Alex Chilton, former front man for 70s power-pop pioneers Big Star, has died in New Orleans at the age of 59. Chilton was also well known as the vocalist for the 60s blue-eyed soul band The Box Tops, whose biggest hit The letter reached number 1 in the US in 1967 (when Chilton was still in his teens).
I became a fan of Big Star in 2003 when I picked up their classic 2-for-1 album set of #1 Record and Radio City. I later picked up the dark, tortured Third/Sister Lovers which was basically an Alex Chilton solo album in all but name (former member Chris Bell had already left the band by this stage).
Alex Chilton made the news in 2005 when he went missing in New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully, he was found safe a few days later.
Alex has left behind a wonderful musical legacy which has influenced countless musicians.
Here are a few of my favourite Big Star songs with Chilton on vocals:
- The Ballad Of El Goodo was included in my top 100 favourite songs of all time.
- Thirteen is probably their most famous song, and has been covered by Elliott Smith and Wilco, amongst others.
- Blue Moon is a stunning ballad from Big Star's dark final album Third/Sister Lovers.
MP3: Big Star - Thirteen [Link removed]
MP3: Big Star - Blue Moon [Link removed]
Update: Song links removed.