A fellow music blogger, Loosehandlebars, recently posted a great piece on three covers of Rolling Stones songs. One of those covers was “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” that Alex Chilton recorded in 1970, two years before Big Star released its debut, #1 Record. Loosehandlbars captures quite nicely what is so great about Chilton’s cover of one of the Stones’ most enduring and popular tracks:
This is the Big Star sound he was looking for. A combination of drive & melody which evokes the best of 60s British rock but has its own thing going on. The fluidity of Chilton’s guitar work is a thing of beauty & this cover, like the best of the band’s work, makes you go ‘Oh Boy! This is how it is done’. Every rock music writer ever has said their piece about Big Star. All I want to add is that halfway through their classic songs you go, Whoa ! if only all music was this good. My favourite Stones cover I think.
Mine too. Loosehandlebars later responded to my comment on his piece by noting “this cover has, for me, a touch of ‘Back Of A Car’ about it. No higher praise.” Here is Chilton’s wonderful version of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”:
For good measure, here’s Big Star’s “Back Of A Car” from the band’s second record, Radio City:
While you are at it, go check out Loosehandlebars’ almost daily writings on music, often from a personal perspective. They are insightful, and always interesting. They can be found here, or in the “blogroll” to the right. Fans of melodic rock might will found his piece on the Go-Betweens, another all-time favorite, particularly interesting.