Big Star

Essential Albums


Artist Playlists

About Big Star

With their sweet melodies, swooning harmonies, and jangly guitar riffs, Big Star’s small body of work became one of power pop’s high watermarks and a Goliath influence on the indie bands that popped up in their wake. Formed in Memphis in 1971, when singer/guitarist and ex-Box Tops member Alex Chilton joined fellow singer/guitarist Chris Bell’s band Icewater, Big Star dropped their debut, #1 Record, in 1972. In retrospect, the album’s mark on bands like The Replacements and Teenage Fanclub is clear—songs like the hang-out anthem “In the Street” (eventually the theme for That ‘70s Show) and teen love story “Thirteen” elevated the everyday to the ecstatic. After Bell left, Big Star perfected their formula with the dreamy hooks of “September Gurls” and “Back of a Car” from Radio City (1974). Disillusioned by the band's lack of success, Chilton recorded the ragged and strange, yet innovative Third in 1974, but it wouldn't see release until 1978, months before Bell died in a car accident. Reunions, starting in the ‘90s, and a final studio album, 2005’s In Space, kept the flame burning. Chilton died in 2010, but Big Star’s influence shines on.

Memphis, TN, United States of America

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