Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wilco, R.E.M. Join Big Star's Jody Stephens for Third Tribute

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 12:16 PM

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Commercial success came late for Big Star. That '70s Show renewed recognition for the band by transforming 1972's "In The Street" from their debut album #1 Record into Cheap Trick's "That '70s Song," which served as the show's anthem. Prior to that, Big Star largely remained a musician's band.

#1 Record was heralded by critics as a dynamic debut that would push the band into the limelight — Rolling Stone called it "exceptionally good ... one of the sleepers of 1972" — but attention never sparked. Big Star's sophomore effort Radio City performed no better, and coupled with tumultuous relationships within the band, they fizzled away.

Enter Big Star's Third album, Sister Lovers. R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone, Jessica Pratt, and Kronos Quartet, among others, will join Jody Stephens on April 27 to perform the record in it's entirety at the Alex Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Conductor Carl Marsh, who orchestrated the album in 1974, will lead a full chamber orchestra. Stephens will also be joined by Big Star members Jon Auer and Ken Stingfellow for additional songs from Radio City and #1 Record

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Though Big Star's sound defined power-pop before the genre found footing, whatever pretension existed on their first two albums dissolved with Third/Sister Lovers. The cult album captured an emotionally volatile Alex Chilton. Jim Dickinson helmed production, and with the collaboration of Chilton and Stephens among a team of memphis music heavyweights, Sister Lovers serves as the most musically daring of the band's career. Tracks like "Thank You, Friends" and Stephens' penned "For You" are as accessible as anything from their first two albums, but tucked between slow-burners such as "Kangaroo" and "Holocaust" — which served as an entrance for Chilton's experimental solo efforts that would later follow. 

Watch Jody Stephens perform "Blue Moon" from Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers below:

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