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Tag: Alex Chilton (1-5 of 5)

Hear a new, unreleased version of Big Star's 'September Gurls': EXCLUSIVE


Last year, the endlessly influential but often under-appreciated Big Star got a much-deserved rock-doc treatment when Nothing Can Hurt Me hit the festival circuit. And though the documentary won’t see its official release until July 3, the movie’s soundtrack — loaded with unreleased demos and unheard versions of the Memphis band’s most beloved songs — hits streets today.

The 22-track collection includes a new mix of a “September Gurls,” which you can hear exclusively here. Written and sung by the late Alex Chilton, the 1974 Radio City cut is considered by fans as one of Big Star’s best, and this unissued version proves them right.

Listen the alternate mix of “September Gurls” below:


iTunes: Adele tops 2011's best-selling song and album charts

Did we need further evidence that this has been Adele’s year sales-wise? Probably not. But for the benefit of anyone still debating the matter, iTunes has just announced that the British singer’s track “Rolling in the Deep” was the year’s top downloaded song while its parent album, 21, was 2011’s most popular collection. iTunes also named Adele its Artist of the Year.

21 was followed on the album list by Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More and Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV. LMFAO claimed second place on the singles list with “Party Rock Anthem” while Katy Perry’s “Firework” was third.

Find iTunes’ top ten best-selling songs and albums of 2011 below: READ FULL STORY

Alex Chilton remembered as Big Star SXSW showcase becomes joyous tribute

big-starImage Credit: Andy Sheppard/Getty ImagesUnlike this afternoon’s panel, the participants in the SXSW Big Star showcase — turned tribute since the sudden death of lead singer Alex Chilton from a heart attack on Wednesday, reportedly during his preparations for this week’s trip to Austin — didn’t spend a lot of time telling stories. Music was the vehicle used to celebrate Chilton’s life, and the dozen-plus artists who gathered at Antone’s did it with a level of ease and familiarity that honored the man’s talent in a way no freshly-composed words could: They played his songs, because they knew them by heart.

The night began with the reading of a revealing letter written by Chilton’s wife, Laura. She told of his love for “old rickety houses” and homeless people; of the way he gave time and money with no strings attached; of his listening skills and compassion. He was a fan of classical baroque music, Scott Joplin, Petula Clark, and Teenage Fanclub. He loved riding his bike. While old friend Heather West read Laura’s words aloud t0 the hushed room, her voice cracked. Reggaeton came blasting through the walls — SXSW doesn’t stop, even for grieving. “He had a blase attitude towards death,” West read. “It didn’t interest him. Same goes for sleep. Life was too interesting and he didn’t want to spend it sleeping.” Safe to say the memorial gathering at Antone’s, as it pushed close to the 2 a.m. hour, was in full agreement with that sentiment.

The wonderfully endless parade of singers who stopped by the club to pay tribute was the expected who’s who: Curt Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets, M. Ward, Chris Stamey of the dB’s, John Doe of X. Chuck Prophet stepped in on “Thank You Friends,” Mike Mills of R.E.M. plastered “Jesus Christ” with happiness, Evan Dando of the Lemonheads lent pathos to “Nightime” and the harmonies of “Try Again,” alongside folkie Amy Speace. Sondre Lerche was the night’s biggest hit — he had maybe the best song in “Ballad of El Goodo,” and delivered a vocal befitting the material. The house band was anchored by original Big Star member Jody Stephens behind the drum kit, with occasional appearances from initial bassist Andy Hummel; replacement frontman Jon Auer  — who declared the night to be “really hard” — and bassist Ken Stringfellow (both of the Posies) held down the rest of the fort as they had ever since Big Star reformed in the ’90s, with Auer’s reedy voice fitting into Chilton’s lines in sometimes eerily similar ways. Song after song, the music radiated joy, and despite the conspicuous lack of Chilton solo material, it served as both a starter kit and a trip down memory lane for the capacity crowd.

Susan Cowsill and the Watson Twins — alongside Auer, Stringfellow, Stephens, Mills, and Hummel — closed out the night on “September Gurls,” after which Stephens took the mic for the first and only time. “You’ve wrapped your arms around us, and we appreciate it,” he said. It may not have been the ideal ending for SXSW 2010, but coming after a showcase spent focused on music over hype, and history over buzz, it was perhaps the most welcome. R.I.P., Alex.

More on Alex Chilton:
Alex Chilton: Friends, bandmates remember the late Big Star singer at SXSW panel
Big Star drummer Jody Stephens says he is ‘just feeling numb’ about Alex Chilton’s death
Alex Chilton: The House of Representatives pays tribute
Alex Chilton, R.I.P.: Paul Westerberg, Patterson Hood, and Craig Finn share their thoughts
Alex Chilton: SXSW mourns Big Star singer
Alex Chilton: An appreciation
Alex Chilton dies at 59

Alex Chilton: Friends, bandmates remember the late Big Star singer at SXSW panel

“I Never Travel Far Without a Little Big Star,” the SXSW panel that just ended at the Austin Convention Center, was blurbed as follows on the festival’s website: “Celebrating last year’s phenomenal box set Keep Your Eye On The Sky, Big Star band members, friends and admirers gather for discussion and performance.” That sentence is still posted at, a testament to how Big Star frontman Alex Chilton’s death on Wednesday took everyone by surprise. And so today, instead of celebrating Keep an Eye on the Sky (which is indeed phenomenal), eight Chilton friends and Big Star experts shifted their focus to a 90-minute-plus wake of sorts for the late genius. I don’t think anyone would have blamed them for canceling the panel, but as a fan I’m glad they decided to go ahead with it despite the circumstances.


Alex Chilton, R.I.P: Paul Westerberg of the Replacements, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, and Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers share their thoughts

Alex Chilton’s death yesterday immediately made many people think of the Replacements, who gloriously paid tribute to the Big Star/Box Tops singer in “Alex Chilton”: “Children by the millions / sing for Alex Chilton… I’m in love / What’s that song / I’m in love / With that song.” Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg released the following statement today: “In my opinion, Alex was the most talented triple threat musician out of Memphis — and that’s saying a ton. His versatility at soulful singing, pop rock songwriting, master of the folk idiom, and his delving into the avant garde, goes without equal. He was also a hell of a guitar player and a great guy.”

At SXSW in Austin, artists spoke about the influence of Chilton’s work on their music and careers. Two of his most passionate fans — Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers and Craig Finn of the Hold Steady — share their memories with after the jump.


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