In June 1972, Big Star (Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, Andy Hummel, Alex Chilton) released their first record, titled #1 Record. Both the name of the band and album reflected a kind of bravado – real or imagined – and while the music delivered on the promise, album sales did not follow. Praise from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Cashbox magazines could not overcome the distribution problems faced by Stax Records, Big Star’s record label. (citation: Wikipedia) Other songs in the Billboard top 10 in June 1972: “The Candy Man” – Sammy Davis Jr.; “I’ll Take You There” by Big Star’s Stax labelmates The Staple Singers; “Nice To Be With You” – Gallery; “Song Sung Blue” – Neil Diamond; “Lean On Me” – Bill Withers.
The band has enjoyed a strong cult status since the end of their 4-year run in the early 70’s, influencing bands such as Teenage Fanclub, R.E.M., The Replacements, The Posies, and pretty much any band that has a clean, jangly sound with strong songwriting and harmonies. Such sounds also harken back to The Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers, but Big Star brought the mid-60’s sound into the 70’s, punching up the guitars with a bit of fuzz tone and real anger in the vocals on the harder songs.
Enough from me – let’s hear from you now! Tell me what you think of Big Star’s #1 Record, if it has had any effect on you and how you’ve experienced it through the years and the past two weeks.
For further viewing, see the film Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me on iTunes
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