E.M. where this article began to percolate.
In this era of the early to mid 80’s I was a musical nomad, still am really, I hadn’t hung my hat on any genre’s peg just yet. My eagerness to dig into lyrics for something that resembled my life was a never ending process and, again, still is. Band’s like The Smiths and R.E.M. had these lyrics in droves. Realistic poetry and prose set to music that wasn’t all that usual for the time. Concoctions of genres, sounds that utilized the history of music to create extraordinary textures.The rules of music making seemed to tossed out the window and perpetually rewritten.
At the time I had never heard of Big Star and wouldn’t hear about them until the early 90’s but I unknowingly enjoyed their un-saluted contributions to the music world. I had credited the indie scene or ‘alt’ as it was called at the time with The Byrds, Bowie and punk rock.
But is was Big Star and their first two studio albums, ‘Number 1 Record’ and ‘Radio City’ that had everything to do with bands and songwriters I had been cherishing all along. When you consider Big Star’s power of influence one does easily think of R.E.M. and Wilco, and there is nothing wrong with obvious thinking. But the list of artists that if you listen closely you’ll find Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel’s indelible fingerprints.
Here are just 3 Reasons Why Big Star…
ALBUM: Stands for Decibles (1981)
ALBUM: Trace (1995)
ALBUM: Creator (1988)