Pullin’ ‘Tubes: Big Star’s Story

It’s safe to say that we are currently living in the golden age of music discovery. Between streaming services, social media and the plethora of music websites, you can read at length, discuss via Tweets or instantly listen to any band that people are declaring the “next big thing.” While there are arguments on both sides of the fence on whether this helps or hinders a band in the long run, if they had been around forty years ago, it’s likely that Big Star would have gotten the proper attention they deserved. Formed in Memphis in 1971, by Chris Bell, Jody Stevens, Andy Hummel and Alex Chilton (At the age of 16 Chilton was the front man of The Box Tops, who had a #1 hit with The Letter), the band recorded three brilliant studio albums full of jangly power pop, that drew influences from the likes of The Beatles, The Kinks, Beach Boys and The Byrds.

Initially signed to the legendary Stax Records, their ambitiously tongue-in-cheek titled debut #1 Record, received positive press, but Big Star weren’t able to break through commercially, as their label was struggling to survive and unable to give it the proper support and national distribution. The saga of the ups and downs of band’s career, whose second act far eclipsed anything they did in the 1970’s, thanks in part to acts like R.E.M. name checking them repeatedly, and later with their song In The Streets being used as the theme for That 70’s Show, is the subject of the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. Let’s check out the trailer from this official selection of the 2012 SXSW Film Festival…

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