Albums I Want to Be Buried With: Big Star, “#1 Record”

For those of you who never experienced the wonderful jangle-pop and power-pop of Big Star, you missed out on something great. For it was Alex Chilton, the former lead singer of the Box Tops, along with songwriter Chris Bell, who created one of the 1970’s most overlooked and under-appreciated groups of the rock era.

Think about this for a second. The worst thing that happened to Big Star was that the record label they recorded for – Ardent – had absolutely no idea what to do with this Memphis-based rock group. Of course they didn’t. Ardent was actually a sister label to Stax/Volt – and while Stax/Volt had no problem promoting Isaac Hayes or the Staple Singers or a myriad of other R&B groups and singers, they were completely lost in promoting Big Star. Big Star went through three albums before finally breaking up.

But even after they broke up, Big Star’s influence was still very strong. If you listen to these tracks, you can hear how groups like R.E.M. and the Bangles and the Replacements and a ton of other bands took Big Star’s “#1 Record” and listened to it over and over and over again.

If your only experience with Big Star was knowing that they wrote the theme song for “That 70’s Show”, you really need to get this album and broaden your horizons.  I’m serious.

This track, “September Gurls,” is a great way to start with this record.  How about this lyric – “I love you … well, never mind…”

Follow it up with “Thirteen” – and yes, you’ve heard it in “That 70’s Show” as Eric and Donna’s love theme.

“I’m In Love With A Girl” is another great track, it’s just a sweet acoustic ballad.

“When My Baby’s Beside Me” is a fantastic pop song, it should have hit the top ten had the record company not completely dropped the ball on promoting the single.

Great, great stuff.  The fact that neither Alex Chilton nor Big Star even got a sniff of consideration for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is just criminal.