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Editors’ Notes

Big Star Live offers a snapshot of Alex Chilton and his comrades in the midst of a 1974 tour, struggling against internal demons and the indifference of the music biz. This set — taken from a WLIR radio broadcast — draws upon songs from the band’s first two albums, augmented by a cover of Loudon Wainwright’s “Motel Blues.” Tunes like “O My Soul,” “Back of a Car” and “In the Street” sound lean and feisty, while “I’m in Love With a Girl” and “Thirteen” shine with wistful grace. “The Ballad of El Goodo” — an anthem of youthful idealism — takes on particular poignancy here. Throughout, there’s a sense of the band’s mounting troubles and shaky unity. The brief interview included on the album provides a revelatory moment — Chilton dispenses with promotional happy-talk and reveals his disillusionment with his career thus far. While this album is no substitute for their legendary studio albums, Big Star Live does give a sense of the band’s collective mood as they teetered between elusive success and looming burnout.

Customer Reviews

really worthwhile

This is a good collection of big star's works that they performed Live. Though a few songs sound almost exactly the same as its studio recording. Definitely worth the money though.

For the obsessed, buy the whole thing. For everyone else...

There are two amazing moments on this recording that are otherwise unavailable. The first is Chilton's solo rendition of Loudon Wainwright's "Motel Blues," which manages to encapsulate cynicism, depression, and beauty in equal parts. The other is the full band assault of "Daisy Glaze," a song I never quite appreciated buried at the end of "Radio City" until I heard it here. The studio version burnished the threat out of the song, but it's unmistakable live. The rest of the album is great--after all, this is '70s Big Star--but these two tracks are revelatory.

Thanks for the tip

I heard this album before but wasn't very initerested, but I never got to Daisy Glaise. It was always one of my favorite songs off Radio City, the lyrics at least. But this is a much more fitting version of the song,


Formed: 1971 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The quintessential American power pop band, Big Star remains one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll. Originally led by the singing and songwriting duo of Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, the Memphis-based group fused the strongest elements of the British Invasion era -- the melodic invention of the Beatles, the whiplash guitars of the Who, and the radiant harmonies of the Byrds -- into a ramshackle but poignantly beautiful sound which recaptured the spirit of pop's past...
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