I will forever reccomend St. Patrick’s day, to now be referred to as St. Chilton’s Day.
My main man, Alex Chilton passed today and after a thorough examination of ever record of his touching i own, i assure you, the worlds loss is truly significant. In the young art form of pop music, few have had such a blinding and timeless impact as Chilton. His three albums with Big Star may be heralded now but it’s a scant near forty years late. Sure, i agree post humus appreciation for an artist is common form in our world, but surely none of us philistines can claim that this is ok, or even remotely acceptable. The human race has been plagued by mediocrity misinterpreting the work of geniuses since the dawn of the modern era but surely at some point we all must draw a line and encourage righteous self examination at what we see as favorable/ passable and what we understand to be artful and timeless. Alex Chilton, I, here at thee Biannual Haircut useless music blog, would like to send an electronic and pointless message to you in the afterlife that if you and Chris Bell start jamming again in heaven and let Joe Meek and or Jim Dickinson produce it, you truly have reinstated my faith in the wonder and grandeur of dreaming about the beyond. God Speed you, rascal.
And further below this is a repeat of a long ago previous and buried post featuring Al’s often overlooked solo works that i find to be misguided and beautiful.
What a strange career this man has had. At sixteen he sang on a number #1 single by his band the Box Tops, three years later the band finished without another hit. Starts a band called Big Star puts out three albums no one gave a shit a about, only to be regarded as some of the best music ever written a few decades later. Becomes an alcoholic and releases some genuinely twisted pop music that again no one at the time has any interest in followed by a few more years of pretty mediocre records. He’s produced incredible records by The Cramps, The Gories and Chris Stamey (as you hopefully already knew). His twisted sense of pop music that exists on his early solo records is just incredibly endearing in its pure honesty and sloppiness. Music doesn’t need to be perfect, how boring! So without further rambling i’ve got links to SIX different records. The first three Chilton solo records in chronological order of their recording dates and then a bonus of the three Big Star albums which you really should already have heard many many times by now, but just in case those have slipped through your fingers til now you can right the wrongs and come to understand the beauty and magic that exist in those songs.
These sessions are heavy bluesy buisness from Alex’s post Box Tops / pre Big Star period. His cover of Sugar Sugar is a beautiful indicator of his love of the slop. A grower of an album and solid all the way through.
Bach’s Bottom is more of a compilation of different recordings in or around 1975 and is generally inconsistent but Take Me Home and Make Like It is an all time fav. A great record overall, and usually pretty hard to come by. Obviously well recommended.
One of my favorite records of all time! Like Flies is top to bottom some of the weirdest pop music i’ve ever come across. Consisting mostly of covers and a few amazing originals, it was his first solo album to be released after the Big Star bummer. Apparently the critics hated it and it was only pressed in an edition of 500 off the bat. Soooo goood.
Also, do read this incredible and lengthy article that is probably the most in depth info on this period of Chilton’s career you’ll ever find.
Read this article for some pretty amazing stories about the guy