Rare studio footage of Big Star circa 1971. Shot by bassist Andy Hummel and guitarist/singer Chris Bell, this recently surfaced video showcases perhaps the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of the 1970’s at their peak.
Van Duren has a voice that reminds me of Emitt Rhodes and Todd Rundgren while still holding onto that distinct Memphis sound. Highly recommended for fans of Big Star/Todd Rundgren/Emitt Rhodes/Badfinger. It’s just really great melodic power-pop.
Power pop gets no respect. That’s just fucked. I feel that writing a really amazing catchy pop song, is a lot more difficult than writing your typical sad singer songwriter stuff that gets constantly praised. Beautiful vocal harmonies, catchy chord progressions and immaculate production doesn’t just randomly happen. It takes a lot of time and effort and songwriting skill, a la big star. Big Star were a 70’s band that released 3 albums and then disbanded (later reunited but let’s not talk too much about that).They basically invented the idea of power pop. And what an idea! Happy vocal harmonies and 60’s beatlesy production that overshadow the fact that a lot of the songs were very sad.
So Chris Bell was one of the two primary songwriters for big star, the other being Alex chilton (the frontman for the band). Bell released a couple solo singles in the 70’s, this one being the most prominent. Unlike a lot of happy big star songs, this one is not subtly sad. It’s just a sad breakup song. However he has an amazing ear for melodic simple guitar lines and chord progressions that make the song startingly beautiful.
Big Star; the influence is unmistakeable, and has been fairly well-documented over the years, so it goes without saying that the guys in the group were deeply saddened by the news of Alex Chilton’s untimely death. John Davis has written and recorded a new song called “Cerulean Blue (For Alex Chilton)” in his memory.
Help yourself to the free download if you like. The normal “old house electrical hum/4-track cassette hiss” caveats apply, but they hardly matter. With regard to the track itself, John said simply, “I wrote this one for Alex. I couldn’t help it.“
Download the “Ceruelan Blue (For Alex Chilton)” here.