On Memorial Day, we honor many heroes that are no longer with us. While minisucule in comparison to work of our soldiers, British fans will be able to celebrate the life of a great American musician tonight, the incomparable Alex Chilton, at Barbican Hall tonight. There a motley crew of performers will be banding together to perform the Big Star classic “Third/Sister Lovers” in its entirety. The show will feature appearances from R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills, Hot Chip‘s Alexis Taylor, Yo La Tengo‘s Ira Kaplan, Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten and many more.
“Third/Sister Lovers” was an often misunderstood record in the Big Star canon. Ranging between raucous power pop and jangly, haunted ballads, it was a record that tanked upon its 1978 release (a good four years after it was recorded), it would suffer a series of odd releases with varying track listings and limited runs over several decades. The band’s third and final record, it was more or less Alex Chilton’s debut as a solo artist, with only drummer Jody Stephens carrying over from the band’s original line-up. The sessions were appended by producer Jim Dickinson, Steve Cropper and a handful of other session musicians.
All three Big Star records have had a large impact on alternative music but “Third” has been an especially large force, an album that has been a direct influence on the work of The Replacements, Elliott Smith, and Jeff Buckley — Buckley was known to perform a version of “Kanga Roo” in concert with a maddened extended vamp.
Check out a few songs from the record, and if you happen to be a London resident, head over to the show tonight.
Big Star — “Kizza Me”
Big Star — “Thank You Friends”
Big Star — “Kanga Roo”
Big Star — “Stroke it Noel”
Big Star — “Big Black Car”