Big Star’s “Breathtakingly Beautiful Music”
Today I am reblogging a piece from last month on Big Star. As Brian Westbye notes, they indeed put out “breathtakingly beautiful music.” My earlier post on the band, and “September Gurls” in particular, can be found here: http://popthatgoescrunch.com/2011/12/19/the-greatest-song-you-probably-never-heard/
Originally posted on brian westbye:
This is the third installment of a series. Due to the subjective nature of what quantifies a One Hit Wonder, how much of the band must be dead to be a One Hit Wonder With Dead Guys, etc., etc., etc., there will be some shifting of the goal posts across these essays. Such is life and rock ‘n roll.
Goal Post Shift 1: Big Star never got anywhere near a hit. Big Star’s singer/guitarist Alex Chilton did have a #1 – “The Letter” – with his previous band, The Box Tops, for four weeks in the summer of 1967, when he was sixteen (with a much older voice). But the closest Big Star got to the charts during their existence from 1971 – 1974 was nowhere, and the closest they got to public acclaim was in 1998, when the song “In the Street” was appropriated as the theme song of “That 70s Show.”
But, as was said of The Velvet Underground, nobody bought their records, but everybody who did started a band. The shimmering British Invasion-meets-The Byrds jangle-pop sound of Big Star was a seminal and oft-cited influence on The Replacements, The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M. and countless other bands who shaped the underground and mainstream landscape of the ‘80s and ‘90s. The legacy of Big Star is indirect, but it is incalculable.