Why Alex Chilton Should Have Been A Big Star

Why Alex Chilton should have been a big star: Aidin Vaziri | Alex Chilton, who died after apparently suffering a heart attack at age 59, didn’t sell many albums. He may have scored a No. 1 hit as a teenager in 1967 with “The Letter” as the lead singer for the Box Tops. But it was as the front man for the little-known Memphis power pop band Big Star that he made his mark, serving as a major influence on acts such as R.E.M., Beck, Elliott Smith, Ryan Adams and Wilco. The Replacements even wrote a song for him called “Alex Chilton,” which at once celebrated his allure and his relative anonymity: “Children by the million/ Sing for Alex Chilton/ When he comes ’round/ They sing, ‘I’m in love/ What’s that song?’ ” Chilton was scheduled to join the remaining members of Big Star for a retrospective set at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. The show will now go on as a tribute to Chilton. But you can celebrate his legacy right now by downloading five of his most essential Big Star tunes. Read more.

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