I can’t embed the C-Span video of Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen giving a touching one minute tribute on the House floor to Alex Chilton, “an embodiment of Memphis music, hard, different, independent, brilliant, beautiful,” who died Wednesday of a heart attack at the age of 59. But click this link to watch it. Then take a moment to remember his music.
Mr. Chilton, who grew up in Memphis, was just 16 years old when the Box Tops, in which he sang and played guitar, had a No. 1 hit with “The Letter” in 1967. When that group broke up in 1970, Mr. Chilton formed Big Star with Jody Stephens, Chris Bell and Andy Hummel. The band’s first album, “#1 Record,” in 1972, did not come close to fulfilling the commercial promise of its title, nor did the followup releases “Radio City” and “Third/Sister Lovers.” But their music – gentle and introspective songs like “The Ballad of El Goodo” and “September Gurls,” and exuberant anthems like “In the Street” – had a profound impact on generations of pop and indie acts that followed.
One more song, from Big Star, after the jump.