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Big Star – #1 Record (1972)

April 18, 2014

[Album 306/1001]220px-Big_Star_-1_Record

Friend type #3: After meeting and talking for all of a few minutes you just know, to borrow the White Stripes song, We’re going to be friends.

Cited as an influence by Teenage Fanclub & R.E.M.?

An early ‘power pop’ artist?

Songwriting duo comparisons to Lennon/McCartney?

Is there any chance I wouldn’t like Big Star?  Well, maybe a Dumb & Dumber-esque probability:


This wasn’t that one time out of a million: unsurprisingly, I’m a fan.

The opening track, Feel, swiftly reeled me in, sounding at first like The Who Sell Out and then a bit like George Harrison.

Later on in the record, there were hints of T.Rex and The Beach Boys.

More than any other artist, I heard the Lemonheads when listening to #1 Record.  That delicious blend of acoustic + electric, seemingly effortless vocals and songwriting, and instantly likeable tunes that don’t wear thin after repeated listens.

Although amateur guitarists complain about their tedious nature, the pros know why practicing scales is essential: so you can play nice, quick, clean phrase-ending walk-ups like those heard in The Ballad of El Goodo.

I did a double take upon hearing In The Street: I hadn’t realized the theme song for That 70’s Show was a pre-existing tune!

A #1 Record, it was not at the time, at least in terms of commercial success.  It’s another one of those albums whose importance was appreciated years later, when the aforementioned groups from the 80s & 90s began praising Big Star’s sound.

This Big Star debut also lends credence to my theory that 1972 is one of the Top 3 calendar years in music history.

That’s all for the B’s.

Your homework for the Easter weekend: choosing the Top 5 C’s, they’re on deck for next week.


From → 1970s

  1. Thank you for the Dumb & Dumber clip! I just watched that two weeks ago!

    “It feels like you’re running at an incredibly fast pace Harry!”

    I’m going to have to check this album out, and thanks for the B’s! If I may speculate on the C’s…Alice Cooper!

    • Such a great film (how is it 20 years old?) – Big gulps eh? Well, see ya later!

      Alice is definitely the most articulate of the C’s!

  2. I love Big Star! It’s ironic that their lack of commercial success pretty much destroyed the band, but it led Alex Chilton to write some very dark and fascinating songs later on.

    • So far this is the beginning and end of my big star knowledge, they’ve got another on the list (from ’78 or so). I’m curious as to what a darker Big Star sound will be like,

      I’m definitely a fan after the debut!

      • fyfeopedia permalink

        I like 1974’s Radio City best – it’s probably in my top 5 albums of all time. Even if it’s not in the book, maybe you should check it out – its sits between the pristine #1 Record and the drugged out Third/Sister Lovers. Lots of well written, hooky songs, delivered in a messy form.

      • Third is in the book – but based on your description (which sounds right up my street), Radio City’s been added to my ‘to explore’ list!

  3. Sunnyman permalink

    The top 5 C’s is a hard one. There are plenty of ’em. Guess my top 5 is Phil Collins, Nick Cave, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Camel and Leonard Cohen.

    Meaning I leave out C.C.R., The Cure, Clannad, The Clash & The Cats to name a few.

    • Can’t argue with those picks – I think a few of mine will end up being from the ones that just missed the cut for you!

  4. I have their albums on my iPod, and have listened to bits of them, without fully exploring them. I know I need to, but it’s time (or lack of)!!

  5. “This Big Star debut also lends credence to my theory that 1972 is one of the Top 3 calendar years in music history.”

    Definitely. Thick as a Brick, Argus, Machine Head, Demons and Wizards, The Magician’s Birthday, Close to the Edge, Foxtrot, Lonesome Crow.

    Interestingly, no studio albums from King Crimson or Led Zeppelin.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Hole – Celebrity Skin (1998) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Super Furry Animals – Fuzzy Logic (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Big Star – Third (1978) & Soft Machine – Third (1970) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. 1972 | 1001albumsin10years

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