I’ve noticed over the years that whenever Big Star creeps into my daily listening habits, I in turn, find myself listening to a hell of a lot more power pop in general — and vice versa (see: The Broken West). Lately, I have been obsessing (again) over the Radio City album, the band’s 1974 masterpiece. If you like your pop shiny and shimmering, it doesn’t get any sweeter and smarter than this; an album that you can revisit fifty times and still find something that renews the whole experience.

I have to split, as I have the rest of the album to listen to, but dig on Radio City’s whip-smart opener “O My Soul” below, and seek out the rest of the album if you haven’t done so yet.

Big Star :: O My Soul
Amazon: Big Star – Radio City ++

+ Download Big Star’s Radio City from eMusic via the free trial offer
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Big Star MP3s

8 Responses to “Big Star :: O My Soul”

  1. One of the best CD purchases I made last year was Nobody Can Dance. I had put off buying it because I thought I had enough live Big Star. I was wrong. The Letter alone is worth the price. Now if I could only find the Beale Street Green demos.

  2. Drunkard:

    I had a girlfriend back in the late ’80s who turned me on to Big Star – about the same time that Alex Chilton dried out and started touring again. If you missed it in the early ’90s, Ryko released Chris Bell’s solo record – the “other” creative force behind “Number 1 Record” – and it’s great:


  3. I Am the Cosmos by Bell is a pretty sharp, posthumous release. For “You and Your Sister” alone, it’s worth it.

    If you can track it down, there is a cd version of #1 Record and Radio City together on one cd that is a great purchase. I got turned on to Big Star, as is the case with a lot of people I’d expect, through the Replacements. After hearing numerous bootleg covers of “September Gurls” (and of course, “Alex Chilton”), I sought out the aforementioned 2-fer-1 cd. My life has been white ever since. (Hah!)

    Is this where I should open up a can of worms and ask people to debate the merits of Third/Sister Lovers?

  4. As one of your, erm…older readers, I’m one of the few who bought the oringinal albums, on vinyl, in the early ’70’s, In England. The start of a love affair that has never waned. I think it’s the drumming – sometimes bordering on the miraculous – that gives it the edge. And his lyrics, and the guitar sound…ok, the lot.

    And don’t forget the theme to ‘That ’70’s Show’

  5. Big Star is one of those legendary groups that actually lives up to the hype. Fantastic stuff. The Chris Bell “I Am The Cosmos” CD is well worth getting, and the liner notes by his brother will make you cry.

    Interesting point by Steve about the drumming.

    Bruce K.

  6. Yes, I love “I Am The Cosmos” …I need to post on that one as it’s worth getting the word out to folks who are not aware of it.

    I too got turned onto Big Star back when through the double cd “deal,” which, while a nice package is a LOT of Big Star for the uninitiated. I did not really appreciate the albums as whole entities until separating them and taking them in as individual works.

    And, J. Neas…3rd Sister is pretty cool, but I dont know if near as well as Radio City and #1 Record. Maybe I need to remedy that.


  7. I’m a little late on this, but hopefully people will see it. The Onion’s AV Club has I Am the Cosmos up as one of its Permanent Records list (overlooked albums). Check it out:

    Third is about as polarizing an album as you can get. The story’s been told – Chilton new his label would undermine whatever he created by not pushing it, so he decided to follow his obviously very depressed muse down some random path. There are songs that gel amazingly – “O, Dana,” “Thank You, Friends,” “Kanga Roo”..and easily one of the most haunting songs ever recorded, “Holocaust.” But on the whole it’s far less satisfying than either of the first two Big Star records. There are a lot of ‘ifs’ surrounding it, but as brilliant a writer as Chilton is, I think Bell’s departure from the band took an important balance out of what made them a great band.

  8. i’m about 2/3 of the way through the big star book. pretty interesting read. it traces through the memphis scene, the box tops, big star’s albums and chilton and bell’s solo careers.

    i agree with j. neas. there are a few gems, but the third album is a little over-rated (mostly because it’s depressing as hell to listen to). that said, it wonderfully captures chilton’s spirit at the time.

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